Abhi Writes
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Abhi Writes

SAYC

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1 Jan 2013: The revolution has already begun…in fits and starts…in spurts and silences….we have entered an era that will fundamentally change the country and the world the way we have known it

It is happening with every tiny protest and facebook status update as much as with the gigantic Arab Springs and the South Asian Youth Coalition…

Will the ‘old’ ways persist and become stronger or will the ‘new’ ways manage to overthrow them?

I hope more than anyone else that something new emerges, that preserves the ethos and intent of the ancient while embracing the answers provided by the Now

Happy New Year! Privileged to be living in such interesting times and blessed to have an opportunity to contribute to the chaos :)

**

11 March 2013: At Ajmer Sharif to plan the Indo-Pak Peace Pilgrimage.

This is Blue Ribbon Movement’s initiative to bring together all youth initiatives across borders in a common space, to share lessons, ideas and explore ways to come together and be stronger!

An outcome of South Asian Youth Conference 2012, with blessings from Syed Salman Chishty and in partnership with Naseem Khan Achakzai & Co.

Of course, the opportunity to pray, the yummy food and the lovely hospitality are perks of doing God’s work :)

**

3 April 2013: Warm welcome to our friends from Pakistan — Urooj Mazhar and Jaliawala Umair.

We (Blue Ribbon Movement) are organizing a change-maker’s dialogue today in Delhi (details on our page) in association with People for Active Democracy — to share experiences in enabling democracy across borders

Later, in Ajmer, with Syed Salman Chishty, we are hosting the delegation for another interaction around Peace alongwith a blessed visit to the Ajmer Sharif

Another step forward towards a stronger South Asian Youth Conference — and with gracious support from our partners :) Another step towards the world we want.

**

30 Sept 2015: It is time India stops antagonizing its neighbours

I don’t trust the media too much — with its selective coverage, it is hard to rely on it. What is news and what are views, separating the chaff from the wheat needs exceptional intelligence and mind space.

But when Pratistha Koirala, my friend from Nepal posted on the South Asian Youth Conference alumni group, I had no second thoughts about legitimacy of the post. I have met Pratishtha, a bright young emerging leader from Nepal. I have heard her, her dreams and aspirations. Together, we have held the intention of a strong South Asia.

Her update speaks about how she has to walk to office because of fuel shortages. She wonders why no one is pushing the Indian government to clear up the economic blockade? And she prophesizes, “Very soon, India is going to become a country with no friendly neighbours.” Clearly, her celebration of the new constitution is short lived — and this is something she will find it hard to forget.

It doesn’t matter whether we are really creating a blockade or not — such cases can be endlessly argued and there is little objectivity in them. What matters to me is that the blockade is REAL — the shortage is real. And it is being felt by a friend, who is clearly very angry.

Through the South Asian Youth Conference, young leaders across South Asia are building deep ties and connections. The shared dream is a strong coherent region. And we have had successes — we have hosted the tricolour in Islamabad (at the Pak China friendship center) and sung our anthem along with those of every country. We have had invitations for marriage ceremonies across borders. We have gangs of friends who share love and warmth.

And personal connections can support change too. Recently, at the time of the earthquakes in Nepal, Jaya R. Nepali who used to head AYON (Association of Youth Organizations of Nepal) reached out to us. He needed support in Jhanga Jholi village — we connected him to Anshu Gupta (from Goonj, now a Magasaysay award winner) who was in Nepal. Promptly, Jaya had 160 tarpulins, 300 blankets, dal and rice delivered to him — this was possible because of the deep connections and ties we had built. There was help pouring into the country — this connection helped it move to one particular place faster.

This is the diplomacy that we dream of — of connections and ties between those who will eventually be in power. It is a slow process of building trust and making things work. The conference itself is hosted by countries for no financial gain — but just for the experience of hosting young people from South Asia with a vision of peace and solidarity.

But hundreds of such small steps forward can be set back by one such blockade — it erodes what we build so carefully and with such care. It doesn’t seem very wise to me — and yet again, politics undoes what people have painstakingly created.

To whoever is a part of this decision, please reverse it. And if it is because of protests (which seems to be the official government stand), let us help supplies reach through those protests. I hold faith that good sense will prevail. Either ways, there is already damage done — the least that can be done is to repair it as promptly as possible.

