Like the Arab world, Israel has increased its relations with Asia

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
Like the Arab world, Israel has increased its relations with Asia

Like the Arab world, Israel has increased its relations with Asia

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After dramatic diplomatic achievement in Middle East and Arab world, Israel is gradually moving to build a shared future between Israel and Asian nations, and successfully preparing Israel for a secure and prosperous future in the 'Asian Century'.

For more than 20 years, Israel’s ties with countries in Asia have gradually increased, enough to warrant talk of Israel’s own pivot to the region. But it is not just a pivot. Instead, it is a major realignment of Israel’s foreign policy on a broad scale, supported by geopolitical developments and motivated by Israel’s slowly eroding political relations with Europe and the United States. According to World Polities Review Israel deepens Asia ties in gradual realignment of Foreign Policy.

Two years ago, on 13 August 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel and the US released a joint statement publicly announcing the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern countries. On 15 September 2020 the Emirati Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, signed the peace agreement known as the 'Abraham Accords' at an official ceremony chaired by the former US President Donald Trump at the White House.

The formalisation of the UAE-Israel entente has brought about a major reconfiguration of the political and security makeup of the Middle East by broadening the scope of Israel’s allies in the Arabian Peninsula. The Emirati and Israeli leaderships welcomed the 'Abraham Accords' and presented the diplomatic achievement to their citizens as a powerful political construct that would allow the two countries to better deliver on their national priorities.

The UAE and Bahrain’s mutual recognition deal with Israel broke 50 years’ policy. Following Sudan, Saudi Arabia became the next Arab state to normalise relations. Israel’s longest-serving prime minister pops up on Saudi state-run television from Tel Aviv. An Israeli-American declares himself the “chief rabbi of Saudi Arabia” after arriving on a tourist visa. A prominent Saudi family invests in two Israeli companies and doesn’t bother to hide it. According to media reports Israel and Saudi Arabia: No Longer Enemies But Not Quite Friends Previously clandestine links are increasingly visible as rivalries cautiously give way to pragmatic economic and security ties.

Meanwhile, Israel is also willing to work towards establishing ties with Southeast Asia's Muslim majority nations, its ambassador to Singapore said media frequently.

All these recent events would have been unthinkable not long ago. But previously clandestine links between Saudi Arabia and Israel are increasingly visible as some of the Middle East’s deep-seated rivalries cautiously give way to pragmatic economic and security ties. Saudi crown prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to accelerate his plans to overhaul an oil-reliant economy, while Israel is keen to build on 2020’s diplomatic breakthroughs with smaller Gulf nations.

“We do not view Israel as an enemy, but rather as a potential ally,” Prince Mohammed said in a striking reassessment of one of the region’s most consequential fault-lines.

On the other hand, in the case of Indonesia, despite the lack of diplomatic ties with Israel, there is currently about $500 million of direct and indirect annual bilateral trade between the two countries (not including defense). But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Tremendous untapped potential exists between Israel and Indonesia in sectors such as education, healthcare, agtech, foodtech, water technology, fintech, cybersecurity and mobility, to name just a few.

Ms. Rebecca Zeffert, the founder and executive director of the 'Israel-Asia Center', an Israeli not-for-profit organization dedicated to informing, empowering and connecting the Israel-Asia leaders of tomorrow toward building a more sustainable future in the 'Asian Century' wrote, "I was in Indonesia to lead a unique delegation of Israelis in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country: alumni and advisers of our Israel-Indonesia Futures program. This was the second year that we had run this program with this Southeast Asian giant – despite the lack of diplomatic ties with Israel. The program had been borne out of COVID, when all of the Israel-Asia Center’s leadership programs had to be put on hold."

Currently, the 2022 host of the G20, Indonesia is projected to become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2030. This growth is not surprising when you look at the figures. With a population of 275 million spread across 17,500 islands, Indonesia ranks as the fourth-largest country in the world – and the world’s third-largest democracy, she mentioned in her article published in a leading Israeli newspaper adding "Indonesia has 202 million Internet users and an Internet economy growth rate of 49% per year – projected to reach $330 billion by 2030. The country also has the world’s fastest-growing smartphone adoption rate, estimated to reach 239 million users by 2026."

However, Rebecca further pointed out that this economic giant is still being largely overlooked by Israelis. In all of our meetings that week, responses from our Indonesian counterparts were warm, welcoming, overwhelmingly positive and inspiring – and opened our eyes to the future we can build between our two nations. What’s more, they are eager to visit Israel and take these relationships to the next level.

