The Role of Teachers in Restoring Peace and Harmony in the World

1 January 2017

Dr. Kothri says “the destiny of a nation is shaped inside the four walls of the class room”. The teacher has the greatest responsibility of building a nation. In a multiethnic and multi-religious country like India the teacher’s task is very noble and ennobling. The world is divided into narrow domestic walls. Hardly a day passes without a terrorist killing an innocent person and somebody murders a person out of revenge. Every country wants to display her power by going in for atomic bombs.

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In this trouble torn world, we need peace and harmony. This is not possible by changing our religious faiths or declaring a war against a country on flimsy causes and excuses. If we try to study the essence of all religions, we should come to the conclusion that no religion professes hatred and violence. If some people are labeled as terrorists, the religion does not owe responsibility for them. Terrorists do not belong to any religion. They are a separate entity. In this huge and gigantic world, we can’t think of a single religion and faith.

There are bound to be many cultural and religious differences. The people need to live in a state of peace and harmony despite their religious and cultural idiosyncrasies. THE ROLE OF A TEACHER FOR PEACE AND HARMONY They task of a teacher is not limited to disseminating information but laying the foundation for a peaceful society. The teacher can easily shape and mould the character of the children with his/her ideal character, profound knowledge and wisdom. The teacher should make the children know the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

As Bertrand Russell clearly stated the invention of an atom bomb may be knowledge and predicting the after effects of an atomic explosion is wisdom. Un-fortunately. , there are many a knowledgeable person in this world but only a few of them are really wise. If a doctor uses his/her knowledge to earn money and forgets humanity he/she is not wise. This applies to all the professionals. Every human being in this world should think of the purpose of his/her life. Once a patient asked a doctor, What is your duty”? ” our duty is to save lives’, said the doctor..

Then the patient asked the doctor “Why should we live at all”? The doctor replied that he knew how to save patients but he could not know the purpose of even his life. A teacher needs to be a philosopher and guide to the children. These days everybody is thinking in terms of materialistic prosperity. In fact, happiness is a state of mind. There is no guarantee that riches bring us happiness and peace. Even the poorest of the poor may live peacefully and the richest of the rich may suffer from perpetual mental agony and may lead a life of worthlessness.

A teacher is usually simple and humble and so he/she is endearing to the children. But there has been a change in the mindset of the teachers too. They are not as much dedicated and committed to their profession as they should really be . Unless they love the school children like their own children, they can’t do justice to their profession. Unless they love the children, teachers can not inculcate the spirit of love among the children. Love is the only panacea for this trouble –torn hateful world.

Man has learnt to live like a fish in the ocean and fly like a bird in the sky but be does not learn to live like a human being on earth. He/she has degraded himself/herself to the status of less than a wild beast because of his/her hatred and jealousy. We are really fed up with the wars and terrorist attacks across the globe. It was really ironical that Jesus Christ who was the embodiment of love and compassion was betrayed by his own disciples and crucified by his enemies. In fact, Jesus loved all including his enemies . His crucifixion was the meanest historical sacrilege ever perpetuated in the human history.

It was paradoxical that Mahatma Gandhi who stretched his every nerve for the release of Bharat mata (Mother India) from the Iron clutches of the Mighty British empire with his inimitable weapons of “Truth, non-violence and non-co-operation” fell a prey to the bullets of a religious fanatic only a year after he won for us (Indians) Independence on 15th August, 1947. That was the meanest gift given to “ The father of the Nation “ for his untiring efforts for the liberation of the nation and for propagating peace, non-violence and religious tolerance.

The history is replete with the instances of great men like Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln trying to serve the people and the people in turn trying to severe and assassinate them The first two world mythological or historical wars really happened on earth were the Ramayana and the Mahabharata . The Ramayana war was the result of Ravana’s excessive pride in his won power and his insatiable lust. The result was the destruction of his entire brother hood and colossal loss of life & property in Lanka (Sreelanka).

