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EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEACE AND NON-VIOLENT ACTION

Can we think of a civilized society without peace and non violence? No. the evolution of human civilization gives vivid testimony to the stupendous effort made by many to ‘keep the flame of peace and love’ burning against all odds orchestrated by an unending greed for power, wealth and domination of many. Our quality of life therefore is largely a set off between the two. I read it somewhere that ‘a majority of the problems confronting our world come from a minority who wants to be visible and dominant’. If you go by the Indian philosophical leanings, our soul is perpetually ‘peace loving’ and ‘joyful’ which means our all development models, principles, ideology, value system and institutions must reflect a natural concern for peace and joy.

Is that happening around us? No. Are we really developing? Or we are actually moving two steps back for every single step ahead in pursuance of so called development?

The unending conflict of interest among nations and communities, ideological extremism, reckless ,divisive and exploitative consumerism, deteriorating sense of collectivism all put together have given birth to violence and injustice in more than one denomination.

At the global level we have witnessed the emergence of a complex ensemble of institutions, treaties covenants etc but our struggle for lasting peace and a largely joyful world still continues. The reason is not so complex to understand. We have yet to work a lot in the direction of developing a global order based on equality, justice and a true sense of fraternity. The concern for global peace and non violence is not something new but we need to understand that its script by its very nature is too complex to be scripted by few global institutions, treaties and covenants. It demands active involvement of all spirited individuals from different fields of excellence and services to make a concerted effort towards the gradual development of a world which is more equal and inclusive and aligns well with our core identity as a human being.

‘Even our anger can play a crucial role in building peace if it is expressed at right time, right place and for a right cause’. Every single effort that we are making is ten times better than grandest of intentions expressed anywhere and I hope this will contribute to make our world a better place to be in.

When justice cries in loneliness and darkness anywhere on this planet, it puts a big question mark on the achievements of the humanity as a whole. But we should not forget to acknowledge the reality that we possess an inherent creative ability and sensibility as well to overcome challenges thrown by the time either ordained by our own actions or by the all mighty nature. No movement, no revolution has ever grown overnight in the history of mankind. Small yet consistent effort made indefatigably over a period of time gives birth to a movement. Every moment is crucial because it will never come but is going to determine what may come. We will not be what we were before this conference, yes we will be a bit more proximate to our esteemed goal of developing a world of peace and joy, a world, an order which could justify our being a human being, truly a human being, one of the most complex and creative creatures on this planet.

Thank you very much for listening to me so patiently. My heartfelt respect for all my distinguished panelists and for you.

SAJJAN PRATAP SINGH

Director, IIIASA