When I learned about the initiative to celebrate an International Day of Non-Violence and that day was suggested to be the 2nd of October, I understood the good intention of the promoters and decided to participate. Logged in the website http://www.meetup.com/idnv/ , decided a location and added the meet-up to the list. Now it is up to me to advertise locally, invite the people I know in the area and arrange the setting of the event.
It would be an occasion to share experiences and propositions and it is not important that there are many people. More than three it would be a success. (I always keep my expectations low).
In 1986, declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Peace, together with my Indian brother Arya Bushan Bhardwaj, the founder of Gandhi In Action International, we decided to organize a Peace March in the mountain valley where I live, “The People’s March for a Non-Violent Society”.
It was not the kind of Peace March that we were used to see in the west, asking USA and USSR to disarm and make peace. Our intention was to promote Peace as a value and a priority in personal, family and community life. If we want World Peace, we have to do our part, as an individual, as a family and as a local community…. All man live in a community, small or big, and ‘peace’ at community level, means ‘quality of life’ for the humans living in the community. As everyone is well, everyone is well. And I am well. My family is well… Easy to understand, but it seems not easy to practice in daily life, for common man and woman, especially if living in the westernized world .
All are under the influence of the presently dominant idea… competition. “The winner is a winner and all others are losers and being a looser is not a good feeling”. There is no peace in competition… everyone is eager to survive, serving one of the competitors and wishing for victory (profit) over all. Corporations, multinationals, industries… there is a whole language to name each species of instruments, legalized to do something for profit, and there are millions of people serving them, identified with them, striving to be, together, number 1, in the rank of their industry….
There is no peace in the community when people argue, go to court , fight for small things, like the property of a piece of land, for the right to go through a private road, brothers fight to share the inheritance of the dead father,… there is not peace in the family… everybody feels the tension… they are not well.
The march was intended to be a call to the local community to think about it… is Peace so impossible? Can we make a peaceful world starting within, at home and in the neighborhood, in the community. 120/150 people participated in the march, 30 from India, the rest from Europe, but the whole community was involved. We had meetings and gatherings in the villages we went through, we planted peace trees, we were hosted by local families and school children marched with us… It was good,… local papers published articles, local television daily covered the march and people talked about peace and nonviolence… for ten days. And every year after we celebrated the anniversary of the march, with a gathering in the valley, to celebrate non-violence as a style of living and local peace as a value for the welfare of all.
As the concept of Non-Violence is not new to the community, the 2nd of October there will be many people participating and celebrating the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’, and we decided to focus and center the celebration on the concept “Non-Violence is for Every-Day!”
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