Thursday, April 4, 2019

You Did It For Me Too!

This post is dedicated to all those who spoke up, stood up, helped the powerless, never stopped dreaming and dared to love even when it seemed impossible and became unbearable. I also want thank all of you who were before me because you gave me the legs to stand on, who are around me because you are the heart that beats in my chest and who will continue to come into being forevermore because you are my wings to the limitless sky! We all feed into each other and make each other stronger and better! 

Every time you stood up
for the rights of all,
You did it for me too!

Every time you questioned
the social norms,
You did it for me too!

Every time you dared
to be different,
You did it for me too!

Every time you suffered
pain and humiliation,
You did it for me too!

Every time you broke
the glass ceiling,
You did it for me too!

Every time you fell,
got up and moved forward,
You did it for me too!

Every time you extended your hand
to pick up a fellow human being,
You did it for me too!

Every time you shared 
an opportunity with the marginalized,
You did it for me too!

Every time you covered
someone's shame with dignity,
You did it for me too!

Every time you magnified
the voice of the lowly,
You did it for me too!

Every time you defeated
oppression and injustice,
You did it for me too!

Every time you raised
the banner of equality,
You did it for me too!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Practice Mindfulness!

Hi everyone, I just wanted to remind you to practice mindfulness often. Peace is within us and we must take time to be in touch with it and let it flow outside of us so that it can reach others too! Have a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Bring It On!!!

Grateful for the injustice, ‘coz that’s what makes my struggle more powerful! Grateful for the pain, ‘coz that’s what makes my smile more meaningful! Grateful for their never ending attacks, ‘coz they make me persistent! Grateful for the defeats, ‘coz they make me resilient! Grateful for the half deaf ears, ‘coz they make my voice vociferous! Grateful for the slander and name calling, ‘coz that’s what makes me famous 😉

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Because Peace Is Possible!

In the middle of the chaos,
Seek peace!
Even when it is arduous,
Hold on to peace! 

The fight for justice,
Pursue with peace!
Speak up, the way it is,
Express with peace!

When anger takes over,
Respond with peace!
When doubts bother,
Stand firm in peace!

Because it is possible,
Sustain peace! 
You and I are able,
Let's make peace!

Since it is the right way,
Follow peace!
No matter what they say,
Retain peace!

With all our differences,
Enjoy Peace!
Let's build on commonalities,
A masterpiece of Peace! 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Pulwama Attack: War or Peace?

On 14th of February this year, 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers were killed in Pulwama district of Kashmir by a native man supported by Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan based terrorist organization. Since then Indian military has lost a total of 50 personnel in encounters with those behind this attack (based in Kashmir). A recent article by the Economics Times of India, US President Donal Trump has expressed grave concern about what this situation could lead to and expressed empathy towards Indian sentiment. 

Talking about Indian sentiment, what is it and is it what it should be? Anger towards Pakistan is understandable but is a war with Pakistan a right next step? It is true that Jaish-e-Mohammad is based out of Pakistan but is current Pakistani administration really behind this specific attack? Furthermore, should an average Pakistani family be punished for it? More importantly, war would probably also mean losing more Indian soldiers. In other words, more Indian families losing 
a dear one. No matter who wins the war, it is always the women and children who lose on both sides.

Instead of expecting the government to wage a war, this is a time to reflect on what would be good for the country grounded in the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation. If India was able to defeat the great British Empire through non-violence, can she not win over smaller powers using the same principles? Average Indians and Pakistanis are not looking for a war, they are looking for a prosperous future for their children. I have travelled to most Indian states including Kashmir and have never met one person who would prioritize war over peace in their calm mind. 

I am not saying those who planned and implemented this and other attacks should go unpunished. Those people should be brought to justice and I understand Indian military is doing that. However, holding anyone and everyone that may represent the religious/ethnic identity of the terrorists accountable is not right. The desire to punish all Kashmiris is not justified and the Supreme Court of India happens to agree with that. Prime Minister Modi also made a statement to that effect in a recent rally. 

Instead of asking for a war against Pakistan or attacking Kashmiris, this is a time for us to think about the families who have lost a son, a husband, a father, and a dear one. And think of those who have lost their comrades and are still doing their duty by risking their lives to protect sovereignty of the nation. If we truly empathize with their pain, we wouldn't push more soldiers towards war just because we who are in the comfort of our homes want a bloody revenge. Those who are responsible to defend the country will make a responsible decision. 

Those of us who are impacted by this horrific attack, please utilize this energy to facilitate collective healing starting from the families and colleagues of the fallen. Here are three actions I suggest we can take:

1) There are websites through which you can donate for the family members. We should try to understand what are the specific needs of those families, which family needs what resource. 
2) Understand the needs of CRPF as an organization and how can we advocate for them. Enroll to strengthen CRPF, if eligible.
3) Finally, spend some time to truly understand what could have led this man from a relatively well-to-do district of Kashmir to attack the 40 uniformed personnel who came from simple family backgrounds who had nothing against him. Is there more than what meets the eye? Do we really understand the complexity of the problem to be able to start talking about war and violence as the solution? 

