Everyone in today’s generation is fighting a war on borrowed hatred.
What comes to your mind when I say ‘education’? Reading? Writing? Or is it arithmetic? For the longest time, the world has suffered — yes, suffered — this understanding of what education means. There is so much attention attached to the literacy component in education, to the extent that people think of education itself as all about making more and more people literate.
Everyone in today’s generation is fighting a war on borrowed hatred. Think about it. Samuel Huntington was incredibly correct that culture, ethnicity and such individual identity markers would come to sustain differences of opinion. War is deemed good for business and the coffers of a select few enablers, and that vested interest keeps an agenda of promoting hatred as the norm. Terrorist outfits are feeding off the combined effect of marginalisation and borrowed hatred. The world is burning with hatred that is only kept alive through incorrect education that is desperately in need of sensitisation. Whole chapters in history are written by the victor’s hand. Still more are written through a male lens, ignoring myriads of women who have made significant and meaningful contributions through untiring efforts.
We strive to create peaceful people, through peaceful tools, peaceful language and peaceful ways to solve conflict. Conflict is inevitable, but, if we create a proclivity towards peace in people around us, we naturally choose peace, we naturally turn to peace, we naturally prioritise peace, and we don’t have place to escalate conflict at any level. Be it a bully in a classroom or two nations seeking ownership over territory. In that understanding, there is a very simple solution to finding peace in peace education.
Generations of students before me, along with me, and now, after me, have grown up without learning the most important values of life: of empathy, of choosing peace and compassion over hatred and violence, of choosing equality, tolerance and respect for one’s identity.
This International Peace Day, which falls on September 21, incidentally, what if we choose to be purveyors of peace education? What if we taught non-violent communication while teaching rules of grammar, syntax and semantics? What if we taught history with the right telling and with the agenda to prevent repetition of history’s egregious failings? What if we taught geography against the landscape of actual equality — where we learned lessons from the earth’s diversity and imbibed it as positive lessons for peace? What if we taught practical ways to use numbers in a way that had practical solutions to deter from conflict and choose peace instead?
The author is an Indian Women’s rights activist, a peace activist, artist, lawyer and writer