CHENNAI : A dove and an olive branch are the common symbols that come to our mind when we think about peace. As a tribute to the International Day of Peace, which is celebrated on September 21, Loyola College organised an interfaith harmonic confluence on Monday. Samaritans, based on their religious values, shared their thoughts about peace. The event began with the dignitaries letting the doves fly off their hands.
“We’ve always celebrated Peace Day. This time, we planned it bigger. We want people to understand the importance of living in harmony especially at a time when it is much needed. This time, we included migrant workers too. They come from different states and work in our city. Our aim is to highlight the harmonious relationship we share with our neighbours,” shares Fr Leolin, director of Loyola Campus Ministry.
The welcome address was delivered by principal Fr Andrew. The list of speakers included Srimathi Mala Katrela, Honorary President of Tamilnadu Anuvrat Samiti; Swami Sri Hariprasad, MD, Vishnu Mohan Foundation; Mohammed Asif Ali, Nawabzada, Prince of Arcot; Fr Maria Amal Raj, vicar general, Arch Diocese of Madras Mylapore and Yashraj Singh, corporate professional.
Speaking about the significance of peace in Jainism, Srimathi Mala Katrela said, “Peace comes from within. Our values have taught us to forgive and forget. The less we focus on other people’s problems, the more peaceful we are. These are the basic things that we often forget.”
Talking about the significance of peace in the Islam tradition, Mohammed Asif Ali said, “There is one god and he is god to all. Unfortunately, religion, one of the most sensitive topics, is leading to hatred and violence in the world. No religion propagates harm. I studied in a Christian institution and I’ve read all the religious books and texts. Somehow a belief of a certain group of people gets amplified and generalised which then results in faulty assumptions about the teachings of the religion on the whole. Live and let live.”
Likewise, Swami Sri Hariprasad spoke about the importance of peace in Hindu religion, and Fr Maria Amal Raj spoke about the relevance of peace in the Bible and Christianity. Yashraj Singh shared the importance of peace in the Sikh tradition. Following a prayer for world peace, the vote of thanks was delivered by Fr Sebastian, the acting rector. The event cast light on how peace is a common binding factor that brings all religions together.