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R. Deka: Address to 32nd International Leadership Conference

Address to 32nd International Leadership Conference, Seoul, Korea, August 26–29, 2018


Peace in Hindi means shanti, which in turn means absence of hostility. The entire world is in search of peace. The meaning of peace can be traced from the sacred book (or, I must say, the book that guides every human) the Bhagavad Gita. There Lord Krishna says that no one can know happiness without peace. Similarly, for a state to attain peace, the happiness of its stakeholders is quite important.

Who are the stakeholders in a state? The masses or the citizens, bureaucrats, interest groups, pressure groups, and, of course, the state’s parliamentarians. Each country, each state, each city and every household is looking for peace in its respective sphere. Peace and development are two sides of the same coin: They are directly proportional to each other. Moreover, the success rate of any form of democracy also depends on the situation in that country. For instance, if a country is facing internal disturbance or external war or aggression, then it can be clearly made out that there is a lack of peace in that country, showing a distrust or failure of the government and its system.

What is the role of parliamentarians in peace making? The job of parliamentarians is not solely to legislate or execute laws. In the international arena, various treatises are signed by the ministries among states for peace and tranquillity. On the internal level, laws to secure peace are being made and implemented. But, there is a greater job, too.

Let us understand it on the micro level. Violence arises when there is diversity and conflict. When gaps widen or increase, the situation of peace is in danger. Parliamentarians here represent diversity and should adequate steps for conflict resolution and peacekeeping. Consultations at different stages should be negotiated at various levels by taking various stakeholders into account. People must be made aware of the rights that the constitution gives them.

As stated earlier, peace and development are two sides of the same coin. When there is peace, development takes place. No country or business house wants to invest in a state where there is no peace.

For instance, if a business house invests money for setting up a factory in a backward area where it will easily get land and manpower at a low price, its profitability will be reduced to zero if there are conflicts among the masses. The present government in India follows the mantra of “sabkha saath, sabka vikas,” which means inclusive development. Development should reach everyone. This can be done by the active participation of elected representatives, as they are the point of contact between the government and the masses. Schemes launched in Delhi, capital of India, have to reach my constituency, which is 2,500 kilometers away from the capital.

So, the role of parliamentarians in both peace and development is very crucial as they are the first point of contact. As Nelson Mandela said, “Peace is the greatest weapon for development that any person can have.”



To go to the 32nd International Leadership Conference Schedule page, click here.