ANUVRAT Council for Universal Peace (ACUP)
Late Acharya Tulsi, founder of ANUVRAT Movement and the present ANUVRAT Anushasta Acharya Mahapragya travelled on foot carrying the torch of ANUVRAT from one corner of the country to the other radiating a message of peace, love and friendship among the people for the regeneration of moral and spiritual values. With the passage of time it was realized that the tide of violence and unrestrained immoral life was storming every part of the world. The time had come when ANUVRAT Movement could be carried to all parts of the world to rid the global society of the cult of hatred and create social harmony. A new unit of ANUVIBHA called ANUVIBHA Council for Universal Peace (ACUP) was established with a view to forming an international coalition of kindred spirits and disseminating the message of the movement globally. It is responsible for planning, sustaining and expanding ANUVIBHA’s international work. It coordinates various sub-committees and oversees their activities. We are pleased to say that ACUP has now access to eight thousand peace and nonviolence-oriented NGOs based in 192 countries. The following sub-units are in operation.
(a) Committee for International Conferences and Dialogues
The world today is enmeshed in an unprecedented situation marked by violence and hatred. We see racial discrimination, religious intolerance, abject poverty, ever-increasing unemployment and social disintegration in all parts of the world. Even petty feuds give rise to violent incidents. What is distressing and shocking is that even teenagers have been reported shooting their friends and even parents. A culture of violence is spreading fast at global level. There are many factors responsible for the rising tide of violence closing in on humankind rapidly. Not much has been done to reverse this trend. It is time we paid attention to this vitally important problem. As a first step it was decided to launch a worldwide campaign to create awareness of ahimsa among the masses at global level. To make it possible the most significant project ANUVIBHA undertook was to organize a series of international conferences, dialogues and symposiums on different aspects of peace and nonviolence based on Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya’s three-dimensional programme of human regeneration – ANUVRAT, Preksha Dhyan and Jeevan Vigyan.
ANUVIBHA has organized seven international conferences on peace and nonviolent action at different places so far. The first ICPNA was held on Dec. 5, 1988 at Ladnun, a small town in the Western Rajasthan. It was a great success in that it attracted hundreds of Indian and overseas peace activists, grassroots workers, peace academics and nonviolence lovers. The august presence of the two apostles of ahimsa, Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya, was a source of inspiration to all. For the other six conferences themes were chosen keeping in mind the problems that threatened human survival. It was a global forum to share different visions and evolve an action plan with a focus on ahimsa.
By now more than 500 overseas delegates hailing from sixty countries and 1500 Indian grassroots workers, peace academics and professors have participated in these meetings from time to time. Notable among the distinguished overseas guests who attended these events were Mr. Garry Davis-USA, Ms. Monika Sidenmark-Sweden, Master Yuji Yahiro-Italy, Mrs. Pat Patfoort-Belgium, Dr. Carol Bruce-UK, Mr. & Mrs. David and Ceilia Storey-UK, Dr. Youchi Kawata-Japan, Dr. Rama Lopez Reyes-USA, Mr. Joseph Verner Reed-USA, Mr. Francisco Barahona-CostaRica, Mr. Eremei Parnov-Russia, Ms. Ivanka Vana Jakic-Crotia, Rev. Rinpoche Dobom Tulku-Tibet, Mr. Bhaichand Patel-Fiji, Prof. Glenn D. Paige-USA, Dr. Katsuya Kodama-Japan, Prof. Jan R. Hakemulder- Netherlands, Mr. Paul Van Tongreen-Netherlands, Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr.-USA, Ms. Sheila Marie Benjamin-USA, Mr. Feodor Starcevik-UNESCO, Major General Kostas Constantinidis-Greece, Ms. Mayumi Mezaki-Japan, Mr. Muhammed Muzzamil Cader- Sri Lanka, Dr. Thomas Daffern-UK, Prof. Jeremy Seligson-South Korea, Dr. Timothy Watson-Canada, Mr. Djohan Effendi-Indonesia, Dr. Akash Ouchi-Japan, Mr. Bernie Meyer-USA, Ms. Zabriana Santiago-USA, Ms. Bircan Unver-USA.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India
presiding over the valedictory session of 7th ICPNA at Jaipur
The conference reports and declarations can be obtained on request
Acharya Mahapragya addressing the delegates of the
6th ICPNA at Rajsamand (Raj.) INDIA
The number of ghastly incidents of the cruelest forms of violence is increasing rapidly on the face of this globe. What appals us most is that children and youths are in the forefront of such heinuous crimes. Mere thinking about them makes us shudder. Acharya Mahapragya, known for his Ahimsa Yatra (journey on foot to create ahimsa awareness among masses), is of the view that the only way to counter this trend is to impart nonviolence training to children. If the youths and children can be trained in violence why can’t they be trained in nonviolence? He has already launched a campaign to train people in nonviolence in India. Many nonviolence training centres have come up in the country under the auspices of ANUVIBHA. He instructed ANUVIBHA to organize international nonviolence leadership training camps for the benefit of the people from other countries :
First International Nonviolence Leadership Training Camp
It was organized at the Children’s Peace Palace from Dec. 26 to 28, 2007. In all thirty overseas participants hailing from 14 countries and 60 Indian youths attended this camp. Acharya Mahapragya and Yuvacharya Mahashraman themselves were present throughout the camp and exposed the participants to rare practical strategies and mudras for attitudinal changes. There were other internationally reputed nonviolence exponents too who underwent the practical training in ahimsa.