I stand in complete solidarity with my Nepali friends — friends who have smilingly welcomed us to Bhaktpur, and who are always present to support the South Asian Youth Movement.

**

5 Oct 2015:

To all the young people who read this, I invite you to apply for the South Asian Youth Conference — I recommend it as an experience of a lifetime!

What started in 2011 with an intention to build transform South Asia to a peaceful region has now become a movement — from Bangalore (India) to Islamabad (Pakistan), we now head to Kathmandu (Nepal)

Why is this event special?

Because young people who have never met each other work together across borders, without any remuneration or government support to take up something that will move to another country next year.

And the culture we uphold is of having difficult conversations, on issues that truly matter — the ones that adults bound by diplomatic interests cannot have

What is emerging gradually is a powerful group of friends across borders, all aligned with peace, each one a leader in his or her own country — the training, the networks, the inspiration and energy creates ripples.

It is special because it is a very long term approach, looking at a couple of decades ahead — creating a fertile soil where seeds of change will sprout.

And most importantly, it is special because it’s my baby! As one of the co-founders who is in the process of gradually handing it over, I am proud of what has emerged.

Grateful to the times we live in — the challenges, the technology and the opportunities….they make it so easy to come together and do amazing things!

**

2 Jan 2021: South Asian Youth Conference alumni met today to ignite a light in the darkness with Art for Hope and Peace

Splendid poetry and singing….from original and spontaneous poetry to Kabir and Rumi….from across various countries of our region was heart warming….

Such tiny events carry seeds of the future….of a peaceful world that we can create for our future generations.

And the next editions of these are likely to be open to everyone….with a prayer for South Asia in my heart ❤

**

13 Dec 2013: I’m feeling a sense of profound happiness about the South Asian Youth Conference 2018 coming back to India….

It has made me realise several things about social change…

One that I am a believer in millennials and especially those that are at Blue Ribbon Movement. They’re a blend of youthful energy with the grounded stillness that is required to hold such spaces. People — you give me hope!!

Second that the industry of violence may have institutional support but the peace process is powered by soul force. It is powered by the desire for harmony that is beating in each heart…

Third that truly youth-led spaces require the older generations to step back and be available in spirit and on demand. Radically moving power (of all types) into the hands of young people is the only way to allow generational learning

And finally, just feeling the sheer power of timeless values like love and care that manifest locally as BRM spirit. SAYC is an intimate experience of learning together rather than a series of speakers put together in a sequence. And that makes a huge difference…

I feel grateful to so many energies that have brought it here….from the blessings of the Dalai Lama and support from IIM Bangalore to all the past organizers, speakers, governments and participants…

In moments like this it all feels worth it.

**

27 Dec 2013: As the 3rd South Asian Youth Conference concluded in Kathmandu, I smiled to myself at the unfolding of the South Asian youth movement, of which SAYC is becoming an increasingly important part.

With the Prime Minister attending the event, we have now established our legitimacy with governments. And the alumni pool of 3 SAYCs represents some of the brightest young people of our subcontinent.

Together, we will take on concrete issues now — proposing pragmatic solutions and pushing for their implementation : stronger SAARC, more cultural and youth exchanges, youth councils in every country, easier movement across borders are all being explored.

As we passed the baton to Bangladesh, the hosts of the 4th SAYC, it felt like magic — a conversation about a stronger South Asia slowly growing into a collective movement that shall eventually transform the history of this subcontinent.

**

17 Nov 2014: Dear Friends,

It has been an interesting and challenging time at our end, figuring out SAYC 2014.

Due to the political scenario in the subcontinent, there are always situations beyond our control — something similar has influenced SAYC-14.

So after Bangalore (India), Islamabad (Pakistan) and Kathmandu (Nepal), we meet for SAYC — 14 at a place where we all meet regularly, a space that belongs to everyone and yet no one. The space is the Internet

So SAYC 2014 is planned ONLINE (along with local off-line events)!

**

25 Dec 2014: We are observing this day as the South Asian Unity Day

Theme : Youth participation in South Asia

What the hell is happening????

While we are the youngest region in the world, engaging in real decision-making is reserved for the older generation. Internationally too, we see South Asia under-represented (given our numbers)

What are some ways in which we can increase our participation in decision making? What are some projects that are already doing this? What is needed to make this happen? Youth Parliaments? Quotas for Youth? Greater government support?

