World Peace Day or International Day of Peace and Non-Violence is celebrated every year on 21 September. This day is considered an ideal of freedom, peace, non-violence and happiness among all countries and people in general. This day is celebrated mainly to establish peace and non-violence throughout the world. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 by many countries with the help of political parties, military groups and people. This year the 41st International Day of Peace is being celebrated on Thursday, 21st September 2023. This year’s theme is Action for Peace – Our Ambition for the Global Goals. This call to action is awakening us to our individual and collective responsibility to promote peace, which contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and which will further create a culture of peace for all. Everyone loves peace. Non-violence and peace are the beauty of life. Man sacrifices most of his life in its search.
But it is quite disappointing that today man is moving away from this peace and non-violence day by day. Today, the Russia-Ukraine war that has been going on continuously for one and a half years, and the spread of commercialism all around has made peace and non-violence further elusive. That’s why UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, ‘Today more than ever, peace is needed. War and conflict are causing devastation, poverty and hunger, which are driving millions of people from their homes. There is climate chaos all around and most of the countries of the world are in the grip of huge inequalities and political polarization.’ This year-2023 is also the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
Human beings, animals, birds, insects, spiders etc. all want to remain alive. No one wishes to die. When someone does not want death, then what is the justice in imposing it on him? People who believe in peace and non-violence do not torture, kill or hurt any living being, and from this tendency, the idea of non-violence and peace has emerged. Non-violence consists in uplifting the entire humanity along with oneself, avoiding self-fall and saving others from it. Disturbance is darkness, and peace is light. Darkness cannot be seen with eyes closed. Similarly, peace cannot be seen through unrest. To see peace requires the light of non-violence in the eyes. The earth, sky and ocean are all disturbed. Selfishness and hatred have disintegrated human society. Although the message of ‘world peace’ has been given in each and every era, it has more relevance today amidst the possibilities of world war.
There has been a war raging on between Russia and Ukraine for the past several months and many more countries harbour the ambitions to wage a similar war. Amidst all the fears and possibilities of this war, efforts for peace talks are becoming increasingly ineffective. The second big problem of the war between Russia and Ukraine is that in reality the war is not a war between Ukraine and Russia at all. The real war is going on between the Western alliance and Russia, and these parties are absent from the peace talks. Today, when we find ourselves in the midst of a cold war, China is now standing alongside Russia in that cold war. And in this period, China has become not just 1.25 cents, but 125 cents. In fact, the world moving towards world war needs the reconstruction of non-war, peace and non-violence. And if this reconstruction is not done, then the boiling war in Ukraine will engulf not only Ukraine but many other countries. Peace alone will not solve the problem in Ukraine. This fire will continue to burn like this in future, too. Maintaining peace in the entire world is the main goal of the United Nations today. It is also clearly mentioned in the United Nations Charter that the UN was born to prevent international conflicts and to develop a culture of peace. In this era of conflict, terror and unrest, propagating the importance of peace has become extremely important and relevant.
Therefore, the United Nations, all its institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society and national governments organize this day every year. To spread the message of peace to every corner of the world, the United Nations has appointed world famous personalities from the spheres of art, literature, cinema, music and sports as the peace messengers.
India is a country that gives maximum importance to non-violence and peace, its precious soil has given birth to many saints, seers and sages, who gave the message of non-violence and peace to the world through their life of sacrifice and sadhana. Mahatma Gandhi laid maximum emphasis on non-violence and peace. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had given five basic mantras to establish peace and tranquility in the world, these are also called ‘Principles of Panchsheel’. These five basic principles of Panchsheel are the five basic principles of mutual cooperation among countries with different political, social and economic systems to establish the ideals of human welfare and world peace – respecting each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, not taking aggressive action against each other. Do not interfere in each other’s internal matters, follow the policy of equality and mutual benefit and believe in the policy of peaceful co-existence. It is believed that if the world follows the above five points, there will be peace and tranquility, non-violence and peace everywhere in the entire world. On the occasion of ‘World Peace Day’, white pigeons are flown at various places in every country, spreading the principles of ‘Panchsheel’ to the world. The following couplet by a poet conveys a very thoughtful idea of peace—“Let us carry the message of brotherhood, so that the blood of any protector of the country is not shed in vain.” Today many people believe that the biggest threat to world peace comes from imperialist economic and political misdeeds. Developed countries create war situations, so that their military equipment can be sold. This is such a bitter truth that no one can deny.
Violence and unrest are the burning problems of the world. Non-violence and peace are the only solution to this problem. Non-violence is also one of the constituent elements of Indian culture. Here saints and ascetics of all religions have been preaching non-violence. In this context, the statement of Acharya Shri Mahapragya is going to pave the way for a permanent solution to the problem. During his Ahimsa Yatra, he had repeatedly reiterated that he was searching for the reasons for violence in his journey. The philosophy of Lord Mahavir is the philosophy of non-violence. Words like non-violence, equality, friendship, compassion, restraint, etc. give expression to the same meaning. Ahimsa Savvabhuyakhemankari – There is a need to create a non-violent society to remove the ashes that have fallen on the bright light of non-violence which brings welfare to all the living beings of the world and to remove the rust from the power of non-violence and sharpen its edge. This year, during his presidency of G-20, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen giving shape to the entire world as one family by declaring Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. They are trying to establish world peace and non-violence in the world, the whole world is looking towards India with hopeful eyes that once again India should shine the light of peace and non-violence. There is great significance and utility in celebrating Peace and Non-Violence Day, it will enlighten the inner instincts, the voice of adopting non-violence and peace will be raised from the inner mind and non-violence and peace will come in the human nature engaged in violence and unrest.
By Lalit Garg,
Writer, Journalist, Columnist