Peace and Harmony
The Oxford dictionary defines peace as ‘freedom from disturbance’ or ‘a state of tranquility in which there is no war’. War is the bane of modern civilization. Despite the devastating effects of war, the number of conflicts and wars that have been fought are increasing. Wars have been fought from ancient times, but what is different about modern wars is that due to great developments in technology and science, war machinery has almost been perfected which now causes a deeper impact or to put it simply kills or harms more people. Maybe this is why that we have seen so many wars in the last hundred and fifty years including the two world wars which were fought on a massive scale. There have been terrible conflicts in the last twenty years also, including the incidents in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. It is possible that more lives have been lost in the last two centuries than the entire previous history of mankind.
International conflicts aside, our country is facing serious internal problems, what is happening in Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and the North East is very serious. Communal, caste and gender related violence and conflicts stare at us from every corner of the country. Lives are being lost every day and wars and conflicts are creating the conditions for more future conflicts. If this continues unchecked and no effort is made to establish peace then the very existence of our species is under threat. The question arises how do we stop all this? Stop violence, wars, conflicts, all this fighting? Peace is the answer. Buddhists believe that peace can be attained when all suffering ends; this truly captures the meaning of peace. As A.J. Muste once said “There is no way to peace, peace is the way”. Therefore peace is not just an ideal; it is the only rational solution.
However, Peace cannot exist without harmony, they go hand in hand. Dictionaries define the word harmony as ‘the state of being in agreement or concord’. To resolve a conflict both parties and individuals should be in agreement. Thus we have to accommodate each other’s requirements, needs and wants. But such agreements cannot be forced. It requires an understanding of each other’s viewpoint and a willingness to engage in dialogue. More importantly, it requires a sense of justice and fairness. The root of all conflict is inequality and uneven development. Thus we have to address the issues of inequality, exploitation and the unequal distribution of wealth if we are to talk of harmony and peace. Essentially peace must aim to bring equality to all citizens in matters of economic and social welfare. Harmony must not gloss over real grievances but instead seek to redress them. Life must be valued and culture preserved and nourished. When we learn to value human life and wellbeing over unbridled consumerism and heartless worship of mammon, the true meaning of peace and harmony can then be realized.
SARANG SIDDHARTH SHARMA
VI-D BA LLB