Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lauds India's skill to navigate conflicting forces, achieve joint declaration at G20 Summit
Sep 15, 2023
Lauding India's G20 Presidency, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said that achieving success on the joint declaration at the summit was a "herculean task" and this speaks of Delhi's skill to navigate, manage conflicting forces and arrive at a common vision.
The spiritual leader delivered keynote remarks at a special session ‘Discourse on Peace' organised by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN to commemorate the International Day of Peace.
Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living, referred to the just concluded G20 Leaders' Summit in Delhi under India's presidency of the grouping of the world's biggest economies as he underscored the importance of communication among people and nations.
"If India could navigate through G20 and get a resolution passed by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, that says a lot because there is a skill in managing all these conflicting forces and making them understand and get acquainted with a common vision and move through," he said.
That was a "herculean task" for members of G20 "when two big countries were absent", an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping not attending the summit.
"There is no conflict that we cannot resolve by skilful communication and a broad mindset that is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam we are all one family." "Better understanding has to be fostered in our society and this can happen when the mind is free from stress. I would say a violence-free society is possible when communication improves amongst ourselves and a sense of justice prevails," he said.
Amid a round of applause from the audience, United Nations Alliance of Civilizations High Representative Miguel Moratinos congratulated the Government of India for the successful organisation of the G20 summit.
"It was not an easy task but you succeeded in keeping everybody together and to be together is the first step to go ahead," he said.
Moratinos noted that G20's theme under the Indian presidency ‘One Earth·One Family·One Future' is a reflection of India's commitment to the welfare of the entire humanity and dedication to global unity and peace.
He noted that the theme is derived from the Sanskrit phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' meaning ‘The World Is One Family'.
This notion remains relevant to today's special discourse on peace as it emphasises a global perspective, prioritising collective well-being over individual self-serving interests. It encourages us to think about the welfare of others, fostering global solidarity and responsibility, particularly in addressing global issues ranging from peace and security to sustainable development, climate change and human rights, Moratinos said.
Ravi Shankar further highlighted that nations and governments need to revisit laws from time to time and think about various aspects of society to ensure there is inner peace and justice.
He said there is prosperity and peace today in Kashmir and people can walk around fearlessly, emphasising that big changes have happened in the region following the abrogation of Article 370.
"Today in Kashmir, there is prosperity and there is peace. They go hand in hand. People can walk around fearlessly, a big difference has happened in Kashmir," Ravi Shankar said amid a round of applause at the session here Thursday.
Citing the example of Kashmir, he said earlier that women there did not have freedom, if they married someone from outside the state, they would lose all rights to property. He added that the poor and downtrodden had no reservation policy "when (Article) 370 was in rule. Just a few families were taking benefit of it. But now the story is completely different. There is a big change, in the way people see it. So we need to think about various aspects of society to bring that inner peace and justice." Ravi Shankar added that if people visited the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar before the year 2000 and if they visit these states now, "you find a big difference. When thousands of Naxalites laid down their arms, the development became better. Same with Assam where many misguided youth took to violence but when they came to terms with peace, progress happened, and business started flourishing. It's so obvious," he said underlining that peace is the foundation for prosperity.
In her remarks, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said peace has always been a fundamental cornerstone of India's rich cultural and philosophical heritage.
"Throughout its history, India has embraced the ideals of non-violence, harmony, and co-existence. The teachings of great spiritual leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, a champion of non-violent resistance, have profoundly influenced the country's approach to conflict resolution." She emphasised that as nations and governments engage in dialogues, negotiations and resolutions within the UN, "we must remember that peace is not an unattainable dream, but a reality we can achieve. It commences with our willingness to listen, understand, and empathize with one another. It begins with small acts of kindness and flourishes through shared values and common goals."