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Utpal Chatterjee : Global Peace Icon, Kolkata, 3rd. December, 2023.  The piece, below, came after a good deal of hard thinking. Not much has changed the world over even as the pandemic had threatened to hang on in some way or another. The economy is still being discussed and some of the best brains are still at loggerheads. A large chunk of our rural sector needs greater attention. The farmers’ lot must be looked into with greater urgency. The poorest of the poor need to be brought out of the “areas of darkness”,exposed to the light of literacy and education and brought to the mainstream of society.Let the middle class not feel subdued under undue pressure.At this age and stage,let us feel part of a “developed nation” and move ahead irrespective of political differences,if any.Peace is,indeed,at a premium the world over.Some are still barking out threats and reminding the rest of the weapons and nuclear arsenal that they possess.The nuclear arsenal ought to treated and kept,if at all,as deterrents.Our planet can no longer afford the consequences of even a conflict,let alone a war.So,the spate of bombings in the Middle East and Ukraine add to the ghastly apprehensions.One can only advise:Never fear to negotiate but never negotiate out of fever.Let diplomacy and negotiations replace other dangerous options.We are in an age and at a stage when sense and sensibility must prevail over pride and prejudice.Starting with literacy,education must be made an urgent priority.If we as,global citizens,consider ourselves “civilized”,why behave in any other way?True,the year is gradually drawing to a close but why are we always reluctant to learn the relevant lessons? Let us look forward with hope and anticipation and a prayer on our lips.Let us,as nations and peoples,reach out and be good to others even as climate change is still causing so much concern.Climate control has to be the greatest priority because we took nature for granted for far too long.There is still time to make up and heal. LET THE HEALING PROCESS BEGIN NOW!

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