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|Love and Peace through Poetry|
|by Shernaz Wadia|
Peace - the absence of war, aggression, antagonisms - is negative peace. Positive peace is that which is constantly nourished by co-operation, compassion, freedom, justice, honesty and goodwill. It lives in a spirit of connection and empathy between human beings, no matter how disparate their cultures, nationalities and religions.
Peace cannot be fought for; peace cannot be enforced. It cannot be bought and traded as a commodity. It belongs to the realms of the heart and mind. Love and longing for peace are inborn in all humans. It is perhaps overshadowed in some who are individually and collectively blinded by delusive visions of grandiosity and self-righteousness. Today we live in a world where, in the name of justice, people claim the entire face for an eye and the whole hand for a finger. Notional threats and insults become justification for persecution.
Poetry must try to cope with the variety and complexity inherent in the human situation, believes Jnanapith awardee Vinda Karandikar. As world citizens who speak from the soul, poets can create a sustained peace process with greater focus on children and youth. They have to be motivated to dedicate their talents and energies to global peace. In a violence-infested world, striving for peace will appear synonymous with failure and frustration to misguided youngsters. Their first need is to identify themselves as truly peace-loving. Let us meet their fears, misconceptions and preconditioned ideologies with compassion. The dynamism of poetry must be used as a force for understanding, healing and change. Compassion does not judge, condescend or insult. Compassion accepts and respects, with a keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.
Poems that are powerful yet easy to comprehend; poems that appeal to and bring out the basic decency in all humans; poems that can be set to music - a powerhouse of healing by itself - could be a moving thrust to attract young people to the cause of peace. Inspirational poems that will influence others to become what they know they can become – peace spreading citizens of the world. Insightful poems, written with sincerity and simplicity, can be potently instrumental in bringing a profound knowledge of the horrors of violence – physical, emotional, psychological. That includes violence perpetrated by oneself on oneself. That is the violence that needs to be addressed immediately.
Here we come to the crux of the matter.
Tranquility – individual and global – can only come from absolute inner transformation. It is an undertaking that demands life-long commitment from individuals. Arguably an extremely formidable and highly improbable, but not totally impossible task! Peace is certainly not the citadel of the timid. It needs courage and conviction to be peaceful in the midst of chaos and discord.
Peace can heal the world community only when individuals reconcile the tyranny of violence within their own minds - by coming to grips with the true nature of violence; by genuinely acknowledging universal oneness; from experiencing first-hand, the redeeming power of forgiveness. Until then there will be only an illusion of peace, a treacherously fading light that can not illuminate. It can become a radiating, guiding flame exclusively by loving espousal and understanding of our unique differences. Before we start versifying messages of love, brotherhood and peace, it has to be internalized. In Gandhiji’s words, we must become the change we wish to see in the world.
Our words touch others. Like seeds they travel and take root, we know not in whose lives. We must ensure they are peace-bearing seeds. Noted columnist Jug Suraiya writes “...what a writer writes lives, if at all, not on a page, but on the sheet of silence that is another’s mind.” Let us etch those sheets of silence, not with words, not with ink and verse, but with our very being. Each one of us must become a living poem of peace before we can have any impact. So let us be peace. Then our words will not ring hollow. In fact we may not need words at all. Being peace, we will always beam it to enfold those around us and so spread its healing glow.
Let us be Peace
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