Monday, September 20, 2010

CHALLENGES TO PEACE - 21st September, 2010





(On the occasion of International Day for Peace September 21st 2010)

- Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*


About 140 heads of State and Government have gathered together at the United Nations Headquarters for a Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The focus of this Summit is to review what each one of them has achieved (and thereby the world at large) of the promises, they made to the world at their Summit in 2000.


Ten years later and with just about five years to 2015, in order to realize their promises – the global leaders will have to admit in all humility, that they still have a long way to go.  Wars and conflicts, violence and divisiveness have had a tremendous stranglehold in various corners of the world.  When peace remains elusive, the MDGs will continue to be unattainable. 


In India, we continue to see and experience violence ruling the roost in different parts: be it in Kashmir or the North-Eastern States; the tribal heartland or Karnataka.  Some of the corporate sectors and the mining lobby have become synonymous with institutionalized violence.


Communalism and religious fanaticism still rears its ugly head with frightening regularity.  The hacking of the hand of a Professor in Kerala and his subsequent sacking from the College he taught in, is a case in point.


December 10th 1992, will remain one of the darkest days in the history of independent India.  The demolition of the Babri Masjid was a clear indicator of how lumpen elements can take law and order into their own hands. The judgment on the disputed site which is expected on September 24th, is awaited with abated breath and a palpable fear by a sizeable section of the citizens, as they wonder whether unbridled violence would once again be the lot of the country.


Peace is not only possible but doable.  Governments and those elected to the responsibility of leading the people must provide governance which is responsible and objective, based on the rights and freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.


Even as we observe another International Day of Peace on September 21st, the one question which will trouble many of us is, if there a political will to ensure that?



(* Fr. Cedric Prakash sj  is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace.)


20th September, 2010




Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052

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