Peace _what would it mean in today's context? Especially in the light of the two decades of peace in Mizoram? A literal dictionary meaning of the term makes us realise that peace has been described by most lexicographers as a state of tranquility. The Mizoram peace accord that was signed in the year 1986 was one that was to ostensibly usher in such a circumstance. And it did, most of us would agree, for the years that had preceded the accord were turbulent and chaotic, to say the very least. At this point of time when two decades of peace within Mizoram are being highlighted and fÃªted, it becomes vital too to reflect and ponder upon peace and the dynamics that it moves within.
For most of us as Mizos, and especially for those of us who dwell within Mizoram,we understand the concept of peace as a situation that arises only in the absence of war. This standpoint by itself becomes highly debatable. One may of course argue here, that this is a case in point almost everywhere else too. But the argument that one would posit here remains that the peace accord signed in 1986, was inherently different because it was particular to an essentially Christian state. I shall not dwell into an indepth analysis of the socio-economic or political perspective. Yet it must be remembered that in an intrinsically Christian state like Mizoram,where we as citizens profess to be honest to goodness Christians, peace has a very different turn to take. It has to transcend beyond political barriers and into a more coherent dynamics of existence as it were. The Hebrew meaning denotes much in myriad aspects, and this seems to be the key focus as related to the Mizoram perspective. Peace is understood to be 'shalom' and this has much to do with being at peace and at ease. In fact it even signifies a sound and an almost entire, complete whole in terms of existence. Have we then as Mizos applied even a semblance of this perspective to the notion of peace within our state? How much of peace has reigned within and without our sensibilities?
Granted that we ought to be inordinately grateful in terms of the peace accord and its positive aspects. We remind ourselves time and time again that we have as a state achieved what seems to be almost next to impossible. In the process we have been lauded with accolades because we are seemingly the most peaceful state politically. We have, gained along the way, an airport and a central university amidst other benefits. Undeniably glorious achievements one may note. Yet what of us_what of our lives? Has peace been merely theory? Has it been merely washed down on paper for posterity's sake alone? And has it been very intricate to put it down in practise? In retrospect it seems as if peace has deadened our lives. At least a semblance of psychological angst seems to have set in somewhere. We no longer seem to be charged with fire and energy that could once be a part of the pulsating generations. Complacency and lethargy, even laziness and disillusionment seem to be the order of the day. As if it were enough, that the once dreaded underground militants have now become very much overground?!! Somewhere,somehow we have lost track of our vision and our dreams. Is this all that there is then to the peace accord and its aftermath? Does peace become tantamount to lethargy and being lax, lackadaisical and unaccountable? Does too much peace kill? Have we succeeded in polluting our souls even more amidst all this? I wonder_
Yet as I deliberate I realise that peace is never easy_that the human heart and soul must go on, over and above everything else. I admit that even in the process of all this, humanity must have its own share of worries, its concerns and perhaps even a chaotic, darker side. In what context would we as a state and as people within the state comprehend the aura of peace? Peace in the warped analysis that we understand has perhaps given us much and in the process taken away much. While we appreciate the accord and all that went into the making of it, it must be admitted that too much of a good thing can be inherently dangerous. The peace accord has been a telling reflection in Mizo society as a whole. It has made us glued to our seats, ensconsed within the comforts of our geographical domains, with a refusal to seek our goals elsewhere. Politically, socially, economically and more importantly psychologically, we have been cocooned into a state of arrested development. Too much has been taken for granted in the name of peace. Is this what we had envisaged in our struggle and toil for peace? I think not. Social, political as well as rampant psychological chaos has become the order of the day. One need not go on_peace has its assets, most definitely but the liabilities garnered have been plenty.
Yet this is true of the process of peace one may argue; yet in an inherently Christian state, one must beg to differ. Where religion and politics are seemingly juxtaposed, fraudulence must be erased. It is not enough that weapons of war have been laid down. We must realize that peace must be related to welfare as well as a wholesome well being. Peace must extend its arms to physical, mental and spiritual life. It must also necessarily involve the well being of community at large. At the same time it must strive towards a more coherently formulated attempt towards social justice and empowerment on all sides. Mizoram today must strive, in the wake of two decades of peace, towards a better means of cultivating relationships while offering peace. Peace entails a restoration of friendship with God and with humanity. As a state and a community that celebrates two decades of the peace accord, we must transcend above and beyond inconsequential issues that would hinder the process of peace taking shape within. Our lifestyles and attitudes must necessarily be honed with the welfare of all in mind.
Peace must then be inevitably understood in its rightful context. It is no longer correct that we understand it merely as a situation that ends war or unrest. It no longer behooves us too, as a state that we remain indolent in the wake of all these. Peace and its maintenance remains a fundamental challenge both within and without. It must bear out justice, truth and goodness that pervades in and through the geographical boundaries of Mizoram and even beyond. Even in the wake of the celebrations of a two decade old peace accord, Mizoram must necessarily escalate itself towards this clarion call.