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Power of Peace in the Era of Globalization
Concept, Features, Shortcomings and Suggestions
A Paper presented by Dr M M Verma
at International Conference at India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi
on 15 – 17 April 2011
organized by Institute of Objective Studies

Concept
 
Globalization is a matter of fact and a distinctive feature of modern history. It has afforded information technologies with enormous opportunities and prospects for interaction and cooperation. It has resulted in shrinking the world and reduction of distances. It has raised expectation of a better quality life.

Globalization is nobody’s new invention. It is a redefinition of an old concept.  Globalization has brought us together. The First world Religious Congress in 1893; the Second in 1993; Brussels Declaration in 2001; Basforous Deflation in 1994; and Bangkok in January 2004; Melbourne 2009 are the hallmarks of globalization.

There is no denying the fact that the world is fast globalizing and is getting increasingly interconnected. The boundaries are getting increasingly dim, inciting an unprecedented movement of capital, goods, technology, cultural patterns, images and ideas. Besides, there is a great deal of such exchanges within communities and nations.

Science and Technology have brought people, cultures, nations and religions close to each other. Progress in transportation and communication has brought people of the world in closer contact with each other. So much so the world is being looked at as a ‘global village’. Globalization has facilitated interaction among leaders and peoples of different faiths.

Economic and political interests have created greater interdependence among nations. Higher education and professional courses have brought men and women from different nations under one roof. They appreciate each others lifestyle and cultural moorings.

We are unavoidably interconnected and interrelated today. Our World is more hospitable to a variety of approaches today than ever before. As we move towards a world civilization, we find many cultures and spiritual traditions impinging on each other. Here, we find that every tradition takes account of another tradition. Our world radiates flavour of unification and ecumenism.

The process of globalization has compelled us to rethink our approach to other religions and their missionary work.  Every civilization should be enriched by the treasure of other religions and civilizations. The followers of all religion should work for peaceful coexistence. Let’s find a common theological platform in a dialogue with adherents of different faiths.

The foundation of a pluralistic society, its culture, legal system and public school education system require acceptance of universal values derived from human experience.

Today, the call for “World Theology” has been sounded by many scholars, including Wilfred Cantwell Smith, John Hick and Raimundo Panikar, among others.

Shortcomings

Its shortcomings, it is linked with hegemony and cultural imperialism. But the essence of globalization is that it is a movement of people, capital, goods, services and ideas from one place to another .It is said that globalization is a double-edged weapon. It has accelerated economic development, but has also destabilized less developed societies. Weaker nations are more vulnerable to diplomatic pressure. The international scenario has become more complicated. The weaker nations have been repeatedly assured that globalization will have a human face.  Globalization has created socio-ethnic conflicts across the world with horrifying consequences. Globalization is not homogenization. Leaders of the Third World have been made to believing that there is no alternative to the western model. The gulf between the rich and poor nations, has been widened by globalization.

We are simply by the winds of globalization. Our cultures are defeated and the entire world is world is worried. Our minds have been colonized. It is a huge issue. There are apprehensions that in the globalized world atmosphere is not be conducive for discussion. Under the garb of globalization only such discussions are permitted which aim at perpetuating the present political domination and expectation. Globalization is deeply flawed. It has abetted materialism, inequality, alienation and violence that now scare societies everywhere but especially those in the developing world.

It has also given birth to a new set of apprehensions and disturbing developments. Glaring manifestations of unilateralism, hegemonic ambitions, processes of homogenization, blatant use and display of military might, are all disturbing factors. There is gradual decline in social institutions – family, neighbourhood, community and religion are the dominant features of the modern world. Societies face a fracture, fragmentation and atomization, leading to compulsive consumerism.

This paradox has posed a challenge, which can be tackled through the power of peace, reconciliation, conflict resolution and a healthy global life, based on spiritual and moral foundations. Peaceful coexistence, humane and progressive development strategies do need structures. Role of peace in building families, communities and other humane groups, calls for sincere efforts on the part of intelligentsia to define the role and power of peace for the present globalizing world. Therefore, the challenge is to engage the people in ‘Peace building’ efforts.

It is reported that there are 350 peace agreements of which 2/3 have not succeeded. What is more interesting is to understand the characteristics of the 1/3, which have succeeded. In this context, the instruments of resolving conflicts like those of media, legislation, judiciary and education, are of great value and require concrete strategies to be taken up at people to people level. Learn to live together, has to be a part of human training and actual living experiences.

Suggestions

Religions are to be probed as they contain peace as a distinguishing feature of their value – system. Strategies have to contain elements of healthy and effective communication and need to create outreach channels.

Principles based on multicultural, democracy and dialogue would contribute to foster peace and reconstruction of human values.

Remedy

Globalization is a paradox and a challenge. It needs:
  (i) Power of peace.
  (ii) Reconciliatory attitude
  (iii) Healthy global living, based on Universal Human Values.
  (iv) Role of intelligentia, religious leaders, Media, Judges and legislature.

Leaders should follow principles of multiculturalism, democracy and dialogue based on Universal Human values and learns to live      together as children of one God.

 
Summary
Globalization is a matter of fact; a feature of modern history. Globalization is manifested in
  • Investment pattern, Global capital system. Market of capital flow. Means of production
  • Marketing pattern – malls, new style of delivery of goods on line.
  • Availability of foreign goods of all kinds- fruits, ice cream small small items of daily use; building materials- stone, glass etc., and what not
  • Transport- cars etc.
  • Communication- cell; computers
  • Entertainments – live shows, Bollywood and Hollywood cultural programs.
  • Educational collaboration – students under one roof.
  • Sports- IPL etc.,
  • Medical treatment
  • Insurance
  • Interfaith Conferences
  • Political and military collaborations
  • Democratization process
  • World Peace
  • Environment Issues
  • Terrorism
  • Tackling it is a global effort
Due to science and technology, revolution in transport and communication, political and economic interests, love for variety and entertainments, higher professional education and sports have brought people, nations, and leaders closer to each other. We are more interconnected, interrelated and interdependent today.

Shortcomings
  • Globalization is a double-edged weapon.
  • Hegemony of culture imperialism.
  • Globalization has accelerated economic development but destabilized economy of less developed nations.
  • Weaker nations are more vulnerable
  • Diplomatic pressure on the weaker States
  • International scenario is more complicated.
  • Created socio economic, ethnic conflicts across the world with horrifying consequences.
  • Gulf between rich and poor nations is increasing.
  • In the overwhelming winds of globalization our culture, society and moral ethos have suffered.
  • Globalization should not aim at homogenization.
  • Under the guise of globalization, imperialism is prospering.
  • As a result, discussion and dialogue have been rendered a camouflage.
  • Unilateralism, hegemonic ambitions, process of homogenization, display of military might, increasing interference in the internal affairs of other states, are disturbing sights.
  • There is a marked gradual decline in social institutions- family, neighbourhood, community and religion.Societies face fragmentation.
  • Ugly trends in consumerism are on the increase.
  • It is said that 350 peace agreements have been signed, of which 2/3 have not succeeded.

Conclusion
  • On the whole, our world is more hospitable to a variety of approaches than ever before.
  • Our World radiates flavour of unification and ecumenism.
  • As we move towards a world civilization, we see many cultures and traditions influencing each other.
  • The foundation of a pluralist society, its culture, legal system and public school education system require acceptance of Universal Human Values.
  • There is call for a common theological platform. The call for “World Theology” has been sounded by many scholars, including Wilfred Cantwell Smith, John Hick and Raimundo Panikar, among others.
 
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