Sharing a lighter moment with the Mayor Councillors - Phagwara
The Bhangda team goes through their warm-up routine - Stan Auto Chowk
Legislator Som Prakash welcomes Sri M - Stan Auto Chowk
WOH Day 439 - Stan Auto Chowk to Cambridge School
Today's walk in Phagwara had the sports-minded seniors of the yatra fondly remember the ace football team JCT Mills, Phagwara of yesteryears. Interestingly, the walk started quite close to the mill complex. More than a thousand school children from Cambridge Public School, Mahavir Jain Public School and SD Model School participated in the walk today. The walk commenced from Stan Auto Chowk and was received by legislator Shri Som Prakash, Mayor Arun Khosla and the Deputy and Additional Mayors at the Municipal Corporation Office.
At the first stop, Sri M spoke to the audience by the side of a busy road. He first thanked the Mayor and Councillors of Phagwara and said, "This yatra isn't just ours, it's your yatra as it is for Manav Ekta. We started from Kanyakumari in January 2015. We have already completed 14 months. This is a walk on foot. We have to reach Kashmir; we hope to reach Kashmir on the 30th of April or the 1st of May. This is our objective, the rest is up to God. We are doing this Walk to ensure that India stays united. The message of unity is part of India's ancient culture, it isn't something new. But, sometimes it breaks. Our yatra is not curative, it's preventive. We believe that we won't let India break. We have to work together, I can't do anything on my own. Though you can't walk to Srinagar with us, if you decide that you'll live together peacefully come what may, then we'll consider that our walk is successful at every step of the way. There are many people walking with us from Kanyakumari.”
“We've been welcomed very well in Punjab. We entered through Fatehgarh Sahib. If there's been such a big sacrifice there, our little sacrifice is nothing in comparison. I would like to tell the children to remember that, firstly, we're human beings. The reason I'm called M is because the first letter of Manav is M. The second thing to remember is that we're Indians. Never forget this. India is a great country, you'll never find another country like ours. Have you heard of any country that has more than 23 languages, so many religions, so many creeds? Despite this, we live together. Even if someone tries to break this unity, stick together and don't let this unity break. That's all I'd like to say.
The walk passed through the crowded Mansawala Bazar, Railway Road, Plahi Road etc. There was a reception and snack break at Kamla Nehru College for Women. Cadets of the 8th Punjab battalion NCC also accompanied the padayatris.
The walk ended at Cambridge International School. The function that followed had the young talents of Phagwara schools performing a group song, Bhajan and a Bhangra / Gidha. Sri M addressed the gathering thereafter.
Sri M started with the invocatory chant:
“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.
He then thanked everyone at the school and gave details of when the walk started, the distance covered, etc.
Continuing further he said, "In this great unity and oneness called India, sometimes you see that there are fissures breaking out here and there. We feel that these are increasing. So, this walk is meant to make sure that we don't break into pieces and that we stick together as one nation. If we can do this and don't let it break, we can help India grow stronger and more developed. This is our message. We are walking with this message.”
“I am happy to tell you that everywhere we go, people are very happy to receive this movement. The response has been very very positive which is a good sign. Because the average Indian has been brought up with this great culture that we are human beings first and Indians next. I don't think there's anybody here who's not born from the womb of a mother. This itself is sufficient proof that we're One. Nobody has fallen from heaven. And when we die we go into the same earth either into the kabristan or the smashan but it's the same earth. In this little drama between life and death, our question is can't we live in peace and togetherness ? We are a democracy, so naturally we'll have differences of opinions, different ideologies, it is possible. If it was a dictatorship, no. But, fortunately, we're a democracy. Our contention is that we can solve this – have discussions, have dialogues, and solve our problems. There is no need for violence."
"We entered Punjab at Sarhind and went to Fatehgarh Sahib. You know the sacrifice that happened there. Compared to that, our sacrifice is nothing. Sometimes, people ask us how we're walking 8000 Km. I tell them look how much Guru Nanak has walked, you can't even measure it in kilometers. He's been to Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Mecca. He went everywhere. This was 500 years ago. Now there are roads for us to walk on. This happens only when you have a conviction in your heart and an inspiration from the Almighty, otherwise you cannot. With this inspiration, in our own little way we're trying to get people together."
'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' is an ancient saying, not recent. We're all one and that this nation is unique. There's no other country with so many languages, 23 languages and over 100 dialects. You can't find such a nation anywhere else. And how many religions do we have in this country? How many Sampradayas do we have? Yet, the average Indian is very proud to say that he is an Indian. We are saying, that if it can't be found anywhere else, it shouldn't be that we ourselves are divided. I see a great future for this country but for that mere economic progress is not enough. The progress of the heart is important, which is through peace, harmony and oneness. We have to bring people together."
"Without peace, you can't even think properly. Imagine a situation where you're always tensed and you don't know where to go. You don't know from where violence comes. In this, the most important factor is the younger generation. Even today, the percentage of young is more than the old in this country. As days go by, there will be more and more young people. If the seeds of Manav Ekta, peace and oneness are sown in the hearts of the young, I have no doubt that the future of India will be looked after. So the responsibility to keep this nation together in peace and harmony – irrespective of caste, creed and religion – is left in the hands of the young. How you take it will determine how it will move. So our job is to plant the seeds of harmony, peace and Manav Ekta in your hearts so that even if this generation has committed mistakes, you will not allow these things to spread. Prevention is better than cure. When you have a disease and you go to a doctor, sometimes you're cured, sometimes the patient dies. What if we find an inoculation that will totally prevent the disease? It's more a preventive than a curative walk. So, I leave it to you young minds; when I say young, anyone who is five years younger than me, or ten years younger than me is young. You don't have to get into active politics. If you do, I'll be very happy. People sit and criticise politicians. I say then go and get into politics. Don't just sit and criticise. Because they are also human beings and I'm sure there are both good and bad. There are both, like in everything else. So I would also appreciate it very much and I think it's also a solution to the problem of unity. Young people should really enter social work and active politics with a pure mind and pure heart saying 'I will not be corrupted, I will keep this nation together'. Let these ideas be sown in your hearts. One day, it will grow into a huge tree under whose shade citizens of India can sit and perhaps invite people from all over the world to come and sit. This is the aim of this walk.”
“We're doing what we think we can. Follow up is required. We've planted the seeds. You know seeds don't grow into a tree in one day, it requires time. The responsibility of nurturing the seeds lies with parents and the teachers and elders. Then, I'm sure we'll have a wonderful new generation which will wipe out all the problems that we face in this country. We will have a golden dawn in a few years. This is the aim of the walk."
After thoroughly enjoying a wholesome lunch served by the school authorities, the padayatris left for Jalandhar where they will be staying the next few days.