Report by OD bureau; Bangalore: “I would now like to work in the relief camps in Assam and help in any way I could.” Who would have thought that a 24-year-old ex-militant, will say this?
Vinay, who took to violent activities at a tender age of 15, shared that he could see a marked difference in his attitude.
He is not the only one. Two hundred and forty-one ex-militants have similar astounding stories of transformation to tell. A month-long rehabilitative program at The Art of Living campus for 241 former members of different militant outfits charted their way from a life of violent acts to positive, constructive ones.
"We have been given a second life. We have been revived through yoga, pranayama and meditation," said Shyamanta Handique, 45, from Sonitpur.
Initiated by the Art of living and approved by the Assam Government, the aim of the program was to instill confidence and prepare them to be a part of the process of sustainable and peaceful social development.
The Program included meditation, pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and yogasanas to de-stress and detoxify. It helped them purge their pent-up anger, doubt, fear and conflicts. “Many participants shared that their state would have been better off had they received such training 30 years ago,” shares Mr. Sanjay Kumar, CEO, Government Executive Program, The Art of Living.
The Art of Living Program helped them heal the mental scars and physical pains, ailments. Some reported deep sleep and rest after several months of sleeplessness.
The evenings witnessed the whole group at the satsang, singing and being a part of the large congregation, in the presence of the Art of living founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. “Initially, the biggest challenge was to build trust and to make them follow the discipline of our Program, as most of them had many physical and attitudinal problems,” further shares Mr. Sanjay Kumar.
The focus of the training was to inspire them to see the bigger meaning of life and take
responsibility for themselves, their society, state and the country.
Lending them economic independence was the vocational training in paper bag making, Organic farming, Horticulture, Zero Budget Farming and Dairy Farming.
These former militants, majority of whom had acquired training in the Kachin jungles of Myanmar and Bhutan, now report a transformational positive outlook towards life as they prepare to return to their state as ambassadors of peace. The participants are convinced that this is the road they want to tread.