Let us identify and ask for what we need to make this happen!

There are 3 components (and 1 unofficial one) that the event will have

a. Local, offline actions and events

There is no substitute to face-to-face conversations that matter.

So on 25th December, we invite you to organize events and take actions that promote and build a stronger South Asia.

These could range from coffee chats sharing experiences about South Asia to workshops building capacity for cross-border collaborations and from publishing articles to tweeting creatively.

On this day, we also invite various cities to host their own SAYCx, with speakers and discussions. Those interested in anchoring city level activities please reach out to us immediately!

At a fixed time, the initiatives will log in and connect to each other, and experience one South Asia

b. Real-time online events

We are inviting proposals to host webinars — and selected webinars will be hosted on 25th — this will let you access a pan South-Asian audience for your work! These webinars could share your work, develop some skills or provide some resources to participants — basically anything that adds value.

The drafting of ABCD goes online and 25th is when interested young people can come online and add to our shared document.

c. Online sharing

We invite art, photographs, stories and inspirational posters to be shared on the group — the best ones will be acknowledged, while the rest will also add to the pool of important messages for South Asia.

These can also be posted on the group.

Unofficial event: d. Reunion of past SAYC-ers

All SAYC-ers will meet and login together to say hi, reconnect and share what is up with them at an exclusive platform)

So what’s do we do next:

a. Start planning your events, actions and conversations! AND SHARE WITH US WHAT YOU ARE PLANNING — we would love to highlight initiatives before hand to spread the word

b. We are looking for technology platforms to manage this: Suggestions are invited (you can respond on this thread)

c. We welcome partner organizations to join in — so if your organization would like to partner please reach out to us as well (again on this thread).

d. Spread the word — it is South Asia time!

What’s in it for you?

Apart from adding building blocks to the movement, we would be inviting some exceptional initiatives to participate in a partners meeting to be held in early 2014 at a South Asian capital and to SAYC 2015.

And to conclude….

While a part of us surely would have loved to meet in real time, we need to acknowledge the practical challenges that may stop us from meeting offline. Yet that need not stop us from bringing our energies together and making South Asia stronger.

It is a time when the world is uniting in regional blocks — and the youngest and largest group of people (South Asia) must lead from the front.

Cheers!

Team SAYC

**

25 Dec 2014: Today is a special day — because young people in South Asia are coming together, both online and offline for a shared dream — the dream of a new South Asia.

It is special because they are responding, not to any financial incentives or personal gain but to a spirited call for unity and solidarity. They are spending their time, energy and sharing their skills — all with the larger dream of a world where we do not spend our time and energies fighting each other.

And, we are starting to build a capacity to organise ourselves across countries — just the way a movement does.

So welcome to South Asian Youth Conference 2014 — a unique online offline event that stands on the shoulders of work done by organizers in India, Pakistan and Nepal and led by young leaders like Nepali Jaya and Naseem Khan Achakzai

It was In 2011, that we at Blue Ribbon Movement kickstarted the South Asian Youth Conference journey.

And now, in just a few years, here we are! :)

This gives me great hope and faith — in the young people of our subcontinent, and in our vision for a beautiful future :)

**

10 Oct 2016: A very intimate and deep conversation with our friends from Nepal about the current crisis there…..most of us don’t even know the impact of the actions of the government on Nepal :(

Makes me feel sad, helpless and angry…..and yet hopeful that we have relationships and technology, and the hope to organise in a way that we eventually influence these policies and decisions….

The question that sits in my heart is that of time….how long…how far is that….

**

11 Dec 2015: The South Asian Youth Conference steps into its 5th year….its a moment of great joy and pride for us at Blue Ribbon Movement

People ask me what does the conference achieve? Is there a larger vision? Do we have any impact at all on South Asia?

To them I say this — that SAYC builds deep ties, a deepening of peace and creation of a shared vision…

Beyond that, asking for the vision of the conference is like asking a 5 year old what they want to be when they grow up — the answer will be a wild guess….the magic will unfold…

My own role has moved…. from an eager conference-attendee to organiser to now just ensuring that we make this space available to young people, and don’t recreate all that we protested against! :)

Lots of art, sports and fun — VERY few speeches, lots of dialogue and reflection….SAYC 2015 will create a microcosm of the world that we all imagine….

