TODAY -

Pieces To Peace: An Echoing Pine For Peace

Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip *

OM SHANTI OM SHANTI MANIPUR



Introduction:

Welcome to Sanaleipak - the land of flowing mountains with diverse smiles and candid life style. It's a land where no life is safe, no 'morrow is certain but Peace and Dignity are the deep longings of every denizen. After 37 years in the wilderness, the Israelites forgot that their wanderings were a result of their parents' and their own sins. They could not accept the fact that they brought their problems upon themselves, so they blamed Moses for their condition.

Often our troubles result from our own disobedience or lack of faith. We cannot blame God for our sins. Until we face this reality, we will have little peace and no spiritual growth. The Hebrew word "SHÂLOM" best translates as "well being". When two people meet in India, they usually salute as "salaam". In Judges 6:24, God is called 'Shâlom' (peace). Of course, I don't advocate the graveyard peace (where everything is in pieces) but peace within and between those alive.

Background of International Day of Peace:

"Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future" is the theme chosen for this year's (2012) observance of the International Day of Peace. The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September.

The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. The International Day of Peace offers people globally a shared date to think about how, individually, they can contribute to ensuring that peace is the breath of everyone. Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Why Manipur needs Peace:

In a torn world of ours, violence is part of the breathing of every being on this planet. Manipur is 'Switzerland of the East' to Lord Irwin, 'A pretty place more beautiful than many of the show places in the world' to Ethel S.C. Grimwood, 'A flower on the lofty heights' to the Japanese. Manipur is a tiny state of India bordering Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and Myanmar. It gets goods (including drugs, arms and essential commodities) from Myanmar, Thailand, Japan, China, Korea, Nepal and India.

Manipur became part of the British Empire in 1891 and was the arena of the last land battle between the Japanese and the Allied forces during the World War II. Hitherto, it seems to continue as an arena. The economic stress, lack of employment opportunities, ethnic goals, and the various class struggles could have resulted in the armed movements for emancipation.

The insurgency is thought to be the result of Nationalism, Dominance (from the part of the Indian Union), Suppression and Economic enslavement. When people have no means to live and be respected as human person, they would do anything to ensure their livelihood and human rights. In this sense, all the insurgent movements seem to be as natural as the boiling water that has been heated by a flame.

Insurgency has become a point of arrival at the reality of exploitation and suppression; it is also a point of departure asking for new questions for peaceful today. Due to these burning issues, the valley of Manipur had been declared Disturbed Area, the Revolutionary Outfits as outlawed and the Central Government promulgated the "Armed Forces Special Powers (Assam and Manipur) Act, 1958," under which the security forces acquire virtually unquestionable powers to liquidate human beings and destroy the property and structures. Under this particular Act, persons arrested are to be handed over to the police, but normally they are tortured, liquidated and labeled as disappeared persons.

Will any mother just tolerate when one or more of her sons and daughters be unjustly tortured and made to disappear from this mortal life? Even the civilians are living under tremendous fear of being picked up by any armed Indian Army for interrogation or otherwise. In an uncomplicated word Peace is the crest longing of the people of Sanaleipak.

An army officer seemed to have said, "Imphal today is like Saigon during the Vietnam War and nobody can explain why so many paramilitary forces are stationed in such a small area."

Today, Manipur has become the most troubled state next to Jammu and Kashmir. The idiom 'Caught between the Devil and Deep Sea' will perhaps best sum up the situation people have been forced to live with all these years.

A concern God would have sighed, "I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their task masters. Indeed, I know their sufferings"(Exodus 3:7). If peace is an inside job, then you really don't require a military to bring the same. All the same, we may need the latter to avoid violence.

Local Tools for Peaceful Surrounding:

1. Collective Resolution to abolish war and war tools at home and outside
2. The realization that Peace starts with Me!
3. Non-violent communication in words and deeds
4. Peaceful Educational Surrounding - peace loving teachers and parents
5. PPPP - Peaceful Parent Pupil Platform
6. Peace-Building Committees/Commissions
7. Peaceful surroundings - art, music, drawing, dress etc.
8. Cease fire of NSCM (IM), SoO between GoI-GoM and KNA/KNO-UPF,UTLA,PRA and KCP (MC) Lallumba
9. Conflict Resolution and true Social Organisations
10. Peace oriented Media

Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) is a local-global Peace-Building Initiative uniting our strengths along diverse pathways to realize a Culture of Peace for all. CPI highlights inter-generational and inter-cultural Peace-Builders who are revealing the emerging Culture of Peace. Peace is not a piquet but a societal endeavour.

Conclusion:

June 18th is commemorated as the Great June Uprising when we all mourn those precious lives. 13th September is observed as a Black Day - with fasting and prayer to mourn the death of dear ones. All bemoan the dearth of Peace. Recently, honourable CM of Manipur, O. Ibobi requested our Muslim Hajj pilgrims to pray for peace in Manipur.

The first and the last letters of OkraM make 'OM'. The 'OM' of Hinduism ends exactly the same as 'SHÂLOM' of Christianity which is a sound of infinity that vibrates well being and tranquility to the one who utters and practices the same. Our duty is to bring personal and planetary progress toward peace. Our deepest trust on political and religious leaders to multiply Peace remains firm.

Peace is a process not an end. We long for a society where no mother groans for her missing child, no woman fasts for her absent husband and no sons take up arms to avenge the lost of fathers. If all the denizens of Manipur are mani-mukta, should not each one respect the dear life of the other? Each one need to be the Peace.
Peace should not end in rhetoric but in practical acts of peace, observance of peace day and spirit of forgiveness should be the way of life. Today, can we resolve like the Japanese "No more going to war?" No more cut and paste solutions but de-programming of our violent nature is the solution. By nature, no one is violent, but the surrounding and upbringing makes one. We learn in psycho-spiritual and religious schools that we are programmed for peace.
OM SHANTI OM SHANTI MANIPUR.




* Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer can be contacted at paulhowkeep(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was webcasted on September 24 2012.


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