Day 416 | 2 March 2016 | From Chandni Chowk to Khalsa College | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • The Red Fort in all its glory
    1.The-Red-Fort-in-all-its-glory,-Delhi
  • Reception at Gauri Shankar Mandir - Chandni Chowk
    2.Reception-at-Gauri-Shankar-Mandir,-Chandni-Chowk,-Delhi
  • To the place of martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur - Gurudwara Shishganj Sahib - Chandni Chowk
    3.To-the-place-of-martyrdom-of-Guru-Teg-Bahadur,-Gurudwara-Shishganj-Sahib,-Chandni-Chowk,-Delhi
  • Reception along Chandni Chowk - Delhi
    4.Reception-along-Chandni-Chowk,-Delhi
  • Reception at the Fatehpuri Masjid - Delhi
    5.Reception-at-the-Fatehpuri-Masjid,-Delhi
  • Sri M addressing the gathering at National Club Delhi
    6.Sri-M-addresses-the-gathering-at-National-Club,-Delhi
  • 7.Defiant-against-odds!,-Chandni-Chowk,-Delhi
  • Sri M at the Delhi School of Social Work - Delhi University
    8.Sri-M-at-the-Delhi-School-of-Social-Work,-Delhi-University
  • WOH Day 416 - Red Fort to Khalsa College
    9.WOH-Day-415,-Red-Fort-to-Khalsa-College,-Delhi
  • 10.With-youth-on-our-side,-Vishwavidyalay-Metro,-Delhi
  • Reception at Khalsa College - Delhi
    11.Reception-at-Khalsa-College,-Delhi
  • A thundering Bhangda recital - Khalsa College
    12.A-thundering-Bhangda-show!,-Khalsa-College,-Delhi
The starting point of the walk was the grand Lal Quila or Red fort, the biggest monument in Delhi. The seat of the Mughals for over 200 years, it was captured by the British after the 1857 uprising. From then on, they systematically demolished, plundered and damaged this magnificent and gigantic fort, which represented the glory and opulence of the Mughals. A UNESCO Heritage site now, it the place from where the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on every Independence Day.

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The walk was through the Chandni Chowk area of old Delhi, originally called Shajahanabad. The Padayatra first crossed the Lal Mandir Jain temple, where injured birds are treated. We walked along the Netaji Subhash Road and the waterway right up to the Red fort, essentially the waters of Yamuna. The street used to have the shops and houses of the merchants on either side of the waterway. It is not clear whether this was damaged and covered up. Sri M and the Yatris worshipped at the Sri Gauri Shankar Mandir and received Prasad from there. The next stop was the Gurudwara Shishganj Sahib where Sikh Guru Guru Teg Bahadur was martyred. After offering prayers at the Gurudwara and at the Shahid Sthal, the Yatris partook of Langar Prasad before leaving. The giant doorway and courtyard of the Fatehpuri Masjid beckoned the padayatris next. The site of this Masjid, built in 1650 by Shajahan, was around a place of worship – the Dargah of Sufi saint, Ahata Nanoo Shah. The Masjid still retains a Sufi flavour and maintains a very lovely connect with the Hindus who live all around. Another interesting point is that it was Lala Chuni Mal, a Hindu, who wangled with the British and got the Masjid opened after it had been closed down after the 1857 mutiny. An icon of Manav Ekta indeed! The reception at National Club was next. Organised by members of the Aam Admi Party, the speakers voiced their appreciation for the Walk of hope and offered all support. They also expressed their desire to take Sri M around the whole of old Delhi so that he could share his thoughts with the maximum number of citizens. A congratulatory message from Ms Alka Lamba, MLA, who is currently abroad, was read out. Sri M addressed the gathering after chanting the invocatory mantra: Om, Sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ Sarve santu nirāmayāḥ Sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu Mā kashchit duḥkha bhāgbhavet Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ May all be prosperous and happy May all be free from illness May all see what is spiritually uplifting May no one suffer Om peace, peace, peace He said, "I'd like to say that this yatra is for Manav Ekta. We are trying to bring people together, not to pull them apart. Whenever there’s a possibility of it breaking, we go and prevent it from happening. We tell them that whatever be your political affiliation, maintain your peace. For the objective of Manav Ekta, we ask people to firstly think that they're human beings and then that they're Indians. If both these thoughts are kept in mind, India will become a great and developed country. If this doesn't happen, if there's no peace, no matter how many industries come up, there's no point. That's the work we're doing. After 7-8 months, we'll come again to Old Delhi. We'll also have an all India conference and invite everyone.” You must wonder what sort of a name Sri M is – there can be Amar Akbar, Anthony. When I was born, my parents named me Mumtaz Ali Khan, and my Babaji gave me the name of Madhukarnath, the first letter of both is M. But, most importantly, I consider myself M because I'm a Manushya, a Manav. That's why I'm happy when people call me M. People like to add Sri to it. But I'm fine even if they don't. If I'm M because I'm a manav, everyone sitting here is also M. There's not just one M, but many." Mr Munish, one of the organisers, thanked Sri M with an Urdu line and said, 'Allah Mere Risq Ki Barkhat Na Chali Jaaye. Do din Se Mere Ghar Mein Mehmaan Nahi Hai'. At the Delhi School of Social Welfare, Sri M got an opportunity to talk to students who have taken social work as a profession. He told them that social work must be made compulsory for all students. The Khalsa College was the end point of the walk. A packed auditorium of students and staff watched the Walk of Hope video and listened to Sri M's address. Sri M said, "I believe in all religions, and I go to all places of worship, but when I go to a place which has its roots in a particular religion, I would like to use the greeting that's used by them. So, I would like to greet you with, 'Jo bole so nihaal, sat sri akaal'." "We started today's function here with the Shabad, attributed to Kabir Das. Believe me, we, the