NEW YORK: Over 6,000 representatives of 193 Member States of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations with Consultative Status with ECOSOC assembled at the UN headquarters in New York from March 10 to 21 to discuss the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.
The Sant Nirankari Mission (SNM) also participated as a non-governmental organization with consultative status with ECOSOC granted to it since July 2012.
SNM’s delegation was led by Rev Dr. Iqbaljit S. Rai, President, SNM in USA, from San Francisco. The other members included Mrs. Harlivleen Bajwa (Executive Social Welfare, SNM, USA) from Ohio, Mrs. Shashi Madhok and Rajesh Bhasin (New Jersey) and Sanjeev Sagar and Prafull Lande (San Francisco).
SNM’s delegates dwelt upon ‘equality through spirituality’ as preached by His Holiness Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj (The Head of the Sant Nirankari Mission) and said that faith-based organizations can play a vital role in helping empowerment of women and girls in every sphere of life.
Referring to the Mission’s approach, they explained that here we always treat women with the profoundest respect, regard and honor as they play a much more important role than men in all societies.
They said the Social Welfare Department of the SNM continuously works for empowerment of women in many ways. Its principle of divinity revolves around the fundamental equality of human-beings.
In the dowry-less Nirankari marriages also it is solemnly affirmed by the couple that both of them will have equal rights and duties. Care-giving is imbibed in the nature of its followers. Women are taking equal part in the administration and preaching of the Mission.
The United Nations General Assembly hosted a high-level event entitled, “The Contributions of Women, the Young and Civil Society to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” The aim of the event was: “How can the post-2015 development agenda address the diverse and intersecting inequalities that challenge inclusive sustainable development prospects on the basis of income, gender, age, race/ethnicity, disabilities and other factors of marginalization?”
The delegates of the SNM shared with UN members basic principles of the Mission in achieving success in Post 2015 development agenda. They also pointed out that Sant Nirankari Mission is making an attempt in Universal Brotherhood and Oneness of Humanity that can bring the spiritual organizations to eliminate the barriers of society of inequality.
Addressing the panelist of session – “Women’s Participation in Building Bridges and Culture of Peace”, the SNM’s delegates emphasized that to remove gender bias and bring equality, only educating women is not enough; we need to change their economic conditions as well.
All religious and faith-based organizations may want to join hands and work together to achieve this. We need to recognize oneness of all religions as there is only one supreme power above all religions. Delegates quoted message of His Holiness saying, World is too small for walls, let’s build bridges.”
SNM’s delegates met with Dr. Anju Malhotra Principal Adviser, Gender and Rights, UNICEF, Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, a French minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Ms. Lopa Banerjee, Chief, Civil Society Section, UN Women, Ms. Sally Kader, President, USFMEP. During discussions they were made aware of social work that Mission has been doing in the area of women’s equality and empowerment.
In one of the side events organized by Public Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF), delegates spoke about its principles as well as social work that it has done around the globe in relief projects for natural disasters, blood drives, free medical camps, homeopathy pharmacies, schools, colleges, economic empowerment of women in society by providing tailoring and embroidery training centers.
The Sant Nirankari Mission believes that “Equality through Spirituality” is the only way to go in future. When one perceives the self-realization through God-realization, then there is no duality.
Prafull Lande & Sanjeev Sagar