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8th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action, Jaipur, India 2014

Vijay Mehta – vijay@vmpeace.org

Uniting for Peace Chair, Vijay Mehta, visited Jaipur, ‘The Pink City,’ to address a conference on “Towards a Nonviolent Future – Some Realistic Models for Peaceful Co-Existence” (5 – 8 January) convened by Anuvrat Global Organisation and Jain Vishva Bharati University. The opening ceremony of the event was performed by Governor of Uttar Pradesh, B L Joshi. The opening plenary speakers emphasised the importance of finding a realistic model of nonviolence as after thousands of peace conferences we have not been able to achieve a world without violence and war. Nonviolence has been understood at the intellectual level, but has not become a reality in daily life.

The conference was attended by 200 delegates from 28 countries with large contingents from Italy and Japan. The conference hosted 9 plenary sessions and 10 workshops during the course of 3 days at the headquarters of Anuvrat Global Organization (ANUVIBHA) at Malviya Nagar, Jaipur. The focus was to derive at a realistic model of peace and nonviolent action. The topics in plenary sessions included peace, nonviolence, religion and interfaith harmony, poverty reduction, environment and eco-sustainability, educating children and youth for a culture of nonviolence and possibilities of a weaponless world. A number of scholars and academics gave presentations on the above topics followed by vibrant discussions for finding a model for coexistence and peaceful future.

The valedictory session took place in Bikaner, where delegates had an opportunity in participating in an interactive session with His Holiness Acharya Mahashraman.

Among the many distinguished scholars and academics who contributed were Dr. Gulbab Kothari (India), S L Gandhi (India), Samani Agam Prajna (India), Mr Ignatius Xavier (India), Master Yuji Yahiro (Japan), Dr. Akash Ouchi (Japan), Mr. Muzzamil Cader (Sri Lanka), Mr. Rudi Jansma (The Netherlands), Rev. Dr. Jinwol (South Korea), Ms. Samantha Lynne Gupta (USA), Ms. Monowara Begum Moni (Bangladesh), Mr. Michael Ben Eli (UK), Dr. Thomas Daffren (UK), and Vijay Mehta (UK). There were many other prominent speakers and members of the audience, too many to mention in this report, who also enlightened the conference with their thought provoking presentations and played important role in the success of the conferece.

A draft document or a blueprint on a realistic model of peaceful co-existence and sustainability embedded in Ahimsa (nonviolence) was drafted by Dr. Thomas Daffren which will be circulated among the delegates after it is finalised. A special issue of ANUVIBHA reporter will carry a full report of the conference including the final model document which will be presented to governments, leaders, students for the changes we urgently need for nonviolence to prevail.

The entire conference was filmed and a CD of many photographs is being produced.

The hospitality and the organisation of the team of ANUVIBHA, especially the overall monitoring and control of Dr. S L Gandhi was notable which made the conference a success.

It was a great networking opportunity for peace activists around the world to energise themselves and share their views for working and achieving a world without violence.

Some words of wisdom and reflections from the conference are below:

  • Nonviolence (Ahimsa) is a lifestyle and way of life and it will not work if it is not put into practice
  • Non-possessiveness is a basic quality of Ahimsa (nonviolence)
  • All west is a bazaar (market) and India is a parivar (family)
  • Media is a powerful tool – whoever controls the media, controls the mind and public opinion
  • Activists has to enter the age of web and media as the current media has the potential for changing the world for peace, justice and democracy
  • For a sustainable environment, the dynamic relationship of 20% of the people consuming 80% of world’s resources needs to be changed
  • Forgiveness is a divine gift, a moral virtue, a higher state of consciousness, a process, a strategy for survival, a therapeutic tool, a technique for peace and coexistence and one of the natural attributes of the soul, a harmony and unconditional love
  • Peace is cooperation – sweating together, working together and taking actions together
  • Mere absence of war is not peace
  • Since wars began in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that defences of peace must be constructed – UNESCO Declaration of Culture of Peace
  • By our altruistic acts, service and contribution to human society we can transform inner peace to attain universal peace in which all mankind can live in joy and harmony
  • Self-restraint is life
  • We are all one as human beings
  • Truth is one; the wise speak of it in many ways – Rig-Veda
  • World peace is not a utopian dream. It can be realised by overcoming forces of destruction, violence and warmongering
  • A weaponless world is possible if the challenges of security, poverty and environmental crisis can be met successfully through multilateral efforts based on the rule of law
  • We must delegitimise war as a way of solving disputes
  • Every country should pass a law which prevents its military budget from exceeding spending on peace, education and healthcare

This report is prepared for Uniting for Peace website and newsletter. In the conference, Vijay Mehta gave presentations on “Is Nonviolent Future Possible” and “Possibilities of a Weaponless World”.

For individual speaker presentations please get in touch with S L Gandhi - slgandhi@hotmail.com and Rudi Jansma - rudijansma@hotmail.com

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