padayatris, we're also warriors walking on the path to peace and oneness, though you don't see any external weapons with us. The wound is in our hearts and we're sharpening our inner weapons to bring about unity and sacrifice ourselves – for goodness and oneness. Today, Principal Sir asked me 'Students ask us what is peace'. Peace is the state of mind when you love everyone and have no hatred in your heart for anybody, whatsoever. Not easy, of course. In Bible, Jesus said, 'Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you'. Maybe, it’s not easy to practise. But, to a great extent, if you can put this into practice, like the shabad said: if we can make ourselves the dust of everyone's feet, then only I think it's possible to talk about it to others. Otherwise you may do reformation, you may walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and go back. If the heart has not been cleared, we have no right to talk about peace, well being and unity to others. We're passing through difficult times. As we entered Delhi there has been turbulence going on in every sphere, in every space. But we're certainly trying to go talk to people. All I'm saying is that being a democracy, we'll have to discuss and even disagree. That's part of the democratic process. It's not part of the democratic process to initiate violence. We are not defending, that's a different matter. If your culture, friends and family is being threatened, you come to defend, that's a different matter altogether. But, if instead of initiating dialogue, force and violence is used, there can be no peace. If I take one sword, somebody might take two. Also, we should be sure that when we do an action, we don't have a vested interest.” “We're a very different country – we have more than 23 languages, we have so many religions, ideologies, so many creeds, yet everybody believes and claims proudly that he's an Indian. This is part of our culture. And, where there was religion, people have been brought together by the great teachers and saints. We are walking, 7000-8000 kms at the most. Five hundred years ago, a great saint (I'm not comparing) walked not only in India but also all over the world. Wherever we go, they say he had come there. He was Guru Nanak Sahib. So, to illustrate this battle which we have to do (that's the wrong word to use perhaps when we're walking for peace). There's a word in Koran called Jihad. It actually means fighting with evil tendencies in your own mind. So, this fight isn't a fight of weapons but a fight of peace against turbulence. This is the battle, the walk. Its aim is Manav Ekta, Shanti and Sadbhavna. I'd like to share a few things that come from the Sikh religion. There is a place called Beri Saheb near Jalandhar where Guru Nanak Saheb is supposed to have meditated for some time. One day he went to have a bath in a river and he didn't come out. On the fourth day when he came out, the first thing he uttered was 'There's no Hindu or Musalman, there's only human beings. Kabir Das says in the Guru Granth Sahib, 'Avval Allah Noor Upaaye Kudrat Ke Sab Bandhe'. So, this attempt we are doing is not something new, it's been done quite a few centuries ago when great saints sang and walked across the length and breath of the world with Mardana, playing the rabaab. Unfortunately, we don't have a Mardana. All peace and goodness can be brought about only if you work without an ego. When the Shabad says: 'Consider me as the dust of your feet', your work should be the walk. Now the objective of the Walk is that we're trying to bring people together. Of course, we're together but off late the breaking has become more usual than unusual. We're trying to see that it doesn't break because I believe that, since ancient times, India has been the world's spiritual Guru and we should work to keep it together. You can believe in one religion or another, also there are people in Kerala who believe in no religion.” “We go from village to village, city to city and talk to everyone, talk to them and try to sow the seeds of goodness, harmony, oneness and tell them, “First think that you're an Indian, then think of other things. First know that nobody falls from heaven. Everybody comes from the womb of a mother and we all go into this earth. It could be a smashan or a kabristhan but we go into this earth. So, in this interim period, why can't we live in peace? Why can't we live together loving each other?' That's the only message of this walk.” “Whatever friction happens is because of vested interest but it's given the name of religion, politics. But look closely and you'll see it's because of vested interest for power or position. To put it behind and move forward is what we're saying. People say there's a mad man walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. But I'm very proud to say that many people are walking with me because if sanity can bring about so much violence, it's better to be insane.” “Before I conclude, I'll tell you a story because these things are understood better through stories. This was told to us by a holy man who heads a monastery in Karnataka", and Sri M narrated the story of the sculptor who falls into the hands of death because of his own ego, a story that never fails to drive home an important message each time it's told. He concluded saying, 'To live on this earth without being touched by death is to reduce yourself to nothing. The moment you say I did it, you're in trouble. Do, but don't bring the 'I' element into it. So if you ask me: 'You're walking?' I'll ask: "Who's walking? We're all walking. I'm not alone". So surrender to the higher. Lead a good life. See unity in diversity. Stick together and make this country better, more peaceful and greater – which is the message that I give to all of you, especially the young because the future of this country is in your hands. We might have done some mistakes but you shouldn't. The future is in your hands. If we can live together, we can do it. So, this is the aim of the walk. Hum Sab Ek Hain. Thank you, Dhanyavad, Namaskar."

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