Make peace a state of mind to wipe out the scourge of hatred and war

In a world torn by wars and conflicts between nations, peace is in high demand today. But its elusive nature between individuals, communities and nations makes our yearning for it all the more relevant. For, peace is a weapon that can’t be bought with might and force but with love, understanding and compassion. Peace is the greatest instrument that could lead to great progress in an individual’s pilgrimage on this earth; and for nations, it means the end of conflicts and killings that we have seen helplessly throughout history.

I am writing this in the context of last week’s Nobel Peace Prize announcement; and the controversy as to who should have received it rightfully. The award went to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based at The Hague, for its exemplary services in the destruction of 57,000 metric tonnes of chemical weapons, mostly leftovers of the Cold War period. Though rightly given to this greatly deserving but relatively little known UN-backed organisation, there were millions of people , particularly in India and Pakistan who wished Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistan 16-year-old girl and education activist, who survived a shot in her head by Taliban, felt disheartened that the little peace angel has been denied her due.

But this could be dismissed as a noble wish not fulfilled; what is important to note is that the OPCW has a greater relevance for world peace today, particularly because of its most recent role in overseeing Syrian “disarming” and getting the world rid of mass-destruction weapons. Recall the August pogrom that killed hundreds allegedly because of the use of chemical gas known as Sarin. As US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The Nobel committee has rightly recognised their bravery and resolve to carry out this vital mission amid an ongoing war in Syria; because the world would never forget the victims of the August attack on hundreds of innocent people.

Peace, by definition, means love and affection for each other and it does not mean the absence of war or hatred etc. Peace prevails when there is understanding for each other’s rights and the obligation to respect and accept such rights that others should rightly be claiming ownership. In other words, if anything that you say or do creates uneasiness in others, you must then realise that you are on the wrong side of the righteous way.

As French philosopher and Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus said, “Peace is the only battle worth waging.” That is because one can’t see peace in war as the two are not the two sides of the same coin. They do not coexist and are opposite forces— one driving you to the path of goodness and gain; and the other to the path of loss and destruction.

Surely, you can make a huge difference today if you stand up for peace. Let us take peace as a state of mind and say: If each one of us decides to stand for peace, who will then be left for war!

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