Peace Education for Genuine Democracy, Good Governance and Nonviolence
EDUCATION, 21 Apr 2014
Prof. Prasad has developed his own concept of peace education, which is based on universally inherent five elements, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit, in every man and woman without any discrimination. He believes that this peace education can give birth to genuine democracy which can promote good governance that can lead to nonviolence everywhere. For this, he recommends to the United Nations to arrange Global Meet for Dialogue on the pertinent theme for establishment of genuine democracy and practice of good governance for nonviolence through peace education based on five elements in all men and women. Prof. Prasad advises to invite to the heads of nation-states, leaders of different major social, cultural and religious groups, thinkers in peace education, and popular leaders of masses and major NGOs including the leaders of violent groups for this Global Meet.
If we wish, in future, no more like Socrates to be poisoned to death, no more like Christ to be crucified, no more like Bruno to be burnt, no more like John Huss to be burned at the stake, no more like Galileo to be forced to recant, no more like Plato to be thrown into prison, and no more like Dalai Lama, Solzhenitsyn, and Rigoberta Menchú to be exiled, no more like Aung San Suu Kyi to be kept under house arrest, and no more ‘genocide’, no more ‘ethnic cleansing’ and no more ‘global terrorism’ to be happened, and all people of the world to be free from hunger, disease and ignorance, let us create and establish sustainable genuine democracy through knowledge and practice of peace education based on universally inherent five elements, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit in every man and woman everywhere without any discrimination for good governance and nonviolence.
Violence and bad governance are inherent in the structure of the systems of today’s about 139 non-democratic countries of the world, where one or dozen persons hold the decision-making power that enables them to declare which persons or groups of nations should die. Even in about 50 to 60 democratic or quasi- democratic countries, violence committed by the persons through manipulation of money, power and other resources. Here a very small number of individuals (the economic and political elites), who control the presidency or the cabinet, the communication media and the political parties, are really making most of the crucial decisions.
In this regard, here I would like to quote the gist of the public debate on the theme: “What Democracy for the Future? – between renowned French Sociologist Alain Touraine and Michael Walzer, a leading American Philosopher and Political Scientist at the UNESCO Headquarters at Paris on 14 November, 1997. Touraine, the author of What is Democracy?, said that although authoritarian regimes around the world were declining and the idea of democracy was gaining ground, representative democracy was increasingly “manipulated by elites”. Even in well-established Western democracy, Touraine said, “social exclusion hits one third of the population, rendering them unrepresentable”. Walzer of Princeton University, who is co-editor of the political review Dissent and the author of Spheres of Justice, regrettedthat “the process of democracy has been taken over by television, big money and make-up artists” at the expense of grass-root participation. He deplored that individual representation through political parties and organizations fraternities, unions and churches, is declining and has been replaced by fund raising organizations with paid lobbyists. Touraine argued, “The only way to reunite instrumental institutions and subjective values is for every individual and group to take charge of their sovereignty. As we look for new ways for democracy to reconstruct itself, we must not ask for social policies of insurance (the welfare State) but policies that provide support individual initiative. Our politics will only be democratic if they enable each and every one of us to their own life project and leave room for everybody’s cultural rights”. Touraine insisted that “the desire to be free and to create is hampered by two hurdles: the markets and communalism”. The then UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor, who introduced the debate, denounced the weakness of democracy in the age of globalization saying: “We are constantly being counted in opinion polls and in election, but we do not count”. Mayor argued that democracy is only possible in a society in which all are allowed to participate. He juxtaposed Rene Descartes’ epistemological, “I think therefore I am”, and a political postulate, “I participate therefore I am”.
In fact, democracy means the rule of the people. But in practice, in some democratic countries, people are bought by their to-be representatives to be elected, and after being elected by them they keep or maintain distance from the people, and in this way, in the governance, there is no place for people. Here I would like to cite the sayings of President Abraham Lincoln about democracy: “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”, but the factual position of democracy in the present world is “Democracy as the government of ‘buy’ the people, ‘far’ the people, ‘off’ the people. However, where there are democracies, people are ruled not by themselves but by their representatives elected by them. People are governed by their brokers through proxy. There is reality if we people cannot eat by proxy, drink by proxy, marry by proxy, then why we people should be ruled by proxy. We people must be masters in our people houses for governance.
