Darjeeling Dialogue Forum

An Initiative of the Citizens of Darjeeling going back to the year 2005. It began with Rev Stephen Lepcha, the Bishop of Darjeeling calling on the professors of Salesian College to share their resources in the field of inter religious studies and inter cultural philosophies for the preservation of harmony that is unique to Darjeeling civil society.
A core team consisting of members from the prominent faith communities of the then undivided district of Darjeeling met at the Tara Hall of Dali Monastery to mark its beginning.
Over the decade and more a series of inter faith meetings have been held in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Sonada, Mirik, Kalimpong, Gangtok, Pakyong and in some places more than once. The target groups in each of these gatherings too varied from school teachers to college professors; from the business community representatives to devotees and believers of each of the participating faith groups. The venue of these gatherings varied from temples, monasteries, churches and mosques to schools and NGO spaces.

Inter Faith Dialogue 2018

Members
  1. Rev Bishop Sephen Lepcha (Chairman)
  2. Fr Prof George Thadathil sdb (Member Secretary)
  3. Shri KS Moktan IPS (IG Prisons, Retd)
  4. Prof Irshad Ghulam Ahmed
  5. Shri TR Sharma
  6. Mr Vidyut Jain
  7. Mr Anurag Agarwal
  8. Lama Nawang Tenzin Gyalzo
  9. Lama Pembala Tshering
  10. Fr Alex Gurung
Activities and Reports
  • Inter faith Dialogue at Sai Mandir, 27 June 2018.
  • Inter faith Core Team Meet at St Paul’s School, Jalapahar, 3 October 2018.
  • Pre Christmas Inter faith Gathering at SCS on 15 December 2018
September 3rd Meeting of the Core Team of Darjeeling Dialogue Forum

The meeting took place at the Rectory, St Paul’s School, Jalapahar, Darjeeling.
Members present were: Mr TR Sharma (Sai Samiti), Mr Vidyut Jain (Jain Community), Rev Joy Halder (CNI), Fr Alex Gurung (RC) and the Secretary, Prof George Thadathil sdb.

The Group gathered at 12.00 noon, and the opening prayer was said by Fr Alex Gurung. The Agenda  for the meeting was explained by the Secretary:

i) To evaluate the previous function for the public at Sai Mandir on 28 June 18; and

ii) To plan for the upcoming months.

The organizing team represented by Mr TR Sharma submitted the video document of the gathering at Sai Mandir, Chowrastha. The details of the preparations were explained and the nature of participation, restricted for the city members and those from other faith communities was noted. The general feedback about the event was satisfactory and it was indeed a learning experience for the listeners, the devotees and the guests (including the ANFEP team). One of the team member, Prof Brian Hoffert has written a piece on Pluralism in Darjeeling. A Website is in formation by the Salesian College team to offer regional news and views for the class room purpose for the foreign scholars and teachers.

As for the possibility of percolating the idea and the experience of Dialogue as a way of life, it was proposed that a Class Reps/Beadles/Prefects of schools of the district numbering 45-50 could be gathered for a day of Dialogue exposure through a simulation and case study discussions.

It was proposed that Mr Vidyut and Fr Alex Gurung would meet up and formulate the outline of the day long programme and the said event would be intimated to the schools of the district so as to enable them to insert it in their school calendar for the upcoming session.

The meeting ended at 1.30 pm.

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