Monday, July 17, 2006

How to create world peace

"Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people."
- Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of modern India (1889–1964)

India, at more than one billion population, is the world's best example of peace being a state of mind.

India has its share of problems, and more. It has both the preconditions for terrorism and terrorists themselves. It has more HIV/AIDS than any other country.

It has poverty, assisted by annual floods in some states and unrelenting drought in others. It has living conditions in some places that would make a home in a refrigerator carton seem like a palace.

India has militants, notably in the Kashmir, the northern part of the country whose "ownership" has been disputed since shortly after Kashmir gained independence from Britain in 1947 and its Hindu leader agreed to join with India in order to avoid takeover by Muslim Pakistan.

India has nuclear weapons and the ability to launch them at Pakistan. Pakistan also has such weapons. Both have international media who have played up the possibility of impending war between the two countries for half a century.

Yet despite the media hype, no war between India and Pakistan has ever been seriously considered by their respective leaders. The two countries are, by nature it seems, peaceful. Despite the deaths of about ten million people when Muslim Pakistan and predominantly Hindu India were created and Hindus migrated to India from the western country while some Muslims travelled to Pakistan, most of the people of the two countries consider themselves kin under the skin.

Indians of old, whether under the control of the Mughals or the British, remained relatively peaceful people while those of nearby nations were frequently at war. Whether Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs, the vast majority of the populations of India and Pakistan are peace-loving.

Why are Indians such peaceful people? They are taught, from early childhood, that they are peaceful people. Canadian and Swiss children are similarly taught, as are the children of many European countries who seem reluctant to go to war and thus gave in to conquerers in the past.

It can be a challenge to determine hallmarks of a peaceful people without people of more aggressive societies considering these to be marks of cowardice. However, a worthy marker for a people that is not peaceful is fear.

Fear and peace cannot live in the same heart.

Both fear and peace are taught to young children, whether actively or passively (coincidentally, such as through television).

Those who want peace must teach peace to their young.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' promoting the concept of T3: Teach right, teach good, teach peace.
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