However, we can favor democracy of people’s elected representatives in the governance provided good persons, saintly persons and creative educated persons would take part in the governance of people till for the period when all people would be learned and educated with awareness for themselves. I think Plato, the disciple of Socrates, was right who warned centuries ago, “The penalty that good men pay for refusing to take part in the government is to live under the government of bad men”. Lala Hardayal, a great intellectual thinker who lived and died in United States of America and one of the members of Gather Party for the independence of India, hoped and said, “Ministers of the world state will be sages and saints; its civil servants will be scholars and scientists”. A renowned Russian American sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin who was an ardent opponent of communism, has also put similar views saying, “Ascending governments of scientists of all nations, the United Nations and the future world government can be enormously improved in their moral strength and wisdom by including in all governments these sages and experts. Their presence can prevent the governments from committing moral blunders, can increase their wisdom and morality and reinforce the total moral and spiritual order in the human universe”. At the end of 1992, UNESCO formed a Council of Sages composed of 21 of the World’s most eminent intellectuals to reflect on the vital issues of time which may affect the lives of all the planet’s inhabitants such as the “eruption of political, religious and ethnic intolerance”, which Algeria’s Mohammed Bedjaoui, jurist and member of International Court of Justice in Hague, considers to be one of the most alarming situations facing the world today. Writer and former President of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel tells, “in a way the forum (the Council of Sages) is an experiment, and we cannot foresee exactly how it will develop, however it might grow into one of those institutions that will help enrich the realm of politics, international relations and international co-operation, with certain broader cultural and spiritual dimension which in my view is much needed in today’s politics…”.
Number of corrupt and criminal persons is more in the governance of people in different parts of the world. One may refer to the book entitled: World Famous Corrupt Politicians authored by Nemisharan Mitaland published by Pustak Mahal, New Delhi in1992 by an arrangement with Family Books Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. The publisher of the book writes in the Preface, inter alia, “The book throws corrupt activities of the statesmen… Almost all the corrupt statesmen of the world have been thoroughly exposed with proven documentary evidences. While selecting corrupt politicians for exposure it has been borne in mind that all those politicians may be left out in whose cases charges of corruption have not been proved in the Court of Law. …”.
India is a great democratic country in the world. However, 30 percent of India’s M. Ps. (Member of Parliament) faces criminal charges. Going by the records of the Election Commission, the Association of Democratic Reforms says 162 out of 545 MPs (Members of Parliament) and 1258 out of 4,032 sitting MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) have declared that there are certain cases pending against them. Those among them who have been convicted “in harness” have filed appeals so that they can serve full term.
Certainly, all have not criminal record. However, about more than one third has criminal record, and law-breakers are law-makers. One may imagine what would be the fate of common people, if such tainted persons govern them. Recently, the highest court of India, the Supreme Court passed an order that politicians convicted of serious crimes must step down but the lawmakers are fighting back. They are striving hard to restore the earlier position, allowing the convicted MPs and legislators to get stay of their conviction. The Representation of the People (second amendment and validating) Bill, 2013 seeks to negate the apex court judgement of July 10, 2013which said that if any sitting MP or MLA is convicted he will have to resign from the legislature. The Supreme Court dismissed the govt.’s petition for review of its ruling, disqualifying MPs and MLAs (representatives of people) immediately on being convicted in a criminal case with a sentence of two years’ imprisonment or more. Now fate of Representation of the People (Second Amendment Validation) Bill 2013 hangs in balance as the principal opposition party (BJP) has had a rethink on it. Now with the BJP disinclined to amend the law, the bill is pending in the Parliament, and the Monsoon session was adjourned sine die, the Government decided on 24 September, 2013 to bring an ordinance to protect the convicted MPs and MLAs and undo the Supreme Court verdict dated10 July, 2013. The ordinance will come into effect from the date of the order of the Supreme Court i.e. July 10, 2013, once the President gives his assent. One may observe here how the people’s government is trying to protect its convicted fellow representatives of the people, and set example before people in the name of people’s governance. The latest is that the Union Cabinet of the Indian Government on the night of 02 October, 2013 decided to withdraw the controversial ordinance on convicted lawmakers as well as related bill in the face of mounting public opinion against the measure. It is good sign since the next 5 yearly general elections in India for people’s representatives is due in 2014.