SAYC 2015 is being handled ably by the local team including Tharindu Abeyrathna Yasodhara Kapuge Sachintha Abeysuriya Namirah Jiffry & others with Aviral Mittal from BRM’s end.

From where we started out in Bangalore, 2011 with Vaibhav Mathur and Akshat Singhal to Islamabad, 2012 with Naseem Khan Achakzai and Kathmandu, 2013 with Jaya R. Nepali & Bhuwan K.C., the movement is building….one step at a time :)

**

16 Dec 2016: A few pertinent questions about South Asia

South Asian Youth Conference goes live this week, with online activities on 20th December (International day of Solidarity)

In the process of organizing and mobilizing for this event, these are our experiences…

That currently South Asia doesn’t feature on priority for most of us, compared to our own country-level issues, global issues and area-specific issues.

That while we SAY we want peace in the region, most of us are challenged to give time and energy required to make substantial progress in this area.

And, that as we speak there are hundreds and thousands of tiny initiatives to build peace and solidarity, which we hope will begin to add up.

We invite you this week to

a. Think and talk about South Asia

b. Host a conversation on an issue (and share your stories with us)

c. Reach out to a friend across the border and connect

It’s time for South Asia!

**

17 Dev 2016: Tomorrow is the first offline event of South Asian Youth Conference in Delhi….

By most standards it is a ‘tiny’ event, a small group of people coming together to explore ideas like gratitude, peace and 5th Space.

While so many of us hold the intent for a more peaceful world, only a few manage to get the time and energy to show up.

We often have a choice of not doing anything at all, or doing atleast something, however small.

This makes me wonder about a few things….

What is the ‘value’ of small things?

Can one deep, intense and pure gathering of individuals offset a little bit of hatred somewhere far away?

How does such a gathering nudge the ‘field’ — the subtle space that holds the tension between our nations?

A paradox of peace to me seems to be that the movement for peace looks and behaves very differently from the movement for violence….

Violence is a concentrated flood…..the movement for peace exists in small spaces and ways, like raindrops

Violence wants action NOW. Peace thinks about all of humanity before and after now.

Voilence needs lobbying, government support and an enemy. Peace self sustains in our hearts, it is innate to our nature.

The same system that creates wars between nations creates violence in our lives, robbing us of time to actively engage with questions of peace.

In such times then, every prayer in a hopeful heart, every coming together, every action however small, is an act of resisting that very system and weakening it.

Happy SAYC 2016 :)

**

11 Jan 2017: At the closing of South Asian Youth Conference what came to me about continuing the journey of building a peaceful South Asia was three types of acts….big acts, small acts and subtle acts….

Big Acts are supporting cross border dialogues, advocacy for easier visa norms, cultural exchanges, organising conferences, pushing for moderation in defence spends and creating South Asian level manifestos

Small acts are being in touch with a friend across the border, sharing positive stories of hope about ties, bringing up all sides to difficult conversations and generally being a voice for solidarity and one-ness

Subtle acts are less visible….these include holding an intent for peace, prayer, paying attention to coincidences that life throws, tapping into the ‘soul force’ that goodness generates…..

Its subtle acts that lay the ground for the small and big ones….and thats how we’ll get there, sooner or later ❤

**

14 April 2017: In a few days we will meet for South Asian Youth Conference 2017 Kabul.

We’re neither diplomats nor elected representatives. We’re not experts either.

But, in these times, we’re probably the only group of people across South Asia convening through our own resources, for a cause that calls out to us — Peace.

For most people around us, this is a very foolish venture which has too much risk and almost no guaranteed return in the near future.

But for most of us, located in this day and age, there’s nothing else we’d do than to put as much as we can on stake, for our future generations.

I invite you to join and support us with your intentions, prayers, energy and love for our troubled but exquisite South Asia

**

20 April 2017:

As I flew out of Kabul, I was a mish-mash of many emotions….

For the land itself, which has strange contrasts….bare mountains and lush hearts…..dark violence and glaring hope….and decades of struggle that has dented the geography but not the spirit….

Then there was the flood of love and hospitality from its people — leaving every heart overflowing with gratitude, humility and in awe of our capacity to give, receive and hug…..

