New Delhi, India

Thousands of citizens, youth, several civil society organizations and international bodies like UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNFPA on Sunday joined the Art of Living initiative - 'Volunteer for a better India' at New Delhi's historical Ramlila Maidan.

On the occasion, Art of Living founder and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar called countrymen to give an hour to the nation to fight against corruption, declining child sex ratio and HIV/AIDS among several issues.

Recalling the Delhi brave-heart's tragic case that shook India on December 16, he said that there's lots of public anger over the incident, stressing out the need to channelize this anger positively so as to build a violence-free society.

"Anger is essential to wake us up. But if we are angry without the right attitude and action plan, anger will burn us. It needs to be channelized. You give one hour every day to better the country. Don't give this one hour from your study time but from your entertainment time," he added.

In his speech, he said that the government's laws could not do everything on its own unless every citizen of the country takes responsibility to make India better."Such campaigns are necessary because once the people are awake and decide to change things around them, the government too will be forced to act," he said.

The UNICEF and the Art of Living also signed an agreement to work together to support the girl child in India under which both the groups will jointly raise awareness about girl child and promote protective environment for them.

Mr Ravi Shankar also launched three helplines to council people with violent tendencies, for legal aid and awareness and council school children and their parents. "The helplines will be launched across the country to help men and women facing domestic violence, addiction to alcohol and other issues so that they are not motivated to commit a crime," the Art of Living founder said.

The group also revealed about its dedicated website-vfabi.org for those volunteers who really want to do something for their country by joining the site and pick any of themes, including women's safety, millennium development goals, village entrepreneurial opportunities, de-addiction of drugs and alcohol, environment, education, senior citizens, and good governance. " … My dream to create an India that is clean, safe and strong," the spiritual guru said in a statement.

The Delhi Medical Association also joined the initiative as its President Dr. Harish Gupta announced around 15,000 doctors' pledge to give "Two Sundays a Year" to the nation.

The event also saw rejuvenation of two projects in Ravi Shankar's hometown Bangalore as his Art of Living foundation took up rejuvenation of Kumudavathi River and the enrolment of 10,000 youths from 150 colleges in electoral rolls.

More than 100,000 people attended the Sunday's event at the heart of India's capital, however, there was no mention of the event in any of the local TV stations, news channels or newspapers, showing sheer government's dominance over the freedom of media in the country.

Leaders of different sects of society had come for the event in a country where 12 crore people speak 21 different languages.

 

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