By Kestur Vasuki
Bangalore, June 1 : Spiritual leaders from across the nation took part in AIDS awareness seminar conducted in Bangalore in collaboration with UNAIDS on Sunday.
The two-day seminar called 'Faith in Action' jointly organised by the Art of Living society and the UN AIDS Control programme witnessed the participation of 68 spiritual leaders from across the nation, who congregated in the Hindu conclave to fight the challenge of formidable disease HIV/AIDS which is spreading at an alarming rate in the country.
The seminar was intended to call upon the spiritual leaders to discuss about HIV/AIDS and its impact on the Hindu community in the country as it has been observed that religious leaders, seers and saints have significant influence on mindsets of the common man in country in various arenas of their lives.
The spiritual Guru Shri Shri Ravishankar said that the problem of HIV AIDS could only be fought with united efforts of Hindu religious leaders.
"There are wide range of saints from all over the county from completely different ideologies and mindsets have all come together for one single purpose you know, to see a healthy society, AIDS free society. In this sense it is very significant," said Shri Shri Ravi Shankar.
Firebrand Hindu leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Praveen Thogadia said that the problem should be taken into consideration on priority basis.
"We have to accept that there is a problem of AIDS in India. We should not negate it more. If we accept this problem, it is the responsibility of every individual and organization's leader to solve the problem. And amongst all, they have a big role, which I have mentioned. We can create big awareness," said Thogadiya.
UNAIDS which is initiating and motivating religious leaders to fight HIVAIDS considered this a great example in India.
The country director of UNAIDS, Denis Brown pointed out that since the religious leaders have noteworthy influence on the common mindsets, their active participation would have deep impact in the battle against AIDS.
"It is extremely significant. Its very important, it's a moment when people who have most influence on the behaviour of the coming Indian man, are coming together to understand what AIDS is about and to really come forward with a program to reduce materialism and to promote healthy behavior, risk free behavior. It is going to have major impact on the epidemic in India and this is a great day," said Brown.
The number of people estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in India is about 2.47 million.
Yet over 40 percent of all Indian women have not heard of AIDS, creating a dangerous combination of lack of knowledge and greater sexual activity.