MOST of us dread a conflict situation in our life because it makes us uncomfortable and stressful. As a result, we learn to avoid, suppress or withdraw from conflict or even act as though it doesn’t exist. It is very rare that we choose to see the existence of conflict as positive and see that it presents an opportunity for us to move forward
if only we are willing to face it and deal with it effectively.
The conflict in human life begins from the time the infant is yet in its mother’s womb. Whether it would be a male or a female baby, a prodigy or a dunce, a veritable beauty or ugliness personified —these are some of the questions that raise ripples in the minds of the parents and later, determine their attitudes towards the newly-born, especially if it is a female child. These attitudes, in turn, leave an imprint or a scar on their psyche which, in turn, influences their behaviour that becomes the cause of conflicts in the society. In some societies, these are minor questions whereas in others, in which the female is still looked upon as an inferior being as compared to a male, these and related questions are considered as big ones, for, to them are linked the questions of dynastic continuity, division of property, dowry problem and so on.
The example of the gender-difference of the baby is now at the periphery of the wheel of problems. It is centrestage only when there are cases of bride-burning or pre-birth gender-tests. At the centre of the circle now is the troika of social, economic and political conflicts. These conflicts have now taken a highly aggravated pitch. And, of these three, the political conflicts have, of late, taken a veryvirulent form.
What is drawing maximum attention in India are the events related to extremism and violent and subversive acts. Many of these conflicts have arisen from differences in political ideologies. Some minority groups complain that there is social and political discrimination towards them and that the Government is intolerant to the ideological minorities and that there is police intimidation and harassment and internment without trial.
The Government, on the other hand, says that these groups indulge in subversive and anti-constitutional activities and in espionage and political hostage taking extremist acts and that they (the Government) have, therefore, to act with an iron hand. Thus, each side blames the other and is strongly pitched against the other. There are no constructive and meaningful dialogues and, instead, there is violent confrontation.
There is social apathy and a high degree of hatred on both sides. The result is that, in such a pluralistic society, there has developed violent disintegration. There are no efforts on either side to win the other by love, friendship and spirit of reconciliation. The result is that tensions are rising rapidly and life is daily becoming increasingly insecure. So far, various remedies are being thought of, discussed and applied to resolve these conflicts, but all these are ad-hoc measures and do not aim at eradicating the roots of hatred and violence which are spreading world-wide.
A growing body of research has shown spirituality as a great antidote for all kinds of conflicts. Spirituality is like the medicine which heals the root of the disease and not just the symptoms.
It is the only means that gives us complete solutions to conflicts. From spiritual perspective, the simplest and the most powerful value needed for conflict resolution is ‘respect.’ This is because most of the people don’t wish to negotiate when they are in possession of material power. Therefore, there’s an urgent need for those to realise and respect their inner powers. Similarly, faith is also a very important element in conflict resolution, it is the key to mutual understanding. For global conflicts, the solution lies with the leadership.
The leaders can bring about the much-needed change and make it trickle down the societies. Leaders of today must remember that any kind of change, can be termed ‘real’ only when it affects the grassroots. It is thus very important to recognise that the world shall change, when I change. Hence, people should not wait to be told that they need to change, instead they should realise it themselves.