New Delhi, 10 May 2021: Religious leaders belonging to different faiths have come forward to jointly fight COVID-19 and appealed to the people to extend their helping hands to all those who are suffering during this pandemic period.
In an online webinar organised by Dharmik Jan Morcha, various religious leaders from across the country have expressed their views on the theme of “Corona crisis and message of religious leaders to the nation”.
Speaking on the occasion, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) Vice President Prof. Mohammed Salim Engineer has said that the Coronavirus is currently taking human lives like a tsunami and people of all ages are falling prey to it. Drawing attention towards several measures, the JIH Vice President said, “to prevent this, we should take all possible protective measures. There are six ways by which we can fight the pandemic, which are protection, treatment, service, prayer, atonement and introspection.” He asked the people to try to resolve the problems of the distressed people by offering help and services along with taking protective measures and paying attention to the treatment. “Besides, we should repent to God for our mistakes and wrongdoings and then pray to Him for protection from the dreaded Coronavirus infection. Almighty God wants to send us a warning through this dreaded disease and hence, we must introspect ourselves where we have gone wrong and we should self-examine our conduct in our individual and collective life and try to correct them. The government also requires to introspect itself if it is properly fulfilling its responsibilities or not. Are government dispensing justice? Or government has become instruments of oppression against the people and if it is so, the government should repent for it and express sincere regret about their wrongdoings. We should also contemplate on such things during the current crisis,” Engineer Salim added. Highlighting the positive role of the religious leaders in this epidemic age, he noted that the gist of the speeches of all religious gurus was that we should help our neighbours, provide medical treatment to the sick and invite the attention of the government towards the service of humanity. He concluded that Dharmik Jan Morcha would consider the suggestions of the religious leaders, including those regarding setting up medical facilities at religious premises or writing a letter to the Prime Minister. “We can conquer hate through service of humanity in this hour of great crisis,” he said.
The webinar was addressed by the national convener of the Bharatiya Dharm Sansad Acharya Goswami Sushil Maharaj, chief of Delhi unit of Ramakrishna Mission Swami Shantatmanand, Kalkidham Organisation’s Acharya Pramod Krishnan, Brahma Kumari’s sister Husain, Calcutta Peeth Swami Sampath Kumar Awadeshcharya, Jewish Religion representative Isaac Malekar, head Priest Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Bhai Giani Ranjit Singh, Jain religion’s leader Acharya Vivek Muniji, National Trustee of Bahai community Dr. A.K. Merchant, Chairman of All India Ravidas Dharam Sangathan Swami Vir Singh, founder director of the Institute of Harmony and peace studies Father M.D. Thomas and representative of Art of Living Brahma Teeji.
All religious leaders jointly appealed to the public to help the needy person, along with following protective measures and the government guidelines. Proposing to convert big hotels and ashrams into Covid hospitals, they urged religious organisations and gurus to lend helping hands from religious places like temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches and ashrams to all the people, who are suffering during this hard time. Appealing to the government to convene a consultative meeting of religious leaders, organizations and social service groups formulate a strategy to deal with this dire situation, they vowed to write a joint letter to the Prime Minister, reminding the Government of its responsibilities in this situation.
Addressing the webinar Acharya Sushil Maharaj said, “the situation has become so serious that people, due to fear of the virus, are not coming forward to dispose of or cremate the bodies of those dying due to coronavirus. In such a situation, it were neighbours from other religions came forward to cremate such bodies which is highly praiseworthy.” He said that it was the most appropriate time when effort must be made to invite people towards Almighty God. “Now the time has come when the people should commit themselves to the service of humanity without discrimination on the basis of religion, caste or creed,” Sushil Maharaj appealed.
Participating in the webinar, Swami Shantatmanand said that people required to make themselves physically strong so that they could help people in times of crisis like that of corona pandemic.
Questioning the government, Acharya Pramod Krishnan said “people are doing whatever they could, at their own level. But why has the government failed? We should collectively ask the government to take concrete and serious steps to fight the pandemic that has acquired an awful form”. He also suggested that the government should convert the big spaces available with religious groups into COVID treatment hospitals. “Let’s write to the Prime Minister in this connection,” he stated.
Sister Hussain said, “We need to protect the lives of people. We need to bring patience and peace among the people disturbed by the corona pandemic. We need to bring people on the path of spirituality to make them overcome the trauma of COVID pandemic.”
Shri Swami Sampat Kumar exhorted people to avoid confrontation in the name of religion and establish the ideals of universal brotherhood and this task could be done by religious leaders only. Commending the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind for uniting people to make a better society, he suggested that the Hindu society must also unite in the service of humanity.
Isaac Malekar said, “We need first to minimize the fears of the people if we want to face the corona crisis. We can fight the COVID only with forbearance and patience.”
Sikh guru Bhai Giani Ranjit Singh said, “Religious leaders of all faiths should unite to face the corona pandemic. Corona does not distinguish between religions.”
Jain leader Acharya Muni appealed people to follow the medical guidelines issued by the government and the WHO.
Dr. A K Merchant and Swami Veer Singh also focussed on the united efforts to tackle the threat of COVID.
The webinar was conducted by JIH Asst. Secretary Laiq Ahmed Khan.