UNVEILING OF PEACE PILLAR IN PIETERMARITZBURG On the 16th of April 2011 in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – Religious and community leaders from across the province, joined hands with Premier Zweli Mkize in the Capital City to call for peace in the province ahead, during and after the 2011 May local government elections. The event was held at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and hosted jointly between the Kwa Zulu Natal Provincial government and Mr Ishwar Ramlutchman ( devotee of Sri Swami Sivananda).Apart from the devotees of Satgurudev, The National Minister of Communications, Mr Roy Padayachee, The Mayor of Pietermaritzburg, Mr. Mike Tarr, The Mayor of Umgungundlovu District Municipality, Mr Yusuf Bamjee, The first Lady of the Province, Mrs May Mkize, The Deputy Mayor of Durban , Mr Logie Nadoo, Celebrity Mrs Zanele Mbokazi and and many other dignitaries attended this glorious event.

The event began with the unveiling of the historic Sivananda Peace Pillar Heritage Monument by Premier Zweli Mkize, The General-Secretary of the Divine Life Society, Sri Swami Padmanabhananda from Rishikesh, India , the Minister of Comunications in RSA & Mr .Ishwar Ramlutchman.

The Sivananda Peace Pillar in Pietermaritzburg (now a heritage monument) towering an impressive 3,5metres high and is inscribed with prayers from the world’s major religions. It was erected in consultation with the provincial heritage agency AMAFA and stands on a National Heritage Site in the Carbineer’s Garden next to the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg.

The entire peace event was an initiative driven by KZN business and community leader Ishwar Ramlutchman (philanthropist, humanitarian and Honarary Patron of the Divine Life Society , Rishikesh, India) in conjunction with the provincial government. Ramlutchman is known for his ability to get conflict communities to work together for the good of the province. In Kwazulu-Natal, Peace Pillars have already been unveiled in Empangeni, Phoenix, LadySmith, Greytown and Tongaat. Similar pillars will also be unveiled in Cape Town and Mpumalanga later in 2011, while two more will make their way to Swaziland and Chennai, India, respectively.

The Peace Pillar initiative was borne from a commitment made by Ramlutchman to “his beloved Swamiji”, the late Sri Swami Sahajananda, where he undertook to install eight “Sivananda Peace Pillar’s” across South Africa but has gone on to surpass the number promised.

“The Sivananda Peace Pillar is a source of inspiration. In the run-up to our local government elections, peace and unity is crucial. Political and social stability are a sign of a united province and we must work hard at preserving the peace amongst all our citizens. The Pietermaritzburg launch is especially significant given the region’s troubled political past. It is a time for peace.”

The Peace Pillars are erected in honour of Sri Swami Sivananda, founder of the Divine Life Society Worldwide and his disciple, Sri Swami Sahajananda.

Three books that was published was released by Swami Padmanabhananda for free distribution at the event,

  • Gems of Wisdom
  • Positive Aids to Peace
  • Thus initiates Swami Sivananda

The event culminated with the awarding of the Sivananda Peace Awards to compassionate and exceptional KwaZulu-Natalians by the General-Secretary of the Divine Life Society, Sri Swami Padmanabhananda from Rishikesh, India and Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman.

The recipients of the Sivananda Peace Award (a miniature replica of the peace pillar) was awarded by Sri Swami Padmanabhananda to several KwaZulu-Natalians including Premier Mkize, KZN Celebrity and community worker Zanele Mbokazi, well respected journalist and media leader Mary Papayya and IEC provincial Electoral Officer Mawethu Mosery.

They were recognised for:

  • Their compassion;
  • For contributing meaningful towards unity and peace;
  • For showing courage and leadership;
  • For going the extra mile to make a difference and put KZN on the map.

A similar award was awarded to the former SA President Nelson Mandela and the Deputy President of RSA, Mr gKalema Mothlanthe recently.

The peace project has the support of world leaders – including the World President of the Divine Life Society, his Holiness Sri Swami Vimalananda; President Jacob Zuma; former President of RSA, Dr. Nelson Mandela, the late Dr M.V. Shembe (Leader of the Nazareth Baptist Church), current KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize; King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka-Bhekuzulu and his Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. The Government of India, the United Nations, and the Chennai Municipal Corporation of Tamil Nadu have given their unconditional support and commitment towards the Peace Pillar Project and the awards.

Visit: www.sivanandapeacepillars.com or www.acindustrial.org.za