“The All J&K People to People Dialogue for Peace and Prosperity”, organized by Pragati Foundation, was held at the Centre of Initiatives Of Change, Asia Plateau, Panchgani, between 12th to 15th February, 2002. Earlier an “Indo-Pak People to People Dialogue for Peace and Prosperity” was held in August, 2001 at the same venue.
The present conference was attended by people from all over the state comprising Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Youth, Senior Citizens, former and present MLA’s / Ministers, Political Activists, Artists and Intellectuals bringing three generations onto a common platform. Mr.Yusuf Tarigami and Tsering Dorjay Lakrook in addition to Mr.Tsering Samphel (President Ladakh Buddhist Association), Mrs. Khemlata Wakhlu (Vice President – J&K Pradesh Congress Committee), Nirmala Deshpande (Social Activist), Lt.Gen.Moti Dhar (Retd.), Mr. Mohd. Yusuf Parry (MLA), Lt.Gen. Srinivas Apte (Retd.), Mr. P. Namgyal (Former Union Minister), Mrs.Padma Sachdev (Dogri poetess) and many others were present.
These two conferences are the first ever in this genre using Open Space Technology, which facilitates taking responsibility, openness, and expanding love and peace. This leads to awakening of one’s inner guidance, healing, reconciliation and compassion. The Open Space process encourages attitudes such as commitment, responsibility, open-dialogue, listening, faith and trust. Besides the Open Space Technology, the techniques of Meditation and Creative Problem Solving were also systematically used in the conference.
The participants acutely felt
the big impact the conference made on them.
Bottled up emotions were expressed, and frank dialogue,
without any bitterness, occurred in an atmosphere of joyful sharing. All this led to a clear understanding of the
roots of the
In order to foster unity amongst people of Jammu & Kashmir a cultural heritage film titled “The Voice Within” was shown to the participants. This helped them to appreciate their vast and glorious spiritual and cultural heritage and values, which are common to people of various regions of the state.
The Pragati Foundation is playing the role in this whole process of Catalysts for the changing the mind-sets of the people through awareness, understanding, creativity and responsive action.
The following creative initiatives were resolved to be taken:
1. Keep the process of interactions and dialogue amongst the people of J&K going. Expand the circles of positive thought processes and creative action throughout J&K and outside.
2. Focus on my own decisions, my own restitution, rather than on blame. Take responsibility for creating a glorious future.
3. Take Practical Actions and Initiatives moving towards fundable projects. Pragati will facilitate networking and resource mobilization.
4. Facilitate youth of J&K to spearhead the process mentioned in 1 to 3 above. Youth Conference in J&K, using Open Space Technology so as to generate mass mobilization for creative community action.
5. Raise the voice of all for good governance, which is receptive and responsive to the needs of the people. Move towards a project for the same.
6. Taking proactive steps towards attracting private sector for setting up educational institutions in the state in addition to providing means of vocational education.
7. Initiating steps for promoting entrepreneurship training programmes and opportunities for the people.
16th February 2002
OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY FOR PEACE AND PROSPERITY
This brief note
describes the use of Open Space Technology for two related conferences held at
Asia Plateau, Panchgani (120 KMs
from Pune in
The two conferences were:
Date : 5th - 8th August 2001
No. of Participants : 70
growing mass of well-meaning people, in
A group of such people, led by the Pragati Foundation in Pune, India, and the Foundation for Human and Economic Development, USA, had a very inspiring and energizing Indo-Pak dialogue at Panchgani in the summer of 2001 ( 8th -11th August 2001 ). It was probably for the first time since 1947, that Pakistanis and Indians, including Kashmiris, sat together at one table, in a spirit of Friendship, Amity and Dialogue and came up with a shared understanding of what we need to do, to bring about permanent Peace.
One of the resolutions adopted at Panchgani was that another dialogue should be held, in which the people of undivided J & K could share their authentic heritage and voice their true collective aspirations. It was agreed that the true voice of the people of J & K needs to be heard and their deepest aspirations need to guide actions on the future of the state.
The next conference was aimed at the above objective.
2. All J&K People to People Dialogue for Peace and Prosperity
Date : 12th - 15th February 2002
No. of Participant : 62
dialogue was aimed at bringing together seriously committed people, from the
In this dialogue, the purpose was
to get together, listen to each other and re-connect back with the rich and
glorious Spiritual, Aesthetic, Intellectual and Universal heritage (including Kashmiriyat) of J&K…… one that has a tremendous
relevance in today's times. We intended
to work together for Peace and Prosperity for all, inspired by the Universal
Spirit, which has guided us all through the ages. This dialogue and
reconnection, gave the participants a chance to reconnect with the Underlying
Values that forge the Kashmiri Spirit,
and realize how deeply they draw from
the Human Principles of Love, Brotherhood and the Universal Oneness of all
humankind. It was also felt that a
solution to the problem of poor Indo-Pak relations, and to the
Both conferences were very successful. Open Space Technology was used in both cases.
Here's why I think OST helped so much:
1. One of the needs in the Indian Sub Continent, and Jammu & Kashmir in particular is for people to take responsibility for co-creating a future, which is deeply desired by all. Open Space Technology (OST) gave people an experiential feel of the process of co-creation. It was a direct way of experiencing the power of Freedom / Responsibility.
2. The process of opening space opened peoples' hearts. In situations of conflict and misunderstanding this is most important for building trust and courage. In both the conferences participants commented on how the open, loving atmosphere created in the conference was helpful in healing and re-conciliation.
3. The process of OST and the focus on listening to each other with respect, and honouring all voices gave many an opportunity to voice their feelings freely. For many people who had never found such a forum, this brought immense relief and deep satisfaction. It was also an affirmation of the basic human right of free expression. It also was an eye opener for people to hear about others problems.
4. There were many moments when people paused in silence to listen to Heart / Spirit / Inner guidance. This brought in a sacred dimension in the proceeding. Since silence is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Buddhist, it was whole-heartedly accepted by all. In an atmosphere charged with religious mistrust, it gave people a feel of the Peace that transcends religion.
5. In both the conferences, there was a lot of sharing of the practical house work at the conference centre (Dish washing, serving food, cleaning up, laying the tables etc). When you do such things with "the enemy", one strongly realize the basic commonality of life and human needs. This was a powerful means of connecting us back to our intrinsic humanness.
6. Because of the unbounded field of human expression that OST provides for, many creative expressions like skits, songs, dances, celebrations, humour and meditation emerged. These helped to bring people into the space of feelings / heart and thereby helped integration. This was further helped by the cultural programmes that were part of both conferences in the evenings.
The beauty of the physical environment ( Asia Plateau, Panchagani,
8. The Law of Two Feet, paying attention, being present, and showing up all brought people into integrity. This is the same as reconnection with spirit. Ultimately, it is spirit that heals, reunites, inspires and gives faith and courage for creative action.
9. Many initiatives have rippled out of these two conferences. With further conversations and invitations, the ripples of loving action and responsibility will reach out still further.
For more details about these conferences, visit www.pragatifoundation.org