(The following is continued from the main article listed above.)
International Peace Day Celebration in Berhampur:
The vibration of International Peace day also created a resonance by the crowd of young students in Berhampur city. The Human Harmonisers(HH’s) in Amaghara (the residence of HH’s), SFDC studying in KSRC and other professional institution came forward to walk for Peace and joined the debate, drawing and essay talent search organized by KSRC to create an opportunity for the students to speak, draw and write Peace exposing their talents.
On September 21st the Peace rally was flagged off by Mr. Siba Sankar Das, Mayor of Berhampur Municipal Corporation at Hillpatna Street around 9 am. Very inspiringly the rally was cooperated by other institution like Lingaraj Science College and also Model Science College other than Karuna Shanti Residential College. There were about 400 students including both boys and girls to acknowledge the public in the city about the values of Peace and Non-violence. The rally covered a distance of 9 km with the students holding Peace flags, banners and placards with different slogans. The Honourable Mayor walking with the students group was really encouraging and was also a motivating message to the people to inhibit the culture of peace in each individual. At around 12 pm the students from different colleges and institution participated in the talent search programme on Essay writing, Drawing and Debate on Peace and Non-violence. There were around 70 participants to write and speak about “The role of youths in Peacebuilding”. Different drawings were done by the participants on Peace reflected the Peace that the students imagine in their minds.
In the evening of the same day Mr. Siba Shankar Das (Mayor) was invited as the Chief Guest along with Mr. Gopal Chandra Sathpathy a renowned Advocate as the Guest of Honour and Mrs. Yasodhara Satapathy, an awarded writer and secretary of Kala and Sanskrutika Kendra of Orissa, as the Chief Speaker. The President of the Human Harmoniser Trust Mr. Param Kumar Singh welcomed the participants and spoke about the importance of International Peace Day and why SFDC/KSRC celebrates this every year. He requested all the participants including the guests in the dias to stand up for taking a vow to become a PeaceMaker (please see the vow attached with the report). Then the students who became firsts in the talent search were given the opportunity to express their feelings and share their views on the topics that they delivered during the talent search. The girl who became first in the debate talent search was given another opportunity to speak to the general public the same speech which made her won the first prize. Similarly the girl who became first in the essay writing read out her essay and the girl who became first in drawing explained her drawing. Mr. Siba Sankar Das in his speech encouraged KSRC to continue such peace programmes and talent search to imbibe peace and non-violence in each individual and live with it. Mr. Gopal Chandra Sathpathy was surprised to observe this kind of peace programmes done by an education institution. He encouraged in his words and committed to be a part of such kind of peacebuilding activities. Mrs. Yasodhara Satapathy in her poetic words invited the attention of the mass to live with peace. After that the President of KSRC Dr. Monorama Devi delivered her speech and briefly presented the Vision, Mission, Goal of SFDC and KSRC. She also brought forward how SFDC and KSRC has incorporated peace and non-violence in all the activities it is doing in both the community based as well as the institutional based programmes.
Soon after completion of the valuable messages by the guests the students were awarded with prizes own by them during the talent search on the occasion of International Day of Peace.
At the end of the programme Mr. Sadananda Uthansingh, Treasurer of SFDC gave vote of thanks and wished to have more contribution and support towards peace day celebration every year.
Celebration of International Non-violence Day at Bamunigam:
At the end of the fortnight long celebration a meeting was held at Bamunigam to culminate the celebration on the occasion of International Non-violence Day on 2nd October 2011. During the 12 days from 21st September to 2nd October, in each villages of 13 Gram Panchayats of Gajapati and 8 Gram Panchayats of Kandhamal district different peace messages were spread by conducting peace march, school campaigns; talent search on peace and non-violence through debate, essay and drawing among the children and youth and PeaceMaker Campaign. During the celebration of International Non-violence Day at Bamunigam the representatives from 13 Gram Panchayats of Gajapati and 8 Gram Panchayats of Kandhamal were present. The leaders of Bamunigam Anchalika Shanti O Unayana Parishad members organized the meeting. The speakers were Mr. Bijayananda Singh, the Secretary of SFDC, President of Regional Peace and Development Committee, Mr. Chitrasen Patra, Secretary Mr. Aaron Nayak, The Panchayat Samittee member, Mrs. Gitanjali Patra, College Principal, Mr. Debaraj Baliarsingh, Ex-Sarpanch of Bamunigam, Mr. Ram Chandra Patra, Present Sarpanch of Bamunigam, Mrs. Nilabati Muthamajhi, Adava Zone President Mr. Thomas Michael, Brahmakumari Sujata and the Chief Guest of the function Mr. Manoj Kumar Swain, the Block Development Officer of Daringbadi Block spoke during the celebration.
