Life Lessons in India
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General
New Delhi, India
June 3, 2006
Arriving on a flight from Kathmandu, Mother Moon and Hyun Jin were welcomed in New Delhi, India, on June by Dr. Robert Kittel, Mrs. Amala MacLackland, and several Ambassadors for Peace.
India, a nation of 1.2 billion people, is second only to China in terms of population. Predominantly Hindu, it also has a very large Muslim population, and very influential though smaller Sikh and Jain populations.
That afternoon’s schedule included an appointment with India’s President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Dr. Laxmi Mall Singhvi, Mr. Jin Man Kwak, Mrs. Won Ju McDevitt, Dr. Thomas Walsh, Dr. Kittel and Mrs. MacLackland joined Dr. Mrs. Christopher and Kim in accompanying Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon and Hyun Jin. Dr. Kalam is the eleventh president of India, born in Tamil Nadu in southern India. He is a Muslim who grew up in a Hindu stronghold and is known in India as “The Missile Man” for his role in developing India’s missile and satellite technology. At the outset, Dr. Singhvi, who has known President Kalal for decades, spoke of Father Moon and the UPF's work for peace.
The President then began to speak; he wanted to know from each person the key point they learned from Father Moon. One by one, each spoke, giving some key piece of Father Moon’s vision. The atmosphere felt very home-like. Mother Moon spoke very eloquently: “The role of India for world peace is very important, and you have an important mission to lead the people of India toward world peace. My husband has been sacrificing himself to eliminate all wars, between races, religions, nationalities. Centered on healthy, ideal families, and extending to tribes, nations and world, we will achieve world peace. Now we are doing a 180-nation tour as a family to bring peace.”
Jin Man Kwak translated with great dignity and power. Hyun Jin warmly spoke to the President and invited him to Korea. The President then made a proposal, “I suggest you commission a book, calling on 100 eminent persons each to write an essay expressing their experience with and the lessons and principles they learned from Father Moon.” Hyun Jin suggested that he write the first essay. The President said he did not know Father Moon well, to which Hyun Jin replied, “That’s why I want you to come to Korea.”
After returning to the hotel, a call was made to Father Moon in Korea. Mother Moon and Hyun Jin were sitting next to each other on the couch. As they sat together and talked with Father Moon, one could sense the joy, closeness, order, respect and love between husband and wife and between parent and child that characterize the four great realms of heart they speak of to hundreds of people each night.
The main event on June 3 at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi was attended by 600 dignitaries. Dr. Kittel opened the program. Dr. Mohini Giri, founding president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace-India, and founding trustee of UPF-India, chanted “Shanti Path” from Hindu scriptures, for the invocation.
A lamp-lighting ceremony followed, with religious leaders participating as representatives from Hinduism, Dr. Ravindra Nagar; Islam, Maulana Rizwan Ahmad Qasmi; Jainism, Archarya Dr. Sadhvi Sadhana; Sikhism, Dr. Mohinder Singh; Buddhism, Lama Lobzang; Christianity, Father Gento Rodrigues; Baha’i, Dr. A.K. Merchant; Zoroastrianism,Gen. A.M. Sethna.
Dr. Singhvi, Chairman of UPF-India, gave the opening remarks. He is the former Indian High Commissioner to the UK. Dr. Christopher Kim, Chair of UPF-Asia, delivered the Chairman’s Address. Congratulatory letters and proclamations were received from many dignitaries. The main speeches were presented beautifully, and the audience expressed much appreciation.
The prayer for the blessing of marriage was conducted with grace and dignity. Representative couples came onto the stage for the ceremony, and Dr. Kittel led three cheers.
Amb. N. P. Jain, who served as India’s Ambassador to the European Union and to Nepal and is a Founding Trustee of UPF-India, gave closing remarks and call to action. Then Mrs. Vidha Shah sang the congratulatory song, accompanied by a tabla and harmonium. She sang a Kabir poem.
Ten new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed, including government officials, businessmen and educators.
The evening closed with a buffet dinner. As organizers circulated and greeted all the participants there was a unanimous expression of inspiration and a desire to work together with UPF. Many long-time friends and Ambassadors for Peace expressed astonishment at the continued rapid growth and development of UPF.