Over the rolling centuries, 'peace' has been a major concern: in religions and, more often, within socio-political contexts. Yet, perhaps ironically, the world history is a long, uninterrupted story of wars and violence. Not long ago -- in the aftermath of Hitler's defeat, the inception of the United Nations held out hopes of a new, free-from-war world order, which the hostile scenario today belies!
Is peace then a dream? A Utopian abstraction in a dehumanized, fragmented world, stock-piling all-devastating war machines? And can we possibly uphold the culture of peace amidst the growing cult of violence and blind consumerism, or in a climate of distrust, acrimony and intolerance? Addressed in this collection of essays are these and other related questions by some of the best minds from different countries of Asia.
Cutting across narrow compartmentalizations of disciplines, the authors try to share, with wider audiences, their concerns for peace, situating their sensuous/intellectual/spiritual experiences in a culture of peace. Also identifying specificities -- in terms of peace-threat-ening issues, situations, geographical zones, the volume attempts to show how education, individual responsibility, philosophy, ethics, artistic creativity, collective spirituality, Gandhian non-violence, Sufis' universal love, and the Buddhist message of compassion and equanimity can reinforce the culture of peace -- even in the face of despair.
This volume -- 6th in the Culture and Development series -- is essentially the assemblage of essays presented at the Asian Conference on "The Culture of Peace: the Experiences and the Experiments", held on 25-29 November 1996 in New Delhi.