Saturday, September 21, 2013

International Day of Peace: From us to you

What does Peace mean to you? At the REF, Peace means a lot to each of us. Here's a walk down that lane for each of us. 

Aarshi Tirkey
Back then, when I was a child, I identified peace with the gentle rustling of leaves in the garden, the simple harmony of the whirring of insect wings, the soft sunlight sifting through the lush canopy of trees… and a puddle of mud to play in! Now, the year is 2013. Peace means the end of all inequalities and the creation of a democratic civil society where each person lives sans  the fear of violence and injustice. Peace means the commitment to actualize a conflict free environment and promote respect for basic human rights. Peace means the existence of a political order that serves all, without discrimination. Peace means the empowerment of women and the end of gender related violence. Above all, peace means freedom.

Deepika Mohan
As a child, there were times when I was bullied. At that moment, all I wanted to do was shout out "PEACE" and stop the other person from doing something that hurt me. My notebooks were filled with graffiti art where the peace symbol took center stage. When my friend pushed me and I pushed her back it meant war. When we shook hands it meant peace and the word peace meant no fights with friends. Even today the word peace means the same to me. Peace at this point means putting an end to the wars happening at the macro level, unity and equality, Peace symbolizes harmony, equality and forgiveness. A helping hand, a forgiving heart and a happy smile is a small step towards peace.

Kirthi Jayakumar
When I was little, I didn’t know peas and peace were different. So every time I heard of peace, I would think of the little roundels that danced around in my plate every now and then at mealtime. That remained with me until I turned 6. At 6, I learned what conflict, riots and war meant. At 6, when I was on the fringes of kindergarten, I saw the news about the Bombay riots. My little mind didn’t understand much of it. It was scary to see so much blood, to hear that so many people were killing each other, to know that people did not like each other. (This, of course, was all that a 6 year old mind would understand – that’s how bad “bad” could be.) Since then, I’ve understood one thing: that peace means love. When you can love unconditionally, and can be loved unconditionally, there’s nothing stronger than that to keep you grounded in peace. And I don’t mean the kind of love that binds you in a relationship: I mean the kind of love that lets you see the next person as a human being, a person with their own good side and their own bad side, a person with the same needs as you, a person with the same hopes and dreams as you. I mean the kind of love that lets you welcome the next person with tolerance and respect. The kind of love that lets you live in peace.

Manasa Ramraj
As a child, peace was a word that only meant lots of chocolates, pampering from parents, a holiday from school, playing all day and knowing your parents and friends are always there for you. Not knowing anything about the world affairs, peace was a term I could associate only and only to my life. But, as a student of law and in the process of adapting in this competitive world, I started realising that life is more than just my world. There are many kids who do not have family or friends, and their idea of peace is no where close to what mine used to be. This is when my notion started to change. Today, I associate peace with a world where there should be no war, no violence of any sort, treating all genders equally and treating all humans with the same level of respect and rights they are entitled to. Even by merely providing food to the deprived is a step towards peace. Hence,  peace, for me,  is more than my life. Its a phenomenon of the world that is influenced by all and affects all.