This basic question needs to be answered as we enter the new millennium. While we contemplate the answer it may be more beneficial to reflect on two more question: How do we see ourselves? How do we want others to see us?
Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed, “Consider all mankind as one.” On 10 December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
The peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
In the 1997 World Food Summit in Rome, 185 countries pledged to make all necessary efforts to reduce the number of the world’s hungry from 800 to 400 million. According to Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, progress is behind target.
Clearly the current economic policies are ill suited to combat increasing poverty. The question that most frequently comes to mind is: Why despite our collective knowledge and wisdom have we failed to secure a better world for ourselves?
Engulfed in abject poverty and despair many develop a sense of helplessness. Threatened by the prospect of becoming completely dispossessed people silently endure humiliation while resigning to their fate. Muta pecora, prona et ventri oboedientia – the herd is silent, docile and obeys its stomach.
It is estimated that annual military spending worldwide is approximately $780 billion. As nations stockpile sophisticated weapons majority of the planet’s six billion inhabitants are denied basic daily nutrition. As a consequence death due to hunger and disease is rampant. Prioritizing profits over social welfare and practicing unfair business deals, which favor a few at the expense of others, is rejected in Sikh philosophy.
Human Rights violations by nation-States are a matter of routine. Miscarriage of justice, as security agencies are equipped with extraordinary powers, occurs frequently in these tyrannical and ruthless societies. Is this freedom or an illusion of a free society? When will the disquieting silence of the victim be heard?
Do we apprehend the new global reality? The ecosphere is threatened, collusion between crime and politics, depleting natural resources, nuclear warheads, poverty, trade wars and an all-pervading feeling of suspicion and mistrust; of envy and malice. Do we understand the increased vulnerability of the human race? Something has gone terribly wrong. It is time to examine the implications of present policies and its effect on future generations. Ignorance is not bliss. Complacency and lack of awareness will only make matters worse.
SikhSpectrum.com is our Declaration. Our goals and objectives have been elegantly laid down for us.
The City Joyful is the name of that city -
Suffering and sorrow abide not there.
Neither is there worry of paying taxes, nor does
any hold property;
Neither fear of punishment for error nor of decline.
This fine place of habitation have I found:
Brother! there weal perpetual reigns.
Eternally fixed in the kingship therein:
No second or third are there; all are alike.
Ever fully populated, famous is that city.
Those abiding therein are prosperous, opulent.
There people disport themselves as they please -
All are inmates of that mansion; none bars any.
Saith Ravi Das, the cobbler, freed from all bonds;
Whoever of that city is citizen, is our friend. (SGGS: p.345)
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