Peace is a state where one gets a sense of calmness and tranquility that is essential to every living body on this planet. We all yearn to be at peace with not only the people around us but the environment as a whole. It is a parameter that defines the quality and richness of our lives with respect to every other living or non-living thing.
Each living being has their own state of peace. For some it may be spending time with family or friends, for some it may be getting a meal after working hard for a day, for some it would be closing a million dollar business deal, for some it may be planting a sapling, for some it could be helping a fellow being and so forth. It varies widely and mostly depends on the surroundings and challenges in our upbringing. Hence it is a very dynamic and candid because of its varying nature.
Every nation aspires to ensure the citizens a prolonged sense of peace. It is a promise that every political party gives to its voters, based on which the people choose their representatives. The primary motive for the formation of the United Organization (UN) was to ensure peace and harmony among the nations which was in danger due the recurring nature of war.
War and Peace
If we look at History, most of the parts are bloodied with innumerable war stories. Humans have continuously nurtured an insatiable thirst for power that war has been unavoidable. War was so normalized throughout the past that it became a way of living. Political theories were generated around war and it was seen as an extension of politics. War became a necessity for revolution and change henceforth. It became criteria for a healthy and blooming country, where the people were vigilant enough to overthrow the oppressive rulers and claim their rights and bring about peace and harmony in the nation.
Many countries have been in a perpetual state of war, that to them peace has become an unattainable virtue, that is something which they can only dream about. Colonization was the major reason for the onset of a series of war which became inevitable because when people are oppressed they are forced to pick up arms against the oppressor, which results in an endless strife and death of uncountable innocent lives.
India, like many other countries, was under the British colonization but relatively, India’s freedom saw much less violence than some other countries like Afghanistan, America, etc. But even after attaining freedom from foreign control, peace seemed to be a utopian concept that to some countries was still an unfathomable endeavor. These countries are suffering from civil wars and terrorist activities which do not seem to subside any time soon.
The world has till date seen two World Wars, which collectively caused the deaths of more than a billion people. Its aftermaths were devastating not only in terms of lives lost but also in terms of resources, all this just for power. There is an incessant threat of 3rd World War, which was very much visible in the Cold War period. International institutions like The United Nations have been working tirelessly to combat any chances of a third World War.
There are many countries like Afghanistan which still continues to be under the shingles of internal violence. It has failed to achieve the much required peace for its citizens. India too, is surrounded by hostile neighbors which is a source of constant unrest in the country. Especially to the people living in the area under constant threat of bombings or gun-fires.
And because of all these notions people were forced to believe that peace was an outcome of war. It was also believed that peace was a period without war and conflict instead of looking at it with optimism.
“Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” —Ronald Reagan
Why do we need a positive notion of peace?
Peace is a much needed prerequisite in defining a state of happiness and a way of life. People often equate peace with war; both these states now exist as an inseparable binary. This juxtaposition needs to be done away with. Although history is filled with examples of how with the end of war we get a prolonged period of peace, but now if we still keep boosting this idea we are only trying to press the idea that peace cannot be independent or separated from war, or that it is necessary for war to exist so we can keep getting a renewed experience of peace. This scenario needs to be changed if we want to see lives flourishing on earth.
If we go through any dictionary we can see that there are pages explaining what war is; but only few sentences to describe what peace is and how dependent peace is on war. We often see reports of violence and war being reported on news channels and newspapers. But very few instances of peace and welfare being reported because there is a notion that it won’t be as much rewarded as the former. The very fact that there is a field of study called ‘Peace studies and Conflict management’ denotes how indivisible this has already been. And if we do not attempt to detach these two very important fields, it would be very late.
UN has been sending its peacekeeping forces in many bereaved countries to ensure the fulfillment of its very founding principles, but mostly this was a result of a conflict or violence, like after the Rwandan Genocide there were large number of peacekeeping missions set-forth. A very simple analogy to understand the kind of practice that this is building is to watch how some children devoid of the attention of their parents create trouble just so they would get their parents attention.
All the super powers in the world are spending bulk of their budget amount on arms and ammunition. These are not just to be used in war; these are required for peace keeping also. Where ever there are boundaries, conflict of interest arises. The countries need to uphold their sovereignty but not at the cost of war and unrest. If we could live in a world where there is no fear of war, we could concentrate more on the well being of living beings and our environment. There are millions of refugees in every part of the world. It is the responsibility of a civilized society and concerned organizations to address this issue. They are suffering not because they were indulged in some sort of war or battle. They are mere victims of the system. Their human rights are violated even and no one is really bothered about it.
For the last three consecutive years Finland is placed as the happiest country in the world. It may be noted that the parameter required for this ranking is not only the absence of war. But the mental and physical health of each citizen is of paramount importance. For this state of happiness we need to have social and financial security, freedom of choice and expression etc. In order to attain this everyone including the government and the citizens need to work hard, shoulder to shoulder and contribute their bits for the well being of the nation as a whole.
In this world of digital transformation we enjoy the maximum facilities. But we cannot claim that we are better than our ancestors when it comes to peace of mind. We are restless and not contented. For achieving a satisfying and fulfilling life, conscious efforts are to be made. Then only we all can claim that we are peace loving and can make this world more beautiful and lively .
We need to change the definition of peace in order to bring about positive changes in the world.