Sharing for Peace Making
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 2 Jul 2018
Recently an Under Secretary of UN Peace Keeping Force came to New Delhi and gave a brief and sincere talk on the challenges faced by Peace Keepers in many countries of Africa and Asia. One message that he conveyed was that there was always conflict between various parties and how they try to resolve it by sharing.
Sharing? Yes, sharing of ideas, perspectives, resources, techniques, funds between the competing parties for the overall benefit of the people towards peace, prosperity and goodwill.
I am not, and never was a UN Peace Keeper, but in my own limited way I try to resolve conflicts between people who may be neighbours and have different perspectives. How do I do it? By sharing fruit that grows in my garden with my neighbours or people I know and occasionally meet.
A few trees ripen and produce fruit in different seasons; mango in early summers, jamun (violet coloured fruit similar to blackberry) when it begins to rain, shareefa and lemons in winters. Similarly, some vegetables can be shared. I have always found that sharing these items gives pleasure not only to me but also to the recipients who may be friends, neighbours or some poor people who acknowledge the gift by smiling broadly.
Once our pet dog Gappu went into our neighbour’s home and destroyed some plants that were growing there. The neighbour was obviously annoyed and angry. How to resolve this problem? Then suddenly it occurred to me to collect some jamuns, put them in a bag and take the bag to our neighbour’s home. Although the annoyance did not dissipate, at least it was a first step towards renewing good relationships.
Recently I met a lady after a long time and after normal greetings, she asked me if I had brought some lemons for her. I felt nonplussed but then she explained that I used to share this ordinary fruit with her several years ago. What a pleasant way of saying thanks after many years.
India and Pakistan are neighbours who have conflicts that often lead to violence and even killings of ordinary people residing on the Indo-Pak border. The governments have been trying to resolve the border tensions and violence for the last seven decades ever since Pakistan was created by dividing India in 1947. However, a sense of camaraderie does exist between the soldiers on the two sides of the border. Indian soldiers offer sweets and fruit on Eid and other Muslim festivals. The gesture is reciprocated by the Pak soldiers on Hindu festivals — Diwali and Holi etc. What a fine way of maintaining peace and harmony between conflicting neighbours
The Hindu epic Bhagwad Gita (or Gita for short), says the central duty of Gita is detachment — abandonment of the fruit of one’s action. But in my case how to separate the two when sharing of the fruit itself is the action?
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Jul 2018.
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