No doubt, in the past, there were some kings and emperors who were highly enlightened, just, kind, honest and very popular for their better governance. In ancient India, there was a king named Rama, and it is said that under his governance, there was no physical, mental and spiritual sufferings to anybody. All loved each other. No one died in early age of his life; all people were free from sorrow and pain, disease, poverty and ignorance. Though Rama was a King, Mahatma Gandhi wanted the governance in the state politics like rule of Rama. There were kings in ancient India who had intellectual and wise persons as ministers and advisers who were the hidden rulers because their advices were followed by the kings. Rishi Vashishtha (a saint intellectual) was the adviser in the Kingdom of Shri Rama. In the period of Mahabharata, Vidur (an expert in state politic and a fame of Vidur-Niti-ethics) was the chief consultants and minister in the empire of Kaurava. Emperor Bharata, on whose name India is known as “Bhāratavarṣa“, was just and democrat in practice. He discarded his own sons from being his successors as King because they were not fit for the post of emperor. Hence he gave the reign of his empire in the hands of intellectual son of Saint Bharadvaja. Saint Ashtavakra was the intellectual adviser in the regime of King Janaka. Kautilya (Chankya–an intellectual giant in state politics) was the mentor and adviser of King Chandragupta. There were Nine Jewels in the court of Badshah (emperor) Akbar in the Mugal period in India. In modern India, though it has adopted democracy and government is formed by the elected representatives of the people, 12 members among the intellectuals from the field of science, culture, drama, art, music, literature, social work etc. are nominated by the President for the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) of the Indian Parliament to check them from committing wrongs. However, recently the ruling party manipulates in nominating persons from intellectual categories to the Upper House of the Parliament, and it sends the defeated persons in the election to the Upper House from the categories of intellectuals.
The ills in democracy are due to lack of proper education. Democracy without proper education is no more true democracy. Democracy without proper education always leads to exploitation, injustice, unrest, chaos, violence and war. Such democratic societies never hesitate even to kill educated people of their own. History has records. Pitirim A. Sorokin has given facts and figures in details in his book: Reconstruction of Humanity. The society which executed a great educationist Socrates was democratic at that time, though people ruled themselves directly, however women and slaves were not allowed to vote. And the leadership of Athens descended from the summit to the lower levels of talent and character. Athens itself was virtually destroyed under the strain of war. Socrates was not in favour of democracy in Athens because people in the governance were not wise (educated). Hence true democracy cannot be evolved by force or indoctrination. And we have seen the results of forced democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan where people are not safe and secured. Education in the past was and in the present is to some extent anti-human, inhuman and non-human everywhere, hence people were and are governed by non-democratic and fake democratic rulers.
Pitirim A. Sorokin, in his thesis – ‘A Contaminated Democracy and Present Form of Education: Quack Cures for War and Impotent Plans for Peace’, tells us about the conviction of a large number of statesmen and scholars, business leaders, ministers and plain men and women in a republican and democratic system of government which guarantees peace and eliminates war. But he doubts saying that if democracy is contaminated by poisonous elements its therapeutic power largely evaporates. Because he observes that most of the democracies, in fact, have been of this low variety-grade, contaminated variety. He observes that beginning with Athenian democracy and ending with the Dutch, the English, the French, the Belgian, and even the United States democracy before the abolition of slavery, each of these systems was actually a small oligarchy built upon a vast stratum of slaves, serfs and exploited, disfranchised, and autocratically ruled Colonial Helots. He finds that all the democracies of History which have been virtually vitiated by many other elements incompatible with the essence of genuine democracy. He ascertains also that the republican and democratic nations have been no less belligerent or more peaceful than monarchic and autocratic ones. And to justify his findings he has given full dada on wars and the names of democratic nations, and has come to a conclusion that the frequency of wars is slightly higher in the totality of the democratic nations. And with the increasing democratization of humanity, wars have not decreased but have enormously increased in their magnitude, destructiveness, and scientific bestiality. His findings also show that the highly literate, scientific and technological twentieth century has been thus far the bloodiest, the turbulent, and the most belligerent of all the twenty-five centuries of Western history since the rise of ancient Greece. His results demonstrate that neither the growth of school education nor the multiplication of technological inventions and scientific discoveries has led to a decline of wars and revolutions. However, he hopes that a morally and socially responsible science and technology and a system of education inspiring human conduct with love and man’s intellect with a true wisdom would indeed promote creative peace, but he doubts they can perform this function in their present form.
True democracy can take birth through proper education of all men and women everywhere without any discrimination and it will sustain only if it is practiced by all perpetually throughout their lives. Practice of proper education will not only change the fake democracy into real democracy, but it will facilitate also the non-democratic nations to be democratic. Plato once said for a King that he must be a philosopher, and only philosopher should be the King. Philosopher means highly enlightened and educated (not merely learned), and king means ruler, and an educated ruler would certainly be just and kind in governance. In a democracy, all are rulers hence all deserve to be educated, because everybody is entitled to have the chance to be human. Huxley’s cry of a hundred years ago rings round the world today:
The politicians tell us ‘You must educate the masses because they are going to be masters’. …And a few voices are lifted up in favour of the doctrine that the masses should be educated because they are men and women with unlimited capacity of being, doing, and suffering, and that it is as true now, as ever it was, that the people perish for lack of knowledge.
