Total Literacy for World Peace
ASIA & THE PACIFIC, 2 Nov 2015
On the eve of National Unity Day on 31 October on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as the Government of India has decided to observe every year, the author of these lines, Dr. Surya Nath Prasad, the former International President and currently Executive Vice President of IAEWP (International Association of Educators for World Peace) and Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Peace Education Journal salutes him with deep and great honor, and he remembers and recalls the events of West Zone Conference of IAEWP organized in collaboration with Gujarat State Council of Adult Continuing Education which was held 0n December 10 and 11, 1993 at Bardoli, the place of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the iron-man of India and one of the founding fathers of our country, whose immense work for national unity will always remembered by all . The author of these lines Dr. Prasad had an opportunity to stay two nights in the room of Hon,ble Sadar Vallabhbhai Patel’s residence at Bardoli as the Local Organizing Committee arranged for him. Dr. Prasad delivered Guest Speech on the theme: Total Literacy for World Peace on that occasion on 10 December, 1993.
In his speech, Dr. Prasad told: “Illiteracy is a global problem, and it leads to poverty and powerlessness, which contribute illiteracy again. It is a danger for all forms of governments and also for democratic values, social justice and peace. Much of the human crisis erupting in the world today, as it has been in the past also – the violence, killings, destruction of properties – is often due to illiteracy and ignorance.” Further he said: “The larger the literacy the greater the possibilities of prosperity, justice, equity, non-oppression, non-conflict and non-aggression. But only total and continuing literacy can promote from communal, racial, social, economic and cultural peace through national to world peace.” He expressed his views saying: “Through the act of literacy, the oppressed, discriminated and exploited will become aware of reality and capable to change the world of exploitation being human. And the way to continue human is to keep on learning. And thus, literacy frees oppressors and oppressed, rich and poor males and females, masters and servants, rulers and ruled.” Dr. Prasad warned saying that: The world-wide literacy cannot be achieved without the world-wide political republic and vice-versa. In a republic, all are rulers, hence they must be literate. The republic can maintain justice and peace by the practice of literacy. Unless everybody is literate, democratic values will be in danger and people will not be treated as human as they will be ruled by a bureaucracy. And the bureaucracy may guarantee the people certain rights, but not the right to achieve full humanity through political participation. Only life-long continuing learning and unlimited opportunities for it can promote peace – individual, national and world.” Inter alia, at the end, Dr. Prasad quoting a saying cited in the Chinese classic – The Great Learning, said:
“The extension of knowledge consists in the investigation of things. When things are investigated, knowledge is extended. When knowledge is extended… the mind is elevated. When the mind is elevated, the personal life is deepened. When the personal life is deepened, the family will be regulated. When the family is regulated, the State will be in order. When the State will be in order, there will be peace on earth.”
The conference was inaugurated by Shri Babubhai J. Patel, Ex-Cief Minister and then Narmada Development Minister-Gujarat. In his inaugural speech, he said that Bardoli is the most significant place to organize such conference on World Peace and Total Literacy, and Peace Education. Further he said that Bardoli is the land of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Architect of Modern India, and Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation. To spread the message of peace and harmony can only be completed if and only if we eradicate illiteracy. Noted educationist and writer Prof. Yashwant Shukla in his presidential address said, “Peace is not possible without peaceful mind. Inner peace is true peace. The role of peace education is very important for development of and progress of the nation.” To mark the occasion, ‘International Peace March’ was organized from Astan Kanya Vidyalaya to Swaraj Ashram – Bardoli. Shri Dineshbhai Shah, Ex-Finance Minister, Government of Gujarat led the Peace March. The march was concluded with the prayer meeting and inspirational talk by Shri Uttamchand Shah-Freedom Fighter and Secretary of Bardoli Ashram. On that occasion, Shri Utamchand Shah was honored with the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Literacy Award and Shri Dineshbhai Shah with Mahatma Gandhi Award for value-based politics and peace.
Dr. Surya Nath Prasad is M. A. (Sociology), M. Ed. (Experimental Education), M. Phil. (Nonviolence and Peace Studies), and Ph. D. (Education). Dr. Prasad is a recipient of Honorary D. Lit. (Peace Education) at the hands of Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma then Former President, Government of India. . 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 Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Peace Education: An International Journal. One may reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Nov 2015.
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