Diplomatic ties, if and when they eventually happen, won’t take place overnight and shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as the only option for Israel. Unlike the UAE and Bahrain, Indonesia is the world’s third-largest democracy. Any normalization with Israel would likely follow formal ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. However, in the case of Indonesia, it would be a gradual process. Israel should be open to other arrangements that could look similar to what we have with Taiwan: an economic and cultural representative office in each country, rather than high-profile diplomatic ties. Whatever that future looks like, so much is possible in the interim. And as ties do warm up gradually, existing barriers will be removed. Israel has a unique opportunity to start preparing for that moment.

Ultimately, this is all about people-to-people relationship-building. The Israel-Asia Center is paving the way for that, and we are seeking partners who wish to work with us in growing these relationships and investing in the human capital that is bringing these two countries together in a way that’s making the world better for everyone.

Apart from specific observations on Indonesia, Rebecca Zeffert focused on Israel-Asia Relations that according to her 'balancing economic And National Security of the region'. In an interview with Mercy A. Kuo that published on May 21, 2018 in a prestigious journal named 'The Diplomat', Rebecca Zeffert identify three key areas of cooperation in Israel–Asia relations: It is hard to speak of cooperation between Israel and Asia as a whole. Asia is a vast continent and each country in the region has unique bilateral relations with Israel, while some don’t have diplomatic relations with Israel at all. What is important to note about these relationships in recent years, is that we see a clear acknowledgment from both the public and private sectors in Israel of the strategic importance that Asia holds, both politically and economically.

This is evident through the numerous visits over recent years by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin to China, India, Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam, and recent visits to Israel by [Indian] Prime Minister Modi, [Japanese] PM Shinzo Abe, [Chinese] Vice Premier Liu Yandong, [Singaporean] PM Lee Hsien Loong and senior members of Vietnam’s politburo.

When we look at Asia’s superpowers, the Israeli government has been very clear about its intention to advance these relations, going as far as to pass a specific resolution obligating different ministries to allocate funds to enhance relations with China, India, and Japan specifically.

We are also seeing increased efforts on the Israeli side to engage with Asia beyond the traditional areas of agritech, defense, and security. These include collaboration across a range of innovation and technology sectors, in education, and even in disaster relief, resilience-building, and sustainable development.

Meanwhile, automotive, telecoms and electronics companies – from China, India, Japan, Korea, and Singapore – are establishing R&D centers in Israel to tap into the country’s tech talent and innovation ecosystem.

Explaining key commercial trends in Israel’s relations with China Rebecca said: as the world’s most populous nation and second largest economy, China’s commercial interests in Israel – the “Start-Up Nation” – are largely focused on Israel as a source of technology and innovation. Israel’s commercial interest in China is clear: Israel’s market is too small for its flourishing tech and innovation ecosystem and Israeli companies tend to think global from the outset. As the world looks east for market opportunities and financial resources, so too does Israel.

The traditional areas of collaboration between the two countries (even before diplomatic relations were established) were agriculture and water technologies, especially measures to combat desertification in the more arid parts of China. As China increasingly seeks solutions to challenges of food security, clean water, an aging population, air quality, and mounting strains on its growing mega-cities, these traditional areas are taking new shape and scale to include not only agritech and water-tech but also biotech, medtech, cleantech, artificial intelligence, smart city technology, waste management, and food security and safety. A clear demonstration of this has been seen in investments in and acquisitions of Israeli homegrown brands by Chinese companies – such as Tnuva dairy products. Other commercial trends beyond tech include China’s interest in Israeli insurance and infrastructure development (including sea ports, tunnels, and railways).

Explaining the focal points of Israel’s relations with Japan and India, Rebecca said: after years of what can only be described as stagnant relations resulting from the from the Arab Boycott and Japan’s dependence on Arab oil, the Japan-Israel relationship has finally started to thaw – and even flourish – with two visits by PM Shinzo Abe to Israel in the past three years. The relationship, which still has a long way to go in fully realizing its potential, is based mainly on trade, technology, and innovation – particularly cybersecurity technology in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics. But there is also potential for growing collaboration in fields such as intelligence and defense. However, two key obstacles from Israel’s perspective, that are preventing advancements in trade and tourism in particular, are the lack of direct flights between the two countries and the travel warning issued by Japan on visiting Israe

It is becoming increasingly clear that we are living in a multipolar world order. As such, Israel’s relations with the United States, China, India, and other nations are not a zero–sum game. Israel has always enjoyed a strong and close relationship with the United States – and will continue to do so. However, there is no reason why this relationship should come at the cost of Israel’s growing relations with China, India, and other countries in the Asia region. My feeling is that these are each bilateral relationships that will only continue to flourish, explained Rebecca'.

