THis i believe: Peace is Possible
My introduction into Bharathanatyam dance began as a way to better connect with my culture and religion. Bharathanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms of India. The art was handed down as a living tradition from generation to generation. As I started mastering the dance, I started enjoying the aspects of story-telling, precise footwork, and intricate poses. Dance slowly became my passion, as I began feeling the emotions of dance throughout my body. When I dance, I feel as if I am floating in the clouds. Martha Graham once said “Dance is the hidden language of the soul”. This passion takes over my mind, body, and soul. I feel very peaceful whenever I dance. It seemed like dance was the only place I could feel that sense of peace. Growing up with the impacts of 9/11 and war, I remember the concept of world peace being very cliché and unattainable. I was surprised when I found that dance and peace could be connected. I started performing Bharathanatyam from school talent shows to Cultural festivals and other diversity related events. Through these events, I realized that music and dance bridges cultures and helps people relate to one another and promote peace. There is a famous quote that says “Music is the universal language of mankind.” With this universal language, suddenly people wanted to know more about my culture, the music, the dance, the language, the food. Strangers became friends. I have had the honor of dancing at the “Imagine Peace” World Festival event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the past 3 years. In 2010, the Festival was to honor the life and legacy of two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee John Lennon on his 70th birthday. In his song, Imagine, he sings “Imagine all the people living life in peace/ You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one/ I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one.” I am ready to join to see the world as one. “You must be the change you see in the world” - this quote by Gandhi resonates in me when I spread the message of peace and non-violence through my dance in this event and more to come. In high school, I continued to promote peace when I met the founder of Pennies for Peace, Greg Mortenson, when I was working as a kid reporter for ‘Time for Kids’ magazine. Pennies for Peace is an organization that helps build schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not only are these girls able to get a good education and therefore promote peace among the future generations, but also students in the United States are able to become more globally aware citizens by raising funds. I think that the goal of Pennies for Peace is very forward-thinking. Women who get a better education are shown to raise their children to value education. Also, as educated individuals they understand why violence is negative, and help teach their children those values. This year I am helping to start a new club on campus called “Building Walls of Wisdom”, which helps build schools in developing countries to promote education. I believe that education will help bring peace in future generations but also understanding among other cultures. I am also part of GlobeMED that is working with an organization called SAW, or Social Action for Women in Thailand. My future goal is to be a doctor and I really would love to be part of the Peace Corps or Doctors Beyond Borders to work with people in different countries and promote peace and education. Peace is possible. It may take a long time to fully achieve, but each small step towards peace is a step in the right direction.