Sri Sri Ravishankar on a ‘peace mission’ to Pakistan

Wrong person, wrong time

The doubly prefixed Sri Sri Ravishankar intends to visit Pakistan to help fix the India-Pakistan problem. The wisdom of a religious leader – albeit that one professes inclusivity and moderation – discussing ‘peace’ with Pakistan’s political and military leadership is questionable. For a start the visit will only reinforce the cliched stereotype of a Hindu India that is so prevalent among Pakistani people.

Sri Sri Ravishankar can by all means pursue a purely spiritual agenda in Pakistan ; open his Art of Living centres and engage in people-to-people contact with his religious-spiritual counterparts. It will be gracious of the Pakistani government if it allows this, but it must not be expected to do so. But even a purely spiritual tour may give the Islamic fundamentalists reason to spread a new dose of India-phobia, for it is quite predictable that his visit may be interpreted as an example of Hindu proselytising or Indian cultural expansionism.

It may be much more prudent for him to focus his considerable energies on other projects.

12 thoughts on “Sri Sri Ravishankar on a ‘peace mission’ to Pakistan”

  1. gotta disagree Nitin. instead of reinforcing the cliche of Hindu India…this could do the opposite. Actually SHOW the Pakistani people a semblance of practicing Hindu. We were raised and fed on a steady diet of hatred and stereotyping and exposure does not always reinforce those stereotypes. It often shatters them.
    having said that, this guy comes across as a joke from your links at least.
    Is he a Jesse Jackson type?

  2. Sepoy,

    He’s not really a fundamentalist; but more of a new age spiritual guru. Quite a decent following, especially in the IT industry.

    My point is that it is much too early for a Hindu guru to make the trip. Why bring in religion into an India-Pakistan equation which has come to quite a sorry pass because of religion? That’s one dimension we can do without.

    Doctors, Scientists, Businessmen, Novelists, Teachers, Policemen, retirees, Farmers etc may be better representatives of India than a commercialised religious leader.

    He’s not a Jesse Jackson type; there is’nt an American equivalent. That yoga guy from California comes close.

  3. if any of the people who have commented would have done the art of living basic course would not have said this….iuts easy to sit aside and say many things but when you do somethings and then talk about them it makes more sense…..i think its the perfect time for him to go and the perfect place…i am sure there will be changes after his visit…and what nitin was saying that Sri Sri ravishankar may open a few art of living centres there …he doesnt need to coz they are already there and u know wat there is a huge satsang being organised too in pakistan isnt it wonderful cultures and religions will meet….its easy to sit and write comments but its tough to go there and do it….and its not only popular only among IT people its popular amongst naxals…ranvir sena…tihar jail where evry year many free courses are held and hundreds of prisoners do it….its a very wonderful course and i would tell everyone to do it….enjoy

  4. Samith,

    This was not a debate about Sri Sri Ravishankar’s contribution to Indian society. Indeed, his initiatives may be brave and innovative in addressing the spiritual needs of his followers.

    The point I’m making is that he should leave the politics and diplomacy out of his itinerary. It does not make sense to send a person who is seen as a Hindu holy man by Pakistanis to shake hands with Musharraf and discuss India-Pakistan relations.

    All the madness during partition happened because the people could not distinguish two countries from two religions. Given this history, better relations can be best achieved by avoiding religious cues and miscues.

    Sri Sri Ravishankar should leave the diplomacy to the diplomats. And the Indian government must tackle his religious intervention as seriously as it would if the VHP had got involved.

  5. hi nitin i can understand your point but i tend to disagree….the government and the diplomats are going to do as much as long as their vote bank is safe and not anything more …anything that hurts their vote bank will not be done…the second thing is the politicians and the diplomats dont want a solution to the problem why would they wat would they speak of in the next election then…waht would Musharaf say…how would the pakistan army command so much importance..no oone wants to solve the problem except common people who are suffering…during partition Nehru and jinah wanted power who suffered the common man….this tripo i feel would unite people from pakistan and india …..the point i am making is when we can globalise everything from technology to fruits share everything why not each others cultures and religions…thats how the world is really going to come close….with technology we may come close physically and in communication but really coming close is only through sharing of religions ,cultures…all religions teach the same things….so we need to learn about each religion and culture to make a better tommorow and not teach our next generation that our religion is better than theirs….and i think this trip of Sri Sri ravishankar would go a long way bringing people of india and pakistan closer…yes he would look like a hindu guru but AOL is not a religious organisation its the biggest UN recognised NGO in the world…if they can teach in Iraq so they can go to pakistan also…its a oirganisation for humanity….stress is everywhere….and AOL courses help us releive stress and feel more belongingness to the world which makes us more loving…so thats wat the world needs ….

  6. and just one more point i feel we should have more trust and faith in our religion culture and spiritual leaders…we should not run them down like the western journalists…..yes there are people who are fakes…but are not products fakes…u get a fake levis u get fake reeboks….let us not generalise……let us be proud of our culture and learn about other cultures and religions that way we will become broader in our thounght and action…..that is how the world will become one family….

