His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama at the Hind Swaraj International Centenary Conference organised by Swaraj Peeth Trust at Surajkund, Delhi from November 19-22, 2009. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is also the supreme leader of Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj (GGMS), a network of individuals, organisations, campaigns and movements, subscribes to the vision of 'Swaraj' with Swaraj Peeth Trust as its Secretariate. (Photo Courtesy: Pankaj Mistry)
Swaraj Peeth Trust, a Gandhian center for nonviolence and peace, works for Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Swaraj – Home-Rule or Self Rule based on culture of nonviolence or cultural democracy- through building a community based nonviolent social force called Gandhi Shanti Sena; organising public dialogues, training in nonviolence and education programmes for creating swaraj awareness in various areas of life.
Swaraj Peeth is dedicated to advocating, promoting and applying Gandhian vision and methods of nonviolence, satyagraha, peace with justice and human dignity. Based on the vision of his root text, Hind Swaraj, Swaraj Peeth is engaged not only in bringing Hind Swaraj in the center of discourse on nonviolence, freedom and justice, but it has been able to translate it into an action programme through developing a four stage process of building Gandhi Shanti Sena or a community based nonviolent voluntary social force. Four stages are:
Swaraj Peeth is also engaged internationally in dialogue on nonviolence and actively supports nonviolent movements for democracy, freedom and justice. Swaraj Peeth supports morally and actively those who are struggling nonviolently for human dignity, preservation of culture, environment and Life on the earth. Swaraj Peeth believes that nonviolence as a Law of Being and as a principle of life must be coextensive with economic, political, social and cultural domains of life.
There are identifiable and worrisome aspects to the present situation:
People want to do ‘something’ at their own level. This ‘need to do something’, something that individual can do, gets expressed at every time when the forces of various forms of violence make attempts to assume greater power and legitimacy. A continuous and collective search for constructive and nonviolent remedies in the light of experiences and attempts is required in order to provide anchor to people’s faith in nonviolence at this difficult time.
This compelling situation demands answers. It calls for exploration of nonviolence in a manner that individual, family, community and nation can do something that can help dispel the environment of fear, insecurity and violence, and show some way to the people fatigued with violence and to the believers in nonviolence. The present situation, locally and globally, has posed a serious challenge to the advocates of nonviolence. It is easy to narrate the vices of violence and virtues of nonviolence, but the deeper and practical question before us is about how to face these various forms of direct, structural, environmental and civilisational violence through forms and methods of nonviolence.
What is our duty at a time like this, and what are the possibilities?