Some evoked by the difficult and tense moments that unfold in spaces between repeated security checks and tanks and guns…..

Yet others in soulful and searching eyes, in the tender dreams that were whispered, in the oneness of embrace….

Though the art — the wall painting and dancing and kite flying that let us bring all of this out collectively….

In the navigating the complex equations between countries, their leaders and the sensitive balance between patriotism, humanity and regionalism…..

I felt as if every cell of my body was weeping with joy and grief, laughing with glee and excited with the dreams of what is possible, all at the same time….

At the end of it, I know this : if there is one thing that will redeem us, it is the human spirit and unleashing it in all its beauty and glory…

**

20 April 2017:

Over the last 7 years, we at South Asian Youth Conference have managed to create a unique family of love….

It is neither supported by governments or corporations, not owned by any NGO or people from any one country alone….

Inspite of being highly opinionated individuals with diverse working styles, views and cultures, we’ve managed to seed a process of building capacity and connections across our region….

This politics of friendship cuts across sectors and counts on trust and deep ties that sustain for years, not transactional ties forged by convenience but by a shared vision for peace….

And now, I sense the journey gaining a new momentum as it moves to being more collectively owned, self-initiated and starts to balance pragmatism with its audacious dreams…

Most importantly, the love-storm that SAYC generates builds a field of hope and possibilities — a space for another world to be born….and it is now unstoppable!

28 April 2017:

5 lessons from SAYC

As I look back, South Asian Youth Conference 2017 Kabul had lots of lessons for us all….here are some….

1. The power of ‘love-bombs’ and hope

We met a week after the Mother of All Bombs hit the country. In face of the dangers and darkness, we showed up. And simply that act — we all across south Asia landing up in solidarity was a cause for so much hope for everyone! It was like a love bomb in response to a destructive bomb, almost a way of saying screw-you — nothing will stop us!

2. The value of staying put

Seven years and lots of ups and downs later, SAYC seems to have reached a new phase of collective ownership. It is getting easier for us to attract applications, to engage with the alumni and to start dreaming bigger — all because, more than anything else, we stayed on….and will continue to

3. The challenge of co-ownership

In a region where more than 75% of the people live in one country, how does one co-create a shared space? How does one not impose and yet hold the values and the ‘spirit’. This SAYC for me was a loving navigation of these equations, issues and challenges — and we’ve decisively moved towards a coalition that is held collectively, we can now dare our governments to attempt this!

4. The beauty of art

ArtLords brought a whole new flavour of art to SAYC — while the cultural night was always the high point (who can forget Sri Lanka!), the painting and kite flying and the bazaars and the fashion shows and the dancing and singing…..art binds us in ways that the intellect cannot — can’t thank Omaid Sharifi, Lima Ahmad, Kabir & team to take us into this….this will be a lasting part of the series as we go ahead….

5. The possibility of deep ties and politics of friendships

We’re on our way to becoming a cohesive, aligned family of peace-loving leaders. We’re not bound by diplomatic compulsions of governments, profit-drives of corporates or donor-dependence of NGOs. Yet, we are present across these sectors, warming up to steer the directions of our respective constitutiences towards the dream of regional solidarity…I am more and more convinced of our approach of building capacity and connections, and letting things emerge from there!

Here’s to an enriching and joyful journey ahead for us all

Akshat Singhal Vaibhav Mathur Ayushi Banerji Naseem Khan Achakzai Jaya Ram Nepali Bhuwan K.C. Sachintha Abeysuriya Tharindu Abeyrathna South Asian Youth Conference

31 May 2017: I feel helpless on hearing of another blast in Afghanistan (and now what seems to become a regular news — blasts)

Solidarity, prayers and support are all a given — they are there.

But our leaders will very soon have to come up with a firm and decisive response to this.

At an immediate level, to send in the resistance forces that are required.

At a medium term level, to attempt dialogue and reconciliation or organize to non-co operate (nothing can surivive without subtle co-operation from someone or the other)

And in the long term to act knowing that each of those actions has a long term implication — violence begets violence, sometimes on ourselves and sometimes on totally unrelated innocent people.

We’ve had enough of this for thousands of years — let’s give growing up a chance.

**

4 June 2017: There’s pain, anger and grief at what is happening around the world but equally there is hope, gratitude and faith.

