Make the transition from love of power to power of love
Delegates from 20 countries including neighbouring Nepal to South Africa to Maldives apart from over 120 students representing various parts of India have congregated for the occasion.
An impassioned address by noted civil society activist Swami Agnivesh, who announced his new project of integrating people globally for enhancing the spirit of community development from the New Year set the pace for a three-day international conference on ‘Community Empowerment, Coping, Resilience and Hope’ which began on Sunday.
Delegates from 20 countries including neighbouring Nepal to South Africa to Maldives apart from over 120 students representing various parts of India have congregated for the occasion. Having begun his activism in 1968, after chucking up his conservative Brahmin lifestyle and a promising academic career in Calcutta, Swami Agnivesh told the 150-strong audience that he had been imprisoned 11 times and attempt on his life had been made six times over these four decades. Despite all this, he emphasised that he has never veered away from the Arya Samaji tradition of ‘Doubt, Debate and Dissent’ if the occasion demanded it.
Peppering his 40-minute address with heart-wrenching stats, the Swami said that 40,000 children die of starvation on this planet on a daily basis while a billion remain perennially hungry. It is imperative that community ownership of means of production and distribution be considered the most important issue but in reality, it is the survival of the strongest in the world, he lamented.
“The dispossessed and the tribals round the world have the same lifestyle and an unabiding passion to live in harmony with nature which is in contrast to the gory exploitation of the powerful and rich,” he added. Calling for a new nucleus of change he urged the audience, comprising civil society activists, academicians and writers to work for a paradigm shift from development to humane, community development at once.
The organisers of the conference were Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice Inc and a city based NGO Centre for Action Research and Peoples Development (CARPED), sponsored by the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI). The welcome address was made by Dr Venkat Pulla, noted academician and activist who informed that this conference will be a great exposure to students about the best practices in the field, the world over.
By: K Naresh Kumar