To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this October, the Jain community have established a unique living legacy for peace and harmony in Harrow, North West London.
With enthusiasm and warm hearts over 250 members of the Jain and Interfaith community including school groups and children gathered together at Kenton Recreation Ground on Saturday 16th November to plant an incredible 1,000 trees to create the ‘Ahimsa Peace Forest’ as part of the Planting for Peace initiative. Held during Inter Faith Week, participants were there to spread the message of peace and harmony whilst supporting the environment with positive action helping to combat climate change through planting of trees. The careful planting of saplings was overseen by the charity, Trees for Cities and Friends of Kenton Rec.
Expressing his joy at the landmark event, Mr NemuChandaria, Chairman of OneJAIN, commented ‘32 Jain organisations in the UK under OneJAIN joined their hands to create the Ahimsa Peace Forest, inculcating the responsibility in the youth to care for Mother Earth and Nature. We trust many other communities will follow the example set today.’
To the beautifully soothing notes of live flute music, visitors enjoyed activities throughout the day including writing inspiring peace wishes on ribbons that were delicately tied around the trunk of an old oak tree, making origami animals, signing a book of peaceful thoughts and taking home a self-penned Peace pebble.
For the Jain community, their principle tenet of Ahimsa (love, compassion and non-violence) recognises the inter-connectedness of all living beings including plants, animals and human beings. Mahatma Gandhi was especially shaped by this principle of Ahimsa, andgreatly influenced by his association with the Jain poet and philosopher Shrimad Rajchandra, who is recognised as his spiritual guide.
Deputy High Commissioner of India in UK, Mr Charanjeet Singh said, ‘Planting 1,000 trees to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is the most amazing idea in this contemporary context. I appreciate OneJAIN for coming forward to start the Ahimsa Peace Forest and spread Gandhi‘s message of peace and harmony. I am sure as this Ahimsa Peace Forest grows, the message of peace and ahimsa will take deeper and deeper roots.’
The event was also attended by The Worshipful TheMayor of Harrow, Councillor Nitin Parekh, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Jains, Gareth Thomas, local Councillors and leaders of local Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and Humanist groups.
The Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Nitin Parekh sharing his thoughts of the occasion said, ‘Harrow is the most diverse borough in England and this is a great event that has brought people together irrespective of their caste, creed, colour or nationality. It is my great pleasure to be here and I’m lucky to be part of this event that is happening for the good of the world, environment and humanity.’
It is hoped that this flagship Planting for Peace project will inspire other local community groups to similarly come together to celebrate togetherness and create lasting legacies by planting Peace Trees, Peace Gardens and Peace Forests.
For more information, on behalf of OneJAIN, contact Manthan Taswala, Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur on 07920 105093