The faith is that love will win, as it always has and the faith that we can and will do something about it!

Thank you for supporting the South Asian Solidarity Space.

**

30 June 2017: We, the undersigned youth of South Asia and many others collectively

Strongly condemn the extremism, violence and attacks around the world, particularly in Afghanistan — these have affected all of us emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Reaffirm that terrorism is a global challenge and profiling any one nation, country or religion as culprits is not only inaccurate but also creates further boundaries.

It is time to expand our identities, embrace the differences and allow love and hope to be our guiding values. We demand our governments to explore newer ways of responding to these recurring challenges.

Over time, we are determined to become a coalition of peace-loving friends who can decisively influence the politics of South Asia and the World. We are confident that our struggles and efforts will pay off as the flowers of peace bloom in our region.

We dream of a world where walls don’t divide us — through dialogue and shared culture, we will navigate our differences and reach grounds of consensus, non-violently.

The South Asian Youth family stands together in these difficult times — our commitment to spreading love is stronger than ever before.

Joint Statement + Messages:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wXtSwTNOMzdllESU6kQ-kH2Y-99ujupgjD4HMxf4AYc/edit?usp=sharing

Petition:

**

15 Oct 2018: This is a call out to all the alumni of South Asian Youth Conference of the last 8 years….

Over the last 8 years, we’ve been able to pull of something quite unprecedented. We have been able to create a conference that isn’t supported by any government nor run by any central secretariat that is foundation funded.

SAYC has been out-and-out a labour of love of the people who hosted it in every country, taking out their time energy and money. They did this knowing that the conference will travel to other countries and belongs to a shared collective anchored by Blue Ribbon Movement.

The participants who showed up have also trusted the space with their time, energy and resources — together we’ve been able to travel this far.

There aren’t too many other conferences I know of that work this way. Our intent is now to deepen this process further.

How?

This SAYC, we’re going to step up the conversation of how to make it a co-held space that continues to be for the youth, of the youth and by the youth.

The way this looks like is many of our alumni stepping up to co-hold the conference as it moves into its next 8–10 years. Them, supported by a group of elders (non-youth chronologically but young at heart!), available to be consulted.

For this SAYC then, we invite you to show up and share your dreams and experiences. As a part of this series and the larger South Asian Movement, this is a great time to show up in solidarity and strengthen something that you’ve fed and co-created.

While there are amazing stories of what has come out of SAYC so far, it is the HOW of this process that inspires me the most. To deepen it is the work, and to have faith that this work tills the soil for the seeds of a peaceful South Asia to sprout.

18 Oct 2018: Dear Sri Lanka,

We as South Asia love you for being a model for balancing growth and preserving nature*.

We love you for the space you give to your youth in your national decision making.

We’ve enjoyed your hospitality when we were in Colombo.

We’re now inviting all of you to join us in Mumbai, India for SAYC 2018.

Will you come? Will you join us and share your experiences? Will you apply and spread the word?

www.saycentral.org

Love,

Team SAYC

Blue Ribbon Movement South Asian Youth Conference Tharindu AbeyrathnaSachintha AbeysuriyaYasodhara Kapuge @Pujika Rathnayake @Sajith Wijesuriya Lahara Ranaweera Pubudu Weerarathna & all other Sri Lankan Brothers and Sisters

* (Ref:

https://www.footprintnetwork.org/2015/09/23/eight-countries-meet-two-key-conditions-sustainable-development-united-nations-adopts-sustainable-development-goals/

“Algeria, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, Jamaica, Jordan and Sri Lanka are the only countries that currently meet the two minimum criteria for global sustainable development. They enjoy “high human development” (even “very high human development” in the case of Cuba) while keeping their Ecological Footprint lower than 1.7 global hectares per person, according to Global Footprint Network and United Nations data.”)

**

13 Dec 2018:

I’m feeling a sense of profound happiness about the South Asian Youth Conference 2018 coming back to India….

It has made me realise several things about social change…

One that I am a believer in millennials and especially those that are at Blue Ribbon Movement. They’re a blend of youthful energy with the grounded stillness that is required to hold such spaces. People — you give me hope!!

