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Ecumenical Students’ Peace Declaration!
of the Student Christian Movement of India

May 12, 2011
Participants of the National Fellowship Peace Convocation of SCM India

Participants of the National Fellowship Peace Convocation of SCM IndiaIn resonance with the culmination of WCC’s Decade to Overcome Violence at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to be held at Kingston, Jamaica during May 17-25, 2011, we seventy Dalit and Adivasi Students representing the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI), join the global ecumenical communities in offering our solidarity and commitment as they contemplate on ‘Glory to God and Peace on Earth’, for the cause of peace and justice in our conflict ridden society, and thereby offer this Peace Declaration.

We SCMers are,

  • Disturbed at the ongoing violence and conflicts in our communities in the name of caste, creed, gender, class, and region…
  • Grieved at the spiraling suicides of Dalit & Adivasi students in places of higher learning due to rampant discrimination in the name of caste & ethnicity …
  • Pained at the oppressions done against Dalit & Adivasi women, for as thrice oppressed their pains know no bounds…
  • Saddened at the impact of globalization on Dalit & Adivasi students in educational institutions as they are further ‘pushed into marginalization’ due to the rampant commercialization and communalization of education…
  • Angered at the increasing forceful child labour from among Dalit & Adivasi communities as they are abused and trafficked, denying their right to life…

Therefore, in such situations, we SCMers have been exploring the meaning and relevance of peace in our communities. Our search in that direction has been challenging one, for peace has remained a distant reality to our people.

However, in our quest for contemporizing our faith in our times today, we student community believe that peace on earth is peace with justice, peace with earth and peace through creation.

We therefore affirm that God as Creator is not apart from it but is constantly revealing God-self through the whole creation. The diversity of the created world does not imply that it should necessarily exist in conflict. However, we do find conflicts that threaten harmony and peace in our creation. The Student Christian Movement of India reflects and responds to this crisis in this year of its Centenary. As we reflect on our centenary theme “Eco Justice” from the vantage point of Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi perspective we affirm our commitment to peace and justice for all people and all creation.

We therefore acclaim that Jesus’ coming into the world was to reconcile the world with God, and to bring to judgment all those perpetrators of conflict and division. For us Jesus’ words, “I come not to bring peace but to bring a sword” (Mat 10:34) guides us, for Jesus’ sword of justice pierces all forces of injustice and only when all these powers & principalities of falsehood, indignity and violence are brought down to ashes, peace can be a possibility. The “parousia” of Jesus is an everyday event, for Christ breaks into our communities and lives every day challenging us to bring about peace.

We therefore assert that Dalits are an ancient indigenous people of India, for whom building communities of peace have always been a norm that existed in our societies. Over the years, Dalits have been oppressed and deprived of social, economic, political and cultural life. Untouchability, though abolished by law, still continues to haunt them. And Dalit Christians are doubly discriminated for exercising their Constitutional right of freedom to choose their faith. Tribals/Adivasis are indigenous people, traditional guardians and friends of India’s great hills and forests, nature and environment, who have always lived in peace with earth, peace with people and peace with God, through our Tribal spiritualities. The greed of the powerful has exploited the Adivasis and their natural resources. Their environment is degraded as the world extracts their resources and threatens their existence, dignity and future.

We therefore aspire that as students we hope for a purposeful future for we are concerned about all attitudes and forces that destroy a just and peaceful society, and we wish to affirm through this declaration our intention to continue to serve as agents of peace.

  1. Peace is living without physical violence. Violence involves injury, hurt, bloodshed and killing. As Dalits and Adivasis are constantly exposed to physical violence we declare that we will do all that is in our power through non-violent means to stop violence against Dalits and Adivasis and all vulnerable people here in India and across the world.

  2. Peace is threatened by non-physical violence. It is not only physical violence that affects the life and peace of the oppressed. Many other forms of violence such as abuse, exclusion, discrimination, hatred, prejudice and insult also lead to alienation and denial of identity and social space also destroy peace. We affirm that we will empower ourselves to respond to this form of violence and stand in solidarity with all people of goodwill across the world to eliminate such violence.

  3. Peace is threatened by violence of injustice. There is no peace without justice. Dalits and Adivasis continue to be denied economic, social, political and religious rights. They are denied educational and job opportunities that are essential to live a decent and fulfilling life in this age of science and information technology. We pledge that we will offer all support at our disposal to eradicate inequality and the unjust order that perpetuates violence and denies a peaceful life for millions.

As SCMers we will ever listen to the word of God as revealed in the teaching and life of the Prince of Peace. We realize that God is constantly working through people of goodwill all over the world and organizations such as the World Council of Churches, helping them in their efforts to reorder and establish a just and equitable society, especially among the oppressed people such as Dalits and Adivasis. We express our solidarity with all such people wherever they may be. We seek the cooperation of all such people and ask them to join us, help us, guide us and empower us.

We therefore declare that we as SCMers shall be the channels of such a just peace, which builds a community of equals, far from all discriminations and oppressions. We shall stand united against all forces of division and death, for we pledge to accompany all those victims and survivors of violence in their struggle for peace & justice. We commit ourselves to be in total solidarity with all movements for liberation and transformation, for we strongly believe only when justice is established peace becomes a reality. To that end, glory be unto God and peace be on earth and peace be with earth, and thus we sing…

Come SCMs unite be one,
Pull out injustice from this world,
Live with people, build together
One day we’ll reach a new just world.