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International Peace and Non-Violence Fortnight Celebration in Orissa (India)
an article by Param Kumar Singh, S.F.D.C (Solidarity For Developing Communities)

SFDC (Solidarity for Developing Communities) a Peacebuilding organisation in Odisha is working to bring back the Peace among the poor, Adivasi and Dalit community especially of Kandhamal and Gajapati district which was affected by communal conflicts of 2007 and 2008. Like every year September 21st to October 2nd was an opportunity for SFDC to resonate with Peace in the hearts, thoughts and speeches of the youths, women’s and civil societies in its project areas .

People listening to the speakers at the event in Adava

click on photo to enlarge

A meeting was held at Adava on the International Peace Day celebration on September 21st. The meeting was convened by the, “Adava zone Anchalika Shanti O Vikas Parisad”. The meeting witnessed more than 5000 people from different caste and religion getting together. The meeting had an event of peace flag hosting. The Buddhist religious leader Ven. Kempo Pema hoisted the peace flag on the request of the committee at the outset of the meeting. Different cultural teams from communities displayed their talent in songs and dances spreading message of patriotism, peace and brotherhood.

Religious leaders from Muslim religion expressed that peace can only prevail when the community understands the brotherhood in the society. The Baptist leader said that peace starts at home, every home is an institution for peace making, Sr. Sujatha said that spirituality can bring peace of mind and prayer can only do it. Mr. Bijayananda Singh expressed concern on war and warfare policy of the globe and how it is spreading to the peaceful areas of Kandhamal and Gajapati. He said when we understand the fierce preparation of countries for wars it has become inevitable to work for peace. He stressed that peace and development are complementary.

Community representatives from Kandhamal and Gajapati district also spoke in the meeting. The leaders spoke on the purpose of celebrating the peace day and paid importance that simple saying that does not do but everybody should try to reflect peace on his day to day activities. Also school children participated and highlighted their desire of living in peace. At the end the committee leaders presented the memorandum to the chief guest for claiming a new block for the Adava zone area. The committee leaders convinced that to bring peace and development for the area establishing a new block will mean great things. At the end the chief guest reiterated that brotherhood can only bring peace which is an ultimate to development.

(See discussion for related reports from Peace Day events in Berhampur, Bamunigam, and for information on the PeaceMaker Campaign).

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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. . ...more.

This report was posted on October 27, 2011.