No Conflict is Unsolvable
By Craig Considine


L to R: Professor Akbar Ahmed, Tridivesh Singh Maini and a distinguished scholar

New author Tridivesh Singh Maini launched his new book South Asian Cooperation and the Role of the Punjab’s on March 22nd at the School of International Service at American University. The former Masters Student had a panel following the launch which was chaired by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed. Tridivesh acknowledged Ahmed as his guide and mentor who has encouraged him towards dialogue and coexistence. He also acknowledged Dean Louis Goodman who welcomed the distinguished audience as a true teacher and patron.

The essence of Maini’s book is that using cooperation and dialogue can pave the way for a coexistent relationship, the citizens of the region can help bring peace and more stability to one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Maini’s promising ideas offers hope to a region that is one new clash away from a potential nuclear conflict with devastating results. The bond and peaceful relationship that Maini stresses is critical to the whole world, not just these two nations.

During his presidency, President Clinton called Southeast Asia the most dangerous place in the world because tow major nuclear powers with a combined population of over a billion people face each other in an uneasy truce. It is important for Americans to understand this important but somewhat neglected part of the world. We are grateful for a young scholar like Tridivesh Singh for showing us the way forward towards dialogue, friendship and coexistence between Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.

To Maini, the first step in creating peace is to resolve the problematic nature of the conflict unraveling in the Punjab region. The book searches for harmony in a world where everybody is denying it. He rediscovers the roots of the Sikh faith by exploring ideas such as compassion and tolerance. In doing so, Maini has reaffirmed his own South Asian traditions of inter-religious understanding because the great Sufi saints were closely allied to the founders of the Sikh faith. By better understanding their perspective cultures and by forging new economic agreements, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs can live in a more prosperous region that benefits all people.

Numerous panelists also contributed greatly to the importance of this event. Dr. Rajwant Singh, a Sikh from the Washington DC community, stated that very few scholars such as Maini have discussed the deteriorating relationship between India and Pakistan. Singh believes that all faiths must come together to work in reconciliation so that a strong future can be built in which interfaith communication builds bridges rather than burns them. Ambassador Anthony Quainton called for recapturing Punjab identity by creating worthwhile agreements that meet the needs of both sides. He believes that it is up to the Indian and Pakistani people to find commonalities in their culture so that these two nations can live in harmony and peace. The ideas that Maini exhibited in his book have inspired not only the students and faculty at American University but people of all faiths in the Washington community. Professor Venturelli was one who was especially appreciative of Maini’s work because as an individual of Indian descent she realizes the necessity for cooperation and coexistence in this region for this generation and for our children.

Mowahid Shah, the senior advisor of the chief minister of the Punjab province in Pakistan, summarized Maini’s book and the event perfectly by stating that what the regions needs is an acceleration of understanding through language, arts, infrastructure, love for humanity, and a celebration of our differences rather than ridiculing them. For peace to prevail there must be right rather than might. Pointing fingers will no longer work in the region because every society needs to self-correct its own problems. Maini added that the books significance lays in the foundation to establish positive vested interests within a symbiotic relationship while creating a cohesive identity between multiple religions.

In the end, Ahmed congratulated Maini for his efforts and said he believed that his was the best way for the future of South Asia, adding that Maini has become an ambassador between the different traditions and religions of the region.

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