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Amma to focus on peace with Pakistan

George Iype in Kochi | September 22, 2003 18:00 IST

It is now the turn of India's most famous woman spiritual leader, Mata Amritanandamayi, to take the initiative to help peace talks between India and Pakistan.


'I believe in love. Not fundamentalism'

One of the main programmes of Amritanandamayi's golden jubilee birthday celebrations being held at Kochi from September 24 to 27 will be an international women's initiative with better relations between India and Pakistan as its abiding theme.

Three Pakistani women leaders will speak at the women's summit, to be inaugurated by Yolanda King, daughter of the late Rev Martin Luther King, Jr, and director of the King Centre for Non-violent Social Change.

The delegation from Pakistan is led by Islamic scholar Dr Saleha Mahmood Abedin, director of the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs, London. Accompanying her are Nasira Iqbal, retired judge of the Lahore high court, and Begum Suraiya Zabeen, technical adviser to the Family Planning Association of Pakistan.

The Indian delegation will be led by Poornima Advani, chairperson of the National Commission for Women. With her will be Mridula Sinha, chairperson of the Central Social Welfare Board, and Kapila Vatsyayan, founder of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.

According to Swamini Krishna Amrita Prana, secretary of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math Sevika Trust, "The focus of the women's summit will be Amma's love and compassion vis-a-vis India-Pakistan relations.

"There is an urgent need for improving ties between India and Pakistan. Women leaders from across the globe will deliberate on how Amma's love should help [end] the cross-border enmity between India and Pakistan."

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Dr Abedin will deliver a lecture on how Islamic religious doctrine emphasizes universal human values of love and compassion and acceptance of other faiths in the light of Islamic religious principles.

"We expect that more than one lakh people will participate in the women's summit," Swamini Krishna told "Unity and peace between India and Pakistan will be our prayer at the summit."

She said the summit would also focus on the need to awaken the qualities of motherhood to find solutions to society's problems. The concept of Universal Motherhood as a means to bring peace and understanding in conflicts in the world was launched by Amritanandamayi at the International Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations in Geneva last year.

The organisers of Amritavarsham disclosed that the Pakistani delegation may hold a number of meetings with Indian women leaders and also Mata Amritanandamayi herself.

Amritanandamayi is also likely to announce a joint India-Pakistan initiative called 'women beyond borders' during the celebrations. This initiative will strive to bring together women from India and Pakistan to undertake a series of service-oriented exchange programmes under Amritanandamayi's direction.

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