BUILDING A GLOBAL PEACE MOVEMENT
We have the age-old problem of unfairness, injustice, poverty, and marginalization of poor communities, and now, the devastating threat of climate change also must be addressed. Our finest traits and ideas will need to be harnessed to improve the lives of individuals, communities, and countries and, ultimately, the whole planet, as we work together for our common wellbeing.
The Jai Jagat vision emerged as Rajagopal, the founder of Ekta Parishad, visited numerous groups and projects throughout India and other nations to explain Ekta Parishad’s methods of empowering poor communities. Seeing how individual groups were having an impact on their own communities, the clear next step was to link them together to create a movement that could provide effective solutions to the problems we face.
Never in human history have we faced such a crisis as we face now. There are the ancient problems of poverty and injustice, along with new and escalating wars and migration on a massive scale. Increasing automation is bringing the mass employment model of capitalism to an end. Millions of jobs are threatened as human labor becomes redundant across many industries. In addition to all that, the profound effects of global warming and extreme weather conditions need to be halted, or at least mitigated, to prevent a catastrophic future with significantly diminished food and water.
There is a need, right now, for a coherent global movement to make its presence felt and press for international peace and co-operation. Our time left to work together to save the planet is fast running out. Reducing conflict, excessive and unsustainable consumption, the increasing gap between rich and poor, greenhouse gases and injustice on a global scale is all an epic challenge that might seem insurmountable, but this is how it is and we have to start somewhere.
For the British Empire to give up India, its colonial jewel, without bloodshed, would have seemed nothing more than an impossible dream when Mahatma Gandhi first joined in the struggle for India’s independence, yet he lived to see his dream happen. Gandhi’s mantras of non-violence and individual improvement in the interests of the collective good are the cornerstone of the Jai Jagat manifesto. His idea of Sarvodaya (“progress for all”) envisaged encouraging people to overcome the great challenges in their lives through collective action.
The Jai Jagat manifesto suggests what collectively we might effectively do to prevent a disastrous future. Our Green and White booklet has as its aim that we have the new mass movement that we need and that we work together for the same common goals. The Green alludes to our recovering a balanced relationship with our planet and the White to the struggle for peace based always on justice. We hope the vision we have shared in the booklet will inspire the will and courage in millions to improve their lives individually and collectively.
What Gandhi said all so many years ago still stands: ‘The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree, and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.”
Nonviolence is a way of life because we have to engage in a continual struggle to overcome our inner violence. Gandhi’s use of Satyagraha (translated as ‘truth-force’) was to find an inner power to overcome obstacles and bring about external change. Six commitments have been identified that can help everyone harness their inner power.
1. A commitment to personal change
2. A commitment to protect the life-nurturing systems of the earth
3. A commitment to nonviolent social action
4. A commitment to nonviolence as a way of life
5. A commitment to global citizenship
6. A commitment to justice, human rights, and democracy
This vision is intended to give people, particularly young people, a sense of their individual and collective strength, and a realization of the power they can, individually and collectively, wield rather than wait for governments and international bodies to come to a decision to act in positive, beneficial ways.
We are all beginning to grasp the possible catastrophic consequences of a rise of even 1.5°C, let alone 2°C, in our average global temperature. Human ingenuity on a local level can lead to global change. Jai Jagat is striving to link bottom-up, grassroots innovations and schemes across the world to combat climate change.
Jai Jagat advocates reforming education to ensure that social values permeate learning, so people learn from an early age how to become responsible global citizens. There is a need for us to instill in our young people a greater vision of peace and justice, rather than simply a focus on fitting in and maintaining the status quo. The exposure of young people to the challenges of marginalization and poverty on the one hand and climate change on the other can create the basis for their social development and understanding of deeper structural problems in society.
Children and young people have grasped better than anyone the scale of the environmental threats our and other species face. The recent school strikes, inspired by Greta Thunberg’s solo Friday school strikes in Sweden, to protest against governments’ apparent inaction on climate change is a clear manifestation of this new understanding.
Women’s training and women’s leadership are important levers for positive social change. The proliferation of women’s self-help groups around the world is a testament to the role of women’s leadership in development. Women generally have had less mobility, but when opportunities open up for them and their families, they are often seen to stride ahead.
Jai Jagat’s success will depend on:
Eradicating Poverty – Everyone’s basic human needs are met.
Removing Social Discrimination - Respect for human rights so there is no destructive discrimination on the basis of race, caste, gender, religion, and ethnicity.
Reversing Ecological Destruction and the Climate Crisis - This requires radical changes in production and consumption patterns.
Ending Conflict - Conflict has caused so much destruction of human lives and potential and the only way to end it is by generating a collective commitment to building a nonviolent society.