Jan. 10, 2023 Live from the road

Chattogram(Chittagong) - Shakpura

Reported by Arpan DeAngelo 5.0 km

Our men's team stopped on our way to Shakpura from Chittagong to take this photo on the Shah Amanat Bridge over the Karnaphuli River, one of the many rivers in Bangladesh.

Finally in Shakpura, Rimon Ghosh carries the Peace Torch with some children as we follow them on the way to some of the events before we visit the birthplace home of Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run. Rimon is a relative of Sri Chinmoy and has been instrumental in helping to organize many of the events for our international team of runners here with the Peace Run in Chittagong and Shakpura.

We were very happy to visit the Sri Aurobindo Matri-Mondir in Shakpura on our way to the East Shakpura birthplace home of Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run.

We were so happy to have Bijoy Shankar Chowdhury, in blue shirt, join us for a short meeting and meditation here today. He helped greatly in the project to renovate this wonderful Temple for the Sri Aurobindo and Mother's followers.

We are also very grateful to Sangeeta Chowdhury, with the red sweater, who sang for us so nicely with the children at the soulful event we had here today.

Our Peace Run Team at the Sri Aurobindo Matri Mandir, along with some of the children and adults who joined us for this special day in Shakpura. This special Temple dedicated to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, was founded in 1918 by Mohini Mohan Dutta.

Our next destination along the path was Shakpura Model High School nearby.

Some people were inspired to run with the Peace Torch....

...while others just enjoyed the scenery and walked most of the way.

As we entered with the Peace Torch some of the children were quite curious as to what would happen here on this special day.

We first met with Mahamodul Hoque, Senior teacher at the Shakpura Model High School.

Our team members introduce ourselves and sing the Peace Run song composed by Sri Chinmoy over 30 years ago.

Mahatapa(right) and Chinmoy(center) spoke mostly in Bangla to the children who came to meet with us.

It was so nice to have some of the members of the Ghosh families here in Shakpura related to Sri Chinmoy to come and join us in our events with the children.

Mahamodul Hoque, Senior teacher at the Shakpura Model High School, spoke eloquently on the role of education to help bring peace to our communities.

Kishore Dey, one of the main organizers of this event and a very good friend of the Ghosh family here in Shakpura, tells the students about what is happening today in their village to celebrate the Peace Run and its Founder, Sri Chinmoy. On the left is Chandan Chowdhury who helped considerably to prepare this whole day's event as well as decorating the pathways for our arrival. Rimon Ghosh, on the right, and his family have also been working very hard to organize this amazing day and prepare for our arrival.

We were happily surprised to receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the school at the end of the program.

Many of the children wanted to take photos with the Torch after leaving the event we had indoors.

A great group of people getting ready to make our way to the 'main event', a Joy Day Festival and Celebration at the childhood home of Sri Chinmoy, Peace leader and Founder of the Peace Run.

Rikish Ghosh leads the way to our final destination.

Many children joined us on the Peace Run/walk to the ceremony and festival today.

On the way are a few landmarks guiding us in the direction of the birthplace home of Sri Chinmoy.

Finally we reached our main destination and stopped to take a photo at the entrance of the beautifully decorated grounds of the birthplace of Sri Chinmoy.

We were all wonderstruck at the beauty of the set up here and the powerful vibration of this setting at the childhood home of Sri Chinmoy. Most of us immediately wanted to take photos by the beautiful decorations and photo collage of many of the famous people who shared the Peace Torch with Sri Chinmoy decades ago.

Rimon Ghosh, with Torch, his son Rikish and his nephew Rishik are three of the many relatives of Sri Chinmoy who also helped to organize these wonderful events.

Our main team sang the Peace Run song and gave a little introduction to the gathering.

Swapan Kumar Ghosh, eldest living cousin to Sri Chinmoy (Chinmoy Kumar Ghosh), welcomes us to his home which is connected to the historic home of Sri Chinmoy's childhood.

This is the humble abode where Sri Chinmoy (Chinmoy Kumar Ghosh) was born in 1931. The two windows are to his original bedroom. The house itself has been renovated since then due to some damage over the years, but still has the same basic structure and appearance.

Around the other side of the house is the main entrance where many of us wanted to stand for a photo. As you can see the doorways and windows were quite small with bars and no glass.