The second stupendous mythological / racial war was held between Pandavas and Kauravas as a result of Duryodhana’s arrogance and Jealousy towards his cousins. The war was said to be happened for eighteen days with 18,000 warriors. The result was a total catastrophe. It was said that after the war only widows and the old survived. The rest including all the hundred Kauravs perished in the war. In the modern history we heard a lot about the destruction of life and property due to the two world wars. The first world was the result of Mussolini and it lasted for four years.

The second world war was the brain child of Hitler and it rose to the gigantic proportions and continued for a long period of six years. The world was divided into two war zones- one supporting England , America and the other Japan and Germany. America used the atomic bomb for the first time in history against Japan in Hiroshima which resulted in the annihilation of human race in the zone. Even today the children are said to be born with out limbs or some other physical impairment. The war between Iran and Iraq lasted for nearly ten years resulting in a lot of loss to life and limbs.

The declaration of America’s war on Iraq on the flimsy ground that Saddam Hussein had stored chemical weapons finally ended with the killing of Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein might be a military dictator and he might be responsible for genocide in Iraq. But the way he was hanged was really uncalled for. Does America have the right to interfere with the affairs of Iraq is worth questioning. In fact, Saddam Hussein was a close political alley for the American president. It was the American president who pampered and fed Saddam Hussein for his political gain.

The demolition of world trade centre by Muslim fundamentalists was a serious warning for the American Hegemony in the world. It was a wakening call for any super power in the world. No country is safe from the onslaught of Terrorism. America declared war against Afghanistan unilaterally on the flimsy ground that Bin Laden hid himself there. It was really surprising and shocking that even the United Nations Organization kept mum on this vital issue. George Bush promised his people that he would catch Laden either dead or alive.

The war against Afghanistan resulted in the destruction of many an innocent life and a colossal loss of property and it caused a lot of mental torture for the people especially innocent children and the old people there. George Bush could not fulfill his promise but he was responsible for the deaths of many innocent civilians, children and the soldiers. We could not understand what purpose the war served the American president. Did he really have the right to declare wars unilaterally against Iraq and Afghanistan was a million dollar question to be answered by the intellectuals across the globe.

It is a well known fact that Bin Laden was finally caught in Pakistan and killed by the American Military operation un- known even to the Pakistan Military or political Administration. Is the death of Bin Laden the end of Terrorism?. No sane man can think So. If one Bin Laden dies, hundred of them will emerge from his Tomb/grave. Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa are the two towering personalities who lived and dedicated their lives for the service of the poor, the sick, the meek, the suppressed and the depressed and championed the cause of peace and non-violence.

We should remember that they stuck to their own Religious faiths but commanded great respect from other religious faiths too. They could achieve their goals because they were truly religious. No religion advocates war and violence. If a religion fails to restore peace and harmony in the world, it is not the fault of the religion but it is the sacrilege of the people who profess and practice it in the name of God.. We know how people killed themselves in the name of crusades and the so called holy wars.. In fact every human being should wage a war against his vices-anger, jealousy, intolerance, greed and pride.

Only then can we restore peace in this trouble-torn, grief stricken world. Terrorism can not be rooted out by killing terrorists . as poverty can not be pulled out by eliminating the poor. We should go deep into the cause of terrorism that breeds and sustains it. No country is safe from the ghost of terrorism. There is no part in the world which is not embraced by the vicious hug of terrorism. Religion is a way of life. and it should pave the way for peace and non-violence in the world. Unfortunately even Religion has become one of the causes of violence and terrorism.

God is one but religions are many and varied. It is really ironical that Religion which should unite people becomes the cause of discord and disharmony among the people in the world. People are divided into different sects, castes, classes and ethnic differences and as Rabindranath Tagore rightly pointed out in his epoch making, inimitable Gitanjali, the world is really divided into narrow domestic walls. Though it is impossible to have a single religion or faith in this vast world, we can restore peace and non-violence by maintaining tolerance. What the world needs is peace and religious harmony..

