Bangalore International Centre had arranged the launch of the book “Peace is Everybody’s Business- Strategy for Conflict Prevention” authored by Lt. Gen (Retd) Arjun Ray, on Tuesday, 4th September, 2012 at 6:30 pm. The book was released by Hon’ble Justice M N Venkatachaliah, Former Chief Justice of India. A discussion on the book was also arranged. The discussants were Prof. S L Rao, Member, Board of Governors, Institute for Social and Economic Change and Distinguished Fellow Emeritus at The Energy and Resources Institute; and Mrs. Nupur Basu, Independent Journalist and Documentary Film Maker.
In his thought-provoking observations, Hon. Justice Venkatachaliah referred to the rapid growth of a critical mass of negativism among the people due to their increased alienation from the pattern of inefficient, and often corrupt, governance and administration and warned that, unless this issue is tackled with understanding and empathy, the situation may get out of hand. Lt. Gen Ray talked at length about the key propositions championed by him in his book. He emphasized that the responsibility for ensuring peace rests with every citizen and that it would be a mistake to assume that this rests with the government alone. He endorsed the warning sounded by Justice Venkatachaliah and urged that the Government must take note of the right to dissent available with every citizen and address the reasons behind each and every note of dissent. It is only then that peace can be ensured. He made a strong pitch for equitable development, accompanied by good governance, as an essential tool to win the hearts of the people and referred in this context to the “Operation Sadbhavana” he had launched immediately after the Kargil war. Another point forcefully urged by him was: Role of armed forces is no longer to win wars, but to prevent wars. Prof. S.L. Rao and Ms. Nupur Basu admired the courage and boldness of Lt. Gen Ray for his candid and forthright views expressed in his book, coming as they do from a member of the armed forces. In the interactive session that followed, questions were raised about the validity of some of the assertions made by Lt. Gen Ray about the role of the armed forces. Gen. Ray candidly admitted that there could be more than two opinions about the views expressed by him, but asserted that he would stick to his own views. It was a well-attended programme and generated a lot of introspection