Things grow vigorously wherever money is invested liberally and hence, as the world is witness to, the business world and money are growing exponentially faster with the arrival of digital technology. Wealth of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mukesh Ambani are growing at phenomenal rates, seemingly without limits! The market is growing stronger with technologies that have made it weather proof and disaster proof. The digital business seems to make more money in disastrous conditions than in normal times. In India along with Ambanis and Adanis, the wealth of political parties and their elected members are also growing neck and neck alongside these business houses. ECI data shows once elected the declared wealth of most political leaders and their party grow triple or quadruple! It is an exciting world of business where everything of the culture and nature are becoming excellent resources for growing business. Nothing on this earth can go waste in the business world including intense sentiments and emotions. The unlimited speedy growth in the business world is also sucking out all resources of the social world dry including ethnicity, patriotism, faith, nationalism and identity!
The power of Indian military is also growing along with private security companies for the security of the business and those who run the state powers. The sacred power of the military is becoming more pliable for the politics. Instead of convincing three, now, the Indian state has the advantage of only one faithful head controlling over the air, land and water spaces. The business and state security are expected to grow much faster and stronger because much of the money is increasingly targeted, there. Self-reliance and efficiency of technology-enabled cities are also growing faster enough to minimize human labour requirements because much of the money is going there in building the smart cities. The artificial intelligence is working tirelessly granting individual the much sought after freedom and liberty in painlessly joyful manners that they are losing their values and the meanings. It is so because it is profiting a few who controls the powers of technologies and the state systems leaving the millions robed and stripped of the social security and peace, everywhere. This business world is abnormally mad because it believes only in the unlimited growth not in the limited resources of this planet. For the benefits of a few the millions of children across the world go hungry every night. And yet it is just a decision that will change the world to restore the health to the living planet that provides for all the lives within her limits the unlimited joy of spirituality and happiness.
Based on the disastrous consequences of international wars and violence, competing over territories for resource captures during the last two millennia the humanity on this earth stood up to change the direction of human history towards a culture of peace and nonviolence at the outset of the third millennium of our time. UN had declared the decade 2000-2010 as international decade, laying foundation for Peace education to prepare the present generation for culture of peace and nonviolence. Peace education comes with transformative methodologies for the same goal – peace and security everyone hungers for. Peace education as alternative technology is for recovery and restoration of the natural and social world that is at brink of extinction. The world of humanity is hopeful and ready to take a turn from the cliff to save humanity.
The international community of humanity had set goals for sustainable development with peace and security for all and for the earth by 2030. However, the business world and states are apparently looking at SDG 2030 and Peace education, erroneously, either as another opportunity for business growth or disinterested by competing in investing the least or reduced to mandatory social activities under the Company Social Responsibility Act. It may be expecting the Lion to eat grass and for the business to invest in no-profit activities! Nevertheless, change is undeniable truth what matters is the direction and the method used in the process of change. There is no one single direction but 360 degrees to explore!
One can imagine taking a new direction, possible! If all MLAs/MPs in India today decide to provide one Peace fellowships each year for PG and Doctoral degrees in peace education in a matter of just two to three years an army of professional peacebuilders will be at work making India as model of peaceful coexistence. It will not take time for India, based on its rich cultural and spiritual heritage, to become a role model for 21st century sustainable peace and development! This is just a decision away! There are more reasons why our MLAs and MPS would like to take this decision today before any other decisions to commit a part of their local area development funds in educating the young generation for constructing a culture of peace and nonviolence. If in case, the elected representatives need more fund for investment in peace education and peacebuilding works then the UN Peacebuilding Fund is just a call away for them. India has been routinely contributing peacekeeping force and millions of money to the UN Peacebuilding Mission. It should be an equally important national duty for the elected representatives to make the country peaceful by allowing FDI in peacebuilding and peace education alongside disinvesting in the military for internal security. Peace is equal for all.
If peace is what both a saint and a soldier commonly seek for why can’t they work together? If peace is obtained by peaceful means only why there is insistence for heavy investments in all kinds of weapons of violence? If there is anyone who does not seek peace in life s/he may be dead, already. People love to live and not die in war and violence. Why can’t the saints and soldiers work together then? This question will be easily confronted by the problem of incommensurability in the approach to work with internal wars and violence and the methods each uses to win and get the peace they equally seek for in life and for future. Nonetheless, these positions still leave a good question unanswered: If the goal of the two is the same why one would take the most laborious and dangerous route – violence to get there? Many might say, sacrifice, bravery, heroism and patriotism for one’s nation are great values in the past and present! One may also argue that Swami Vivekananda was no lesser Indian hero. Patriotism was good for a nation but it cannot be now. These values that have caused the human society take a destructive route to an extent that world was at the brink of self-annihilation or ‘the age of anxiety’ in 1940s and 1950s. Humanity has experienced this situation many a times in Before Christ also.
