Malaika Hussain was awarded the First Prize and a Special Commendation by the judges for her essay:
We all know what peace is: something we all aspire towards but haven’t achieved just yet. Whether you are Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or of any religion we all have one thing in common and that is that our faith teaches us to strive toward peace with all humanity. Imagine if everyone slept on a full stomach, if we were all treated fairly, equally and felt at ease. No discrimination, racism, poverty or crime. The world would be perfect, picture perfect. Let’s all stop imagining and do something! Our first step would be to believe that we can achieve world peace. We can do this.
We need to start by understanding and realising that a bit of compassion, gentleness and self-perseverance is all we need to re-establish a sense of humanity and resolve all conflict in our lives concerning peace and harmony. As a famous saying by Lao tzu goes “If you want to establish peace in the world, there also must be peace among and in the nations… If one wishes for peace in the cities, then there also must exist peace between neighbours. And all this begins with the peace of mind”. We all need to adapt a mindset that manifests a helpful attitude, which spreads happiness and harmony. Together, we should all become role models for our future generation and teach them ways to resolve conflict without engaging in violence.
Humans love categorising. It has come to the extent that we are labelling people according to their religion, colour, gender and race. We cannot possibly achieve world peace if we don’t accept each other’s differences. Everyone has their own outlook about peace and personally I don’t believe there is peace anywhere on this Earth. In my opinion, it’s just a clever way to display outward friendship whilst developing brutal tendencies within. For example, Pakistan and India are said to be at ‘peace’ since the Kargil war in 1999, however the reality is that peace isn’t in sight! I genuinely believe that peace is not just about breaking off wars, it is about realising that every person on this Earth is nothing but equal.
“There’s no way to peace — peace is the way”- Gandhi. Peace is a term that makes us at ease and think about beautiful, elegant doves. When we think about what living it peace would be like we imagine absolute paradise and sublimity. But it still remains a dream. If we cannot keep peace within our own lives and ourselves how are we expecting peace at such a grand level? We argue with our loved ones and burst out in anger within seconds. We desire revenge from people around us after trivial and minor issues. We must all learn that our first step is to stay at peace with ourselves, family, and neighbours. This is the way of peace: to overcome evil with good, untruthfulness with honesty and hatred with love. May peace fill our hearts, our homes, and our world.