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Parvati Khan on peace mission

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Delhi (UNI): As a pop singer in the 80s, she played a crucial role in making Indian music popular abroad through her unique brand of fusion music which bridged the divide between world cultures. Pop singer-cum-model Parvati Khan is now using the power of her enthralling music to spread the message of peace and spirituality across the world. Disturbed by the mental and emotional suffering afflicting mankind through wars, religious divide and worldwide killings in the name of God, terrorism, discrimination, injustice and exploitation, Parvati has taken upon herself the task of propogating, through her bhajans, talks and poetry, her vision of world harmony, non-violence, cultural integration, love, compassion and humanity.

Parvati Khan recently embarked on her Vishwa Shanti Yatra (World Peace Mission), which will take her to Dargahs (holy muslim shrines), churches, gurudwaras and even prisons in India and several countries of the world in quest of her vision of a world imbued with the spirit of unity and harmony. Accompanying her on her mission are her husband, Ace cinematographer Nadeem Khan and her son Jatin. Talking to UNI about her mission, Parvati said ''Through the mission. I seek to reach out to one and all who passionately believe in doing a service towards the Universe, towards making the world at least conducive towards a genuine peace process.'' ''The real purpose of the mission is to awaken the real humanity in us and awaken the sleeping conscience, through music and poetry,'' she said.

For the Trinidad-born Parvati, fame and celebrity status came right from the age of 12 when she won a TV talent contest in Trinidad and then, at a young age, made her mark as a top model as well as singer in India in the 80s - and released her first album of ballads, while in her early 20s, her first song for the Bollywood film 'Disco dancer' became a rage in India as well as abroad. Following the success of the song 'Jimmy Aaja', she was signed on by HMV. Her stunning persona and international style of presentation saw the multi-field singer fame soar to dizzy heights with her pioneering and unique brand of fusion music. Amid all this tryst with the arclights, an inner voice told Parvati that she was meant to serve humanity which led her on the path to spread the message of world peace.

According to Parvati, even in her teens, she felt disturbed by the mounting onslaught of emotional and mental suffering afflicting mankind.Having studied to be a nurse in London, Parvati held a deep desire to further qualify as a psychiatrist. ''The mounting onslaught of emotional and mental suffering afflicting mankind enormously disturbed me way back then,''she says. ''Right at the onset of my fame as a pop star, the bloodshed and trauma of the world hijacked my very being. I felt the pain of all who suffered in the name of war, religious divide and killings in the name of God, terrorism, discrimination, injustice, exploitation, all collectively awakened me in a powerful moment.'' Then, a divine inspiration in the 80s led her to pledge her life towards spreading the message of peace, humanity and global unity forcefully.

In the late 80s, during the height of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, she approached the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and urged him to make efforts to stop the bloodshed. Subsequently, she approached several heads of state and political leaders to implore them to incorporate the propogation of unity and integrity as part of the political agenda. She utilised the powerful tool of her music and fame to spread the noble message, opening every single concert performed by her till date with 15 minutes of music appealing for peace. In 2000, she got an opportunity to present her peace compositions at the hall of the United Nations General Assembly, where her call for peace was well received by many ambassadors and dignitaries.

Subsequently she also met the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the then US President Bill Clinton in pursuit of her mission of peace. Both the leaders had words of encouragement for her. In the wake of the 9/11 incident, she met US Congressman Frank Pallone and wrote to US President George Bush pleading with him to find any means other than war to deal with the situation.

For the last four years, the singer has been performing a special penance towards world peace, which includes rigorous fasting, prayers, repetition of chants of world peace 1,25000 times over a span of 8-10 days at each of the twelve sacred jyotirlings which covers the entire geography of India. During her mission, she has encountered severe protests, having been at the receiving end of stone pelting, firing and proclamations from Hindu fundamentalists who also demanded that she prove her faith in Hinduism or else she would not be allowed to enter Lord Shiva's temple in Varanasi, which was an inclusive part of the penance programme. However, protests towards her efforts to spread the message of unity and brotherhood has made Parvati even more convinced of her work. ''I feel it is the moral duty of every peace loving individual to reach out and join the mission. Our lives are worthy only when we use the power within us truthfully, towards the welfare of mankind as a whole,'' she says.

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