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Interfaith Dialogue ( 13 March 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Prahladpuri Temple Located In Multan Adjacent To the Shrine of Sufi Bahauddin Zakariya Depicts the Traditional Interfaith Harmony of the Subcontinent

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani

March 13, 2020

The US, in response to the 9-11 tragedy, had waged the ‘war on terror’ to evict the Taliban regime from Afghanistan.

At that time, many analysts were highlighting the geo-political interests behind the move. It was widely believed that the US, in order to ensure regional stability, would to stay in Afghanistan on a permanent basis. However, the US presence eventually led to numerous challenges in the region.

No one could ever imagine that the US would be signing a peace agreement with the Taliban to seek a safe exit from Afghanistan. However, the day finally came when both sides sat together in Doha to join hands for the sake of peace. The peace agreement reflects that the key to resolve any conflict is to choose bilateral dialogue. It is also a very clear message to other countries that are indulging in endless conflicts. US President Donald Trump played a positive role in the historical US-Taliban peace deal.

China, another key global player and emerging superpower, is progressing very rapidly in every field oand due to this, the 21st century was termed the ‘Asian Century’ by various analysts. Despite China’s strong economic power, the unfortunate spread of the deadly coronavirus discloses the helplessness of humans against natural disasters.

Today, people are reluctant to greet each other physically, owing to the fear of the virus. Travel restrictions are being imposed around the globe. People are reluctant to visit public places. Many destinations, which were once most crowded, are desolated today.

Apart from precautionary measures, I believe that a true and fair approach in our daily life is more important. Today, we need to think why new diseases are emerging and becoming viral? There is a dire need to promote golden principles such as tolerance, brotherhood and equality in our society. Unfortunately, our new generation is more vulnerable to adopt lifestyles based on selfishness, materialism and greed.

All such thoughts echoed in my mind at the time of the recently-celebrated Holi festival. While extending Holi greetings, I clearly mentioned in my tweet that this festival of colours signifies the victory of light over darkness, love over hate, and justice over injustice. The happy occasion reminds us that evil forces had to face defeat at the end. Therefore, we should ensure a positive attitude in our daily lives.

Rather than attributing Holi to a specific religious activity, we should understand the real message behind the festival. While throwing colours at each other, happy people used to celebrate the victory of good over bad. They are actually admitting the reality that the conflict between good and bad has been going on since day one but brave people prefer to continue their struggle and ultimately win. Today, people in Indian-held Kashmir are also facing difficulties. However, resolving the Kashmir issue in a peaceful way has become essential for regional stability and global peace.

It would be an amazing fact for many people today that the Holi festival was first started in Multan. For many thousand years, Hindu followers from all across the globe travelled to the ancient Prahladpuri Temple located in Multan. Adjacent to the temple, the shrine of renowned Muslim Sufi Bahauddin Zakariya depicts the traditional interfaith harmony of the Subcontinent.

Holi has transformed into an international festival but it is quite unfortunate that the birth place of the Holi festival has been deserted for the last 27 years. I had made it clear at every forum that the ongoing Hindutva extremism in India should not be confused with the peaceful teachings of Hinduism. Unfortunately, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) failed to safeguard the sacred religious places of Hindu community. As a patriotic Pakistani citizen, I am glad that the majority of the Pakistani community has rejected the extremist policies of the Indian government and shown solidarity with the peace-loving patriotic Pakistani Hindu community.

The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was a timely and wise decision for which the credit goes to Prime Minister Imran Khan and COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa. If a responsible patriotic Pakistani Hindu citizen is appointed as to head the Evacuee Trust Property Board then sacred places like the Prahladpuri Temple can be made a source of attraction for tourists as well.

Such destinations can not only up lift the positive image of Pakistan but also help promote religious tourism and generate revenue. There is a need to bring people closer for the sake of humanity.

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Original Headline: Bringing people closer

Source: The News, Pakistan