Dr Bedi, began her definition of the word 'peace' by saying that it encompasses more than just a lack of war. She elaborated that peace is a juxtaposition of the human and the humane vis-à-vis the external environment.
SYMBIOSIS INSTITUTE for mass communication (SIMC), Pune, concluded with their three-day South Asian Youth Peace Meet (SAYPM), on Wednesday, September 23. The event had endeavoured to galvanise the positive young thoughts towards broader concept of peaceful growth with equity.
The first day of the meet kick-started with a discussion on the communal circumstances of the past and present in India
and Suresh Kopade, Special Inspector General of Mumbai
elaborated on the scheme of Mohalla committees initiated by him, which had gone on to become a roaring success.
Close on the lines of this discussion were the facts enumerated by Dr Asghar Ali Engineer and Romesh Bhandari, who emphasised that all religions were based on peace, with only faulty interpretations causing havoc. Dr Asghar urged the student community to be tolerant to religious and cultural differences and not succumb to fundamentalist ideas.
Relating to this, Jyoti Punwani, invoked examples of insensitivity as shown by the conventional media while reporting in communal times, and highlighted the kinds of faux pas that should be avoided in such circumstances.
The second day, themed “Youth affairs and politics”, saw proceedings with deliberation on the role of the youth in the present political scenario, culminating in a gripping session with Dr Kiran Bedi
and actor Imran Khan.
Dr Bedi, began her definition of the word ‘peace’ by saying that it encompasses more than just a lack of war. She went on to elaborate that peace, according to her, is a juxtaposition of the human and the humane vis-à-vis the external environment, thus making it a matter of man’s internal sphere. She called the concept of peace a multi-dimensional one, emphasising its characteristics and showing how the youth can help pave the nation’s way to a true state of ‘non-violence' and not merely ‘not being at war’.
Imran Khan felt that cinema is a powerful medium for change, one that has the potential to reverse unhealthy social trends just as much as it has the power to perpetrate stereotypes. Answering a question on whether the kind of violence shown in the Rang De Basanti was indeed justified, he quipped that he considered it his moral duty to not work on or encourage films that promote gender biases and prejudice, among other forms of violence.
SIMC alumni Vijay Pamarathi and Maneck Kotwal gave their insights on how they see South Asian youth as a force to reckon with in the years to come. Mentioning that the total number of Indians accessing the Internet in the year 2008 was 57 million, Pamarathi, who is all set to launch his website India1st.org, explained how he intended to channelise the nation-building capacity of the Indian youth.
Kotwal on the other hand, a key member of the Commonwealth games team, revealed how some of the biggest sponsors were beginning to show interest in sports
other than cricket. Emphasising on how sports was a bigger leveller, he presented an impressive picture of games as being a harbinger of peace and fraternity.
The third day had “Environmental sustainability and Energy efficiency” as its central theme with the discussions of the day weaving around the glaring ecological imbalance facing mankind and the role that the youth can play in helping reverse the same.
Dr Rashneh Pardiwala, an ecologist and the founder and director of the CERE (Centre for Environmental Research and Education) put forth the basics of the topic on hand by elaborating on the factors responsible for global warming and highlighting the intensity of the impending doom. He exhibited how the environment is inextricably woven into every single dimension of human life ranging from our deteriorating health conditions to the present-day raging inflation and how our disregard of the ecological system is bound to be terribly detrimental to our own progress.
Then, Indra Nath Mukherji, former Dean of the School of International Studies at JNU, talked about the South Asian region being particularly vulnerable to the repercussions of global warming. Putting forth alarming statistics (to begin with, a minimum global warming to the tune of 0.2 degree Celsius per decade has been predicted), he made it evident that unless we promptly get to work at tackling the trend, we stand in the face of several massive ecological disasters ahead.
Adding a legal angle, Sanjay Upadhyay, an advocate with the Supreme Court of India and the founder of India’s first environmental law firm, elaborated on the laws pertaining to the exploitation and conservation of the environment, prompting highly relevant and important questions such as individual/civil liability in case of environmental damage.
The day ended sensible questions being asked by the youth present on how they themselves could contribute to minimising the impact of ecological damage and this resulted in some very practical remedies from those on the dais.
Apart from the seminars, the meet had a lot of other delights in store. A Navatri Dandiya celebration, a dance competition, the Model UN and a concert by Rahul Sharma, were included in the three-day festivities.