Comenius, in The Great Didactic, expressed his two wishes regarding education of man, and he said:
Our first wish is that all men should be educated fully to full humanity, not any one individual, nor a few nor even many, but all men together and singly, young and old, rich and poor, of high and lowly birth, men and women – in a word all whose fate it is to be born human beings; so that at last the whole of the human race may become educated, men of all ages, all conditions, both sexes and all nations.
Our second wish is that every man should be wholly educated, rightly formed not only in one single matter nor in a few or even in many but in all things which perfect human nature…
Robert M. Hutchins, the author of The Learning Society, said:
Unless everybody can be educated, democratic aspirations will shortly seem naive, and man must renounce his claim to be called a political animal. He will be ruled by a bureaucracy, which may guarantee him certain rights, but not the right to achieve full humanity through political participation. The lot of people will be bread and circuses.
Truly, we all people are very far from proper education that is man-making education or we may call it peace education.
Non-democratic and fake democratic nations have given birth to mis-education for a few privileged well-to-do, and non-education for many deprived which have caused the problems of poverty, population, pollution, violation of human rights, violence, war, terrorism, ethical crisis and ecological imbalance. Hence, in the world, there are brute culture, culture of silence or mute culture, masculine culture, sick culture, culture of war, violence and intolerance.
Except education of man – what he or she is – we have all types of education, but for a few privileged only. And these educations make a few doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers and other professionals minus man (human), and many are deprived of these educations. In this sense, the present education destroys both – those to whom it reaches, and those to whom it is denied. We are people of different nations, faiths (sects), relations, races, but we are not man (human). Man (humanity) is missing from us. Hence, we are exploiting, oppressing, fighting and killing each other, and sometimes we are killing ourselves also.
Therefore I propose my concept of peace education for establishment of genuine democracy, and practice of good governance leading to nonviolence everywhere. My definition of peace education is knowledge, awareness and integral manifestation of physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual energies already in every man and woman irrespective of any discrimination of caste, creed, race, gender, nation, and of other differences. My peace education is awareness for its theoretical concept thoroughly and deeply, and it is more for practice. It is self-education. It is education of the self, by the self and for the self – for living together through mutual co-operation and help for co-existence, co-prosperity and co-peace, which leads to establishment of genuine democracy and for its perpetuation.
The Authors of Vedanta of ancient India in 500 B. C., Lord Buddha in 500 B. C., Socrates of Athens in 400 B. C. and some centuries latter Jesus Christ advised their disciples and followers, “Know Thyself”. However, their advices were/are not taken seriously to know and follow, and practice them.
Certainly, thinkers of the past thought of an ideal world society, but they never thought of an ideal man. No doubt, their approaches were to make man ideal but through ideal society. However, Plato’s Ideal States, The Leibnitz’s The Best World, More’s Utopia, Kant’s Theological Kingdom, Confucius’s Great Cooperation Society, Mencius’s The Kingly Way, Hsunpzu’s The Good World, and other good ideal societies like Communistic, Socialistic and Democratic failed either to make their societies ideal or through them ideal men and women. If their search would be to make people ideal man, or at least man (human), what inherently he or she is, their societies would also be realized, but in the form of human society.
I have studied the concept of self for a long period of about more than 40 years and developed the innovative idea of my peace education for formation of genuine democracy, good governance and perpetual nonviolence.
Democracy, human rights, nonviolence and other values are the by-products or secondary products of my peace education. Primary product of my peace education is integral manifestation of five elements in men and women. These are not merely the words as values to be learnt and skilled in them and to prepare others to follow as practiced in prevalent peace education. Current peace education may be one of the types of remedial educations like disarmament education, tolerance education, women education, education for international understanding, education for nonviolence and education for other similar problems, because in future, we may have education for anti-terrorism and other forms of anti-violence. And the exiting peace education may cure the symptom of violence, not the cause of violence. However current peace education is not for all. Only a very few privileged well-to-do have the access to the present peace education.
But in my definition of peace education, the inherent five energies, as stated above, in every man and woman are very prone to be known and realized integrally and perpetually by every-one. This peace education should be core-subject in all educations from nursery, primary, secondary to higher education. And this peace education will go beyond campus education and will continue till the end of life of all men and women.
