Kalam Ko Salaam: Tribute to Dr. APJ Abul Kalamji at the Parliament

Salt Lake City, Utah: Interfaith Leaders of the The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance gracing the Parliament of the World’s Religions offered their homage to the Late President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on his birth anniversary. Leaders from the world’s major faiths saluted Former Indian President’s divine service to a vision of interfaith harmony in India and the world as well as his legacy of being the Missile Man with a Mission of Peace and Unity.

They urged that all leaders could learn so much from his example, especially in a world where more than 50% of the world’s population is living in areas of conflict and/or war, the Indian President is a great source of inspiration and divine example. He strengthened the nation’s defenses however understood that they are primarily in the service and security of all people, therefore the path of war and conflict must be avoided as much as possible with dialogue and active, persistent promotion of peace and harmony amongst all people.

As the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), they also commemorated the International Handwashing Day, for which Co-Founder of GIWA, President of Parmarth Niketan, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, said, “While government can make bills, interfaith leaders can change dil (hearts). The time has come that we must not only worship the Creator but also its creation, and interfaith leaders now must come forward to charter innovative ways of spirituality. The ‘Worship to WASH’ revolution is a powerful symbol of such a collective and innovative approach that will clean and purify not only our outer environment but our inner environment also. This revolution has started the work of ensuring no longer children has to ever perish due to poor WASH and every child is guaranteed a world in which they can not only survive but thrive.”

Pujya Swamiji further explained that GIWA was launched to bring together faith leaders and galvanise collaborative action among and between them and others like central and state governments, international organisations, industry, civil society organisations, indigenous communities, celebrities and youth to launch a WASH Revolution.

He called upon faith leaders to come forward to charter innovative ways of spirituality. “The ‘Worship to WASH’ revolution is a powerful symbol of such a collaborative and innovative approach that will clean and purify not only our outer environment but also our inner environment.”

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Secretary General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, explained, “Our religious leaders come together in the name of peace, in the name of ending violence. However, far more people perish each year simply from lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene than from all forms of violence combined! So we are here with an expanded definition of peace – one that includes ensuring that all our brothers and sisters have access to safe, sufficient WASH.”

The renowned interfaith leaders of GIWA also mentioned that in memory of the Late President dynamic, green and inspiring leadership they had led a massive tree plantation campaign, lead, guided and directed by GIWA’s Co-Founder Pujya Swamiji, to carry out extended plantations from the day of Dr. Kalam’s final rites ceremony to his birth anniversary in India. The plantation drive planted thousands of trees in over 200 schools, more than 200 parks, launched the plans to plant 1 million trees in Kurkshetra, in memory of the martyrs that lost their lives in the Partition of 1947, inspiring a series of plantations supported by the Delhi Public School and a huge Green Drive with 1 lakh trees planted in Delhi, organized by Times of India and Hero Corp with the support of many other organizations, institutions and leaders.

Revered Interfaith Leaders who offered their homage included:

  • H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati: President, Parmarth Niketan, Co-Chair, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance
  • Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi: President, All-India Association of Imams
  • Shree Madhavpriyadas Swami: Head of Shri Swaminarayan Gurukul, Ahmedabad Maulana
  • Luqman Tarapuri-a-Deobandi Alim: National President, Global Imam Council (India)
  • Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni: Founder,Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti
  • Ven. Bhikku Sanghasena: Founder, Mahabodhi Meditation Center, Ladakh
  • Satpal Singh Khalsa: Ambassador of Sikh Dharma (Sikhism) and Chairman of Guru Ram Das Sikh Mission of USA
  • Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati: Secretary General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance

On the occasion of Student’s Day, also in honour of Dr. Kalam’s, they urged every student and every person who considers themselves a student of life, like Dr. Kalaam, to learn from the great leader’s example, for the way he led his life was truly his message to the world. Kalaam Saheb rose in the face of adversities and never gave up, being open to the call of the Divine and spending every moment and every minute to service.

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