Second that the industry of violence may have institutional support but the peace process is powered by soul force. It is powered by the desire for harmony that is beating in each heart…

Third that truly youth-led spaces require the older generations to step back and be available in spirit and on demand. Radically moving power (of all types) into the hands of young people is the only way to allow generational learning

And finally, just feeling the sheer power of timeless values like love and care that manifest locally as BRM spirit. SAYC is an intimate experience of learning together rather than a series of speakers put together in a sequence. And that makes a huge difference…

I feel grateful to so many energies that have brought it here….from the blessings of the Dalai Lama and support from IIM Bangalore to all the past organizers, speakers, governments and participants…

In moments like this it all feels worth it.

**

11 Jan 2019:

At the closing of South Asian Youth Conference what came to me about continuing the journey of building a peaceful South Asia was three types of acts….big acts, small acts and subtle acts….

Big Acts are supporting cross border dialogues, advocacy for easier visa norms, cultural exchanges, organising conferences, pushing for moderation in defence spends and creating South Asian level manifestos

Small acts are being in touch with a friend across the border, sharing positive stories of hope about ties, bringing up all sides to difficult conversations and generally being a voice for solidarity and one-ness

Subtle acts are less visible….these include holding an intent for peace, prayer, paying attention to coincidences that life throws, tapping into the ‘soul force’ that goodness generates…..

Its subtle acts that lay the ground for the small and big ones….and thats how we’ll get there, sooner or later ❤

**

21 Nov 2019: South Asian Youth Conference is one of the very few concrete, actionable steps that you can take, if you care about this region.

No country can be in peace without having cordial relations with its neighbours.

And the long term path to peace is not in stocking more ammunition or in stoking more ‘anti’ emotions.

The long term path to peace is to create a field of relationships across borders, where listening and healing can happen. Where collective sensing can create space for small but powerful actions. The long term path involves long term friendships and trust.

So here’s your chance. To commit a day and a half (or 33 hours non stop) with a group of other young people across South Asia who share these concerns and dreams.

If you say you care, here’s where you show up and translate that care into something beyond words.

Many people are making bombs and fighter jets.

Come, let’s make some hope.

**

14 Dec 2019: “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”

Had heard it, and today is a day when I see a living example of it — South Asian Youth Conference 2019 is here….

33 hours non-stop online with 30 odd young people across South Asia, connecting as people and continuing the gathering in its 9th year….it fills me with so much hope and joy…

It’s been a privilege to be a part of this journey and to see how the spirit of South Asia draws people to join in and connect….our shared ancientness makes us one spirit….one family…

Like any other family, we have our issues, we have our disagreements and even distances….and like any other family, we come together again and again, with a dream to see a peaceful world for future generations…

Over time, I’ve learnt that holding a (strong) national identity is not opposed to identifying with South Asia which in turn is a part of identifying with humanity and the planet.

I’ve also learnt that things will never ever be fully perfect….those who feel called to fight and defend do that…those of us who called to peace must do what we know to be right…

And I’ve learnt that people can act in different time frames…those anchored in the present can feel a lot of angst…some who refer back to the past, even more so…and those of us who feel connected to many generations ahead feel this is the way to do it…

It’s a small collective and over time, it will start building more and more strength….it’s a part of the much larger nameless tribe, the force for Universal good.

Yay!

29 DEc 2020:

As a part of Jai Jagat 2020, 4 of us from 4 cultures put together a poem in 4 hours over Facebook and Whatsapp….

I pulled it out today to possibly read it for South Asian Youth Conference’s upcoming event, Art for Hope and Peace…

Going over it gave me goosebumps! Reminded me of how technology + deep ties can perform miracles!

Here’s a joint production of me, David R Woollcombe (England), Taimur Rahaman (Pakistan), Emmy de Wit (Netherlands) kindly put together by The Optimist Citizen’s Tuhin Sen

2nd Jan, the alums of SAYC are coming together to celebrate art across the region….a totally self organized, citizen-led event that dreams of a more peaceful and connected region! A large part of the event is driven by the energy of the 1st batch (2011) and active alums anchored by Akash Upase and Nandita Palrecha ….feeling very excited about it, as a perfect way to start the new year…..

Cheers to a more beautiful world :)

Writing about snippets of my life!

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Abhishek Thakore

Abhishek Thakore

Pushing the edge…..with soft motherly nudges…

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