Emperor Ashoka after the battle of Kalinga reflected on the same question that gave rise to Buddhism – the middle path which says, human suffering is because of the ignorance of interdependent relations for which human being is endowed with nonviolent potentials. This ignorance has been scientifically dispelled once again when Seville statement was issued in Spain in 1986 which says, ‘violence is not a biological necessity’ for human beings. The same idea occurred in the great mind of Erasmus Darwin much earlier when he sailed around the globe tracing the roots of human evolution. He observed distinctive feature of human beings not only following the natural selection processes but also had better survival capacities through mutual cooperation in small groups and larger society.
It is the cooperation or the interdependent nature of human species that survive the species on the top of animal and plant kingdom more than competition! But even after the post-cold war national and international politics continue to follow the laborious and dangerous path to peace through destructions which it will never get except instead of heating up the Earth’s atmosphere beyond biological tolerance. This is the situation what one gets to see everywhere even in our own homes in the remotest corners of the state and in the world. The solution is not out there in other planets; the solution is here on this earth as the problem is here. This is a lesson which cannot be delayed anymore from translating into action. The world is all set and ready to act since the year 2000. But why would this decision take so longer time?
The violence is systemic in Indian democratic electoral and economic systems. This problem is not in their power of the people to change because it is illegal for the people take arms and fight the state with violence, ideally. It is the MLAs and MPs only who have the power to legislate and facilitate a change process in the first place by budgeting for peace and also when the voters decide to vote for candidates who resolve to commit part of the MLA/MP Local Area Development Funds for building human resources for peace within their constituencies, in the second place. It is the work of the leaders and elected representatives to lead. They cannot afford to wait for people to vote for this agenda. The Agenda is known since the year 2000 the UN declared the International year for culture of peace and nonviolence and involved member states to develop educational policies and programs through the decade. And thus, NCERT included Peace education in the National Curriculum Framework. The Education Ministry should not any longer fail to train its army of school teachers who are shaping the future of millions of children in the pedagogies for peace education. It is just a matter of a decision and it is not the lack of money!
One can imagine, if all MLAs and MP today decide to offer one Peace fellowship every year during their 5 years tenure they can transform the violent conflicts in each Indian state and between them, also with other countries in the neighbourhoods in their own lifetimes. This is money worth spending if Indian politics choose nonviolence methods to transform violent electoral politics that has killed and maimed hundreds and thousands so far. India can bag the next Noble Peace Prize. It is easy to do so by exploiting huge opportunities and resources in their hands while being elected representatives of the people of India.
If average cost of an MLA Peace fellowship for 2-year Postgraduate degree in peace and conflict transformation studies may be roughly capped at Rs 1.5 Lakh within India, Ph.D in peace and conflict transformation at international level for the MPs at Rs 3-5 Lakhs per fellowship. And if 4910 MLAs and 537 MPs provide these peacebuilding fellowships they will be, together, investing Rs 89, 760, 000/ per year for peace to happen in the society. And if 36 Governors and Lt Governors in 28 States and 8 UTs provide Peace building start-up projects to the fresh pass-out peacebuilding professionals in their respective states India can transform faster than that can be imagined in hard ways or violent ways of changing India. India’s north eastern region can lead in this direction based on its history of violent struggles.
If the 120 MLAs (60 each) and 3 Lok Sabha MPs (1 and 2) of Nagaland and Manipur can take a lead in this direction every year they will be preparing 120 PG level competent professional peace builders and 4 Doctoral level professionals every year between two states which have experienced extreme forms of violence through generations. And during the 5-year tenure they would have produced 620 young men and women professional peacebuilders to work together establishing peacefully coexisting communities by transforming in this insurgency region of India. But what prevents them to take up noble social and political responsibilities as elected representatives of the people?
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, speaking at the Sept 2015 Leaders’ Summit in New York on UN Peacekeeping said, “The foundations of the UN were laid by the brave soldiers on the battlefields of the Second World War. By 1945, they included 2.5 million men of the Indian Army, the largest volunteer force in history.” India today is the largest contributor of troops to UNPKOs. More than 200,000 Indian troops have served in 49 of the 71 UNPKOs deployed so far. India can also be leading investor in UN Peacemaking and Peacebuilding activities that benefits the nation internally.
The writer is Visiting Faculty, NEISSR, Nagaland and Coordinator PINE (Manipur-Nagaland)