Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Resolving Cultural Differences through Peaceful Means


Like religion [that is Dharma in Indian terms] culture [Samskriti] also is a vital subject in human life. In other words, culture occupies an important place in man’s life. It is culture that introduces good human Samskaras [which specify inclination, ideas, growth, activities etc. of an individual, community, society or a nation in the best possible manner] to the rest of the world.
Moreover development or advancement of people is judged through culture. I have never heard when someone had done something disgraceful or shameful, or he had been involved in an antihuman activity, or an event and his act and involvement was accepted by the world as cultured. It is quite clear that any awful, disgraceful or defaming act or an evil cannot be connected to culture. Hence, there is a broad concept in the root of it. People, who take or define culture
lightly, are not correct.

Inevitability of Classes, Dispute and Struggles

Clashes, differences, disputes or struggles are natural in human life; they are but fleeting human tendencies. That is why; thinkers and scholars have declared that both struggle and cooperation are necessary in society. Therefore, if differences, disputes and struggles emerge at any levels and in any walks of life, there is nothing amazing about it. It is a part of the process of life and nothing abnormal or unnatural about these.

As has been mentioned in the beginning, culture is a vital subject of human life and it has its own importance in man’s life. Therefore if there emerges a dispute or struggle particularly in the name of culture, its effects on community, society or a nation are dire as we know in comparison to other kind of disputes and struggles it causes massive harm. But, solutions to all kind of cultural differences, disputes or struggles are possible by peaceful means. On the basis
of high human values they can certainly be resolved. It is particularly possible because culture itself is based on good human instincts. It is counted for achievements and development; good behaviour, good qualities and cooperation are its conditions. Nobody can deny this fact.

Now, before discussing the importance, adaptability and significance of peaceful means or the lofty human values in resolving cultural disputes and conflicts, it is necessary to clarify that the above-mentioned conditions of achievement, development, good behaviour and cooperation always continue in similar fashion as and when there is course of discussion or analysis of the word meaning of culture, or about its objective, it does not matter if discussion or analysis is in the perspective of individual, community, society or national level, or if it is being discussed in international context as is being done in these days of constantly increasing process of globalization.

Moreover, culture cannot be separated from righteousness. No effort should be made to separate it from uprightness. Without any prejudice it may be taken as my keen desire to base
the concept of culture on positive ideas and not on negative ones.

Resolution through Peaceful Means

Resolving conflicts by peaceful means is the only humane and welfaristic way. Therefore, we should wish to settle them through peaceful means. But, while thinking of going forward this way it is necessary that a peaceful atmosphere is created on the ground. For that to happen, patience and tolerance are essential. Simultaneously, leaving any prejudice laying stress on self view, one’s desire despite such view being thought best or real is also essential. The reason to leave out one’s self-view is because it may create pressure or indicate self-supremacy. Hence, if through this method the process of settling cultural disputes or resolving conflicts is started, all possibilities remain alive for its success.

It is true about all kind of disputes and conflicts in general and those that occur in the name of culture in particular that people involved in disputes never represent the majority of their co-cultures. Disputers are always less in number. Majority of the people always wish for peace and can be found ready to assist, even those who represent other cultures during the initial phase when efforts are made in settling differences or resolving conflicts. But, they must be confident that there is no prejudice in such efforts and once they are sure they are ready to lend a hand and in clearing the way. With confidence and tolerance people can easily be prepared for assistance, cooperation and working together; people can also be educated for this purpose as it is important. It seems not so difficult too in these days of mass awakening, or globalization in which cooperation at all levels and in all walks of life has become inevitable and vital.

Now, if situation in above-mentioned order is there, a formula comprising of following three points must be adopted:

1.To understand the ground reality of dispute or conflict in current perspective;

2.To show sincerity and firm determination to resolution; and

3.To become ready to sacrifice

Moreover, due to sensitivity of cultural disputes and conflicts it is necessary that none of the disputant parties feels defeated during the course of resolution process or after reaching a conclusion through peaceful means. It is essential that the outcome brings a win-win situation to all. Possibilities of reaction from among the internal elements of either party remain alive. Consequences from reprisal may become worse than the previous situation. We have many examples to prove the fact that due to lack of proper confidence peaceful efforts did not succeed.
Their failures affected communities, societies and nations overwhelmingly that resulted in more conflicts and struggles of severe nature in the name of cultures. Therefore, sincerity, honesty and extra care are also desirable in this regard.

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Comment by GOPI KANTA GHOSH on December 7, 2010 at 8:14
Yes...that is only way...
Comment by Balamurali Balaji on November 30, 2010 at 6:28
Truly conceptualised. In a multi-cultural society, peace is inevitable. When we all work towards peace amid diversities, resoultion is not far sought.

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