Church-Supported Youth Camp Celebrates Country's Religious Diversity

July 8, 2006

Source: Indian Catholic

On July 8, 2006 the Indian Catholic reported, "Young people from all over India prayed, worked and danced together for five days recently, celebrating India's cultural and religious diversity. The 350 participants, aged 13-35, came from 22 of the country's 28 states and belonged to the various major religions in India. Fifty-nine of them were females. S.N. Subbarao, a noted peace activist, led the program in Varanasi, a Hindu holy city 780 kilometers east of New Delhi. It ended July 4. Local Catholic groups helped out with the camp, which was organized by the National Youth Project unit at the government-managed Queen's College. Subbarao founded the National Youth Project Trust in 1970, with its registered office in New Delhi. The project aims to help Indian youth understand and appreciate the country's cultural variety and diversity. According to Ajay Kumar Pandey, program coordinator, the camp aimed to promote national integration and goodwill by helping young people become comfortable with religious, linguistic and cultural differences... The young people took up the calls for religious solidarity and communal harmony with slogans they shouted along the city's roads. Each march ended with an all-religion prayer meeting. The slogans in different languages, proclaimed that 'Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are brothers,' that 'India is united in diversity' and that 'All religions must be respected.'"