It is important to note here that with an important geographic position, Israel is a country in the Middle East and is considered the Holy Land by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The country’s capital city is Jerusalem, while its financial and technology hub is Tel Aviv. The official languages spoken in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. Israel has a total land area of 20,770-22,072 square kilometers, 440 square kilometers of which are water. In 2017, the country has an estimated population of 8,760,000, and a population density of 395 people per square kilometer.

Israel is located on the continent of Asia having close connection with other continents of the worls. Israel is, however, geographically located in Asia. The country borders Lebanon to the north, Jordan to east, Syria to the northeast, and Egypt to the southwest. Israel also borders the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank to the west and east, respectively. The continent of Asia covers regions that range from Turkey in the far west, through Japan and Russia, to the islands of Indonesia in the south. Israel is located on the far left of Asia.

Since Israel's independence in 1948, it has been in conflict with most of its Arab neighbors in the Middle East. Moreover, in spite of Israel being located in Asia, the country has strong cultural, historical, and economic ties with Europe. In fact, since the 1990s, Israel has been competing in European sporting contests. Currently, the country is a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Furthermore, Israel borders one of Africa’s largest countries. As such, there is some level of confusion about the continent in which Israel is located. This confusion was further increased by a 2013 article by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs claiming that Israel “…lies at the location of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa.”

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong and Associate Editor,

Multi-Destination Education Expo to be held in capital on 28 January

News Desk,
Multi-Destination Education Expo to be held in capital on 28 January

Multi-Destination Education Expo to be held in capital on 28 January

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EDUMIG Limited is going to organize a Multi-Destination Education Expo 2023 in the capital city of Bangladesh. The day-long event will be held on 28th January 2023 from 11 am to 5 pm at Hotel Sarina, Banani, Dhaka.

At the event, students wishing to pursue higher education abroad can learn about the admission procedures of universities in Canada, Australia, America, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Schengen countries. Representatives from various universities worldwide will attend the event, where students can avail all the information regarding their higher education abroad, starting from the application procedures to obtaining VISAs.

Mr. Abbas Karimi, the founder of Edumig Ltd, will be inaugurating the event with our esteemed representatives of the mentioned universities at the Multi-Destination Expo 2023, offering up more than a decade of experience.

The Multi-Destination Expo 2023 offers students from all walks of life plenty of opportunities to pursue their higher studies abroad with scholarships. There can be scholarship opportunities of up to 10,000 dollars!

Mr. Abbas Karimi has been successfully helping students with their dreams of studying abroad. Now, he would like to help you with yours. So, please join us at Hotel Sarina and meet with the experienced Edumig Team and the University Representatives. We strive to provide you with a solution for your education abroad.


Sections of Balkan river become floating garbage dump

News Desk,
Sections of Balkan river become floating garbage dump

Sections of Balkan river become floating garbage dump

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Tons of waste dumped in poorly regulated riverside landfills or directly into the waterways that flow across three countries end up accumulating behind a trash barrier in the Drina River in eastern Bosnia during the wet weather of winter and early spring.

This week, the barrier once again became the outer edge of a massive floating waste dump crammed with plastic bottles, rusty barrels, used tires, household appliances, driftwood and other garbage picked up by the river from its tributaries.

The river fencing installed by a Bosnian hydroelectric plant, a few kilometers upstream from its dam near Visegrad, has turned the city into an unwilling regional waste site, local environmental activists complain.

Heavy rain and unseasonably warm weather over the past week have caused many rivers and streams in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro to overflow, flooding the surrounding areas and forcing scores of people from their homes. Temperatures dropped in many areas on Friday as rain turned into snow.

"We had a lot of rainfall and torrential floods in recent days and a huge inflow of water from (the Drina's tributaries in) Montenegro which is now, fortunately, subsiding," said Dejan Furtula of the environmental group Eko Centar Visegrad.

"Unfortunately, the huge inflow of garbage has not ceased," he added.