Mr. Bijayananda Singh spoke on the importance of birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and how it was declared as the International Non-violence Day by the UN from the year 2007. He explained the need and power of Active Non-violence for Peace building in the society especially in the Bamunigam areas which was the epicenter of communal conflict in 2007. He explained how the violence is capturing the heart and minds of the people because of the spread of hatred among the people by the fundamentalist groups and the terrorist using violent weapons. He also explained the invisible violence of the systems and structure of the society like the caste system and the patriarchy and the exploitative poverty levels of the people. He informed that in the last two decades inter country wars has reduced but more than 200 percent increased has been noticed in the intra country conflicts as civil wars. This also has been noticed that the violent conflicts occur in the most poverty ridden areas of every country involved in the civil war. Kandhamal is no different from this. Kandhamal district where more than 90% people are from Adivasi and Dalit communities and where vast majority are below the poverty line is vulnerable for violent conflict. This district is more vulnerable because of its ethnic and religious divisions as in these districts Christianity has taken root more than other districts and there has been a historic mistrust between different ethnic and religious groups. When the ultra fundamentalist groups and ideological groups try to achieve their objectives they poison the minds of the people and slowly arms coming to the hands of the people. As the people are innocent, illiterate and poor their vulnerable conditions are exploited by these groups. So SFDC is campaigning for removing the poverty and building peace through Non-violent means in all the areas. He explained that even before 2007 SFDC has started celebration of peace and non-violence days in these areas. Bamunigam which is infamous for the bloody conflict needs to be changed to a pilgrimage place for the peace. He also requested the Block Development Officer to recommend to creating a new block in this area taking 8 Gram Panchayats out of 24 Gram Panchayats of Daringbadi Block.
All the speakers spoke about the need of Non-violent approach for resolving the conflict. Many emphasized on the need of spirituality and tolerance of the religion and giving respect to the elders. The Block Development Officer to whom the memorandum of the 8 Gram Panchayats were given also agreed that there is a need for creation of new block in this area. He promised that he will take the memorandum of the people to open a new block to the district and the State level authorities.
Before the meeting began the children and the representatives from different Gram Panchayats carried out a Bazaar Parikrama (Peace walk in the market place) in the area where violent conflict broke out 4 years back and 100 of houses and shops and a Church was gutted. This Parikrama was a solemn opportunity to remind people that only non-violence can bring peace. Also during the meeting many songs and dance were interwoven between the many speakers who spoke one after another with enthusiasm.
At the end the meeting was concluded with the vote of thanks given by the leader of the youth group Mr. Thomas Nayak. The whole meeting was peaceful and a message of non-violence could be echoed to the hearts and minds of the people gathered.
Be A PeaceMaker
Solidarity For Developing Communities (SFDC) is a peace building organization. We are convinced that without peace development is not possible and without development peace is not possible. So our slogan is “Peace is Development”.
As a peace building organization we watch closely what is happening around us. In recent years in Orissa and in many parts of India and world violent conflicts take place, very regularly. The electronic and print media is full of news of violent conflicts. There are various reasons for the spread of violent conflict in the society. There are groups to spread hatred, violent conflicts and create more dividers in the society in an organized manner. From prevailing pattern one could safely say that the violent conflicts will not decrease unless something is done systematically faster than the spread of the culture of violence. We cannot counter them (or want to counter them) in the similar violent manner which will be counter productive. But we need to do something so that there are cadres of peace builders all over the society, be the connectors and speak up against violence. In this regard SFDC carries out a campaign under the name PeaceMakers Campaign.
This campaign is to enroll at least one million people over next 10 years from various walks of life as peacemakers. Each peacemaker is/will be given a message, urged to think why peace is urgently required and will be motivated to take a vow to spread love, peace and non-violence in the society. A PeaceMaker could be anybody who does not support violence. No discrimination is/will be made to become the PeaceMakers on the basis of caste, creed, colour, age or sex.
SFDC alone cannot carryout this campaign so we collaborate with our Campaign Partners who are like minded individuals, groups and institutions. The Campaign Partners are/will be recognized and awarded for enrolling highest number of PeaceMakers. Each individual PeaceMaker and Campaign Partner is/will be given badges and certificates to feel proud of being a PeaceMaker. There will be periodic PeaceMakers gatherings to bring solidarity, to create opportunities to speak for peace and against violence and to slowly to evolve as peoples’ movement for a culture of peace and non-violence.
If you are interested to join the PeaceMaker Campaign please put your hand on your heart, read the vows given below slowly, be silent for a moment and check within yourself whether you feel peaceful to join in this campaign. If you feel peaceful please take the vows to become a PeaceMaker, if possible, in the presence of others. After taking the vow please sign on the space below and send the signed part to SFDC in the address given above or hand it over to the PeaceMaker Campaigner present at this moment near you.
Vows of a Peace Maker
As a ‘PeaceMaker’ I take the Vow:
o I love all without any discrimination.
o I do not hate or spread hatred in the society.
o I make peace within myself and in the society.
o I spread peace and non-violence through my thoughts, speech and action.
o I read, write, speak and learn about peace making within myself and in the society.
o I donate a bit of my time, energy and resources for ‘PeaceMaker’ Campaign.
o I become a message of peace and enroll at least two more PeaceMakers.