Actor-artist Saroni Roy, Founder & CEO, Saroni Roy Foundation and Director, SRf Creatists, hosted this year’s Mahatma Peace Symposium 2023 (MPS2023), as an Australia-India Cultural Synergies Initiative in Sydney on Friday.
A tribute to the global peace hero Mahatma Gandhi, the MAHATMA Peace Symposium is a global community forum to discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of sustainability, real development & focusing on the Gandhian philosophy and concept of Satyagraha, Sarvodaya, Swaraj, the “Constructive Program”, and its articulation in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“We at SRf believe that inclusive & peaceful societies lead to prosperous economies, and MPS highlights the ethos that structured peace education is key to creating a paradigm shift in the way world thinks about peace. To achieve this, we implement a 3C’s approach by tapping into cultural economy, creative economy & the circular economy.” said, Saroni Roy, Creator & Producer of Mahatma Peace Symposium.
“I wanted the vision & themes of MPS 2023 – “My Land, My Story – Meri Kahaani, Meri Zabaani”, an Australia-India Cultural Synergies initiative, to be articulated through Art.”, she added.
Saroni worked remotely with Presten, to curate an authentic and exquisite piece of art, ensconced in the Gandhian values of Ahimsa, Sarvodaya, Swaraj, – peace, love, and reconciliation. The intricate patterns portray the Australian Indigenous peoples’ journeys and camps, which span across the vast expanse of the country, representing the diverse tribes that comprise a unified nation. Moreover, the artwork incorporates the Indigenous, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag colours & Indian flag colours, embodying the ancient Australian connection to India – the links between Australian Aboriginal and Indian tribes, aligning with the theme of India’s G20 Presidency – “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth ·One Family · One Future” – drawn from the ancient Sanskrit text of the ‘Maha Upanishad’, celebrating and strengthening Australia-India bi-lateral relations. The artwork was also rendered on a Gajji silk saree handcrafted by the artisans of India, an Australia-India cultural synergies heritage piece, draped by Saroni.
These ethos were also articulated by parliamentarians and dignitaries including The Hon. Warren Kirby MP, State Member for Riverstone, The Hon. Jacqui Munro MLC, The Hon Sanjay K Muluka, Consul & HOC, Consul General of India, Sydney, The Hon. Patricia Garcia AO, through their keynote addresses, and by MC Preeti Thadani, in the presence of Councillors, Centre for Australia & India Relations representatives, multicultural community leaders, media and peacebuilders from diverse parts of NSW.
The event featured live concert by actor & artist Saroni Roy and the world-acclaimed violinist Sagar Nagaraj, powered by SRf Creatists & Australian Indian Orchestra (AIO). They mesmerised the audience by their performance of a medley of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs in three languages, namely, ‘Vaishnav Jan To’, ‘Raghupati Raghav’, ‘Ekla Cholo Re’, showcasing CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) artists from India and Australia, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and to all creatives and artists creating a peaceful, inclusive world through art, capturing the essence of SRf Creatists. Adapting to the pandemic restrictions, Saroni remotely worked with musicians/artists based in India to curate this authentic and exquisite piece of art, ensconced in the Gandhian values of Ahimsa, courage, determination, solidarity, harmony and peace.
The Global Peacebuilders Forum 2023 featured social impact leaders like Dr Scott Watkins, Chair, Pollinate Group, Professor Dr Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology Sydney, Cr Barbara Ward, Advisory Board, UNAA NSW & Moderator, Saroni Roy. The panel discussion focussed on “My Land, My Story – Meri Kahaani, Meri Zabaani”, deep-diving into the ancient/historical links between Australian Aboriginal and Indian tribes. And how the Gandhian values of Satyagraha, Sarvodaya & Swaraj, Gandhi’s “Constructive Program”, his ‘Village Economy Model’ was a forerunner to today’s Sustainable Cities. Underscoring the 5Ps of Peacebuilding: People: “My Land, My Story – Meri Kahaani, Meri Zabaani”. Peace: Satyagraha, non-violent approach. Giving people agency; Planet: Our relationship with the planet; Prosperity: Economy, Sustainable Cities and Communities; Partnership: Significance of collaboration, networked multilateralism. Shared responsibility and global solidarity; it was a call-to-action for responsible global citizens to get involved in finding constructive solutions to problems, rather than just leaving responsibilities to the government.