Research, read, reflect and rely on those who are able to make informed decisions. Remember, we all have the opportunity to serve our motherland and we should focus on that especially in a moment like this. US President John F. Kennedy once said, 'ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country' and this is the time to think how can we help heal and strengthen our motherland rather inflicting more wounds on her! Together we are stronger and with peace we can go farther! 

For those who read Hindi, you can read a poem I wrote on this subject on my Hindi blog. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Inner Peace

It can be very hard to embrace peace while seeking justice. The search for common ground becomes difficult when at least one party's agenda is to oppress and marginalize the other. While peace and justice go hand in hand, often times fight for justice shrinks the space for inner peace.

A constant process of reflection and introspection is required to keep a check on your own thought process and behaviors as you move forward. For those who are genuinely trying to sustain peace within and with the environment, here are a few simple tips: 

Find Common Ground:
  • The hardest and the most important part is to continue to look for and build on the common ground with those who might seem to be in opposition with you. No matter what, there are always shared needs and aspirations among all human beings. Well-being, a good future for the next generation, common principles and values, greater good are just some of the examples. 
  • It requires a patient and collaborative dialogue to explore commonality. Both sides need to actively listen to each other to find out what's that little piece that appeals to me in what the other person is saying. That focus needs to be sustained because we know it is very easy to hear others just to be able to reply back! Be patient with others, yourself and with the process!
  • When allegations are made, listen with an open heart. Some allegations will make sense and some will not. Take what makes sense and leave what doesn't. Accept all allegations are important for the one who is making them because either they have felt them genuinely or they make their case better. However, what is important for others doesn't have to be important for you. Focus on what makes you a better human being and what facilitates the way for peace. 
  • Ensure to take breaks from the conversations and reflect on what is going on. Combine reflection with simple mindfulness activities such as deep breathing, prayer, meditation, or walking. Ask yourself, is peace still your goal, both inner and interpersonal? If yes, in what direction the conversation is going? Are you on track or need course correction? Keep the perspective and focus.
  • Go back to the conversation with renewed energy and focus. Engage in limited durations until the other party is influenced by your energy or they disengage. Make sure that the other party understands your goal and genuinely try to understand what is their objective. Not all the engagements will end in interpersonal peace but they must not snatch away your inner peace for too long. Continue to practice mindfulness as you engage or eventually decide to put closure to ongoing discussion. 
Retaining Inner Peace - Anjana Dayal de Prewitt 2018


In the end, no matter what the conclusion of the engagement is, maintain your inner peace. Ensure you have done everything to stand up for yourself in a peaceful fashion. Other things might include escalating the issue to higher authorities, alliance with other leaders in the organization/community, researching policies and laws (if, relevant) that support your case, documenting your thoughts so that they are clear to all involved and other things that you might come to your mind that are peaceful. I will end by sharing what one of my mentors told me as I was going through a similar struggle, she said, "Keep your chin up and smile as often as appropriate!"  Claim your inner peace, it belongs to you! 

Please share any questions and/or insights in the comment box below. We all need to protect our inner peace in midst of the struggles of this world, any insights to further improve or strengthen this post are welcome! 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Request of an Immigrant

It is not easy to be an immigrant in a foreign country, leaving everything you knew to learn and adjust to everything new. This poem tries to give words to a silent request that most of us immigrants have for the citizens in the host countries.

Beyond the color of my skin,
See me, my brother!
Beyond my different accent,
Hear me, my sister!

I bring more than my foreign birth,
I bring valuable experiences,
I bring my skills, a desire to collaborate,
I bring more than our differences!

I am not here to put you down,
I am not here to snatch your portion,
I am here to exchange goodness,
I desire for a bright future to apportion! 

I beg you to treat me as equal,
I am as human as you are,
I beg you to evaluate me fairly,
I am God's child just as you are!

I want us to celebrate each other,
I want us to elevate each other,
About our differences and commonalities,
I want us to educate each other!

I love my motherland so dearly,
I would go back home if I could,
My language, my culture, and my identity,
I would reclaim everything, only if I could!

But brother I am here,
Sister, let me in with an embrace,
Let me be part of your family,
I promise I will add to its grace!

Yes, for you it might be a compromise,
To have a stranger in your land,
Let me not be a stranger for too long,
Make me your sister, give me your hand!

You Did It For Me Too!

This post is dedicated to all those who spoke up, stood up, helped the powerless, never stopped dreaming and dared to love even when it see...