The Drina River runs 346 kilometers (215 miles) from the mountains of northwestern Montenegro through Serbia and Bosnia. and some of its tributaries are known for their emerald color and breathtaking scenery. A section along the border between Bosnia and Serbia is popular with river rafters when it's not "garbage season."

Some 10,000 cubic meters (more than 353,000 cubic feet) of waste are estimated to have amassed behind the Drina River trash barrier in recent days, Furtula said.


Don’t stop cultivating cash crops but increase production in unutilized lands: PM

Staff Correspondent,
Don’t stop cultivating cash crops but increase production in unutilized lands: PM

Don’t stop cultivating cash crops but increase production in unutilized lands: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for increasing overall crop cultivation in the country. During the question and answer round of the National Parliament session on Wednesday January 11 2023, she emphasized her say, “People generally tend to focus on cultivating cash crops while farming. We are well aware about that. Our target should never be hampering the growth of any such crop, instead it’s our duty to ensure that unutilized lands are being used for cultivation of crops.”

The PM conveyed this message while replying to a question asked by Gaibandha-1 MP Shamim Haider Patwary about banning tobacco cultivation. “It’s wiser to utilize all the cultivable lands for inclusive agricultural boost rather than halting the cultivation of any crop,” she opined.

The Prime Minister also added, “My own area (Gopalganj) can be mentioned here as an example. Our family owns quite a bit of land in the area that was not looked after or the farmers entrusted with the responsibility, failed to look after the lands. We have taken the initiative to ensure cultivation in these lands. Not only on our land, we are also ensuring that the non-arable land around ours are being prepared for cultivation. We can ensure cultivation on over 10,000 hectares of lands that was previously non-arable.”

“Even though some of the lands are waterlogged for over eight months in a year, we are planning fish-farming where applicable. Apart from this, we will cultivate whichever crop that is possible to cultivate. There is a trend of preparing floating beds using water hyacinths to cultivate different crops called dhaap. We have started using this method and have deployed the same method in other parts of the country,” she said.

“My message to the Honourable member of the parliament is that, instead of stopping what is currently being cultivated, start thinking about utilizing the lands that are not being used for cultivation,” the prime minister added.


Bangladeshi Sri Chinmoy is important for the whole world

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal
Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy

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A Peace Run is going to be held in Bangladesh from January 6 to 10, 2023. Around 12 international runners will come from the USA, UK, India, Haiti, South Korea, Iceland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary. Chinmoy Center in Dhaka is organizing the great event after the name of Sri Chinmoy. So, who is Sri Chinmoy? where was he born? What is Sri Chinmoy philosophy? Why is he so famous in the world? In an recent interview, Sri Chinmoy Center Dhaka,s Representative Shanti Sri is telling about the great man.

By Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal

  1. Who is Sri Chinmoy and where was he born?

Sri Chinmoy is a spiritual master, born on 27 August, 1931, at Shakpura, near Chattogram. He was the youngest of 7 children.

  1. What is Sri Chinmoy philosophy? Why is he so famous in the world?

Sri Chinmoy wrote: "Our philosophy in one sentence: Our philosophy is the acceptance of life for the transformation of life and also for the manifestation of God's Light here on earth, at God's choice Hour, in God's own Way."

Sri Chinmoy is best known as a man of peace, or as he describes himself  "a lifelong student of peace". He initiated many projects to help foster peace, inner and outer—through meditation, through art, through music, through sports, through civic life.

  1. How many Sri Chinmoy Centres in this world and when did Bangladesh start this centre?

There are Sri Chinmoy Centres in 330 cities, in 71 countries. The first one was founded in 1967 on the island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. The New York Centre was founded a few months later. New York, where Sri Chinmoy lived from 1964 until his death in 2007, is the headquarters of the Centre.

A Centre was established in Dhaka in 2016 and in Chattogram in 2020.

  1. How long have you been involved with the Sri Chinmoy Centre and what inspired you to join?

I joined the Centre in my native city of Glasgow, Scotland on 2 December 1971, so, more than 50 years ago.

Sri Chinmoy came to Glasgow as part of his first European lecture tour. My husband was a student at Glasgow University. He was very interested in spirituality and philosophy, especially Eastern philosophy. He was involved in arranging the programme for Sri Chinmoy to speak at the University. I have to say at that time I was not a believer in any kind of spirituality. I had no patience for it. But I went along to the talk anyway. I was not happy that I did not believe in anything, in fact I suffered a lot from depression. What was I doing with my life? What was it all about?

