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Peace & Harmony - Theme in Campaign against Hunger

Peace & Harmony is one of the themes of the CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUNGER & DISEASE – 2009 taken up by the Centre For Social Action. The campaign was launched on 28th November, 2009 in the presence of Addl. Director General of Police, Shri. Subhash Avate (IPS) & Bishop Percival Fernandez, Aux. Bishop of Bombay


In his lecture to the activists of Community Social Organisations, Fr. S.M. Michael, a researcher at the University of Mumbai, explained that there were three areas of contention creating communal tensions: They are

1. culture

2. nation

3. conversion.


However when examined closely, the clash of interests are only in the name of these three areas, and are really economic, political and self-interest.

Culture: There is a move to project one particular monolithic culture as being the true Indian culture, when in fact India is multicultural, and even multi-racial.

Nation: While some would like to define what we have in India as a Hindu Rastra, or speak of cultural nationalism, we have to recogmise that what we have is Constitutional Nation. This constitutional nationalism has its roots in contending nationalistic streams in the run-up to independence. We can trace it to Raja Ramohan Ray who set up the Brahmo Samaj before leading upto the establishment of the Indian National Congress. You had the ideas of Dayanand Saraswati who worked for Arya Varta Sangatna and initiated the purification ceremony to re-convert etc. There was also the struggle led by Periyar, who spoke for the dravidan cause. The other trend was set up by Jyotiba Phule who fought for women’s education, and a modern India, and a unity of the suppressed people, the so called lower castes. It was these ideas that were taken up by Ambedkar, who is know as the father of the Indian constitution.

Conversion Conversion has been predominant in our history. At one time at the time of Asoka, an overwhelming majority of those in this territory were Buddhist. If we believe in the dignity of the person then we will have to respect whatever choice that person makes in terms of beliefs. The only way to do it is to have the freedom of each of us to tell our story. And each of us to LISTEN to the other. That is dialogue.

Conflict will always be there. Therefore in the dialogue on conversion, we have to look at a win-win solution. We have to recognise this and follow the rules of the game. And much like in any game, there is a referee, we have the constitutions, the political setup and the courts who have to play this role.

PEACE BUILDING IS AN ETERNAL EXERCISE. We have to continue doing it all the time and evolve a methodology of win win solutions. In this the first step is to bring education and remove poverty.


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