Good morning, everyone! I've heard a lot about this university. In fact, this university has created many global leaders. Whether you go to Nepal, Bangladesh, Mauritius, or any other county, you will find that there are leaders who take great pride in being an alumni of JNU.
Inner Peace and Outer Dynamism
I don’t know how much inner peace is there here, but I am sure there is quite a lot of dynamism in this university. And the media is proof of that! You have been in the media every year and maybe even every quarter. Some dynamic activity keeps happening in the university, and that is a sign of youthfulness.
The youth don’t keep quiet; they are dynamic, but this dynamism needs to be supported by peace. Dynamism should not just be supported by restlessness or rebelliousness and it should not be mistaken for agitation. And inner peace is not synonymous to lethargy or complacence.
What is Peace?
Often, we see people who talk about inner peace; they are just complacent. They say, “Whatever is happening is happening.” They are sort of resigning from everything and being a recluse. Getting in the hole is what appears to be peace. People who love peace want to run away to the Himalayas or some quiet corner where nobody can disturb them, because they love peace. That peace has no value. And a dynamism that has no thought, which is full of agitation and which has brought pain to oneself and others, has no value either.
What is the need of the hour today and every day is that fine combination of inner peace and outer dynamism. Isn’t it?
We need a combination of sensitivity and sensibility. People who are sensitive are so hyper; they lose their temper at the drop of a hat. And people who are sensible don’t care about the impact of their actions on others. They don’t care because they think they are righteous. It is not enough to just be righteous.
Coming to communication – neither the sensitive person nor the sensible one can be a good communicator in the world, this is what I feel. Our population is a mixed batch of sensitivity and sensibility. There are some who are extremely sensitive and others who are utterly sensible. What we need is a balance; connectivity. I feel one of the most important characteristics of a civilized person is connectivity – how best you can connect with everyone.
In one of my talks, there were two to three politicians sharing the stage with me, who were known for corruption. So, I was asked by someone in the audience, “How could you share the stage with corrupt people around you? You are talking about anti-corruption and you are sharing the stage with corrupt people.”
I said, “What do I have to do with only honest people? My message is irrelevant if I just address the honest people. I want all the corrupt people to come and sit next to me, so I can at least have an impact on them.” It is akin to a doctor’s situation. A doctor doesn’t treat just healthy people. If you are a doctor, you have all the more reason to work with sick people. So I said I wanted to reach out to those corrupt people.
Corruption begins where a sense of belongingness ends. If there is an officer from Tamil Nadu sitting here in Delhi, and a Tamilian comes, do you know, he will not ask for a bribe from him? But if he sees someone else, maybe from Karnataka or Punjab, then he will ask for a bribe because there is no sense of connectivity. It is similar to how you probably behave when you go to America or Europe or even a neighboring country, and you meet someone who says, “I also studied in JNU.” What happens to you? You feel a sense of connectivity. It is this connectivity that improves communication. When communication is better, conflicts simply disappear. Every conflict has in its root a breakdown of communication. And as human beings, we have the skill to re-establish our connectivity.
A Vision for World Peace
I want to share with you an incident that happened when I first went to Iraq. I was put in the Green Zone and was given 12 vehicles for my security, including two tankers. I told them that I want to go to the Red Zone, what do I do sitting in the Green Zone? I have not come here just to be in the four walls of a 5-star hotel. They said to me that just a couple of days ago, Tony Blair was here and there was a bomb blast in the Red Zone, so we can’t take a risk and send you there. I pleaded with them; I said, “I take responsibility for my security. If you want, I can give you that in writing.”
Being their guest, they could not say no, but they were so scared to say yes. They said, “We can just drop you at that gate, but after that we are not responsible.”
I said, “Never mind.”
So they escorted me to the Red Zone and dropped me there. I went to a village that had only Shias because all the Sunnis were driven away from there. They welcomed me there. I sat with them, spoke with them, and told them I wanted to bring a guest this evening, and they said, “Yes, bring anybody.”
So I brought with me one Sunni Imam who was driven away from that village. When they met, these people said, “We will welcome back the 8,000 families that were driven away from here, let them come back.”
It is just a matter of understanding one’s sensitivity, and bringing some sense to them. This can happen only if we are peaceful. World peace cannot come just by stopping bombs. World peace is generated right where we are. It is peaceful individuals who can make peaceful families. If one person in a family is unhappy, he destroys the happiness or peace of everybody in the family. And you can see this as an extension to the entire world. Unfortunately, today, many conflicts in the world are driven by greed and ulterior motives. If you go into the root cause of conflict, you will be stunned as to how these conflicts are created between nations by the lobby who wants to become richer – at the cost of millions of people. Why is this happening? It is because we are not sensitive to others’ needs. We are not sensitive to the humanness that we all possess. Our identity has clogged our humanness – our true identity.
We have many identities in life. First and foremost, we are part of one light, one human force. Our second identity is with our gender. Third is with the nation, and the fourth identity is with our religion. If the priority of our identity is misplaced, that is when violence happens. We all need identity. For identity to have its proper priority, we need inner peace. And inner peace makes us sensitive to others’ needs.
The Paigham-e-Mohabbat Meet
Day before yesterday, we had the Paigam-e-Mohabbat (Healing Hearts) meet, where, for the first time, 100 families of Kashmir militants met with the families of our Jawans (soldiers). The Kashmiri militants are nice people. They or their children took to guns. If you ask them why you took to guns, they have reasons. If you hear them, they say, we are right. But they came along with 40 families of our Jawans who had been martyred. When they came and met each other for the first time, there was such a huge wave of emotions. This is perhaps the first time something like this has happened in the history of this nation.
Harmony in Diversity
When the Tsunami struck the coasts of India and Sri Lanka, in a very strange way, it united people. As part of the relief efforts, I was travelling all along the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, and we saw that the mosques were open to everybody. Even in the temples, we saw that there were burkha-clad ladies taking shelter; in normal situations, they would never have entered the temples. And they would never have been allowed inside either. So, when a natural calamity happened, it united the minds of people in a very strange manner. And everyone served everyone, irrespective of their religion and political ideology.
These are the things that divide us, religious and political ideology – I am a communist, capitalist, socialist, or whatever – these ideologies keep the human minds divided. You can have your ideologies, but the world cannot be of only one ideology. Let everyone have different ideologies. If the world should be based on one ideology, it should be of one humanity and humanism. If humanism is missing, ideologies will create more conflicts, however good or bad they might be.
The beauty of our world is that it has diversity. There are thorns, soft petals, hard nuts, soft fruits – that is the beauty of this creation. Every fruit cannot be like a coconut. And every nut cannot be so hard to crack. And the world needs this kind of diversity, we must encourage it. This is the greatness of this country. We always encouraged diversity.
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