The largest professionals in the world are not the armed force but they are teaching fraternity. The armed forces wage a war against the enemy soldiers or terrorists in their own territory. But teachers should/can wage a war against religious intolerance, terrorism and restore peace and harmony in the world. Teachers are the architects of a nation or even the world. They mould the character of the children or the youth in their impressionistic age and lives. The biggest spiritualistic force is teachers. Soldiers wage a war against their enemies with bombs and ammunition.

But teachers wage a war against intolerance and terrorism with their wise words and calming influence and ideal behaviour.. In fact, teachers are the international ambassadors for world peace and harmony. How can teachers restore peace and harmony in the world? .The influence of a teachers on children or the youth is more than that of the parents or the society. Teachers have the golden opportunity of grooming a child for nearly twenty years at various stages. A child transforms into a responsible citizen in the hands of a teacher. A teacher has a greater responsibility to shoulder.

He should be an instrument for world peace and Harmony. Unfortunately the world is divided into narrow domestic walls like caste, colour, creed or community. It is very unfortunate that even the intellectuals are not free from parochial influences / considerations. Only teachers can stop this by turning out to be a role model for the child. A teacher can have a lasting impression on the sensitive minds of the children and the youth. Syllabus: When we were students, there used to be some periods for moral and spiritual instruction. These days every nation is bent on improving her financial and industrial status.

These days nobody wants to be a teacher. I have asked many of my children what they want to become in life. Only a few of them wanted to be teachers. They preferred to be a police constable rather than becoming a teacher. It is a dangerous sign. And I fervently feel that the status of a teacher has slowly degraded because he lacks power and easily accessible.. A politician is more respected by the people than a professor. , though the former is corrupt and dishonest. When a man is respected for his riches or power rather than for his knowledge or wisdom, the situation will prevail.

Only teachers can halt this process because even a politician or an industrialist is a product of the school. A teacher can change the mindset of not only the pupils but also he/she can influence the society and in turn even the world if he/she follows the morals and inculcate the spiritual and moral values among the taught. The Governments should think of imparting moral and spiritual education besides pouring in information. The information doesn’t become knowledge unless it is assimilated by the receiver. Even knowledge doesn’t bring in happiness and peace unless it is supplemented by wisdom.

Inventing an atom bomb may be the greatest knowledge but the destruction of a nation with it is totally lacking in wisdom. I think the world is being flooded with a lot of knowledge but there doesn’t seem to be a corresponding increase in wisdom. We might have more knowledgeable than our ancestors but we are not so wise as they were. If the people are really wise, we should not have witnessed so many wars and so many terrorist attacks in the world. We couldn’t have seen so much blood-shed in the name of religious, linguistic or physiological differences.

The aim of life: Our life is out of our hands. We might have been born to particular parents in a particular country in a particular religious community. It is merely accidental and we should not give too much importance to our birth, parentage or religion. Our aim of life should be peace and harmony. Mind is the source of all joys and sorrows. A mind in itself can make a hell of heaven or a heaven of hell. It merely depends on the attitude.

If we believe that our country or religion is the best and start hating other religions and country people, It becomes our habit ecause love begets love and hate begets hate. It may sound rather philosophical but we can’t always be materialistic. The aim of education should be restoring peace and harmony in the society. We can make this world heaven or hell because of our attitude. A tiger can’t kill another lion, A lion does not kill another lion but a man kills another man in the name of religion or god. Man is, in fact, the noblest of all animals but he has become the meanest and the cruelest of all living creatures. It is high time every human being pondered over his existence and understood the essence of his/her life.

A man’s journey begins in the womb of a mother and ends only in the grave. But the journey should be smooth and should be stopped only by God. No human being should stop the life journey of another man abruptly due to hatred or animosity or revenge. Love should be the aim of our life. We are born into this vast and wonderful world only once(Hinduism may dispute this statement) to love one another. Only love begets love and restore peace and harmony in the world. It is high time we remembered the Quote by Baba Dioum ,“In the end we will conserve only what we love . we will only love what we understand.

