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Patna Jesuits on a Peace Mission

The Province Inter-religious Dialogue Commission organized ten street plays to promote communal harmony in five schools in Patna, April 9-12, 2018.

The background of this cultural activism was recent occurrence of communal riots in Bihar. The plays highlighted India as a great nation with its multi-religious heritage. People follow different religions, but live in harmony. Do not destroy the unity and integrity of the nation, the plays stressed.

The nukkad natak (street play), Ek sadhe, sab sadhe (If one is controlled, all can be controlled) was written and directed by Hasan Imam, director of Prerana (inspiration) and Janwadi Sanskritik Morcha(People’s Cultural Front). It was staged by six members of Prerana, all college student activists.

Introducing the theme, sarva dharma sama bhav (Equal respect to all religions), the ideal given by Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India, the organizer of the program, Jesuit Father Jose Kalapura, coordinator of the Dialogue Commission, quoted media reports to note that 822 communal riots occurred in India in 2017, an increase from the earlier years. He urged the students to hold on to this ideal to maintain the unity and integrity of India.

The students took a pledge to uphold the religious diversity and harmony of India, to celebrate the festivals of different religions, to respect each other’s religion in order to build a strong India.

In the third round of street play program, ten shows were put up in St. Paul’s High School, Carmel High School, Don Bosco School, and St. Karen’s High School. Altogether some 5000 students had the opportunity to witness the plays in this round.

Father Kalapura has organized 33 shows in 23 schools in Patna, Gaya, and Bodh Gaya since early 2017 and has planned to continue the campaign for religious harmony in other schools and colleges in Bihar.

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