Shaping Peace Together
Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.Mahatma Gandhi
It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man
The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence. UN General Assembly established the commemoration in 2007, and the International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of nonviolence, including through education and public awareness”.
The name of Mahatma Gandhi transcends the bounds of race, religion and nations. Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to his belief in nonviolence and has been the inspiration for nonviolent movements for civil rights and social change across the world.
Poverty is the worst form of violenceMahatma Gandhi
Importance of nonviolence becomes pertinent when one thinks of the world entangled with conflicts. Violence is the use of force against oneself (self-directed), another person (interpersonal) or a group (collective) that is likely to result in injury, psychological harm, or death. WHO estimates indicate that every year 1.6 million people worldwide die from violence and is a leading cause of death among young people. ~90% of deaths due to violence are in developing countries. Many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual and mental health problems.
Violence places a massive burden on national economies, costing countries substantial financial loss in health care, law enforcement and lost productivity. The economic impact of violence is estimated to be a staggering >13% of gross world product. The production and trade in arms and weapons are undoubtedly one of the greatest threats to peace. Even though violence affects people across the globe, not much support is given to research into the context of violence and the influence of cultures. It could not only save lives but reduce suffering.
Bullying is one of the forms of violence that affects young people and is often not considered as a form of violence. Gender-based violence is present in every society, and its consequences affect virtually all human beings. Domestic violence occurs across the world, in various cultures, and affects people across society, at all levels of economic status; however, lower socioeconomic status has been shown to be risk factors for higher levels of domestic violence.
Any form of abuse can leave deep psychological scars, in situations of conflict, women become incredibly vulnerable and new forms of violence against women emerge. UN, Sustainable Development Goals recognise the vital role of security for development. SDG 16 (“Peace and Justice”) is to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.
When the world is celebrating 151st birthday of the great soul, Mahatma Gandhi, it is the time to resolve and reaffirm the commitment to work towards a world free of violence, not only the armed conflicts but all forms.
On this International Day of Non-violence, I reiterate my call for a global ceasefire. Making this a reality before the end of the year would ease suffering, help lower the risk of famine and create space for negotiations towards peace. Now is the time to intensify our effortsAntonio Guterres
Ancient Indian Scriptures say:
Sarvesham Shnatir Bhavatu (May everyone live in peace) Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavatu (May there be happiness and prosperity everywhere)
May good sense prevails, and humans use its intelligence and ability to make this world a better place to live.
We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word, and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards itMahatma Gandhi