Day 408 | 23 February 2016 |From India International Center to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Inside the Judah Hyam Synagogue - Humayun Road
    1.Inside-the-Judah-Hyam-Synagogue,-Humayun-Road,-New-Delhi
  • Rabbi Ezekiel Issac Malekar explains Judah Hyam Synagogue - New Delhi
    2.Rabbi-Ezekiel-Isaac-Malekar-explains,-Judah-Hyam-Synagogue,-New-Delhi
  • Reception at Zabta Ganj Masjid - New Delhi
    3.Reception-at-Zabta-Ganj-Masjid,-New-Delhi
  • Sri M in prayer inside the Zabta Ganj Masjid - New Delhi
    4.Sri-M-in-prayer-inside-the-Zabta-Ganj-Masjid,-New-Delhi
  • Satsang at Zabta Ganj Masjid - New Delhi
    5.Satsang-at-Zabta-Ganj-Masjid,-New-Delhi
  • Paying homage to the martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyothi - India Gate
    6.Paying-homage-to-the-martyrs-at-Amar-Jawan-Jyothi,-India-Gate,-New-Delhi
  • The padayatra, with its numbers swelling by the minute leaving India Gate
    7.The-Padayatra,-its-numbers-swelling,-leaving-India-Gate-after-paying-respects,-New-Delhi
  • WOH Day 408 - India International Center to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib - New Delhi
    8.WOH-Day-408,-India-International-Centre-to-Gurudwara-Bangla-Sahib,-New-Delhi
  • 9.Only-the-tough-and-hardy-can-survive-Delhi!,-scene-near-India-Gate,-New-Delhi
  • Sri M dons the Pagri at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib New delhi
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  • Inside the magnificent hall of the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib - New Delhi
    11.Inside-the-magnificent-hall-of-the-Gurudwara-Bangla-Sahib,-New-Delhi
  • 12.Interaction-with-students-at-St-Stephen
Many noted citizens of Delhi including Justice Venkatachalaiah; Minister of State, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Sri Giriraj Sing; and former Chief Secretary of Delhi, Sri Ranganath, joined the walk today. As expected, a very good friend of the walk, Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar awaited at the Judah Hyam Synagogue on Humayun Road. Despite lack of time, he invited all inside and opened the Torah for them. The Rabbi was present during the flag-off ceremony in Kanyakumari and also during the Nirahara Satyagraha in Pune. A champion of interfaith harmony, he is a revolutionary change agent trying to bring about improvements in Jewish religious practices.

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The school children of BalBharti Public School, who accompanied the padayatra today as well, took the Walk of Hope oath in front of the synagogue. From then on, it was a walk along the roads of Central New Delhi steeped in history. The walk passed Mansingh Road, which has the stately Kapurthala House, Jaisalmer House and Dalmia House. The welcome and Satsang at ZabtaGanj Masjid warmed everyone's hearts. Originally built to cater to the needs of all of an area named Zabta Ganj, it lost its relevance midway as people got relocated for the construction of the modern city of New Delhi. It has now regained its importance though it is not an imposing structure. The water bodies that surround it lend added charm. The Moulavi welcomed all and spoke endearingly about the need for Manav Ekta and the need to shun violence of any kind. Sri M echoed his remarks. The next program was laying a wreath at the Amar JawanJyothi, located in the precincts of the India Gate. The India Gate is a war memorial for soldiers of the united Indian army who laid down their life for the country between 1914 & 1921. Built underneath is the Amar JawanJyothi, dedicated to Indian soldiers martyred in the Bangladesh war. Sri M placed a floral wreath here as senior padayatris lined up on both sides. The walk ended at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most important Gurudwaras in Delhi. Sikh General, Baghel Singh, built it in 1783 in honour of the 8th Sikh Guru HarKishan. The padayatris had darshan along with Sri M and lunch at the massive langar of the Gurudwara. The afternoon program was at St Stephen's College, North Delhi. The padayatris and about 20 students and staff of the college attended the interaction. How one wishes that more youngsters attended such sessions with Sri M. Sri Rahul Makin, one of the top RJs of Delhi, compered the program. Q: Can you recount some of the thrilling moments during the walk? Sri M: There are many. One of them is what happened a few days after we had left Mysore. We have a practice of walkers going ahead and distributing flyers about the walk. Here, our organisers approached a watermelon seller asking him whether he was willing to provide watermelons to all the walkers and if yes, at what rate. The poor fruit vendor, who had by then read the flyer, was greatly offended. He said that he thought that the walk was for a good purpose and refused to take any money. Such simple yet genuine acts of kindness and understanding are most heartwarming. Q: Did your family protest when you embarked on a journey like this? Sri M: No, they did not. My wife has been a teacher at the Rishi Valley School run by the J Krishnamurti Foundation. I am not a Krishnamurtite though I love him. My family is used to my sudden disappearances over the years. We also have a couple of schools, which have to be taken care of. Thus, I think they realise I am away on a very important mission and they have supported me. Q: Your views on the agitation going on in JNU? Sri M: You agree with me in that all information we get is based on the media. Assuming that it is more or less true, we will have to agree that if anti-national slogans have been raised, it is wrong. But, the question is whether the slogans were raised by students of JNU or by someone posing as JNU students. Also, if found guilty thus, what action do you take? There has to be dialogue and discussion before any action can be taken. Beating up students is no solution. I am ready to go to JNU. But people have been discouraging me. Can anyone of you help me to go to JNU? Q: During the walk, have you visited slums? How can we help them? Sri M: During the walk we have gone through many slums, though not stayed there. The place where I live is very close to a slum inhabited by Lambadis or gypsies. People tried to dissuade me from buying a place close to them. I persisted. I enquired whether they would send their children if I started a school. Now, after a decade plus, many from the slum, especially girls, have got educated and got employed outside Madanappally. I feel it will be a good idea if you could, on graduation, spend a year or two working in slums – trying to improve their lot. Ideally, helping slum dwellers can be done by people from outside. Q: After the walk, what do you propose to do? Sri M: Having passed through many states, districts and villages and seen for ourselves the genuine problems faced by them, we have an idea as to what needs to be gone in each of these players. Once we finish the walk, we will choose willing people from these areas and train them how best to tackle them. Our volunteers will also actively get involved in this exercise. We hope to make a difference in many places. After the walk, I will go home, of course, and file my tax returns etc. After that, I will spend some time in quiet contemplation, away from all. It is the best way to charge your batteries. Q: How do you get to do things, which you really want to do? Sri M: Yes, you will have to listen to your inner self and, if you are really convinced that it is your calling, don't worry about anything else. Set out and follow your conviction.

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