Curriculum for Peace (12 March 2008, Gargi College, Delhi) - Track 1

You can speak of peace education at many levels. So I am not sure at what level I should be speaking to you. Let me speak at the highest level because when you want to built up a curriculum at different levels, you should be clear at the high levels then you can scale down and move downward. Every curriculum making determines the goal, then the components by which the goals can be achieved and the components are to be designed in a graduated manner with sufficient variation and repetition and finally you take into account the methodology and also take into account the teaching-learning material. When you keep all these parameters in your view then you can build up a curriculum. So let us first of all say, what is the goal of peace education at the highest level? Our students should be able to be lovers of peace, that is our goal. Now you may debate this very first statement. Should we have critical thinkers on peace, or should we aim at creating peace lovers. You can ask this question quite widely – what should be the goal of your peace curriculum? Now that raises a basic question, why do you want peace education at all in the curriculum which has been decided by some people. you are yourself not the makers of the syllabus proposition, educators have decided that peace is very important, that humanity has reached a certain state of development now and if humanity has to move forward you will require people who love peace. In other words you have to have philosophy of peace and why peace education at all. Now there is one view in the world history which does not favour peace, so you when make a curriculum you must know two points of view, long ago there was a philosopher called Heraclitus, you might have heard his name in Greece, he had a very important statement ‘war is the father of all things’ that is to say the world civilisation would not move at all if there was no war, ‘war is the father of all things’. Therefore from his point of view war is inevitable and you must teach people the art of war and must give them the courage for war, they must love war. This also is a point of view which as curriculum makers you must know this view. And if you say ‘no’, we don’t want to do this and we want to have peace lovers, you must have a very powerful argument against this point of view. There is also another view, it is called the view of evolutionists, those who believe in evolution. And the most important theory in science, in regard to evolution speaks of struggle for existence as the very law of life. It says the whole evolution is because of struggle, struggle means competition and you can survive only if you know the law of struggle, how to compete better, how to fight better and how you can succeed. It speaks of the survival of the fittest. This point of view needs also to be kept into view. so there is this great view, ‘war is the father of all things’ and the second is the view of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest as the very principle of evolution. If you teach peace to children or to any components of the citizens of the country, are you not eliminating from your civilisation the power to create new things in the world? People who are mild, sickly, uncompetitive, accepting any kind of condition, lethargic; are you not going to create that kind of psychology among children and people, incapable of fighting, incapable of competition, incapable of receiving challenges, meeting challenges; are you not going to create human beings of that kind, who will be worthless ultimately, they can’t sustain themselves. So I am putting at the very outset the antithesis, why should you have peace education at all.

Those who are advocating peace today are they not aware of this antithesis and yet they are doing it: why, what is the problem? Why are your teachers asking you to create a curriculum or to discuss the question of peace, why should you have this subject at all? A new curriculum which is being made 2005, new curriculum framework which has laid down peace education as an important component of the totality of the scheme of education, have they not thought of this question and what do they want? Now it’s a very big question, I was not going to elaborate; I am only putting questions for your reflection. If I have to give you the subject fully, it would take three-four hours itself. There are many pros and cons in this question.

There was in 1980’s a report of American education survey, it produced a report called ‘Nation at risk’, it gave a challenge to the whole country and warned the country and said our country is at risk. Why, because they said that Russian who are our enemies are educating their children better than our children therefore we will not be able to fight with them properly and therefore our nation is at risk.