At the end of the two-day International Conference on 'Peace, Non-violence and Empowerment: Gandhian Philosophy in the 21st century' held to mark 100 years of Satyagraha, delegates from 90 nations and 122 organisations appealed to the United Nations to declare October 2, the Mahatma’s birthday, as the International Non-violence Day.
The 'Satyagraha centenary declaration' on the father of the nation’s Martyrdom Day was the outcome of a global unanimity on the relevance of Mahatma’s ideals in tackling contemporary issues like terrorism, violence, poverty, hunger and disease — and to pave the way for peace and harmony.
The two-day deliberations saw heads of states and governments, ministers, Nobel Laureates and civil society leaders agreeing that the Gandhian approach should be explored to resolve the crises that confront the techno-age.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who presided over the conference, proposed an institutional mechanism of global civil society to go into such issues. "The global civil society forum will engage in problems confronting humanity… and seek to offer solutions,” she said, wrapping up the conference. The first step according to Sonia Gandhi, was “consultations with the civil society."
The proposal is in line with Sonia’s suggestion in her opening remarks on Monday when she highlighted the need for a “coalition of conscience” and “global compact” to address the concerns. Kenneth Kaunda, former Zambian president, also spoke in a similar vein at the subjects session on nuclear disarmament earlier on Tuesday.
Covering a wide range of issues, the four-page declaration underlined the need to use Gandhian methods to, among other things, fight terrorism, empower the weak, dispel ignorance though cultures, promote a democratic and multilateral world order guided by consensus building, strengthen the American system as the principal mechanism for conflict resolution and work for reforming various organs of the United nations.
The declaration focused also on issues like globalisation, global warming, and disparities that are evident despite economic advancement and disarmament.
It emphasised that “just means alone can lead mankind to just ends and bring an end to the escalating spiral of violence and bloodshed the world is witnessing today.”
Email Saroj Nagi: snagi @hindustantimes.com