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Pilgrims of Peace: Two men, two nations, one mission - Indo-Pak peace bridge

The Indian Express - 1 September 2005
by Jaskiran Kaur

It's been the whole world's mission and so it really didn't suprise us when two more jumped on to the Indo-Pak peace bandwagon, got down to collecting peace postcards, and are all set to deliver the same across the border. “ India 's been a great experience, and once we get our visa renewed we plan to come back,” Mark Peters and John Silliphant, the American postmen of peace, break in, as they stuff their sacks with tens and thousands of messages.

Social workers in Ahmedabad for six months, the two had to cut short the stay for visa renewal. “That's when an official trip to Delhi turned us into ambassadors of peace and we scouted schools for peace messages,” says John. Spontaneous and creative is what they call their peace march. “Main hoon nahn,” that's our tagline,” adds Mark, who along with John, believes in “availing themselves of service to other people.” “We are here, and we want to do the maximum, earn our stay on Earth,” their inspired Indianised souls rise to the occasion. And why shouldn't the spirits be high? After all, “Gandhi is huge in the US and India 's superpower status is inevitable,” they remark. Really? “While Indian poverty is on the surface, America is gripped with a deeper poverty of emotion. India , with its diversity and vibrant spirituality, is any day potentially much stronger,” the instigator and leader in Mark points out. Also running a software company back home, Mark sticks to the Gandhian philosophy. “Don't quote me on things I said 20 years ago, I'll change my mind till I die. That's Gandhi, and that's me, continue to evolve, reach out and open minds,” he carries on, adding how to get in touch with himself, he started a transport company too. “To get down and dirty - connect mental with the physical” - a major stressbuster. Great guns! And what's greater is that this guy learnt Hindi, keeps Autobiography of a Yogi as his Bible and loves Hindi films and songs. “Bawarchi, Sholay and then, Krishna , Aurobindo, Deepak Chopra...” Yup, we got it. Meanwhile the philosophical-follower John's Indian connection goes a step further – “Loveleen, my wife from Punjab,” he glees, “Plus, lots of books and Indian friends,” John adds, busy web designing and writing a children's book “Here Come the Tickle Bugs!” too.

“Changing your mind is the hallmark of openness,” says Mark, “and we are here, along with Yuvsatta, to bring down the walls.” Care to join?

  hearts It may be long before the law of love will be recognised in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another. -- M.K. Gandhi