Sri M addresses the gathering before the commencement of the fast - Pune
Patriotic songs from the school children - Pune
Sri M making an emphatic point, towards the end of the fast - Shaniwar Wada, Pune
About to end the fast with a sip of lemon juice - Shaniwar Wada
Sri M's address as the closing of the fast - Shaniwar Wada
The rendering of the National Anthem - Shaniwar Wada
Amazing Rangoli at Rani lakshmi Bai Chowk - Pune
Sri M garlands the Rani Lakshmi Bai statue
WOH day 175 - the Walk to Shaniwar Wada, the Nirahar Satyagraha venue - Pune
Today was a special day – a landmark as it was the commencement of Nirahar Satyagraha – Aatankvaad Aur Himsa Ke Khilaf ( Against Terrorism and Violence ) by Sri M, with the message of resisting terrorism and violence in the world. The yatra proceeded from the Rani Laxmi Bai Chowk and congregated there. An elaborate Rangoli was drawn in the presence of the padayatris much to their pleasure and delight. After Sri M garlanded the statue of Rani Laxmi Bai, the padayatra proceeded towards Shaniwarwada, an 18th century historic fort in Pune, the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire.
Sri M observing a day-long fast, Nirahar Satyagraha – Aatankvaad Aur Himsa Ke Khilaf ( Against Terrorism and Violence ), is hoped to be the beginning of a movement to spread awareness against terrorism and violence.
The ‘Nirahar Satyagraha’is based on the defining principle of ‘Satyagraha’ (polite insistence on Truth) that peacefully claimed India’s right to independence and self-determination during the freedom struggle. It is about exercising the non-violent force of truth to bring attention to the evils of terrorism and communal violence that undermines the social fabric of the society. ‘Nirahar Satyagraha’ and Walk of Hope have a common objective: both seek a significantly restored nation—fit enough to be bequeathed to our future generations.
The initiative expresses solidarity with victims of terrorism and communal violence and seeks to ameliorate their cause. It contests negative tendencies creating divisions between people of different faiths, which can go to the extent of encouraging, organizing and committing atrocities. It resolves to resist any individual or collective act of encouraging, organizing and committing atrocities.
The ‘Nirahar Satyagraha’ supports positive dialogue between religions of India and aims for an atmosphere of interfaith harmony. It seeks to ratify the principles of tolerance and respect for the other that is deeply entrenched in all the religions. This conforms to the Manav Ekta Mission’s core philosophy that humanity, regardless of differences, is built on the foundation of peace.
Sri M believes there is a need to pause and reflect on the way we live our lives; the need to walk away from non-conviction and misplaced faith leading to terrorism and violence carried out in the name of religion. Each one of us can make a difference. We are the architects of our lives and our society. Sri M had also announced earlier that, as the walk proceeds, many ‘Nirahar Satyagrahas’ would be organized at prominent locations along the route with the first one being held at Pune.
The act of collective fasting is expected to act as a catalyst to raise awareness and understanding—for humanity to live together peacefully. Everywhere, people are generally predisposed to peace and harmony and the ‘Nirahar Satyagraha’ seeks to manifest this—inspiring acceptance, reconciliation and respect for diversity in each individual.
The Satyagraha, led by Sri M as a symbolic protest movement against Terrorism and Violence; towards unity, peace and interfaith harmony had around 3000 people participating with him. The event was also attended by various dignitaries.
A list of dignitaries who attended the event among others included -
Sri Dattaji Dhankawde ( Mayor, Pune Municipal Corporation )
Sri Anil Shirole ( MO, Pune City )
Sri. Vijay Kale ( MLA, Shivajinagar )
Smt Medha Kulkarni
Sri Shamsuddin Tamboli
Sri Vishwanath Karad, Chairman, MIT
Sri Ghaisas Guruji
Sri Ezekiel Isaac Malekar
Sri Atulji Limaye
Sri Kishor Chavan
Sri Shardrao Kunte
Sri Pratima Joshi
Smt. Lata Shrikhande
Sri. Nirmal Shembekar
Pastor Dr Justus Devdas - Ex. Vice Chancellor, Spicer Adventist University
Smt Pritsudhaji Maharajsaheb - Sanskar Bharti, Mataji Maharajsaheb
Smt Nikhat Khan - Indian film producer
Sri M started the fast at 6.10 am with a brief address and the lighting of a lamp. In his address, he said, "We are fasting for a day today, in sympathy for thousands of human beings around the globe who have been rendered foodless, homeless and shelterless because of terrorist activities. This is a gesture to bring happiness and to bring people together, so that they can live in peace and happiness. This movement should start from our country."
Smt. Nandini Bedekar, a senior disciple of Kishori Amonkar, presented a beautiful soulful recital of Hindustani classical music in the early hours of the morning.
A series of activities took place during the day long fast – meditation was followed by the music recital, participation by school children from different schools, sharing of experiences by the padayatris, presentation of views by representatives of different religions, Sarva Dharma Parishad, and bhajans. There were streams of people who also visited and interacted with Sri M.
Sri M ended the fast with a brief address. Following this, the participants dispersed for the day.
His concluding address started with the prayer –
Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih
Om, May All become Happy,
May All be Free from Illness.
May All See what is Auspicious,
May no one Suffer.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om Peace, Peace, Peace
Loka samasta sukinoh bhavantu May the entire universe be happy”
“My Namaskaar and Salaam to all of you. What I just said was in Sanskrit language but the message is universal which proclaims that may all beings be happy. The ones who are on this Padayatra and who are with us in their minds - I thank them. I thank those who were fasting today and those who organized this event. I thank Suvarna, Ranjith and those who are associated with them and I thank the esteemed guests who joined us.”
“About this padayatra, you all know. We started from Kanyakumari on 12th of January and we have covered 2700 kilometers till now and have reached Maharashtra. Another 5000 kilometers remain to be covered. We have walked in spite of many difficulties but in our hearts and minds there is so much inspiration, that we do not mind these.”
“I do not want to say a lot, you have seen the film. I will not conduct a Satsang right now. But, I will say this much that this work comes from our spiritual experience. Fasting for a day is not such a big thing but many people do not do it. Going forward, we will fast again at Sabarmati Ashram for three or four days. Every place we go to - Delhi, Varanasi, Kashmir, we will observe a fast for two to three days. It is a good thing that we started this from Maharashtra - this great land of saints.”
“Before I conclude, I remember an old Hindi song – Chaliya mera naam, Chalna mera kaam; Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai, Sabko mera salaam.”
“Om Shanti Shanti Shanti”