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Social harmony awards to Vivek and Abdullah: 'Vested political interests spreading hatred'

By Faisal Khan* 
The Ankit Junaid Social Harmony award for youth was started in September 2018 by Khudai Khidmatgar in memory of Hafiz Junaid and Ankit Saxena. Junaid was killed as brutally in a train  two days before Eid,  while Ankit was killed  in Delhi for loving a girl from a different faith. The fellowship and award includes a memento, a certificate, a shawl and a cash award.  
This year the 5th Ankit Junaid Social Harmony award was given to Vivek Mishra and Abdullah during the award ceremony held in Jawahar Bhawan , New Delhi,  on  24th December 2023 . The award was given in the presence of Swami Chander Dev, Khudai Khidmatgar leaders Faisal Khan and Nargis Khan, Dr Kush Kumar Singh,  Preetam Singh from Akhand Hindu Sanghatan, Prof Shashi Shekhar Singh from Delhi University  and veteran peace activist Prof Vipin Tripathi. 
The award ceremony was  followed by an interactive session on "Sampradayikta kee chunautiya" which was coordinated by Khudai Khidmatgar leader Kripal Singh Mandloi.
Khudai Khidmatgar leader Rizwaan Khan gave a brief introduction and spoke about the objective of the award and fellowship. He mentioned that the object of this award and scholarship is to nurture the seeds of communal harmony amongst the youths who will become a part of the mainstream in the future. 
As we all know, it's the youth who are the torch bearers of the society, so it's very important to promote brotherhood /sisterhood and communal harmony for a better society, he asserted. Moreover, we need to develop creative and innovative methods of peace building in the society which will help in cementing the gaps between the communities. Therefore, this award also aims at bringing fraternity and unity in society. He also gave a brief introduction of the awardees.
Vivek Mishra completed his graduation from Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, thereafter completed MA in Hindi Literature from Benaras Hindu University. He participated in various movements in the university. He also participated in the Citizen Satyagraha Padyatra from Chaura Chauri to Delhi in 2021. 
This yatra carried message of peace in the society and to create public awareness against the conspiracy to propagate hate in society by targeting a particular community. Vivek is  inspired  by the methods of Mahatma Gandhi. During this yatra he was arrested in Ghazipur and Fatehpur.  He participated in Bharat Jodo Yatra from Delhi to Himachal Pradesh. At present, he is working under the  Unite India Campaign to spread the message of unity and brotherhood to the people against the increasing violence, hatred and fear in Purvanchal  and across the country.
Abdullah is from East Champaran, Bihar. He is a religious scholar(aalim) from famous Mazahir Uloom, Saharanpur. After completing his education in religious studies, he took admission in senior  secondary for formal education. Thereafter he completed his graduation in history and BEd from Jamia Millia Islamia. At present he is pursuing MA in History from Jamia Millia Islamia. He is closely associated with Prof Tripathi's organisation Sadbhav Mission and at individual level he is working on propagation of social harmony and to create youth awareness on the issues related to peace and harmony.
Swami Chander Dev mentioned that we all have been living in this country with peace and compassion for many many years. He himself spent more than 15 years in a Muslim locality and never faced any issues; instead he was at ease and everyone gave him respect. He mentioned that  the present tense situation is all created by people with vested political interests. He said that this situation won’t last long as we are the nation of 'vasudev kutumbakam' and peaceful coexistence is the upbringing of our nation.
I, as Khudai Khidmatgar national leader, said that we can counter hate and communalism only by propagating peace and compassion, and there could be no better tribute to Ankit-Junaid than spreading unity, peace and harmony in their memory. I spoke about various initiatives and interventions done by Khudai Khidmatgar India  and expressed the necessity of continuous efforts for the cause with inspiration of Gandhiji, Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar, as also Meera Bai and Kabeer. I shared several examples of our composite culture and expressed our responsibility to carry forward the legacy.
 Preetam Singh of Akhand Hindu Sangathan expressed  concern on expression of hate as the portrayal of faith. He mentioned that loving one’s religion does not mean to hate others, it means to follow it. He mentioned  religious practices are meant for humanity, and he extended all his support for the work of harmony and peace.  
Young farmer leader Arun Sahrawat mentioned that farming is not just a profession only for  money but is a way of life which generates food. Farmer’s life which also happens to be village life is always all inclusive and there’s  a tradition of combined labour, compassion, brotherhood and peaceful coexistence in rural India. In recent times there have been political attempts to pollute it; however villages of India will always produce love, not hate.
Anupam from Sanyukt Yuva Morcha  expressed his views on how real issues of youth take the backstage with communalism and hate. He expressed his view on the need of youth to understand it and not to waste their years of youth on hate. He also mentioned its the youth who develop future societies, and we all need to work on building a better society, respecting diversity, peace and the constitutional values.
Prof Tripathi said that there is a need to reach out to youth who are more vulnerable and talk about our composite culture and we need to nurture a humane atmosphere in the society. Prof Shashi Shekhar Singh said that it's just a few individuals who propagate and glorify hate, while most love peace and harmonious coexistence.  
Dalit activist Elaiya Kumaar mentioned the necessity of education and upliftment for the better building of an Individual.  Khudai Khidmatgar leader Nargis Khan, Tarannum Begum and Sabeela from ragpickers' unit also expressed their views on the occasion. 
*Khudai Khidmatgar and National Alliance of People's Movements



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