|Emlékezetes út / A Memorable Journey|
A MEMORABLE JOURNEY…….
September 9th to October 16th 2005
It has been a hectic and long five weeks…..but as I look back, every step of this travel has been useful….. every effort has been meaningful….
University campuses are always exciting; they are the places where things happen; ….beginning with the University of Toronto and then the Jesuit Universities of Georgetown, Marquette, Loyola Chicago, Creighton, Loyola Marymount and in between, the American University (Washington), the California Lutheran University (CLU)and the Chapman University (Orange)….I visited the whole range of them !
At every place, my talks were well organized and advertised with plenty of effort put in, to ensure a good audience. The audiences did turn up. Sometimes it was an
“alright“ crowd; but the unbelievable was, when one had to shift to a different location because the auditorium booked could not hold the crowd that turned up !
The talks were, as most talks go…..an audience wanting to know more about another part of the world and the reality there. But what was heartwarming was the fact that many stayed on for deeper interactions: new questions, more challenges, perhaps lasting linkages…..
As the days passed by, one could not help but feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction….that there are so many young people out there wanting to make a difference to our world : their concern of the violence that is going on, of how the poor and the marginalized literally have to succumb to the hate and prejudice which gets manifested because of bigots who control “ power “. One could not but feel amazed at the generosity of so many in a world which is seemingly doomed because of greed and consumerism. Above all, one could feel a palpable sense of HOPE all through.
There were the two special conferences; one at Marquette and the other at the CLU which brought faculty and students and others to discuss fundamentals of justice and peace; of how one needs to look at both processes and strategies which are crucial in determining the future of our world. Listening to another viewpoint, to different perspectives, does provide one with a finer balance in what is to be achieved. From both these conferences emerged possibilities for linkages and a more meaningful network to combat violence and conflict.
There were some excellent meetings and interactive sessions at the US Institute of Peace, Catholic Relief Services, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and in Canada, with Kairos. We have been involved with most of these groups in some way or the other to address the reality of Gujarat. Discussions and interactions at a one-to-one level helped in looking at issues in a more substantive yet determined way.
My travels brought me in contact once again with several of the Indian diaspora and with people from other faith traditions now living in the United States and Canada. There were very warm meetings at the Islamic Center in Milwaukee, the one on Inter-Faith Dialogue in Chicago and the Third Annual Convention organized by the Indian Muslim Council - USA, in Detroit. Many were very forthcoming in their views and feelings of how their world has dramatically changed very specially after 9/11. Many shared their concerns and determined efforts to contribute positively towards the building up of a world free from violence, hate and demonization of “the other”.
A journey to the US is never complete without some interactions with people “who matter” in bureaucracy, administration and even in the political realm. It is always encouraging to note that their love and concern for India and also for Gujarat, are top on their priority list.
Throughout my travels, there were also several other interactions on issues, problems, concerns with student groups, and other concerned citizens / groups….there were many heated debates, some strong opinions voiced, but many new relationships forged. What ultimately matters, is a bonding with long lasting implications.
On the last day of my travels, one of my friends asked me a very pointed question….”What has been the gains of this travel ? How has it helped ? “. On that day, I was not fully prepared to answer the question . I had definitely not tried to gauge the impact of the travels on my work. But today, a good one week after the completion of my travels, I can very confidently say that the gains of these travels are many. At this juncture, I would like to highlight just a few of them :
i) new linkages, greater networking, more contacts, a certain amount of mutuality which will help to enrich each others work.
ii) a greater awareness of the Gujarat reality, of the human rights situation in India and how groups and individuals are helping to make this world a better and more peaceful place. More support. More solidarity. “Another World is possible !”.
iii) the possibilities of young Americans / Canadians coming to India for an exposure through their Universities / organizations. The Jesuit Volunteer Service is already active in many countries. There are possibilities of a more consistent involvement where Gujarat is concerned.
iv) a constant exchange of views / opinions through cyberspace which will help create a greater bonding among peoples of two continents.
Yes, the gains of these travels have been plenty. It is too difficult to put all of them down in writing , in this brief report.
I would like to place on record my deep gratitude to several people all over, who in some way or the other, contributed to the success of this travel. I will be writing to many personally, mentioning specificities of their own contribution. At this point, I would just like to say a big “ Thank You “ to my brother-Jesuit, Fr. Philip Rossi from Marquette University, for all his efforts in making this trip possible.
Yes, it has been a long and hectic travel but I am not complaining….it has been a memorable one indeed !
Look forward to staying in touch with you !
24th October 2005 Cedric Prakash sj
Kirol szól (személyek): Prakash, Cedric SJ
Szerző: Prakash, Cedric SJ