Participants of the nonviolence leadership training camp
held at Rajsamand practising meditation
Second International Nonviolence Leadership Training Camp
It was organized at Jaipur from Nov. 13 to 14, 2008 and we were fortunate enough to have Acharya Mahapragya and Yuvacharya Mahashraman in our midst on this occasion. Twenty five overseas friends hailing from 11 countries and about 30 Indian youths received the training. ANUVIBHA has decided to make it an annual feature.
The above camps were sponsored by Ahimsa Samvaaya, a unit of Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun.
Mr. Bernie Meyer, the American Gandhi, leading a workshop
at the nonviolence leadership training camp at Jaipur
(c) Pragya International Centre for Nonviolence Studies and Research
It is a vitally important activity of ANUVIBHA. The main aim of the Centre is to encourage the community of academics, field workers and activists to study the problems threatening human survival such as ethnic and communal violence, environmental and ecological degradation, climate change, corruption and immorality in public life, social disintegration, overpopulation, poverty, hunger, cultural clashes, pompous lifestyle, religious intolerance, armament, proliferation of atomic weapons and carry research into their causes. We are glad to say that a number of scholars across the world have agreed to work on voluntary basis for this centre. We now have a team scattered across the world who probe into the causes of the social, political and economic conflicts in their regions and prepare reports, monographs etc. We are also trying for its accreditation by an internationally reputed university so that the research work can gain momentum. The Centre will publish a report on each problem based on the findings of research scholars. The network of researchers is widening. We also plan to widen its scope of work by arranging for some research fellowships.
(d) ANUVRAT Ahimsa Peace Award
ANUVIBHA instituted a special award for promoting world peace in 1987 known as ANUVRAT AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE. It has now been renamed as ANUVRAT AHIMSA PEACE AWARD and a cash incentive of one hundred thousand rupees has also been added. In addition the award consists of a citation and a memento. ANUVIBHA Board of Directors has constituted an international committee which will invite applications for nominations every year beginning with the year 2009 and will select a candidate for this award. It is a matter of great joy to say that Mr. T.K. Jain (Surana), an eminent disciple of Acharya Mahapragya and supporter of ANUVIBHA, based in Delhi, has agreed to sponsor this prize every year.
Prof. Glenn D. Paige, Professor Emeritus of the University of Hawaii USA,
paying obeisance to late Acharya Tulsi after receiving ANUVRAT Award for International Peace at New Delhi in 1987
The people who endeavour to reduce conflict by removing the causes that promote it or inspire people to switch over to nonviolent lifestyle through speeches, writings and personal examples will be considered for this honour. The earlier awardees include Prof. Glenn D Paige of the University of Hawaii, SGI President Dr. Daisaku Ikeda of Japan and Mr. Perez De Cuellar, the former UN Secretary General. From 2009 onwards it will be a regular feature.
(e) ANUVIBHA Reporter
It is the most significant journal published by ANUVIBHA as a quarterly. It not only features articles on various aspects of ahimsa, ANUVRAT philosophy, environment, ecology, spiritual thinking, interreligious studies and lifestyle from internationally acclaimed scholars but it also gives a detailed account of our activities. In reality it is a vehicle of Acharya Mahapragya’s three dimensional programme of human regeneration consisting of ANUVRAT, Preksha Meditation and Jivan Vigyan. We welcome contributions from grassroots workers and peace and nonviolence academics working in any part of the world. We also publish reports of the activities of international campaigns for peace and disarmament organized by various NGOs and study centres working in association with UN.
