As part of the 150th Birthday celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, the Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, organized an Interfaith Meet on 10th and 11th September 2011, in the Vivekananda Auditorium of the Mision. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, inaugurated this Meet on 10th September. Leaders of major world religions spoke in the Meet as in the printed Invitation as per the programme enclosed herewith. After every religious leader spoke at the scheduled time printed in the programme, an interactive programme followed for about 20 minutes during which audience from different walks of life asked questions concerning the Faith and they were answered.
Two months before the Interfaith Meet, eminent leaders from the respective Faith had been invited and after getting their consent to participate in this Meet, as many as 1000 Invitation Cards along with the programme drawn up for 10th and 11th September 2011, were printed and sent to all prominent personalities in the respective fields. In addition, 1000 copies of the programme printed separately were distributed to our devotees and general public.
The following were the main speakers:
- Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India
- Swami Shantatmanandaji was the overall co-coordinator
- Swami Harshananda, President, Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru, spoke on Hinduism
- Dr. Mufti M. Mukarram Ahmed, Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Mosque, spoke on Islam
- Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, President, All India Imam Organization, spoke on Islam
- Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar, Judah Hyam Synagogue, spoke on Judaism
- Dr. Shernaz Cama, Director, UNESCO, Parzor Project, spoke on Zoroastrianism
- Prof. Dr. M. D. Thomas, National Director, Commission For Religious Harmony, spoke on Christianity
- Dr. Dominic Emmanuel SVD Director, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, spoke on Christianity
- Dr. Mohinder Singh, Member, Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, Govt. of India, spoke on Sikhism
- Dr. J.S. Neki, Professor and former Director and Head of the Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, New Delhi spoke on Sikhism
- Dorji Damdul Geshe, Deputy Director, Cultural Centre of H. H. The Dalai Lama, spoke on Buddhism
- Dr. A. K. Merchant, Hon. National Trustee and Chairman, Delhi Bahai Spiritual Assembly, spoke on the Bahai Faith
- Acharya Sri Lokesh Muni, Chief Functionary, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati, spoke on Jainism
- Swami Atmapriyananda, Vice-Chancellor, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, spoke during the Valedictory Session
- Smt. Shiela Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi gave the Valedictory Address
Swami Animeshanandaji rendered a soulful devotional song for the benefit of the audience.
Shri Karma Thinley, Director,Tibet House, who had brought about 70 students from the Tibetan Youth Hostel in Delhi, presented a saropa and a book on Buddhism to Swami Shantatmanandaji Maharaj on the stage.
The two-day Interfaith Meet was indeed a grand success. On the first day (i.e., on 10th) as many as 1000 people attended the Meet and on the second day (i.e., on 11th) about 900 people attended the Meet. All those who attend the Meet appreciated the presentations of leaders of different Faiths and the interactive session that followed the presentation by each. We had a wonderful feedback from 402 persons in writing and many of them want to have more such Interfaith Meets for a correct understanding and appreciation of all religions.
Swami Harshananda, President, Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru