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Day of Peace in India

Chennai, India - The Universal Peace Federation and Religious Youth Service in association with the Loyola College Department of Outreach commemorated the International Day of Peace in Chennai on September 21, 2008. The main objective of the program was to sensitize the citizens to assume personal responsibility for promoting a peaceful society.

We were able to bring together thousands of participants and guest speakers from the fields of politics, education, religion, and culture. The four-hour program explained the International Day of Peace and its purpose. Students, social workers, peace lovers, and many others gathered together and graced the occasion.

There was special poignancy and purpose in this year’s observance of the International Day of Peace. The troubling events of the year have included conflicts between religions, violence, hatred, and the recent bomb attacks in various parts of the country.

A peace walk, distribution of flowers for peace, interreligious prayers, music for peace, peace talks, and releasing peace balloons marked the International Day of Peace. Religious leaders from various traditions led the commemoration with prayers of peace. Prayers for peace were recited by Christians, Hindus, and Muslims.

The day provided an opportunity for individuals and organizations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. The event was followed by a brief talk on the significance of the day.

The day started with a peace walk. The walk was led by professors of various institutions holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans seeking peace, tranquility and love. More than 1000 participants from various walks of life walked along Chennai Sterling Road to convey the message of peace. The walk and the message of peace were seen by many people who joined in celebrating the spirit of the day. This initiative has received strong support from local people in Chennai and became a common endeavor.

"On this International Day of Peace, let us promise to make peace not just a priority, but a passion. Let us pledge to do more, wherever we are, in whatever way we can, to make every day a day of peace," said Mr. W.I. Davaram, the former Director General of Police quoting from the UN Secretary-General's message for the International Day of Peace.

Participants at the event observed a minute of silence at 12:00 noon and distributed the flowers for peace, inviting people to make a peace pledge.

Peace activists called on the government to take effective measures to purge the country from extremists and their activities and provide security to the people. "We wish that there were no wars, because innocent people get killed," one person said. “Positive peace can only happen with the presence of certain conditions that enable peace, like a social justice system,” one speaker said.

One of the most prominent television channels in Chennai, JAYA TV, broadcast the entire event to promote the International Day of Peace.

Religious Youth Service in India has been commemorating the International Day of Peace over the past three years, on September 21.

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