According to Wikipedia, Peace describes a society or a relationship that is operating harmoniously and without violent conflict. But I don’t think that the end of violence means peace. Peace has a much larger meaning. It has many aspects; it can be mental peace, physical peace, peace of living in safe environment.
When I think about peace the first thing that comes to my mind is mental peace. For me this is really important. It is one the hardest thing to get. One can be in the safest place, have all the luxuries of life but still not live in peace. For example: For a daily wage earner who doesn’t know about his meal next day, mental peace is nearly impossible if doesn’t get work. So, mental peace comes from security for future which includes a lot more than just financial safety.
I think the meaning of peace, varies in different strata’s of society. For middle class peace is when they are assured that their old age is financially secured but this is not the same for upper class. If we observe a changing scenario, then we notice that the upper class of people are transitioning towards spirituality to attain peace because they have can fulfill all their financial needs and hence want to gain mental peace.
I believe that relation between desire and peace is inversely proportional. As our greed increases, we start losing our peace and start to grumble for small-small things. I know it is hard to control the desires but still if we benchmark our needs it becomes a lot simpler. We should define our needs and try to limit them and once that is done, life becomes easy. We feel the fun in life and start enjoying it and which eventually gives us immense pleasure and peace.
The environment in which we live also contributes to our peace. Physical safety is man’s first priority and the place where we live contributes a lot to it. If we have fear for our lives, it becomes very hard to live in peace. Take examples from our countries only; can we live peacefully in Taliban affected Afghanistan or SWAT valley of Pakistan or Kashmir valley in India or Naxalite hit red corridor in India or flood affected region of Bangladesh ? The answer is “NO” because our first priority will be to save ourselves and our loved ones life. The living environment can be affected by terrorism or by flood or by criminal activities but if our lives are unsafe it is hard to live in peace.
Lastly I would say being a follower of Gandhian philosophy I believe in non-violence, truthfulness and simplicity. So, if we have these attributes in us, we can easily live a peaceful life.
* This is the answer to the question (What is Peace ?)asked to me while I was applying for South Asian Youth Conference, which took place last month in IIM, Bangalore and I was selected for the conference.