  7. Samith,

    One reason why Vajpayee’s went ahead with his peace initiatives was because he sensed that’s what the electorate wants. Even the UPA agrees with this thesis. There is no doubt that people in India are in favour of peace with Pakistan; and the politicians are no fools, they can judge which way the wind is blowing. Given half-a-chance, Indian politicians will seize the opportunity to make peace with Pakistan, ergo Vajpayee’s Islamabad visit.

    That leaves the Pakistani side. The Pakistani military so dominates the landscape that the intentions of the common people are immaterial. Worse, they are fed a diet of anti-India hatred that sustains the Army’s hold on power. Do you think Sri Sri Ravishankar’s intervention will be able to break this hold?

    Pakistan is quite different a society as compared to India. Take a look at this article to see what I mean.

    From
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_23-7-2004_pg3_3

    “According to Nawa-e-Waqt (9 June 2004), a Hindu member of National Assembly Krishan Bheel got up and informed the house that a Hindu Sadhu had been found slaughtered in Sanghar in Sindh. No one in the National Assembly paid any heed to him. He then said that if a Muslim religious leader was killed the Hindus expressed their sympathy but the death of an innocent Hindu had moved no one. He looked around and found that all the MNAs were busy talking and no one had heard what he was saying. He staged a walkout from the house. Still no one paid attention to Krishan Bheel and no one came to appease him.

    Only the Muslims have the quality of not feeling for anyone who is not a Muslim. The non-Muslims are supposed to be ‘zimmis’ despite Musharraf’s joint electorates. Our MNAs cannot be blamed. They are a special breed. They are supposed to concentrate only on the problems of the Muslims.”

  8. And this section from the same article

    “According to Jang (11 June 2004), Lahore corporation was planning to get rid of its Muslim garbage collectors because they did not come to work and were actually employed as peons in various offices. Over 300 Muslims were recruited in ‘solid waste’ collection but they were all sifarishi and did not report to work. Christian employees who worked full hours had protested. The city government had got rid of over half the Muslim sanitary workers and was now reserving the jobs only for Christians and non-Muslims.

    Lahore corporation had announced many years ago that the dirty jobs were reserved only for Christians. It was an ideological decision which has been saved from violation by employing Muslims and paying them but allowing them to actually work elsewhere.”

  9. well, sri sri’s organization is doing tons of social service projects in india and elsewhere. they are reasonably active in the gulf as well;

    I did a course with a Pakistani (a jehadi at heart) in the USA and saw him completely transformed. he is presumably one of the few Pak teachers.

    when the years have passed the impact of sri sri would be no less than gandhi.. in the social realm that is.

    Pakistan will gradually have to give up their not-india mentality; it will be a gradual but inevitable process.

    So if the art of living takes off at least among a section of the well-to-do Pakis, it can be a positive thing.

  10. Hi friends,
    the man is seen as a friendly person rather than a holy guru.
    He is one of the friendliest of human beings around. Remember there is much difference between frienship and friendliness. A friendship is after all a ship in the sea, you will be safe, but you cannot go out of the ship(philosophically speaking). It has a lot to do with how much one agrees with the other.

    For example all indians are in a friendship with each other. They agree to something with another hundred crore people. Either it be nationality, patriotism,geographical position,millitary,political agenda or color, birth and culture.Another example is Hitlers forces. Many agreed that they are going to die if they appose Hitler himself.

    Friendliness is a different , deeper and irreversible phenomenon. Its based more on self respect and self esteem than give and take policy.

    Ravishankar is a man who practises and expounds friendliness. His courses make you friendly. You will be a Hindu but a friendly one. And then you wont be seen a part of a brigade but more of a individual. People will want to be with you.

    And all the threats he recieved from millitants (note: I didnt say any particular religion here)have to be taken into account. Those love starved,perpetually sado masochists people are really moved by this mans splendour. You cannot deny that. If a snake’s way of saying love is biting then how can you expect it to come cook a sumptuos meal for you as an expression of love ?

    So instead of theorizing and being an intellectual, just do the course. You will be plentifully blessed.

    Ajit Navaraj.

  11. Nitin, well i disagree on this issue. Sri sri ravishankar is a spiritual guru, not a hindu fundamentalist, also he is the only indian spiritual leader who his followers more than 140 countries in the world.Also, he is only one spiritual leader in india who has ever visited pakistan before.
    Also, any efforts by any spiritual , potilical, diplomatic as well as “business” relations with our neighbour should be encouraged.Think of the n no. of ways you could contribute to make our motherland proud.

  12. Sri Sri Ravishankar is driven by unconditional love towards all and everything. There is ample proof in his popularising Sudarshan Kriya. This kriya is just a tool to cleanse our self of -ve vibes so that we have a clean slate to start over again. Our ignorance as mere humans make us see ourselves in different countries/religions/levels etc. Aren’t we all one. So where is the hurdle in Sri Sri sharing his grace with our neighbours. Only good can be the end result of good.

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