We will understand only what we are taught. ” So if we want to love one another, we should be taught to love one another ”. Teachers’ training: If we really want to bring in Peace and harmony in the society, it should be a subject right from the school to the advanced institutes of learning and teacher training institutes like IASE because great teachers may be born but they can also be made by imparting moral and spiritual education in their syllabuses. If the mindset of teachers change, they will surely change the mindset of the pupils, the future citizens of the nation and the world.

Let’s all pledge for Global peace and harmony and stretch our every nerve for the restoration and preservation of world peace. ‘People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they are not on your road does not mean they have gotten lost” – Dalai Lama Dalai Lama implies that we can not think that only we have taken the right path and others have lost the way. This applies to all the Religious faiths. It is a common tendency to believe that only a particular god can give salvation. In fact God or All mighty is the same.

We may take different paths to reach him. In order to reach a destination, we need not take the same route. We may take different routs and yet reach the destination. This is true of all religions and faiths. Religion is a way of life and the purpose of which is to bind people and to set them on the right path. All religions profess peace and Harmony but unfortunately people sometimes resort to violence in the name of God or Religion. It is no exaggeration to say that this world is divided into Islamic and Christian faiths. The situation in India is much more complicated.

There are almost all religious faiths and the caste system is so deep rooted that it is almost impossible to root it out. This is the only country where five different linguistic families exist . and people belonging to different languages, cultures and castes and religions co-exist and live almost united despite some religious and ethnic turbulences now and then India has been invaded by many countries belonging to different faiths and cultures. But she has not lost her distinctiveness. There is a disguising mark on every Indian’s face- he may be a Hindi, Muslim or a Christian or a Sikh.

If we study “the glimpses of world History” by Jawaharlal Nehru, we will be astonished to know that the Afghanis were basically Hindus and later they became Buddhists and finally they embraced. Islam and turned out to be Muslims. The so called Aryans in India came from the south-east Asia. Religion is matter of faith and faiths may change in course of time. Despite some Religious and terrorist turbulences now and then, Indians have remained united in the crucial situations like independence movement and the war between India and Pakistan and India and china.

If we study the repercussions of any war, we must agree that war is un-warranted under any circumstances. Even Islam and Christianity came out from the same source – Judaism. That’s why some times the names of the people belonging to these two faiths sound almost similar. For instance, Abraham and Ibrahim, Ahmed and Mohammad. What we need in this fragmented world is religious tolerance, co-operation and mutual trust. In a country like India, people need to respect others’ religions, tolerate cultural differences and shed out the feelings of supremacy and superiority.

Nationalism may be tolerable only to a certain extent. Patriotism does not mean hatred for other religions and countries. Now the world has shrunk into a Global village. No country, even America or china ,can not depend on her own natural resources. They have to depend on the gulf- countries for oil and it is also true of India too. We may export tea to many countries in the world but we are not self sufficient as far as oil and natural gas and some other essential resources are concerned. International tolerance and interdependence is only the need of the hour in the terror and mistrust- stricken world.

It is the time we remembered the gulf between East and West can be filled in by building the bridge of peace and understanding and tolerance. Only teachers can imbibe all these values among the taught. Unless teachers are freed from religious bigotry and parochial considerations and prejudices, they can not build a world of peace and Harmony. As Plato yearned for a philosopher king’ in his “Republic”, we have to yearn for another SarvePalli Radhakrishnan who could be a philosopher and statesmen who could move even the iron man Stalin, with his inimitable oratory, critical acumen and unparalleled wisdom.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan could be a model for every teacher in India, Bertrand Russell should be the seminal force for all the European and western teachers. The shift to humanities: In this materialistic world humanities like philosophy and sociology have been relegated to the back-ground and it is very unfortunate that some politicians think that subjects like history are a waste. Science and technology can not solve all our problems just like riches cannot always make us happy. If happiness should be the aim of our life, love should be its principle. We are born only once into this mysterious and wonderful world.

