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Peace is the most spoken subject everywhere by everyone. The majority of the deliberations in United Nations are about promoting peace, preventing and resolving conflicts. The religious preachers and god-men speak eloquently about the importance of promoting peace and resolving conflicts. Politicians of all parties speak eloquently of the need for promoting peace and unity in the society. The paradox is that the same people who speak eloquently about the importance of promoting peace and harmony are those who conspire to create conflicts and instigate people to indulge in violence. Some of these politicians deliberately create communal riots to exploit the religious, caste and regional sentiments to grab political power by winning elections. The countries which speak of peace and send peace missions to different regions for dialogue are the same which produce and supply weapons to countries and terrorist groups to fight war.

Promotion of peace is the last priority of organisations and governments. Government may spend large amount of money to control the situation whenever conflicts occur in the different parts of the country. Large number of police and military will be deployed to douse the fire. However no government has got any program to prevent and resolve these conflicts permanently. Social organisations also become active to organize meetings and talk shows when conflicts are brought under control by the police and the military. Hardly any effort is made to promote peace and harmony in the society in a regular and lasting way.

It is discouraging to see the negative and indifferent response from all sections of the society whenever an initiative is made to organize any programs related to promotion of peace and harmony. All who usually speak eloquently about promotion of peace and prevention of conflicts are not willing to give their time or money for any concrete initiative to realize this dream. Persons who are eager to lecture in meetings do not want to give their time to be part of the organisation. People who spent plenty of money for luxuries do not give even a small amount to the organization of any events related to promotion of peace. The business people who generously sponsor events related to entertainment and religious festivals refuse to support any events related to this sacred and urgent mission.

The educational institutions are tired of student violence, suicides and many other disturbances. Yet when a proposal is presented to organize useful events related to peace education none of them show interest. Neither do they make use of various opportunities available to equip their faculty to deal with these challenges they face in the institution almost daily.

The preachers and leaders of various religious sects who speak eloquently on peace and reconciliation are so self-righteous that they neither join any initiatives of peace making in the society nor encourage their members to join them. It is a pity that many even condemn any such efforts without examining the authenticity of such organisations.

The truth is that the world is threatened by fundamentalism and violence. Human family is divided by hate campaigns and prejudice. The values of love, justice, sensitivity, human dignity and compassion are suppressed. Millions of innocent people are murdered every day in different parts of the world. Indifference of the ‘good people’ who are in majority is the cause of all crimes committed by the minority.

A group of committed persons belonging to various organisations took up organising a peace convention at national level. The purpose was to gather people from all walks of life and propose concrete plans to promote peace initiatives in the country, prevent conflicts in the name of religion, caste and region and find concrete ways to resolve them permanently. Since it was resolved to keep the politicians and popular celebrities away from the event the organisers found it difficult to attract any sponsors to support the event. Media houses also did not show any interest. They ask for the names of ministers and celebrities before promising any collaboration. While politicians secure votes by dividing people, the media survive by publishing negative news. Peace initiatives do not provide them any sensation which the communal violence, gang rapes and natural disasters do.

It is indeed an irony that peace and unity for which the human beings crave the most are the most neglected. Prophets who work for building peace and unity get not only discouraged but rejected and targeted.

It was heartening to see that the small group who had resolved to organize the National Peace Convention in 2015 did not give up. In the midst of indifference there were individuals who understood the purity of their intention who came forward to support them with their ‘widow’s mite’. It is important for all who want to set new trends to believe that nothing is impossible. This group was able to form National Peace Movement and continue organizing peace convention at the national level every year on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, 30 January, in different parts of India. Inspired by this initiative participants organize state level and local convention and peace rallies on different occasions. Though initiated by adults several young students started taking part in these conventions everywhere.

The lessons learned from these experiments are the following: The more the problems the greater should be our determination; the more the darkness, the greater the need for us to be the light; the more the indifference , the greater should be our sensitivity. The words of George Bernard Shaw should be the motivating force,” You see things and you say, why? I dream of things that never were, and I say, WHY NOT?

The 5th National Peace Convention will be held from 30 January to 1 February 2019, at Gurgaon, Delhi. It is an opportunity for all who are committed to peace to join hands by their participation. Early registration is necessary. For registration and more details contact: email: www.

(Published on 03rd December 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 49)