Peace and Disarmament

Back to listSep 8, 2010

Seminar on SGI President Ikeda's 2010 Peace Proposal Held in India

100908x_india_pp_seminar_Amar_Nath_Ram.jpg Mr. Amar Nath Ram

A seminar based on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2010 Peace Proposal, "Toward a New Era of Value Creation," was jointly organized by Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) at the IGNCA Lecture Hall in New Delhi, India, on September 8, 2010. 

The event commemorated what is considered to mark the beginning of the Soka Gakkai's peace movement on September 8, 1957, when second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda issued his historic call for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. In response to his mentor's vision, current SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has been submitting annual peace proposals to the United Nations in January every year since 1983. 

Mr. Ikeda's 2010 peace proposal identifies a dearth of humane values as the root of current problems in our now globalized society and urges a fundamental transformation in human priorities based on the idea that a change in the destiny of a single individual can change the destiny of all humankind.

Distinguished speakers at the seminar included Mani Shankar Aiyar, member of Parliament, Amar Nath Ram, former ambassador of India to the European Union, and Dr. Minoti Chatterjee, principal of Kamala Nehru College. More than 350 attended the seminar, including bureaucrats, educators, doctors, businesspeople, artists, students, journalists and BSG members, some of whom also helped as volunteers for the smooth operation of the event.

100908x_india_pp_seminar.jpg At the IGNCA Lecture Hall in New Delhi

The evening began with a short film highlighting the essence of the 2010 peace proposal. In his welcome address, Dr. R.C. Gaur, head of Kala Nidhi Division of IGNCA, spoke about the Dr. Ikeda Corner on Culture of Peace that was created in IGNCA's library in 2007 and features works of influential peace activists with the aim of heightening awareness of pacifism and peaceful means to conflict resolution. The center has hosted a number of events on peace and culture since 2007.

Offering an educators' perspective, Dr. Chatterjee emphasized that absence of violence does not necessarily constitute peace and stated, "There must first be peace within ourselves before we seek it outside ourselves." She also commended Mr. Ikeda's ability to merge spiritual vision and policy planning within his proposals. 

Dr. Chatterjee also spoke about the growing disparity between the rich and poor in India and how this has led to a steady rise in crime and violence. She remarked, "Those who don't have, want more, pushing up the crime rate. The need of the hour is to discipline ourselves, think frugally and rise to higher levels of consciousness." 

Former Ambassador Amar Nath Ram, who was instrumental in organizing Mr. Ikeda's first official visit to India in 1979, shared that, "I personally see the reflection of Gandhi and Nehru in Dr. Ikeda's vision, which is important for development and to establish democracy." Mr. Ram also expressed his appreciation for Mr. Ikeda's proposals to abolish nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

Comparing Rajiv Gandhi's step-by-step plan for complete nuclear abolition to Mr. Ikeda's peace proposals, keynote speaker Mr. Aiyar stated, "So long as nuclear weapons exist, there will always be an omnipresent danger of them being used." He further stated his concern regarding the global proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed his hope that the Indian government would take US President Barack Obama's visit to India, scheduled for November 2010, as an opportunity to press for the implementation of the Rajiv Gandhi Plan. Lastly, Mr. Aiyar praised and encouraged the youth present in the audience for their passion and enthusiasm to be agents of change.

[Adapted from a report from Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG); photos courtesy of BSG]