(f) Formal Cooperation with United Nations
ANUVIBHA was approved for association with the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION, UNITED NATIONS in December 1998. The committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) of the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN/DPI) met on 2nd December, 1998 to consider new applications from NGOs for association with UN/DPI. Out of the 29 NGOs approved by the committee ANUVIBHA was the only NGO from Asia and Pacific Region for having been given accreditation that year.
In its press release PI/1101 dated December 4, 1998 it mentioned that ANUVIBHA focusses on multicultural understanding and tolerance through its nonviolence education programme.
ANUVIBHA has been working in close cooperation with UN/DPI ever since it was given accreditation. It has been participating in its annual conference of NGOs. It has organized midday workshops at UN headquarters on various facets of nonviolence. Its workshop on ‘nonviolence training as a long-term measure to combat terrorism’ in September 2005 was highly acclaimed.
One more feather in ANUVIBHA’s cap was added when Dr. S.L. Gandhi, President of ANUVIBHA, was selected as a panel speaker by the task force appointed by the President, UN General Assembly for the Interactive Hearing organized on the eve of the High-Level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Cooperation for Peace held on Oct. 4, 2007 at the UN headquarters.
The following prominent social workers of USA have been appointed as ANUVIBHA’s main and alternative representatives at the UN headquarters :
A view of the Interactive Hearing held at UN headquarters on Oct. 4, 2007.
Dr. S.L. Gandhi is seen (second from left) among the panel speakers at the dais.
Plans for the Future
ANUVIBHA’s international network is growing rapidly and with it we have come to know of the myriad forms of the problems that threaten human survival into the third millennium. It has become imperative for us to think of some new sub-units in the international department.
The following sub-units are proposed to be added in the near future under the aegis of ANUVRAT Council for Universal Peace (ACUP) :
(i) ANUVRAT Centre for International and Multicultural Understanding (ACIMU)
This wing of ANUVIBHA will undertake all such activities as aim at promoting international and multicultural understanding among the peoples of different countries. We are of the view that clashes among different communities and groups of people occur on account of lack of understanding of one-another’s social, cultural and ethical values. The Centre proposes to organize seminars, symposia and courses to familiarize the people of one nation with the social and cultural heritage of another. The focus of its activities will be on the essential unity of the values despite their apparent diverse forms. The centre will launch a worldwide campaign for multicultural understanding and appreciation of diverse values. It also has a plan to organize national and international youth camps to educate and train youths in multicultural living and exchange of cultural delegations.
Mr. Muhammed Muzzamil Cader of Sri Lanka addressing
a plenary session at the 6th ICP NA at Rajsamand
(ii) International ANUVRAT Council for Ecological and Environmental Ethics (IACEEE)
One of the most dreadful consequences of the scientific and technological advancement jeopardizing man’s very existence today is the rapid environmental and ecological degradation. On the one hand science has brought unimaginable physical comforts to human society, the excessive use of coal and petrolium products is resulting in the emissions of dangerous greenhouse gases on the other hand. As a result we are encountering the problem of climate change. We believe that it is a man-made disaster which can be overcome only if we adopt nonviolent lifestyle. The Council will create awareness against man’s invasion of nature. Already the ANUVRAT Movement has added a new vow enjoining on the people the need to avoid acts that tend to contribute to the destruction of our eco-system.
(iii) Vardhman Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (VCESD)
Human Civilization has made unprecedented progress in the 20th century. The sustainability of the planet remained unaffected till the end of the nineteenth century but as the human population grew man’s needs also multiplied. Man’s developmental activities are threatening human existence itself. The crisis of sustainability became so grave that United Nations had to declare a special decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) i.e. 2005-2015. VCESD will strive to organize camps of young people periodically to make them aware of the hazards of unsustainable development. It will also encourage them to accept the ANUVRATs (small vows) to curb their desire for over-consumption and work for sustainable development. VCESD will work in close cooperation with UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development programme of action. We are developing the core principles of sustainability to prevent deterioration.
UN Under-Secretary General Mr. Joseph Verner Reed
exchanging views with Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya
at Ladnun on the eve of the Third ICPNA