An Indian Hindu guru may be the last emissary the Taliban expect, but Sri Ravi Shankar would love to teach inner peace to the world’s most notorious insurgents. Visiting Pakistan for the first time in eight years, he basks in the diplomatic rapprochement that made the trip possible but his dreams of harmony couldn’t be further removed from the suffering of millions worldwide. Spry for a man in his mid-50s, dressed in pristine white robes and his hair still ebony, he began the second leg of his three-city Pakistan tour by tossing rose petals into the air cheered on by some of Islamabad’s most elegant women. Nominated for the Nobel peace prize and described by Forbes magazine in 2009 as the fifth most powerful person in India, Shankar established the Art of Living Foundation in 1981. It estimates it has 300 million followers. He travels widely and in 2007 took his message of peace and meditation to Iraq, where he urged Shias, Sunnis and Kurds to give peace a chance and was invited to introduce his Art of Living rehabilitation programme in prisons. His centres teach breathing practices and techniques to help people from all religious backgrounds overcome the stresses, jealousies and insecurities of modern life to become more focused, happier and healthier.