The Many Islands of Peace
Yesterday was the Independence Day. A national holiday, much looked forward to, it is an apt occasion to reflect upon our democratic ethos, and question ourselves, what does ‘independence’, in essence mean. Rather than being merely enjoyed as a holiday, it should celebrated as a moment to revisit the ideals our country and our world is built upon, and we attempted a similar exercise.
The past weeks have been spent by our students drenched in the spirit of internationalism, as they discovered the world beyond their own national frontiers at the Model United Nations. The second annual Shiv Nadar School MUN Conference also unveiled the very pertinent theme of ‘Human Rights’, which students debated with much passion and conviction, backed by sound research. They analysed data, quoted facts and made impassioned speeches capable of moving the hearts of all gathered. And for what? The primary aim through all these endeavours and international conclaves is to arrive at peace and understanding in the world.
World peace is not an easy concept to comprehend or define. Talk of just ‘peace’, and our thoughts and ideas start turning more abstract. As the students fought for the rights of their global brethren, we went around asking them what they understood of this heavy and deep term, ‘peace’, and here is what they shared with us.
For many, the idea of ‘peace’ resided in a personal moment of calm or fulfilment. “Peace means being able to live with myself, and being able to pursue whatever I want without interference or obstruction”, says Aakriti Sinha, from Shiv Nadar School, Noida. Ms. Monica Sagar, Principal, Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, echoes the same thought, albeit in different words, “My idea of peace is to be accepted for who I am, and not being made into something I am not.” Sounds simple enough, but acceptance is an expensive commodity to come by in our social environs.
Colonel Gopal, when asked about the same, developed a faraway look in his eyes and he shared that his idea of peace resided in the Himalayas. “Peace is a moment when I am in the Himalayas, with wonderful clean air to breath, and there is no one around to interrupt my thoughts and solitude.” A lungful of clean air and eyes full of nature’s miracles – who wouldn’t find joy and peace in this?
Raghav Puri’s notion of peace comes with a blend of the best of the personal and worldly notions. This student of the seniormost grade from Shiv Nadar School, Noida, says, “Peace would mean removal of anarchy, chaos and conflict from the world, completely. But then, the idea of peace is also being able to eat anything, anytime I want.” A chuckle later, you are forced to think if it is these light-hearted young lads like him who will effect a transformation in the world? A cacophony of laughter could also be a path to peace, wouldn’t you agree?
WORLD OF LOVE AND RESPECT
Ona Dubey, from Shiv Nadar School, Noida, very laconically tells you, “Peace is when no one opposes the other with violence. It is important to discuss, debate and even argue, but any violence should be out of question. Peace is when we are able to accept opposing viewpoints.” After hours of intense discussions in her MUN committee, talking of civil opposition of disagreeable viewpoints is only obvious! Mahek Sanghera, Director General, Gurgaon MUN goes a step further to explain, “These arguments are only necessary to maintain peace. Peace needs us to talk and to listen, both with patience.”
Some of our students also gave a very purposeful, defined idea of peace. Dhruv, a new student in our Noida school, said, “Peace means a stable economy. It also means political and social stability”. These sentiments were echoed by Kabir from Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, who went onto explain what each of these domains entailed. “There should be opportunities of economic fulfilment for all. People should not be discriminated on the basis of their gender, caste, colour or creed. Each group should find political representation and their concerns should be raised at appropriate forums. Peace is a combination of social, economic and political factors.”
For Ms. Leena Aparajit, Executive Director, Shiv Nadar School, peace is “a world where there is acceptance. Mutual respect. Trust. Love.” This seemingly easy definition carries the burden of several concepts human race finds hard to accept and imbibe in our times. We must, though, for peace’s sake.
Have you, by now, begun questioning, what is peace to you? Many answers are simple, like ‘harmony’, ‘slow music’, ‘sound sleep’, ‘happiness’ and ‘absence of fighting’. Anurag Pandey, Secretary General of the Gurgaon MUN, also has it very simple. “Peace is when everyone is able to sit together and talk and not have any ill feelings. Peace is in being together”, he says.
Bandita Nath, the mentor of International Media at Gurgaon, said, “Peace is inside us. All that is needed is for us to be able to take it out and spread it to the world!”
Young in her years, but mature in her notions, Shania Ratra, Secretary General of the Noida MUN, has this to say when questioned about peace – “Peace can mean many different things. To me, it would mean a situation where everyone is happy. Not just me or my people, but the entire world. And the whole world cannot be happy with the way we’ve been going.” True, and Raghav Palaha, who was at the dais at UNSC in Gurgaon MUN, goes onto emphasize the simple character of peace. He explains “Peace is very simple, really. Peace is when we share. Peace is when we smile. Yes, I believe peace can be achieved with a smile.”
Is Peace really this simple? Or is it complex? If it is really all that simple, what is the obstruction in its path? We put this question in front of our students, and the unequivocal answer received was ‘humans’. Unfortunate, and true. However, if this young generation has accepted that fault lies on their side, the hope is they can grow up into adults who lead us to a calmer tomorrow.
To peaceful coexistence, we march on!
Aug 16, 2017 by Shiv Nadar School