India is a beautiful blend of different cultures and religions and hence will play an important role in becoming a cornerstone of world peace along with ASEAN, said renowned Sufi spiritual leader Haji Syed Salman Chishti at the ASEAN 2023 event in Jakarta. Addressing the opening session of the 2023 ASEAN Interfaith and Intercultural Summit in Jakarta, Chishti, chairman of the Chishti Foundation, said the theme of 'One World, One Family, One Future’ resonates at the ASEAN Summit. 'Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ is the true spirit.
He made the comments on August 7 and it was positively endorsed by the representatives of participating countries in various forums during the ASEAN 2023 Summit. Addressing the summit, Chishti said, “India, with its rich history and heritage, has long been a beautiful amalgamation of cultures and religions. The diversity of our nation is a testament to the values of tolerance and coexistence. We believe that dialogue is the path to greater understanding and peaceful coexistence. In a world that faces many challenges, including religious and cultural misunderstandings, it is our collective responsibility to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity.
„By engaging in meaningful dialogue, we can identify common values that bind us as human beings and create solutions to address common concerns,” he added. The ASEAN Summit aims to create a focal point for promoting peace, security and prosperity, said Haji Syed Salman Chishti, a prominent Indian Sufi spiritual leader and Chairman of the Chishti Foundation.
„On behalf of India, I am honored to address this prestigious ASEAN Summit for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue under the theme 'ASEAN Common Cultural Values’,” he said. „We must unite as a region to promote understanding, respect and harmony between different cultures and faiths. Through this dialogue, we seek to build bridges and break down walls of ignorance and prejudice. Together, we embrace the wider human family, preserve their unique identities, and create an environment where all communities can flourish.” It can,” added Chishti.
He added that India is committed to playing an active role in promoting interfaith and cultural harmony in the ASEAN region. “We will continue to support efforts that promote mutual respect, promote education about different cultures and faiths, and strengthen social cohesion. We hope the summit will catalyze lasting partnership and cooperation,” he said, adding that the summit „will serve as a catalyst for a more peaceful, tolerant and prosperous future for all ASEAN countries.”
The Sufi spiritual leader further highlighted India’s diverse qualities and said that the ASEAN region has experienced various historical and cultural influences, including India. These influences mainly arise from India’s historical trade, cultural exchange and religious connections with Southeast Asian countries. He said that India’s influence in the ASEAN region can be seen from many aspects. Chishti said that Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism played an important role in shaping the religious landscape of many Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Many ancient temples and religious structures reflect the architectural and artistic style influences of Indian traditions.
The great 11th century Sufi saint Hazrat Khawaja Gharib Nawaz Moinuddin Chishti’s message of 'unconditional love for all’ resonates from Kashmir to Kanyakumari across India and South Asia as it is frequented by devotees and seekers as a Sufi shrine. from the various faiths, religions and spiritual traditions of the Indian subcontinent,” he said. Though language and script played an important role, Sanskrit was an ancient Indian language. „It influenced the development of script and vocabulary in some Southeast Asian languages. For example, the Khmer script in Cambodia and the Thai script in Thailand have borrowed elements from these ancient scripts.
In the field of arts and culture, Indian art forms such as dance, music and traditional performances have influenced the cultural expression of some ASEAN countries, leading to a unique blend with local traditions, Chishti added. “India has a long history of maritime trade with Southeast Asia, which has facilitated the exchange of goods, ideas and technology between the two regions. It is also noteworthy that ancient sea trade routes connected India with various ports in Southeast Asia, contributing to cultural diffusion and cultural interaction.
Talking about spirituality and religion, he said, “Literature and legends cannot be ignored. Indian epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have deeply influenced the literary and cultural traditions of many Southeast Asian countries. Local versions and adaptations of these epics are often integrated into the folklore and stories of the region. He added that India’s traditional medicine and treatment systems are worth considering.
“Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine, has influenced traditional healing practices in some Southeast Asian countries, leading to herbal remedies and holistic health care practices. Influence on language. In addition to the script, Sanskrit has contributed to the development of the vocabulary of many Southeast Asian languages, especially in terms of technical and philosophical terms,” added Chishti. Syed Salman Chishti added that Indian festivals such as Diwali, Holi and Vesak (Buddha’s birthday celebration) are celebrated by communities in some ASEAN countries. It shows the continuity of Indian cultural traditions.
„An important aspect is architecture. Indian architectural styles, especially seen in ancient temples and monuments, have influenced the design and construction of sacred and historical buildings in countries like Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand. For example, the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia has elements of Hindu architecture,” he said. Syed Salman Chishti also said that Indian films, especially Bollywood films, are gaining popularity in some Southeast Asian countries and introducing audiences to Indian culture, music and dance.(ANI)
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