Bharat Soka Gakkai collects 100,000 signatures in support of a culture of peace
Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) representatives handed over 109,270 signatures on the Manifesto 2000 petition calling for the creation of a culture of peace and non-violence to Professor Moegiardi, Director of UNESCO India at the Nehru Memorial Hall on August 30, 2000.
Manifesto 2000, a campaign established by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates including the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev, asks individuals to sign a pledge promising to respect all life, reject violence, listen to understand, share with others, preserve the planet and rediscover solidarity.
Promoters of Manifesto 2000 aim to gather over one hundred million signatures to demonstrate global support for this campaign, which highlights the designation of the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace. Around 20 per cent of signatures gathered around the world to date have come from India.
Over a three-month period, BSG members solicited signatures from family, friends and colleagues. One of young woman of BSG told how she surpassed her own target of 10,000 signatures, by going from school to school, telling students and faculty about the importance of efforts to build a culture of peace.
Former President of India, Shri R. Ventakaraman, attended the New Delhi ceremony and spoke of the urgent need to transform our culture of war. He said the most significant achievement of the twentieth century was the nonviolent transfer of power from colonisers to those colonised without violence or war. “Here we can see how Gandhi changed the minds of men.”
With a holistic view of peace, BSG strongly supports the protection of the environment and heritage. BSG members have launched initiatives to abolish the use of plastic bags, recycle garbage and adopt rainwater-harvesting techniques. In 1998, with the assistance of the Archaeological Survey of India, the Delhi Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the BSG Youth Peace Committee helped clean up the environs of the Ashokan Edict, near Srinivaspuri in Delhi.