Our life is very precious but others’ life is even more precious. We should live in a democratic spirit and since teachers are the biggest spiritual army in the world, only they can build a world which is free from terrorism, mistrust, hatred, jealousy and can make it a safe haven. We (don’t) can not prove whether heaven exists or not but we can make this world heaven by restoring peace, trust, tolerance, love and harmony in it. Only teachers can do this, and so teachers should be trained, guided and be ready for this noble cause. We are optimistic and believe that peace and harmony will prevail in this wonderful world.

Man and Religion: Whether God created man or man created God is a debatable and disputable issue. God is matter of belief and faith and every human being has the right to believe in God or he / she may be an atheist or rationalist too. God may be a fact or myth but as long as man lives on earth, God lives in Heaven.

God’s identity is difficult to prove or disprove. Religion is a very sensitive issue and so it is not advisable to criticize religion simply because you don’t believe in God. Man can’t always think rationally because there are certain things in this vast universe which are so mysterious that even the greatest cientist like Einstein could not explore it. Even his ‘laws of relativity’ are almost akin to Indian philosophy of ‘Pseudo reality’. What we see with our naked eyes may not be true. Sometimes our perceptions betray us. For example, the star we see now may not be there but it might have traveled afar. Our eyes can see things only within a distance of 3 or 4 kilometers and we can’t see beyond that. But how can we see a star which is millions and millions of kilometers away? Things of this kind really fascinate and bewilder us.

When something is beyond our comprehension, we inevitably resort to philosophy and God. In fact, philosophy is the search for truth. As Mahatma Gandhi professed even the staunchest atheist can not deny the statement “God may not be truth but Truth is God”. All of us should strive for truth but even truth is relative and not absolute. Once a disciple of Swami Vivekananda asked him the question, “Can we change this world”?. Swami Vivekananda replied “In the relative sense yes but in the absolute sense no”. This may sound paradoxical but it is true. We can not root our all evil from this world and.

We can not root out all corruption and terrorism from the world but we can change a corrupt person , mend a terrorist and may change a wicked person.. Since Religion is a very sensitive issue, it is always wise to talk about it in a tone of reconciliation and tolerance rather than in a confrontational and satirist over tones. We are well aware what has happened to Salmon Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin for their condemnation of the Koran and the Muslims in their respective novels “ The Satanic Verses” and ‘Lajja”. They have almost been confined to a life of an exile. And have been living in a state of perpetual mental agony and fear.

They are not able to live in their native lands. We may not endorse the dictates of the religious fundamentalists but we can not approve of the condemnation of the holy books like the Bible, the Koran, the Gita and the Guru Grandh Sahib etc. We don’t have the right to hurt the sentiments of the people even though they are always not rational. Rationalism is not a panacea for everything and anything.

Only Religious tolerance, mutual trust and respect can save this world from peril. Man, religion, society and the teacher: It is a fact that even in this scientific and computer age. 0% of the people are religious and they believe in one god or the other. It is very unfortunate that religion becomes a source for terrorism and hatred. The animosity between Israel and Palestine is a classic example for this. Jesus was said to be born in Bethlehem in Palestine. So It should be a holy place for the people in the two countries. Unfortunately it has become a war zone. Even the animosity between India and Pakistan is more religious than territorial. We can cite a number of examples like this to prove that religion has become the opium of even the intellectuals as Karl Marx rightly pointed out.

School is a miniature society. The scope of school is very vast and the task of a teacher is stupendous. If a teacher sows the seeds of religious tolerance, mutual cooperation, trust and harmony in the rich fertile soil of the child’s mind, They will sprout, grow and blossom into the flowers and fruits of religious harmony, peace and international camaraderie. Let us hope that the teaching community work incessantly for global peace, fraternity and brotherhood. May peace, happiness and prosperity prevail in the world!.

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