Peace for the sake of social justice is not a practicable formula. The only workable formula is peace for the sake of normalcy
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
We often talk of peace in the context of war. But this is a very narrow and restricted notion of peace. Peace is deeply linked with the entirety of human life. Peace is a complete ideology in itself. Peace is the only religion for both-man and the universe. It is the master-key that opens the doors to every success. Peace creates a favourable atmosphere for success in every endeavour. Without peace, no positive action”small or big”is possible.
PACIFISM is a doctrine subscribed to by those who find war and its attendant evils abhorrent”violence, destruction, loss of life and in particular, the disruption of normal existence. From the earliest times, peace has been a subject of compelling interest and study for all thinking people. Right from Aristotle to St. Augustine, from Bertrand Russell to Mahatma Gandhi, great minds have been pre-occupied with this subject and have advocated adherence to the ways of peace. 1937 even saw the publication of an Encyclopaedia of Pacifism, yet a generally acceptable formula for establishing peace has still to be developed.
The basic question is: Peace for what? or What is the criterion of peace? Pacifists generally maintain that peace must include social justice, or that peace is what gives justice to all. The Constitution of the International Labour Organisation, affirms, ‘Universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice.’ This concept of peace has won general acceptance among scholars. However, peace in this sense has never been established throughout history, that is, peace with social justice. History provides empirical proof that this definition of peace is not in accordance with the law of nature. And it is a fact that, one cannot achieve anything without adhering to natural laws.
Failure to establish peace is because almost all the scholars have bracketed one word peace along with certain irrelevant factors. Their concept of real peace is one in which there is no injustice, inequality and violence of any kind.
Peace is like ‘social soil’
Let us take the analogy of the soil giving us foodstuff without which we cannot exist. In order to derive food from the soil, according to the law of nature, we have to first acquire fertile land and then prepare it for the cultivation of crops. The same is true of peace. Peace is like ‘social soil’, by cultivating which we can receive the fruits of social justice. Just as it is not possible to derive food directly from the soil, similarly we cannot derive social justice directly from peace.
The law of nature maintains that peace can be attained only on a unilateral and not on a bilateral basis. This means that first of all, we have to abandon confrontational methods such as political activism, protest based activism and human rights activism. This kind of unilateralism will establish normalcy, which will lead to peace and peace will open the door to all kinds of opportunities. By wise planning we can achieve the desired goals of social justice and human rights.
The Hudaibiya Treaty
Since peace can be attained only on a unilateral basis, this may be called a ‘peace strategy’. A historic example is the Hudaibiya Treaty entered into by the Prophet of Islam in 628 AD. This entailed the Prophet having to agree to all of the conditions demanded by his opponents. Such concessions may have seemed demeaning to his compatriots at the time, but the main feature of the treaty was that it guaranteed a lengthy period in which no war could be waged.
In essence, it amounted to a ten-year no-war pact, which gave the Prophet and his Companions ample opportunities to spread the message of Islam far and wide. This great success story serves as a model to develop a successful strategy for achieving the desired goal.
Peace can only be established on a unilateral basis without confrontation. To establish social justice and human rights, it becomes a bilateral issue. We have to fight other groups which we think are responsible for injustice and the violation of human rights. If we start our journey towards this goal, it is bound to lead to confrontation with existing groups. Instead of reaching the desired goal, people will become engaged in violence. We have to evolve a method that will work without confrontation. The achievement of social justice or human rights calls for wise planning. It is not a journey along a highway, but through thickets of thorny bushes.
Wise Planning is Non-Controversial
Peace for the sake of social justice is not a practicable formula. The only workable formula is peace for the sake of normalcy. Normalcy gives us the opportunity to plan wisely. Wise planning is non-controversial in nature. It can be done without confronting others, regardless of the section of the society to which they belong. The formula is: Establish a peaceful atmosphere at any cost, it will open up opportunities and availing these through wise planning, we can achieve success.