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Dr Ravi P Bhatia

The concept of peace has several aspects – religious, economic, social and even personal traits or disposition. Peace is not just the absence of conflict or violence. Even when there is no conflict and violence, we may not always have peace. Peace is a positive aspect that is a reflection of friendship, amity, religious harmony, well-being, cooperation etc.

An important aspect of peace is the presence of a clean healthy environment. A healthy environment that gives us joy, tranquility; that allows religious leaders and ordinary persons to meditate, to be kind, to have compassion, to seek spiritual union with the Almighty – whatever God or deity one has faith in. With the environment deteriorating as a result of the present developmental paradigm dictated by current life styles and aspirations, there is serious concern about the quality and nature of the environment. It is not just a serious concern only for mankind but also for all forms of life – animal, fish, and plant.

All forms of life are under stress; human beings especially in the poorer countries are being exposed to pollution and are becoming seriously ill. Children are perhaps the worst sufferers in this regard. Many species of animal and plant kingdoms are dying and have become extinct.

A healthy environment signifies wellbeing of all forms of life humans, animals, forests, plants and marine life. Such an environment is clean, healthy and beautiful — here birds fly around, plants flower, trees grow and produce flowers and fruit; rivers flow and lakes and wells have clean water for drinking and agriculture. Such an environment gives us peace, solace and happiness.

Peace is multi-dimensional entity that does not mean just the absence of conflict or violence; it signifies friendship, sharing, harmony, beauty and tranquility. It signifies harmony with nature, enjoying and cherishing its diversity and beauty, partaking of its bounties without over-exploiting or misusing nature. However, today we find that the environment is under stress because we have over exploited and misused it and forgotten that it is a living entity that needs care and sustenance like all living beings. If we care for it and learn to only use it minimally so as to prevent its degradation we will not only enjoy its beauty and bounties but also leave it unharmed for us and for our future generations. We must remember the words of Gandhi who cautioned us against over exploitation of our earth, “There is enough for peoples’ needs but not enough for peoples’ greed”.

A clean forest with birds chirping, animals loitering around and healthy trees that bloom and give us fruit are signs of this healthy environment. All this gives joy and happiness and peace. Man has looked at forests with awe, wonder and hope for centuries. Trees have symbolized life, shelter and rest for man. According to the Indian religious and philosophical texts Vedas, the tree kalpvriksha has wonderful properties. A person sitting beneath this tree in a contemplative stance gains knowledge and spiritual strength. For Buddha, it conferred enlightenment.

Dr Ravi P Bhatia, who retired as professor from Delhi University, is an educationist and peace researcher

Source:Transcend Media Service (TMS)

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