Monday, June 29, 2009

Gandhi King Ikeda – A legacy of building peace

There is much in the world today that appears wrong, that needs correction. Yet, institutions that safeguard human needs and interests are themselves corrupt. It is hardly surprising that then there is a growing sense of hopelessness in society and more particularly in the individual who feels totally effete and isolated. This frustration manifests itself most frequently in acts of violence and destructive behavior and culminates in war.

But even one individual, if he or she decides to stand up can make a difference. This is the message of the exhibition that showcases the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Diasaku Ikeda. One is a Hindu the other a Christian and third a Buddhist. They come from different countries and cultures. What links them is the fact that they had a vision, worked towards its realization and determination, despite great obstacles and realised it. What distinguishes their effort is the means – completely non-violent – with which they achieved their goals.

Though Gandhi and King are no more, their vision and ideals live on and are greatly enhanced in the person of Diasaku Ikeda.

The Gandhi/King/Ikeda exhibit is a nationally renowned exhibit extolling humanist virtues and its champions. Originally commissioned in 1999 by Dean Lawrence Carter of the Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA), it has been held at universities across the globe including Delhi University (2005). The photo–exhibit was first mounted in Delhi on March 16, 2002, at the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti and was inaugurated by Shri Omar Abdullah, the then Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs. The exhibition has also been held in Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Mumbai and many more cities across India.

Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) is the Indian affiliate of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) an NGO whose over 12 million members based in 192 countries and territories work for worldwide peace through the principles of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhist life philosophy. Central to this is the belief that fundamental change in a single individual can bring about a societal transformation.

Taking an initiative in this direction, Bharat Soka Gakkai is bringing the exhibition, “Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy of Building Peace” to Hyderabad. The exhibit has 18 panels each in English and Hindi. It is divided into sections that present their lives as they relate to key themes.

Forging Destiny imparts the importance of mentors and the key influences upon each man’s life.

Humanity at the Heart explores their common belief in the innate dignity of humanity.

Principles into Action illustrates how each man was able to translate his principles into dynamic action.

Nonviolence explores the principles of nonviolent action as a way of life and a means to bring about positive change in society.

Adversity and Resistance shows each man’s ability not only to triumph over adversity, but to utilize it to further their growth as humanists.

In addition to the exhibition we will have parallel activities for students and children to grasp and give way to their creativity toward building a peaceful society. We hope to empower the lives of individuals, particularly the children, in our area and reinforce the message of the power of one, in Mahatma Gandhi’s words, ‘Be the change you wish to see’.

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