Posters had been sent to us from New York, and they described Sri Chinmoy as a "spiritual Master". I felt that no one could be a master of spirituality; no one could know about these things for sure; it was all a matter of opinion. But the moment I entered the hall and saw Sri Chinmoy at the other end, there was something about him—charisma—I said to myself, "He knows." I felt it immediately, and I immediately wanted to learn from him.

While he was talking I could see a blue light all around him. It was fascinating, and I thought it was my imagination, but when I spoke to others afterwards, they had seen it too.

Sri Chinmoy offered to teach meditation to anyone at the lecture who was interested, so about 10 of us stayed behind and he showed us some meditation techniques and he formed the Glasgow Sri Chinmoy Centre. Again I saw this light. This time he became light. The silhouette was still there, but there were no features, just this shimmering light. Again I was amazed at this phenomenon, but even more, I felt great joy inside me, because I felt he could show me a way out of my depression, and show me how to become the person I really wanted to be.

  1. How many books has he written? How many poems and songs?

1600 books have been published, there are more notebooks that are still being transcribed and edited and will be published in due course. His work includes poetry, plays, lectures, questions and answers and short stories. Nearly 117,000 poems and aphorisms have been published.

Sri Chinmoy composed more than 21,000 songs, the majority of them in Bengali. These songs are performed by his students at concerts all over the world.

  1. He also loves painting? How many paintings he drew and how many galleries he made his painting exhibitions around the world? Was there any painting exhibition held in Bangladesh too, if so when?

Poetry and music were present in Sri Chinmoy's life from his childhood, but not painting. It was not until 1974 when he was 43 years old that he took up painting for the first time. His painting style is abstract and very colorful. He calls it "Jharna-Kala". As in all endeavors, Sri Chinmoy gave his heart and soul to painting, and in the first year produced 100,000 acrylic paintings—a veritable fountain of art!

He also does pen drawings and these are mostly of birds—"soul birds" as he calls them, and these number in the millions!

  1. How many followers at present in the world and how many countries have Sri Chinmoy centres?

There are around 7-9 thousand members of Sri Chinmoy Centres in 71 countries around the world. Members are expected to follow a strict spiritual discipline—daily meditation, exercise, vegetarian diet.

Sri Chinmoy emphasizes that his way is not a religion—he encourages people to stay in their own religion. There are people from all religions in the centres—Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and people with no formal religion. From my own experience, when following this path I got a deeper understanding of my own religion.

  1. Is there any Guinness book of world record in his name?

At one time Sri Chinmoy held a Guiness record for weightlifting for his age (73), but I don't have the details.

A central part of Sri Chinmoy's philosophy is "self-transcendence" meaning always trying to better your own achievements. Competing with yourself and not with others. This is the philosophy behind the races the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team organizes, including the world's longest race of 3,100 miles (almost 5000 k). Sri Chinmoy's followers have taken part in this race, have swum the English Channel, have climbed many of the world's highest mountains. The Marathon Team hosts a games every year in Europe called "Impossibility-Challengers" where people come to set new records—personal, national, or world.

  1. How many countries have roads in his name and how many roads?

70 Sri Chinmoy streets have been dedicated in 14 countries worldwide.

Countries are as follows:Australia, Canada, Czech,UK, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Scotland, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, USA.

  1. When he started praying sessions in the UN and how did it happen?

In 1971, Sri Chinmoy was invited by U Thant, third Secretary-General of the United Nations, to form a meditation group for delegates and staff at the United Nations in New York. The group met twice a week and Sri Chinmoy attended whenever he was in town. The group still meets to this day.


  1. Please tell us something about his Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run? When it was started and why this peace run?

The Peace Run is a team of international runners who run around the world carrying a torch symbolizing peace. It is based on a very simple idea, if you believe in peace, if you care for peace, if you hope for peace then express your hope by holding the Peace Torch, by joining the Peace Run for a few steps or a few miles. Since Sri Chinmoy founded it in 1987 more than 7 million people have participated in the Peace Run, covering 395,000 miles in 155 countries on all 7 continents.

Those who have held the Peace Torch include Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, President Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Queen Elizabeth II, Muhammad Ali, Carl Lewis, Pope Francis.

  1. I heard you are going to organize a Peace run in Bangladesh next January 2023 please let us know in details, how many people will join from how many countries? Who can join? Is it free to join? From where to where the run will start?