Many of us took turns to quietly enter the childhood bedroom of Sri Chinmoy and reflect on the peaceful atmosphere and consciousness which was cultivated here over 80 years ago.

Chinmoy and Arpan visit the room where Sri Chinmoy was born.

After some quiet moments inside the house during the whole day until after dark there were many exciting activities taking place on the grounds around the house. A local newspaper was conducting some interviews with some of the runners here.

Swapan Kumar Ghosh, the senior member of the Ghosh family and first cousin of Sri Chinmoy, is interviewed in his home attached to the original childhood home of Sri Chinmoy. Kushal Baran Chakroborty, a Professor from Chittagong University, interviews him while Mahatapa and Chinmoy from the Peace Run team translate.

Chittagong University students video this historic interview with Swapan Kumar Ghosh.

Meanwhile some of the women are working hard preparing many meals for our team and others attending here.

The meal was so delicious we did not want to leave the dining area but we had to make way for others to follow and enjoy the feast.

Back outside was also a children's art contest where many children gathered to participate.

Some of the older children participated in various games as well. This game involved trying to bite a biscuit or cookie off of a string that was raised and lowered as they tried to reach it only with their mouth.

Many groups of people including relatives, friends and neighbors passed and shared the Peace Torch to offer wishes and prayers for peace.

Children of all ages had a chance to hold the Torch and offer their youthful energy to share with us all on this special day.

The adult women had their own game of pass the pillow in a circle formation. Whoever was holding the pillow when the music stopped had to leave the game.

Rikish congratulates his Auntie for winning the pillow passing contest.

The boys played a tough game of one-legged 'chicken'. The last one standing after trying to push each other out hopping on one leg only is the winner.

Needless to say our two team members were eventually pushed out by the youth.

Happy spectators enjoying some of the exciting fun and games.

Meanwhile, on the quiet side of the house Rishik Ghosh takes a selfie with some of us in front of the main entrance to the house.

Many friends and relatives wanted to have their photo with the Peace Torch in front of the main entrance to this historic home.

Some of the students, relatives and runners have a photo with Swapan Ghosh who so kindly and generously opened up his home here to help create such an historically significant and at the same time entertaining event.

There was some very lush and beautiful surrounding property by the house that some people, and animals as well, got to enjoy.

A peaceful evening was setting in as some people still enjoyed the silence of the main entry side of the house opposite all the activities which were still taking place.

Many people watched inspiring videos of Sri Chinmoy's other worldwide peace initiatives and activities. He offered hundreds of free Peace Concerts in many countries around the world inspiring peace through soulful music.

Some of the athletic events that Sri Chinmoy initiated and even took part in himself also surprised some of the people here, many of them who never really met or knew Sri Chinmoy personally.

Some of the children were excited to hear the results of their art contest earlier.

There was also a panel discussion held with some of the peace runners and relatives of Sri Chinmoy.

At the awards ceremony we gratefully offered gifts to those who came to cover this event, such as Professor Kushal Baran Chakroborty from the Chittagong University who stayed all day with us to enjoy the festivities and document some of the events.

Also children received prizes for their wonderful artwork.

As the activities were winding down and people were leaving late into the evening, the peace and stillness that remained was quite powerful and uplifting.

It was hard to say goodbye and to leave. But the smiles on these children's faces with Sweta, our peace runner from Nepal, tell the whole story of what happened here today. We are so grateful to everyone who organized or came to participate in such a memorable event at such an important and historic site.

Torch carried by
Andrea Marcato (Italy), Arafatur Rahaman (Bangladesh), Arpan DeAngelo (United States), Chinmoy Bishwas (Bangladesh), Ion Frunza (Moldova), Kishore Dey (Bangladesh), Mahatapa Palit (Bangladesh), Mishu Dey (Bangladesh), Mohammad Zakir Hossain (Bangladesh), Monika Das (Bangladesh), Mussa Ahammad Razu (Bangladesh), Rikesh Ghosh (Bangladesh), Rimon Ghosh (Bangladesh), Rishik Ghosh (Bangladesh), Robert Benedek (Hungary), Roxana Magdici (Romania), Shantishri McGrath (Great Britain), Shuvro Das (Bangladesh), Sweta Pradhan (Nepal).  
Photographers
Arpan DeAngelo, Ion Frunza, Rishik Ghosh, Robert Benedek
The torch has travelled 5.0 km from Chattogram(Chittagong) to Shakpura.

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