The Role of Dialogue in Resolving Conflicts – Commemorating 76th Anniversary of Hiroshima Day


The starting point of the process of conflict resolution is knowing the heart of the other person: Dr. Akash Ouchi
As a tribute to the 76th Anniversary of the Hiroshima Day on August 6, 2021, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti organized an e-dialogue on “The Role of Dialogue in Resolving Conflicts”. Dr. Akash Ouchi, Vice-Chairman, Bharat Soka Gakai delivered the keynote address. Prof. N Radhakrishan, senior Gandhian thinker and scholar chaired the session. Dr. Oinam Sareeta Devi, Secretary, Kasturba Gandhi Institute for Development, Imphal spoke on “Promoting Nonviolent Communication to the Language Audience”. Dr. Vedabhyas Kundu, Programme Officer, GSDS moderated this session.
Shri Dipanker Shri Gyan, Director Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti along with other panelists launched the Manipuri version of the Certificate Course on “Nonviolent Communication” on the occasion. Students from Manipur will undergo this certificate program. The course has been translated by Dr. O Sareeta Devi into two script, Manipuri and Bangla. The Course – developed by GSDS has been translated in Tamil, Malayalam, Gujarati, Hindi, English respectively apart from getting an international audience whereby the course has been translated into Kyrgiz language and Swahili language in Uganda, Africa.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. O Sareeta Devi, while paying her tributes to the victims of the World War I and II and the devastation that happened in Hiroshima on August 6, said that from these incidents we learn that nothing is more powerful than peace. Saying that the act of violence will lead us to the dark ages, Dr. Sareeta Devi pointed that nonviolence is the essential for ending of multifarious conflicting situations across the world. “It is that powerful instrument that can lead us to truth and positivity”, she said.
Speaking on the launch of this course on “Nonviolent Communication: A Gandhian Approach” she said that “It is a proud moment for all us”. She said that the Manipuri script is over 3500 years old. She further traced the history of the Manipuri script going as early as 1709. “Reading this book itself and while translating this course, I myself realized ‘who I am?’ and felt that for any development to take place, it must be based on love, truth and sacrifice, which in turn can bring change in our perception of things, as well as satisfaction, which can further result in the happiness of our mind, body and heart”.
“This course will help channelize positivity and will be a very useful tool in bringing peace to the Manipuri society by reducing negative thoughts and bring the diverse cultural and traditional society in Manipur together to discuss peace”, she hoped.
“We have lots of issues and challenges, such as insurgency, drugs, corruption which has a severe impact on the mindset of the people which is the root cause of the youth losing their confidence and straying into wrong direction. This training course on NVC will be very helpful for the youth who have strayed away from the path of non-violence. It will instill in the youth some elements of the Gandhian ideology and also help in the promotion of good physical and mental health and lead to a moral transformation of the youth in the Manipuri society”, Dr. Sareeta concluded.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Akash Ouchi began by paying tributes to the victims of the Hiroshima where a nuclear bomb was dropped at 8.00 AM on August 6, 1945 and said that the horrific incident gave a clarion call to the humanity not to use atom bomb whatsoever the situation may be. He detailed the history of the atom bomb that was named by the USA as “A Little Boy” and the devastation that it caused, whose affect was felt even after many generations. Calling the devastation as a destruction of “unimaginable proportion”, Dr. Ouchi said that innumerable lives were lost.
He expressed that “Everybody must visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial once in their lifetime so as to renew their faith and determination on peace and nonviolence.
Calling the reaction of Mahatma Gandhi on hearing of the devastation caused by the atom bomb in Hiroshima as “Significant”, Dr. Ouchi said, adding “From the perspective of what the humanity can fight back through the threat of the survival”, which even Mahatma Gandhi had said that the human spirit to believe in nonviolence, is the only thing that the atomic bomb cannot destroy.
He quoted Mahatma Gandhi had said, “It is the only thing that the atom bomb cannot destroy. I did not move a muscle when I first heard that the bomb had wiped out Hiroshima. On the contrary, I said to myself, ‘Unless now the world adopts nonviolence, it will spell certain suicide for mankind’.
“Mahatma Gandhi had a belief that the power of the spirit is stronger than any atomic bomb. To transform this century of ours into a century of peace, we must cultivate the limitless inherent power of human life”, said Dr. Ouchi.
He further mentioned that on September 8, 1957, the second President of Soka Gakkai who was also imprisoned during the World War II on account of his opposition to the Japanese military government made his declaration against the use of Atomic Bomb by defining it as “The ultimate evil that threatens the very survival of the human race”. He further informed that Mr. Daisaku Ikeda has carried campaign after campaign against nuclear weapons together with IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) and ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), because of which the ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.
He further reiterated the conviction of the Soka Gakkai to continue their campaign and effort towards completely diminishing the nuclear arms from the world for the sake of the world peace.
He also quoted Dr. Majid Tehranian who had proposed the following rules of dialogue in his book of the dialogue between the Buddhist and the Islams which Daisaku Ikeda in his book “Global Civilisation – A Buddhist -Islamic Dialogue” has emphatically pointed. The rules he proposed is:
i. Honour others and listen to them deeply with your heart and mind.
ii. Seek common ground for consensus but avoid “group-think” by acknowledging and honouring the diversity of views.
iii. Refrain from irrelevant or intemperate intervention
iv. Acknowledge others’ contributions to the discussion before making your own
v. Remember that silence also speaks. Speak only when you have a contribution to make by posing a relevant question, presenting fact, making or clarifying a point, or advancing the discussion to more specificity or greater consensus.
He further said, “Dialogue is not some simplistic assertion of one’s own position, nor is it necessarily about persuading others to one’s point of view. Dialogue is about demonstrating respect for another’s life, and being determined to learn when confronted with differences in personality and perspective”, adding, “Dialogue starts by clearly recognizing the positions and interests of the parties involved and then carefully identifying the obstacles to progress, patiently working to remove and resolve each of them. Dialogue is the ultimate constructive undertaking of the human spirit”.
Speaking about the spirit of dialogue, he quoted Daisaku Ikeda by saying that dialogue is “Appealing to the sense of morality, which means that the essence of dialogue lies in promoting the meeting of hearts and minds”.
“Humanity has to chose a life, for which dialogue is important with one another. It is necessary to meet people, have a dialogue with them and create a common ground for humanity and actions needed for restoring world peace order”, said Dr. Ouchi while referring to Dr. Ikeda’s innumerable dialogues he had with people from all over the world.
“Appealing to the innermost sense of morality, dialogue brings in more power and opens potential for peace”, said Dr. Ouchi, while giving a new hope that future dialogues will be conducted with the spirit of nonviolence and respect for one another. “Knowing the heart of the other person will be the foundation or the starting point of the process of conflict resolution”, he concluded.