The International Day of Peace is observed worldwide on 21st September 2019. The General Assembly of United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace among people of all nations. As a part of peace-building mission and as an organisation promoting universal brotherhood, compassion, merciful love, justice and peace, the Partners in Mission of the Good Shepherd working in Amaravathi region of Andhra Pradesh mobilised the youth from the Inter-caste Peace Committees (which were initiated by the Partners in Mission to build peace among the people of different castes and religions) from Pethakurapadu, Krosuru and Amaravathi Mandals.
The day was marked by speeches by eminent speakers from different religion, caste, Government Departments, Non-government Social Development Organisations and participation of youth from 36 Inter-caste Peace Committees, Adolescent Girls studying at Good Shepherd Vocational Training Centre, Sisters of Good Shepherd and students from Pallotti Junior College, resource persons from various walks of life – altogether 296 people participated in the peace-building celebration.
Sister Aruna George addresses the gathering.
Click here - 2019 International Day of Peace, Amaravathi CE India
Mr. Lakshman, Programme Coordinator of Development Mission in Amaravathi region welcomed the speakers and the participants. He said that after evaluating the Millennium Development Goals, based on the state of people’s lives all over the world, the UNO adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, because they understood that it would not be possible to build a peaceful world if steps were not taken to achieve economic and social development for all people everywhere and ensure that their rights were protected.
Sr. Aruna George, Director, Good Shepherd Convent, Amaravathi, initially took the opportunity to explain the purpose of observing the International Day of Peace with the youth of the region. The future is in the youth of today and in them the future lies. Youth are the ones with full of energy, enthusiasm, determination and vigour to face the life challenges, but they are very much misguided to involve in the conflicts and violence of different nature. If the near future is to be good and peaceful, the appropriate target is the youth who are very swift in their nature, but need to be nurtured with appropriate orientation and knowledge for bringing about peace in the society. She also gave an understanding of the mission of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd which is present in 74 countries; they mostly work with women and children. But she said, as she started working on building peace, she realised the need to work with youth and the other sections of people in order to build peace and social justice. She expressed her happiness over the response from the youth and others and expressing their willingness to join the mission of building peace in our society.
Rev. Fr. Joseph, Parish Priest, St. Vincent Pallotti Church, Amaravathi said that the Bible is filled with the concept ‘Peace’; it runs through like a fine golden thread woven meticulously from Genesis to Revelation. Fr. Joseph stressed the need for practising peace. It is the duty of every person and it is peace that can ensure a sustainable life.
Dr. R. Bikshapathy, Retired Health Officer & Motivational Speaker, in his turn said that, at present everywhere one experiences conflicts within and between the individuals, within and between the members of families, schools, colleges, companies, institutions, public, Government and between nations. The vibration of non-peace is very much felt throughout the world. The youth have a major responsibility of understanding the issues that contribute to violence and non-peace. If each one of us becomes peaceful, the whole world will turn out to be in peace.
Mr. Ravindrababu, Sub Inspector of Police, Amaravathi in his speech described an incident which had happened to him a few years ago. As he was on duty, he happened to drive a personal car with no Police label. A man on a bike before him braked suddenly and though he tried to stop the car, the rear signal lights on one side of the bike got broken. Not seeing his uniform, the driver of the bike approached him in anger. He changed his mood when he saw the Sub Inspector in his police uniform. Despite his position, the Sub Inspector approached the driver and expressed his anguish for what had happened. He stretched out a little money and requested the driver to accept the same for replacing the lights. The driver was unwilling and even said that he would be able to repair it on his own. In this incident, the Sub Inspector said that, he could have even blamed the driver, but he took the initiative of building peace. Rs.500 handed over to the driver was not easy money for him. If such a situation was not handled properly, there is every chance that the driver would go to his house and might react his bitter experience with his wife and children. This incident teaches us that if situations are to go on well, one must do things consciously. Peace calls for a calm mind and a thoughtful action; peace demands that everyone becomes a responsible person; it is nothing but freedom with a responsibility to respond to situations that would otherwise go wrong or would end with conflict.
Mr. Krishna Anjeneyalu, President of Journalists’ Forum, Andhra Pradesh started his speech quoting the message in the logo of International Day of Peace which reads that ‘peace begins with you’. Peace is not a thing that can be procured; it is in every person for whom one longs life-long. Dalai Lama, Leader of Buddhist Monks said that, world peace begins with inner peace. This year, he said that the theme chosen is ‘Climate Action for Peace’. South Africa's Nobel Peace Prize awardee Desmond Tutu once said that ‘if you want peace, you do not need to talk to your friends but you must talk to your enemies.’ Mr. Krishna offered the youth a homework exercise: he asked them to go back home and get into a conversation a person with whom they have not talked for years for petty reasons.
Mr. Krishna appreciated the Partners in Mission of the Good Shepherd in Amaravathi for organising such Youth Conference for Peace and for mobilising people from different religions without room for bias. He said that, similar efforts must be taken widely in order to sow the seeds of peace in the minds of the people of different sectors.
Mr. Mohammed Sham Sheer, Peace Promoter said that another aspect of peace is the respect for nature. We need to understand the issue of global warming and its consequences for the individual, family and social life. Due to over exploitation of natural resources, we are facing natural calamities. This we need to attend to consciously and collectively through different means such as dematerialisation (lesser use of resources); power down (root-level change in everything we do: where we get our food, how we grow our food, our attitudes about water, how we transport ourselves, our sense of what volume of transportation is normal and appropriate); a-forestation (planting of trees or seeding in an area of non-forest land).
An important aspect of peace is to internalise the very many gifts we receive without any effort of our own. We are given freely a life to live; good soil; air; sun light, rain; sky with cool moon and time to count the stars at night. But, we fail to thank for all the good things that we get freely. If only we are grateful for what we are given, we will not have time to linger in the past or anxious about the uncertain future. Let us learn to be grateful so that we live in peace. That is why it is said that in Bible (Luke 6:38) that when you give, you shall be given.
Ayyadurai John Aruldass
Lay Partner, Good Shepherd Convent, Amaravathi