By Aziz-uI Haque
Mother Teresa once said: ‘If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other’. Belongingness to the global family is the key to understanding and working for peace. The establishment of the UN in 1945, at the end of the most devastating war in human history, was an embodiment of universal desire for peace. The UN in 1981 passed a resolution declaring the third Tuesday of September as the Intertiol Day of Peace to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace. In 2001, the UN adopted a new resolution making September 21 of each year as the Intertiol Day of Peace. The resolution declares that the Intertiol Day of Peace shall be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all tions and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the day. This year with the theme ‘Partnerships for Peace - Dignity for All’- the UN aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for peace. The work for peace would be possible with the initial partnerships that are active in its creation and the thousands of partnerships each year between governments, civil society, the private sector, faith-based groups including inter-faith dialogue and other non-governmental organizations that are needed to support the Organization in achieving its future goals.
Isaiah, the eight century BC Jewish prophet’s beautiful vision of peace is engraved above the door of the UN building which reads, ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; tion shall not lift up sword against tion, neither shall they learn war anymore’ (Bible: Isaiah 2: 4). Keeping this vision of peace for realization and developing friendly relations among tions is the main objective of the UN. In this event, the UN Secretary General Ben Ki-moon will ring the Peace Bell at their Headquarters in New York. This bell was cast coins doted by children of sixty countries as a symbol of solidarity. It was given as a gift by Japan, and is referred to as ‘a reminder of the human cost of war’. The inscription on its side reads: ‘Long live absolute world peace’. Observance of the annual Day of Peace is widespread across the globe. Over the years, it has grown to include hundreds of thousands of people, showing their commitment to peace in diverse and creative ways by observing a moment of silence at noon followed by holding special events and ceremonies to mark the day. The true meaning of the day lies in the participation of people around the globe coming together to think about the meaning of peace and their commitment to its realization.
Peace is a complex and multifaceted word. It can be a state of harmony or absence of hostility. It is non-violence; an end to violent conflict. Peace can mean a state of quiet or tranquillity or an absence of disturbance or agitation. It can also be the living of the family calmly together without any quarrel. One meaning of peace refers to inner peace, a state of mind, body and soul, a peace within the self. Peace can also be described as a relationship between any people characterized by respect, justice and goodwill. From the religious point of view, peace is understood as a harmonious relationship between man and man, man and environment and man and God. Peace is inclusive of health and wholeness. Mahatma Gandhi suggested that even though an oppressive society may lack violence, the society is nonetheless not peaceful, because of the injustice of the oppression. He articulated a vision of peace in which justice is an inherent and necessary aspect; that peace requires not only absence of violence but also the presence of justice. The concept of peace has been linked to the wide idea of development, assuming that development is not the classical pursuit of wealth. Peaceful development can be a set of many different elements such as good government, religious freedom and secularism, healthcare, education, gender and caste equality, disaster preparedness, economics, the rule of law, human rights, environment and other socio-political issues.
The unity and integrity of our tion is of primary concern for maintaining peace and harmony. Our epoch is characterized by startling advances in science and technology on the one hand, and escalating social conflict and disruption on the other. There is a constant fear of terrorism, commulism, militancy and other divisive forces operating within and across our borders. The recent butchery of Islamic States in the Middle East that has spread in the globe is a ghastly act of terrorism. It has triggered widespread alarm in India, especially Kashmir and Assam. Religious fundamentalism has become an alarming phenomenon. In order to live in peace and harmony communities have to learn and practice mutual respect and tolerance in a pluralistic society. This will envisage renewal of all religions taking into account the religious pluralism and democratic ideals of our tion. When a Hindu prayer says Om Shanti; Islam means ‘peace or submission’ and a Christian believes Jesus to be the ‘Prince of Peace’, then there is no reason why people of all faiths in a secular state cannot live together in peace and commul harmony
Peace should be a reality, not a utopia. It is not just the responsibility of the government or the society for bringing about peace; but every individual has a sacred duty in peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace building. It is a clarion call to everybody to fight hunger, poverty, ignorance and disease, and in realizing the highest goal and purpose of human life on this planet. Individual responsibility, respect for the rights of others, and a desire to seek the good of the whole, are the primary principles by which society is governed. Moreover, vigilance against crime and corruption is paramount, so that they might be elimited forthwith before they gain any stronghold. On this auspicious day, let us devote ourselves to make peace, pledging ourselves to do more, wherever we are and whatever we can, in making every day, a day of peace.