Saturday, August 20, 2011
I just thought I would do a follow up to the Peace Festival, it was awesome! However, it was a really really long day. We left at around 6am and didn't get back till 9-ish at night. I was beat, but it was worth it. The festival was held at a local Gandhian University that had a huge campus and was very beautiful. And over 1,000 people came, so it was a success! They had different organizations and kids dancing, different speakers on peace, and there was a breakout session so different age groups got together to talk about what they could do to promote peace. It was really interesting. They also handed out awards to 25 people who have done things for their community. Among the most memorable was a small boy who goes around to his neighbors for rice donations. He then gives the donations to families who are infected by HIV. The amazing thing is that he's doing this on his own, no one is helping him and he's about 10-11 years old! There was another guy who's in his early 20s and he takes corpses who do not have any known family members and he gives them a proper burial according to their religious beliefs (generally cremation). There were so many inspiring people there who are doing a lot to make a difference.
There was also a very touching video about Hiroshima that was shown. I will try to find it and post it here. It's pretty graphic, but it made me think more about the consequences of our actions.
All the dances had themes about stopping violence, poverty, etc. etc. etc. and the last dance was especially powerful. It was done by the kids of Shanti Ashram and the song spoke about love. It was touching mostly because at the end EVERYONE got off their seats and the stadium was filled with clapping. Then tons of kids and teenagers rushed the stage and started dancing with the kids. It was really neat to see.
Anyway, it was a great experience. Many of India's greatest peace workers came together and shared their thoughts and ideas. And many youth came together and participated as well. It would be awesome if this type of thing happened more often.