The second peace symposium of this year based on Ikeda Sensei’s 2018 peace proposal titled “Toward an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement”, was held in Kolkata on 13th July 2018.
The symposium was held in Mini Auditorium, Science City, Kolkata and was attended by over 400 members and guests.
The main points of the proposal were discussed by eminent speakers, Mr. Suman Mukhopadhyay, Theatre Director and Film Maker, Ms. Alokananda Roy, Dancer and Social Activist and Dr. B.N.Ramesh, Additional Director General & Inspector General of Police, West Bengal Human Rights Commission. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Jawhar Sircar, Former Culture Secretary, Govt. of India.
Speaking first, Suman Mukhopadhyay, quoted from the famous Bengali writer, Nabarun Bhattacharya, and stressed the importance of looking inwards and refining our inner self. “Art has an important role in promoting peace as it makes people receptive to good things. I think it is time for all of us to come forward and promote peace and unity. With so many conflicts around us now, there is no time for us to sit back and ponder. It is time to act,” said Mukhopadhyay. He further said that like arts, the process of peace-making also requires practice and sustenance.
Speaking next, Ms. Alokananda Roy said she has never been welcomed by applause before and she felt happy walking in for the symposium. Ms. Roy, who works for the welfare and rights of jail inmates and transgenders in Bengal, said it is important to give human rights top priority and put an end to loathing towards marginalised people like transgenders and juvenile criminals. She shared her experiences at correction home and how the inmates responded to her trust because she trusted them. She further said, “There is no person in the world who will not respond to genuine love and compassion.” She concluded by saying “You have to feel Peace within… it’s not external, and it comes only when you instill peace in others”.
Dr. B.N.Ramesh spoke passionately about his experiences in his profession and said that Human Rights means Human dignity, where everyone feels that “I’m part of the system.. I’m not to be governed, I govern myself.”. Appreciating BSG for their work Dr. Ramesh said he had great expectations from BSG in this direction.
In his keynote address, Mr. Jawhar Sircar, thanked BSG and said that he was pleasantly surprised by the organizing capacity and popularity of BSG. Giving the example of the origin of A Salute and the Mexican waves, he said “There is dormant within human race a capability of coming together, a capability of acting in unison in an almost genetically propelled manner, that defies the identity being thrust upon them”. He lauded president Ikeda for renewing his determination every year for 36 years by submitting the Peace Proposal by adjusting his strategy to the year under consideration.
The symposium concluded with presentation of mementos to the speakers. The welcome address was given by BSG Chairperson Mr. Vishesh Gupta and vote of thanks by WD Chief Ms. Rashi Ahuja.
The members of Kolkata prepared for the symposium with great enthusiasm and joy which resulted in a huge turnout and the Auditorium was packed with guests despite heavy rain lashing the city. Many guests mentioned that the warm welcome of the volunteers uplifted the lives of everyone who walked in. The painstaking and thorough preparation by the volunteers ensured that the Symposium was a great success.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the media team, there was an unprecedented media coverage of the symposium by both national and local media. The total number of media coverages were 42. A few media clips are attached.