All-Faith Council for Poverty Alleviation (AF-CPA)
The Bhartiya Chetna Kendra finds that people of nearly all religious communities all over the world, in large measure, suffer from spiritual poverty. It finds that people of all religious communities in India suffer from stark material poverty in addition. People of certain specific religious communities suffer more intensively and extensively from this malaise. This kind of stark material poverty tends to make human existence meaningless.
2) The Kendra believes that, in spite of atheism and agnosticism spreading fast with materialism and consumerism, religion is a major force to reckon with. And, in various parts of the world, the regular suicide-bombings and genocides inspired by certain interpretations of religion prove the fact that religion is still a hugely motivating force. How we use this power of faith is left to us. The Kendra believes that it is possible to harness the power of different faiths to inspire humanity to take positive action too. One of the directions of this positive action is poverty alleviation.
3) OBJECTS OF THE AF-CPA: To alleviate material poverty along with spiritual poverty, the Kendra has decided to form an All-Faith Council for Poverty Alleviation. Its objectives will be as under:
a) To bring together eminent citizens and the most constructive and genuine leaders of different faiths to find ways of inspiring their respective communities to focus on spiritual development, which would mean focusing more on instilling human values and purification of the soul for attaining summum bonum of their respective religions, like nirvana (Buddhism), Moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death (Hinduism), securing a place in the Heaven (Islam, Christianity and Judaism), as opposed to merely following the external rituals, superstitions or social laws.
b) Apart from spiritual development, harnessing the power of faith for alleviation of material poverty, which envelopes huge chunks of various religious communities, making India home to the largest number of the poor in the world.
c) Creating institutions similar in nature but specific to different religious communities that would integrate religion, spirituality and culture with poverty alleviation and knowledge infrastructure.
d) Promoting non-violence, respect for all religions, religious tolerance, communal and social harmony to bring peace and prosperity.
4) STRUCTURE OF THE AF-CPA: The proposed structure for this All-Faith Council for Poverty Alleviation is proposed to be as under:
a) A General Body consisting of around 1000 religious leaders and eminent citizens.
b) A 100-strong Executive Council with representation from all faiths.
c) A Presidium of seven members at the top drawn from different faiths.
5) The Kendra has already prepared a model for people of the Hindu faith that integrates religion, spirituality and culture with poverty alleviation and knowledge promotion infrastructure, and named it ‘Gita Dham’. A similar model is proposed for some of the other faiths, the followers of which suffer more from poverty. The institution for the Muslims is proposed to be named ‘The Islamic Culture Centre’, for Christians, ‘The Christian Culture Centre’, and for the Buddhists, ‘The Buddhist Culture Centre’. The concept note on ‘Gita Dham’, which will provide the broad model for similar institutions of other faiths, can be found in both Hindi and English at www.bhartiyachetna.org. A one-page flyer on the Gita Dham is enclosed for a general idea.