This man-making perpetual integral peace education will be for all including for parents, teachers, current peace educators, preachers, bureaucrats, rulers, representatives of people, other professionals, and all minor and adult who have no access to educational institutions for sustainable genuine democracy, protection human rights and nonviolence everywhere. But non-unfoldment or even partial unfoldment of these five elements in men and women leads to creation of anti-democracy, violation of human rights and practice of violence.
Methodology of my peace education will be mathetics (the science of learning), not pedagogy (the science of teaching- as practiced in the current peace education). Because nobody teaches anybody, but we all learn from each other. I always compare an educator or peace educator with a doctor. A doctor operates a wound of a patient, puts some medicines and makes the bandage, that’s all. But no doctor can enter into the process of healing of the wound of the patient. The healing of the wound will take it own course. However, the importance of the doctor does not diminish. He/she must be specialized and trained in operation, knowledgeable in proper medicines and skilled in making bandages. Similarly an educator or a peace educator arranges the things through variety of methods, techniques, devices and audio-visual aids so that learning in the learners may occur. But no educator or peace educator can enter in to the process of learning of the learners. Learning will take it own course. Here also, the importance of the educator or peace educator does not minimize. He/she is supposed to be well-educated in the concept and leaning of man in global perspective through the knowledge and practice of variety of disciplines and well-trained in various methods and techniques of learning with specialization in audio-visual aids.
And my peace education based on five elements of man and woman has two aspects: first compensatory integral peace education and integral peace education. Compensatory peace education will be for today’s crippled generation. We are all crippled: some physically, some vitally, some mentally, some intellectually, some spiritually, and many are crippled in all parts of their body. Hence we all need compensatory integral peace education for recovery of our physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual health integrally. Integral peace education will be for coming generations, who are supposed their five elements are un-corrupt, un-crippled, raw, pure, and very prone to be unfolded integrally to be democrats, protectors of human rights and nonviolent.
Undemocratic nation-states are not allowing their educational institutions to promote exiting peace education due to fear of indoctrination and regimentation. They fear that the concept of present peace education will destabilize their system. On the other hand, in many democracies, there is lack of political will and awareness to endorse or practice exiting peace education though now peace education has become the subject of policy of the United Nations, research and training by UNESCO, The Council of Europe and ministries of Education, various universities throughout the world and world-wide trans-nationally conceived and conducted NGO Global Campaign for Peace Education.
But nation-states should not fear peace education of mine because while people belong to different races, and nations and have different genders, beliefs, cultures, and faiths, they have the same elements–body, vitality, mind, intellect, and spirit. All individuals have the inherent ability to evolve to become men and women for democracy, good governance and nonviolence.
Therefore, let all people of the world be aware of peace education based on the five elements as cited above. The world has enough resources to meet the needs 15 billion people while the world population is about 7 billion. All people must have means and opportunity to transcend the physical body and move to higher levels of existence. Through renunciation of the lower self, man achieves a higher self and finally becomes fully human. If peace education of five elements of men and women is practiced everywhere, there would be sustainable genuine democracy and good governance leading to nonviolence (which is peace with justice and equity) everywhere.
Last but not the least I would like to strongly recommend to the United Nations to arrange a Global Meet for Dialogue on the pertinent theme for establishment of genuine democracy and practice of good governance leading to nonviolence everywhere through implementation of peace education based on universally inherent five elements, (viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit) in every man and woman of the different parts of the world without any discrimination. And the members in the dialogue group should be heads of different nation-states, religious sects, global teachers, thinkers in peace education and creators of culture of peace, popular leaders among the masses and the impartial NGOs. And the leaders of violent groups including those who bear responsibility for genocide, ethnic cleansing and global terrorism should also be invited for this Global Meet, keeping the words of Jesus in mind: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Dr. SuryaNath Prasad is M. A. in Sociology, M. Ed. in Experimental Education, M. Phil. in Nonviolence and Peace Studies, and Ph. D. in Education. Dr. Prasad has taught for three decades as Assistant and Associate Professor of Education in India. He is Former Visiting Professor of Peace Studies at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies in Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea. He is Former President and Currently Executive Vice President of International Association of Educators for World Peace. Dr. Prasad is Hon. Associate Editor of Diplomacy Journal (Republic of Korea) . He is a Member of Editorial Board of Peace and Conflict Review – A Journal of UN mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica). Dr. Prasad is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Peace Education: An International Journal. The Journal has ISSN number. Dr. Prasad distributes the Journal free of cost throughout the world. Website of his Journal is: http://www.sites.google.com/site/peaceeducationsnp/. One may reach him at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Apr 2014.
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