The Peace Run will be in Bangladesh from January 6-10, 2023. Around 12 international runners will come from the USA, UK, India, Haiti, South Korea, Iceland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary.

There are certain events where everyone can join, for example the opening ceremony of the Peace Run will be at the Eternal Flame at Suhrawardy Udyan on January 6 at 8am. From there we will run with the torch around Hatirjheel between 9:30 am and 11 am.

At 1 pm the Peace Run will visit the Buriganga Eco Park at Shyampur for the dedication of the Buriganga as a Peace River. On January 7th the Peace Run will run from Dhaka to Savar. You are welcome to run part of the way with us. There is no cost to be part of the Peace Run. On January 8th the Peace Run will visit schools in the Dhaka area. On January 9th the Peace Run will have a program in Chattogram and on January 10th it will visit Shakpura, the birthplace of Sri Chinmoy. For details please check

  1. How many books have been translated into Bengali, which were written by Sri Chinmoy?

About ten of Sri Chinmoy books have been translated into Bengali. It is an ongoing process. In some of the poetry books, for example "The Garden of Love-Light" and "Pole-Star-Promise-Light," both the English and Bangla versions were written by Sri Chinmoy, and he later set these poems to music.

  1. Is there anyone who did a Ph. D. in Sri Chinmoy? Who did and when?

Dr. Vidagdha Bennett, an Australia writer, wrote her Ph. D. thesis on Sri Chinmoy's poetry in the late 1980s, "Simplicity and Power: The Poetry of Sri Chinmoy 1971-1981". She has also written several autobiographical books on Sri Chinmoy. The best known is "His Sacred Breath."

Bidushi's book you have.

  1. How many books written on Sri Chinmoy and how many of them are in Bengali?

Vidagdha Bennett has written several autobiographical books about Sri Chinmoy.

The Bengali ones by Shankar and Nashima Khan, a Bengali-born journalist now living in NY, you have.

  1. As we know he wrote 1600 books, into how many languages have his book been translated?

I can't tell you exactly, but I know of his books being translated into many of the European languages—Italian, Spanish, German, French, some Greek, some Icelandic, some Portugese and Japanese.

A poem written by Sri Chinmoy was recited in 203 languages by members of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run at the Dag Hammerskjöld Plaza, New York, USA, on 10 April 2014, setting a world record.

  1. Why Sri Chinmoy was important to us?

Sri Chinmoy is important because he offers a path to spiritual fulfillment that takes account of the modern world. You don't have to shun the world and go live in a cave in the Himalayas—you can live in a modern city, have a job, fulfill your family responsibilities and still make solid progress in your spiritual life, discovering your true self, developing your good qualities, transcending your negative qualities, achieving peace of mind, depth of understanding and real happiness. The goal, you can call it Self-discovery, God-realization, Salvation, Nirvana, is the same, but the way to get there is tailored to the 21st century.

  1. Tell us something about his project Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles.

Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles was begun by Sri Chinmoy in 1991 in response to a request by President Gorbachev at a time when Russia was undergoing great financial hardship. Sri Chinmoy organized a convoy of food, clothing and medical supplies and equipment to be sent to relieve the suffering of the Russian people. Since that time it has been delivering humanitarian aid to poor countries, and in response to natural disasters. On two occasions Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles has delivered container shipments of medical equipment to Bangladesh.

One notable project is the Kids to Kids program where children in developed countries collect and send toys and school supplies to less fortunate kids. Children are also encouraged to send drawings and messages of encouragement to children who are suffering, for example to Aceh Province in Indonesia after the tsunami of 2004.

Another project was Dolls for Africa, where people worldwide hand-crafted dolls for poor African children.

From 2002 to 2007 Ambassador Anwaral Chowdhury of Bangladesh was Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. Ambassador Chowdhury entrusted to Sri Chinmoy, ten of the most vulnerable countries, to serve through humanitarian shipments. Ambassador Chowdhury stated that Sri Chinmoy surpassed the original request of ten countries which now totals 33 countries.

In 2020, 300 villagers from the village of Shakpura, where Sri Chinmoy was born, signed a petition requesting that the newly paved main road leading into Shakpura be called Sri Chinmoy Road. A letter signed by the late Speaker Humayan Rashid Choudhury dedicating 6 of Bangladesh's rivers as Peace Rivers.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: President, Bangladesh travel writers association