At Citizens for Peace, our search is for the thinking and ideas that will bring peace to a troubled society. What we see in India -- the violence, the divides, the scars on all sides -- worries us deeply.
Yet we believe, we must believe, in the dividends of peace. We are not naive enough to think that we will eradicate violence overnight, or by next year, or ever. But it's the striving to get there that pays dividends.
Certainly there's a long road to peace. But the road is the point. To that end, CfP has held a number of meetings with thinkers and activists from across the political spectrum. We have also held round-table discussions that have taken us beyond the superficial and let us come to grips with some of this country's more contentious issues. We actively seek this engagement, for we are tired of one-dimensional views that have led only to polarisation and violence.
Understanding and peace will come, we believe, only from a sincere effort to at least listen to those we disagree with. And if that is in the nature of introspection, CfP also seeks to engage on wider canvases. For three years, we ran an all-India essay competition with the Indian Express, asking our entrants to explore different facets of secularism. We were overwhelmed by the passion in the responses we got. It told us something about a profound and widely-felt yearning in people across India, a yearning we are now trying to understand and tap in different ways. In late 2008, we collaborated with the Times of India to get some of India's most thoughtful thinkers to write about the meaning of peace in a time of worldwide violence. (This takes forward an earlier link with the Times, a Peace Mela we held jointly on October 2 2007). Working with respected figures in Indian industry, we are crafting a Corporate Code of Conduct. We anticipate that firms across the country will become signatories to this Code. By observing it when there's large scale civil strife, they will remain pillars of strength and stability then.
In sum, CfP has worked hard, but quietly, to reach out across fractious divides in ways that are relevant to us. We hope to keep doing so. We believe that's the essence of our identity as Indians, as human beings.