On Sunday January 5th, in the center of Delhi at Connaught Place, a group of young people committed to raising the peace index of their city gathered to reach out and inspire their fellow citizens to join them. The day began with frantic warnings with group What’s App messages about morning fog causing massive traffic jams and a religious procession that threatened to create more complications. Everyone agreed to avoid driving and travel by metro. I was told not to arrive until the area was scouted out to ensure smooth entry onto the scene. Appearances are often deceiving and even though media reports contained warnings, we all found our day in central Delhi to be warm, inviting, and fun-filled with a spirit of celebration and peace.
The magic began at the central park where a huge art project was underway organized by The Flavours of Art group. Our team dove right in and began painting on the long white line of cloth. When I arrived they had already painted colorful images depicting various expression of peace and a sign for One Life Alliance Delhi Peace Alert and Peace Flash Mob Dance. Some of the people standing around just to watch joined our team on the spot, including the Flavours of Art director, who was eager to keep in touch and collaborate on a future project.
As everyone waited for the Indian Air Force band to begin, our team decided to make use of the time and began singing songs to uplift the crowd. As people gathered around and joined in the singing, soon a drummer showed up and all began clapping along with the music. I am amazed at how quickly these things happen in India. It doesn’t take much in this country to get people to sing, clap and dance in public on the spur of the moment – and with a lot of enthusiasm!
Once the band started playing, we moved along to our main event, which was to practice the Peace Flash Mob Dance. One of the team leaders arranged permission to use a stage set up by one of the metro gates where large numbers of people passed by throughout the day. Sound system was soon rolling and the fun began. Within minutes there were a couple of hundred curious onlookers, many of whom were soon participating at the front of the crowd, following along with the dance steps to a Hindi pop song about being in the arms of the sun. Even the little beggar children jumped on the stage and danced their hearts out with impressive dance moves.
In between songs our team leaders shared the message of One Life Alliance Peace Alert – to proactively create peace instead of ignoring or being frightened by ‘red alerts’ and ‘terror alerts’ that are regularly announced in Delhi. They invited the crowd to raise the Delhi peace index by feeling the peace in their hearts and living it daily. Everyone was invited to become part of the biggest flash mob to take place in Delhi later this month – a Peace Flash Mob – where hundreds will dance in a public place to blast the city with peace.
This event was a powerful demonstration of a simple connection that took place 2 years ago at the Lotus Temple where I spoke at a conference on Holistic Education organized by Ramanujan College of Delhi University. A young woman named Avnit Kaur came up to me on the last day asking how she could be a part of my work. I gave her the original 30 Day Sacredness of Life pledge book, invited her to try it out and keep in touch by email. After completing the 30 days with her family and friends, she wanted to share it with her community. I suggested she approach a neighborhood school and so she introduced this program to the principal of Millenium School in Meerut, who invited her to come to morning assembly every day for the next 30 school days and lead the pledge program to 200 students, ages 5-13. Avnit is now the Director of Peace Education for OLA India.
Avnit has inspired her young friends and their friends to bring peace to India and the world by being the peace they wish to see. They are choosing to bring awareness about peace through gratitude events, Peace Alerts in the form of Peace Flash mobs and lots more. Her friend Rachit Gupta is an emerging youth leader with the energy and skill to ignite a crowd as he shares his passion for peace.
When I think of the tragic event that brought all of this about, I am filled with gratitude for the positive outcome we are co-creating. So many people are playing their part beautifully. If not for Mr. PRS Oberoi, I would not be here in India. By providing safe and secure accommodations, I have been able to come to Mumbai and Delhi since 2010 to share my experience and invitation to create meaningful participation as a way to raise the peace index for ourselves and our world.
We are the beneficiaries of the unbounded creative energy of our youth. What they are creating here in Delhi is just the beginning. We are already getting messages from Mumbai friends who have seen the photos on Facebook and are asking to do the same for their city. This is it! This is how to transmute the negative to the positive – get a group of young people, whisper ‘peace alert’ into their ears and then get out of the way because they’re unstoppable!