Saginaw neurologist Dr. Debasish Mridha believes in the power of peace. Whether he’s seeing patients at the offices of Michigan Advanced Neurology Center (MANC) or thinking of ways his nonprofit organizations can benefit the community and the world, the 57-year-old philosopher is focused on making the world a more peaceful and happier place.
Mridha is taking his vision to the streets on Wednesday, September 21, a date recognized by the United Nations General Assembly since 2002 as International Day of Peace. On that day, the Mridha International Institute of Peace & Happiness (MIIPH) will host a Peace Walk Event in Saginaw, kicking it off with a Peace Expo at the Montague Inn Bed & Breakfast, 1581 S. Washington Ave.
The idea behind the Expo is to illustrate the many connections to peace in our daily lives, whether it be within the family, between cultures, or among all living creatures. Participating organizations include CAN Council, Castle Museum of Saginaw History, Child & Family Services of Saginaw, Humane Society of Saginaw County, Japanese Tea Garden and Cultural Center, Mexican American Council, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Positive Results Downtown Saginaw, READ Association of Saginaw, Rotary Club of Saginaw, Saginaw Children’s Zoo, Saginaw YMCA, The Mustard Seed Shelter, The Underground Railroad, United Way of Saginaw County, and Youth for Understanding.
Mridha believes that focusing on the inner and outer aspects of peace that define daily life can overcome the culture of conflict that has defined a great chunk of mankind’s history. “Peace is about more than ending all wars, it’s about eliminating the need or desire to start any new ones,” he offers.
This philosophy is a natural reflex for the good doctor, who has published five books, three in English and two in his native Bengali. Two of his books, “Verses of Happiness” (2017) and “Verses of Peace” (2019) further solidified his gentle credo. Passages from these books, as well as quotes and verses he is writing whenever he is in front of his computer, have been shared millions of times over through social media. The books also formed the namesake for his latest endeavor — Mridha International Institute of Peace & Happiness.
Prior to the formation of MIIPH in 2021, the Mridha Foundation gained a reputation for its solid support of the Saginaw community through its funding of education, humanitarian, and social support programs. The Foundation also provides humanitarian support to Bangladesh, where Mridha and his wife, Chinu, were born.
Prior to coming to Saginaw, the Mridhas both studied at the University of Kiev, spending years living in Ukraine and bringing with them the memories and experience that have maintained a bond with the country. In April 2021, MIIPH sponsored a Ukrainian Relief Fund through the United Nations to benefit families displaced by the violence when the war first broke out.
Today, MIIPH is focused on developing its online Peace Education platform, which will offer free interactive learning programs for members in an array of topics that reflect the many intersections of peace on the roadmap of daily life. The Institute also plans to offer a Spring Symposium in 2023 with themed programming that will reflect Dr. Mridha’s vision of a peaceful world. The Institute is also developing a Fellowship program designed to attract scholarly and forward-thinking content on a range of topics related to peace.
A youth section of MIIPH, Peace Pals for Kids sponsors an annual art and writing competition based a Mridha quote in conjunction with the Peace Walk. This year’s theme is “To bring peace to the world, you must find peace within yourself.” Contest winners will be honored at a ceremony before the Peace Walk, during which Saginaw Mayor Brenda Moore and other regional political figures are scheduled to appear.
The Peace Walk will leave the Montague Inn at 5:30pm and proceed south on the sidewalk of Washington Avenue. The route will then turn right and proceed west on Ezra Rust Drive, toward Fordney Drive. The entire route will cover just over one mile before returning to the Montague Inn.
After the Peace Walk, attendees can linger at the Montague and listen to live music celebrating the day’s theme.
The Montague has been the site of many celebratory occasions over the years, whether it be a wedding, graduation, or reunion party. Since the Mridhas bought the historic estate in 2006, Dr. Mridha has been cultivating his plan for turning the lush property into a lasting tribute to peace. He supervised the construction of a Guitar Arena, a gathering spot / performance area on the property buttressed by marble pillars that beautifully frame Lake Linton. And he is in the process of erecting marble statues that will decorate the grounds. The statues will depict humanity’s great philosophers and contributors to society, globally as well as regionally. The four marble busts recently erected at the dual entrances to the Inn corroborate this intention. Visitors to the Inn will encounter Buddha, Plato, Socrates, and Debasish Mridha, MD.
The Saginaw Peace Walk and Peace Expo begins at 4:00pm at The Montague Inn Bed & Breakfast, 1581 Washington Avenue, Saginaw. Peace Expo will feature 15 nonprofit organizations offering activities and information. There will be food trucks and giveaways. Early registrants for the Peace Walk receive a free T-shirt while supplies last. Go to miiph.org to learn more.
9th February, 2024