Earlier in 2007 the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution selecting Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday as the day on which the world will every year renew its pledge for non-violence. On October 2nd Horniman Circle and the steps of the Asiatic Society came alive with an artistic joy-fest to reaffirm the values of peace and non-violence.
The Peace Mela brought together artists working in a wide variety of mediums. There were photographs, paintings, floor installations, even chalk drawings on the walk-ways. There was installation art - an origami ‘mandala’ of paper flowers on the grass in one of the quads of the Horniman Circle. Hundreds of poems sent by citizens from across Mumbai were hung from a Peace Tree in one corner of the park. A Peace Kite corner had hundreds of brightly coloured kites with messages of peace ( which members of the public penned when they came to the Mela). Paintings, posters and artworks from children were displayed along the pathways of the garden. Students of art colleges exhibited their canvases specially created for the occasion.
Poets, singers and theatre performers gave expression to their longing for peace in different forms and languages. See list of poets and performers at the end.
The music performances on the larger stage in front of the Asiatic Society were also multi-cultural. Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan paid tribute to the peace quest by rendering “ekla chalo re” on the sarod. Jagjit Singh moved people to tears with his “He Ram”. Vivenne Pocha and Merlin D’Souza stirred the soul with a fusion rendering of Vandemataram.
The evening reached it most magical moments when the audience of over 7000 people, who were watching the show from the steps of the Asiatic Society, held lit candles and sang along as Devieka Bhojwani led the singing of “We Shall Overcome” in English and Hindi.
The joyous participation of such a wide variety of citizens was fulfillment enough for Citizens for Peace. And yet the following message from a participant in the Mela provided a final loving touch to the whole effort: