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Traditional Mediation: A peaceful way of conflict resolution

Traditional mediation is fruitful for the resolution of conflict, which has been practice from long history all over the world, and in society which has been widely practiced from the ancient time and age.

 

There is a famous saying in Nepali, "If you lost Knowledge go to Kashi, in India, and if you don't get justice then go to Gorkha (a kingdom in Ancient Nepal)." Nepal is one of the ancient civilizations in the Asia and became peaceful country from the history with identity as the "Birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha", who is a symbol of peace and nonviolence. Mediation is product of human civilization, emerged with human existence in this earth. Conflict aroused by the same time, so to resolve the conflict in community, started a provision of mediation. The emergence of state and concept of group formation created circumstances of ruler and subject, where the idea of mediation was also came into display. The present state has formed from the small group from the past, where family-clan-tribe-community-nation-state has transferred from one stage to another with human existence with leadership for collective security and group representation.

A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Mediation is one of the non-violence methods for dispute resolution and also known an attempt to settle a dispute using a neutral third party. It offers an opportunity for all the parties, "win-win" results which are fair, cost-effective, and confidential. This may occur when progress has stalled or simply when one party feels that the negotiations process could be made more productive with the help of an outsider.

 

Nepal has controversial identity after 10 years long violent armed conflict (13 February, 1996- 21 November 2006), in contemporary world of peace and conflict. Conflict is the outer layer, the politicization of the people's sentiment in the history of peaceful Nepal. Soul of Nepal is always peaceful and lies in the melodious situation all over the history. Cultural integrity, harmony and mutual cooperation are always the identity of small buffer state between two powerful emerging countries in the present global politics; India and China. Nepal, where Buddha was born with the light of peace is followed by the rulers as well. Former king Birendra Bir Bikram Shah, a popular king of Nepal had expressed his view to international community to endorse his proposal in 1975 that UN shall declare Nepal as Zone of Peace (ZOP) and said "Nepal is one of the ancient civilizations in Asia which needs peace for security, independence and development of nation as well as region. Peace should not thwarted by war, so Nepal, be declared a Zone of Peace".

 

Conflict is interlinked with human behavior, culture and human existence. Traditional mediation is one of the reasons for the peaceful Nepal, where mediation held in grass root level by direct democracy. From the early time or Primitive society in Nepal has history of traditional mediation in different communities and ethnic groups. Nepal is known as beautiful nation of peace rather than conflict, from the past. Nepalese believe in peace, understanding, harmony and mutual co-operation. Bhatta and Dahal (2010) explained indigenous institutions such as Gram Parishad (Village Council) used to organize a discussion to mediate conflict. Mukhiya (village Chief), Bichari (person knowledgeable on legal matters), Pancha-Bhaladami (five elderly gentlemen), Birtawal were some source of mediators in ancient Nepal. Panchali system -a public place for meeting and adjudicating disputes, was also introduced for peace and conflict resolution. Indigenous communities in Nepal are also following the traditional mediation for dispute resolution in their community; Badghar, Bhalmanshaa are from Tharu and mukhe, chautare and bharaule from Magar are some of the examples of traditional mediators in indigenous community. Nepal is the country of unity in diversity consisting of 125 caste/ethnic groups with 123 mother tongues according to the census of 2011. Each and every group is following the mediation process by their own effort to solve their problem in local level.  Still in the 21st century, rural people are following the system of cultural mediation, where old experienced and respected person does the work of mediator for peaceful resolution of conflict in community. People don’t want to go to police or governmental body for first time but try to solve the conflict within their community in harmonious way. Now a day, after a decade long armed conflict political leaders are also involving in the conflicting concerns as mediators.

 

Mainly, the traditional approaches are used for mini conflicts in communities/villages. The grass root conflict resolution techniques mostly look after collection of witness, public discussion with in community, disputants' history, peaceful negotiation and win-win situation for both of the confliction parties. Local values and customs with dharma played vital role in the process of conflict resolution. Traditional mediation is totally voluntary process without monetary interest and confined to social prestige, pride and responsibility with in a community.

 

Traditional mediation is fruitful for the resolution of conflict, which has been practice from long history all over the world, and in Nepalese society which has been widely practiced from the ancient time and age. Friendly mechanism to resolve the conflict is bottom up approach, so that it can understand the problem of local people and every individual becomes part of mediation process directly where decision is not imposed from the mediator. Decision seems rationally very good and obeyed by every single individual in the community. It is controlling the society from conflict and chaos in the particular community which also maintains rules and regulation in the human society and leads community to peace, harmony and mutual co-operation to one another in community.

Lobzang Dorji


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