New Delhi, Feb 25 : Decades after communism has been eradicated from Poland, a journalist from the European nation Marchin Jamkowski has said that the end of Marxism-Leninism influence from the political landscape was the "best thing" to happen to his country.
"The end of communism was the best thing to happen to us in Poland. In 1989-90 when revolutions swept across, I was just 18 years. But I saw things. My country changed for all the time to come as the Soviet Union's diktats were discarded," Jamkowski, on a visit to India, said.
Once Mikhail Gorbachev turned weak, the Brezhnev Doctrine, under which Moscow had asserted the right to use force to prevent a Warsaw Pact member from leaving the Communist fold, was diluted, he said adding "Finally, Poland became the first Warsaw Pact country to break free of Soviet domination".
"People's lives changed. There was freedom," said Jamkowski in an emotionally choked voice. A working journalist, Jamkowski further went on to add: "Earlier, we have seen earlier generation suffering and humiliated. You must have heard about the turbulent time in Communist Poland when there was widespread economic crisis and food shortages, thousands of people mainly women and their children, took part in several hunger demonstrations".
Jamkowski was part of the massive delegation from as many as 186 countries to visit Kumbh in a rare event organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
Answering a question, he said, "The experience to be part of all-religion delegation and see a massive congregation of Hindu devotees was unique. The Kumbh festival I thought was all about Hindu Sadhus and renunciation. But it was truly a platform of amalgamation. It was universal in its appeal". Moreover, he said, "There is modernity attached. It seems there was a big emphasis on cleanliness".
"So, as a practicing Christian, I came to know, religion is not that bad.....My historical notion due to influence of communism was quite different one about religion. Here it was a different experience and we are going back educated with a very positive message about India, Hinduism and Oriental philosophies," he said.
To another question, he said the lecture series and seminars organised by the ICCR and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs during their visit were also "exemplary".
"I am convinced on what Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has said that perhaps over the decades Kumbh remained a puzzle or riddle. But this time, I agree it was an attempt to demystify it.....I must congratulate them for projecting Indian culture effectively," the visiting Polish journalist said.
Among others, a Somalian citizen Sadak Omar Mohammad, who was also part of the delegation, said "I had wonderful experience of richness of Hindu religion and the spirit of amalgamation in it. I wanted to see the world's largest human gathering and now I do not want to go back. Let me stay in India". Myanmar-based journalist Soe Myint from Mizzima media group said - "As a Buddhist, my experience about Kumbh too was exciting and enriching".
"The Indo-Myanmar relations have come a long way now especially with Aung San Suu Kyi in the political reckoning," Soe said adding many devoted Buddhists including women recently crossed over to Manipur part of India and travelled to the Bodh Gaya in Bihar for pilgrimage.
"Even a few years back these things were unbelievable," he remarked. Among the delegates to visit the Kumbh 2019 at Prayagraj city also included 26-year-old Reen Ibrahim Al-Arfaj, identifying herself as one of the first certified yoga trainers in Saudi Arabia.
"I was trained by an expert in Indian embassy and now I am glad I have visited the country and the people who gave such a wonderful thing called Yoga to the world," she said.