Maha Ganga Aarti in Kolkata on Makar Sakranti
International Marwari Federation, popularly known for their humanitarian activities and selfless service, organized a very special Ganga Aarti on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sakranti. More than 2500 people gathered at the beautiful Princep Ghat, Kolkata, for the divine interfaith aarti, which was led by Pujya Swamiji, Co-Chair of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Founder of Ganga Action Parivar- Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh). He was joined by the Respected Moulana Dr. Kalbe Sadiqji, Respected Acharya Lokesh Muniji, Venerable Bhikhhu Sanghasenaji, Pujya Swami Harichetanandji, Pujya Baba Hathyogiji, Pujya Mahant Durgadasji, Pujya Mahant Rishishwaranandji and Pujya Anurag Thukur Kanyaji.
Pujya Swamiji said, “It is a historic moment to be gathered together with revered faith leaders from India’s major faith traditions in a ceremony of oneness and harmony in the sacred and historic land of Kolkata. Just yesterday we were together at the historic Ganga Sagar Mela inspiring a Sarvadharma Swachhta Sankalp, performing this sacred ritual to the Ganga Sagar. However, I believe the true Aarti will be when we use these ceremonies to commit and act so that we no longer pollute the same rivers we worship and work to restore all water bodies to their pristine and free-flowing state.”
Pujya Swamiji encouraged the International Marwari Federation (IMF) to continue regular Aartis on the Princep Ghat and to utilize these opportunities to inspire a pledge to make the banks of all rivers open defecation and pollution free. He also encouraged the beautification and greening of all ghats in Kolkata and West Bengal, as well as an annual Maha Ganga Aarti that reaffirmed the message of interfaith harmony and collective action for improved WASH.
On the occasion, Shri Pradeep Ruia, President of the IMF shared, “Ganga Aarti is a very powerful and uplifting spiritual ritual. It is our honour to celebrate this auspicious occasion of Makar Sakranti with Pujya Swamiji.”
Moulana Dr. Kalbe Sadiqji shared, “I am glad to be here today. This is probably a rare occasions in which a Muslim Faith Leader joins you on an auspicious Hindu Festival like Makar Sakranti. I believe that just like many faith traditions, the Hindu tradition must work to adapt and clarify the misconceptions formed about its traditions, rituals and beliefs.” Sharing from his study of the Bhagavad Gita, he said that this core scripture of Hinduism was truly universal, the essence of which resonated with many of the teachings of the Holy Koran. He further stated that the Gita should not be just a National Text but truly an International Text, one that when incorporated in our own lives could bring great peace and harmony in the world.
Many of the faith leaders offered their blessings and their words of inspiration.
Managing Director of Emami, Shri Sushil Goenkaji, who was behind the remarkable organization of the special Ganga Aarti pledged, “The Emami Foundation is already greatly committed to the Swachh Bangla and Swachha Bharat campaigns, but today I also reaffirm my pledge to sponsor and build 11 bio-toilets in schools that are in need of these facilities.”
Pujya Swamiji honoured Representative of the Ms. Mamata Banerjeeji, Government of West Bengal Shri Sanjay Baxi, Col Virendra Kumar, Managing Director of Emami Foundation, Shri Sushil Goenkaji and Smt Usha Agarwalji with a sacred rudraksha sapling.