From Ayodhya to Kashmir – a walk for harmony

NEW DELHI, June 8:
A motley crew of 40-odd Indians hailing from different parts of India, speaking different languages and practicing different faiths have embarked on a collective ‘walk’ to spread the message of diversity, harmony and brotherhood.
“The walk is an attempt to restore the diverse cultural beauty and harmony and the dignity for each other which existed in old days of India but that has over time got corrupted,” says Zafar Saifullah, former cabinet secretary and founder president of Harmony Foundation, a Delhi-based body which is initiating the event.
The walk that began from Ayodhya on May 29 has drawn people from places like Faizabad and Mumbai and travelled though cities of Lucknow and Jammu before reaching Srinagar on June 3.
“We have a mix of Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus travelling this time. There are six school children, two social workers and a teacher among them. A documentary team and a magician is also travelling with them,” social activist Kulsoom Saifullah, also one of the founder trustees, along with her husband Zafar Saifullah, told over phone.
Kulsoom says the entire journey is a lesson in harmony, mixing of faiths, and witnessing the diverse beauty of the country.
“After reaching Jammu they visited the shrine of Vaishno Devi in Katra, and later headed for Kashmir where they paid a visit to the Hazratbal Mosque on Monday.
They then travelled about 30 kms outside of Srinagar to the Charar-e-Sharif, tomb of the patron saint of Kashmir, Hazrat Sheikh Noor-u-din Noorani or Nund Rishi, whose life itself is about communal harmony,” she says.
During their stops en route the group met local people and distribute leaflets carrying messages of love and harmony.
“At some places they also sang songs with the locals. On June 4, Kabir Jayanti they sang to commemorate the poet’s anniversary,” says Kulsoom.
The foundation says there message is nothing but a “Mohabbat Ka Paigam”, a message of love for a country that is so diverse and yet can live in harmony but which has forgotten the beauty of its cultural fabric, reducing our diversity to cultural and religious stereotypes leading to communal discord over trivial issues.
“In keeping with the spirit of our visit, the team would also be visiting an orphanage for very poor girls run by the NGO, aptly named ‘Borderless World Foundation’ which gives free education to these young girls irrespective of their religion and also gives them the freedom to practice the faith that they wish to,” says Kulsoom.
The journey ends on June 10 when the group returns to Lucknow, but the message of harmony is lifelong, she adds. (PTI)