On the eve of the twenty first century, there is a need to sum up the accomplishments of the last century, not just in India, but on the world scale.
At a time when divide and rule has become the norm, serious and dispassionate discussion about what is, what has been, and what must be, is very much needed to bring people together and to help them set the agenda for the future.
This conference has been part of a trend among people to do just that. As many of the participants have pointed out, this trend must be further developed. It is in this spirit that this conference is deciding unanimously to publish and broadly disseminate the papers presented here today.
In course of the presentations and discussions, a number of ideas have been explored which address to the theme of the conference - "Ending the Legacy of Division". From their own work, the last two speakers have drawn some pertinent conclusions. The paper dealing with women's struggle has pointed out that all the organisations of women have to overcome a common obstacle to develop their work. The obstacle appears in the form of pressure to be accommodated because these organisations lack the right to receive necessary assistance for their work as a rule. The paper has argued that the struggle for equal rights and duties and against privileges can be spear-headed by the women's organisations collectively without giving up any of their current work - and that any gain will be a contribution to not just to the cause of women but to all members of society.
Similarly, the paper dealing with the divisions in the ranks of the fighting forces and insurgents has pointed out the need for these forces to make definite arrangements among themselves as a prelude to empowering the people and laying the foundations for a modern state where people are empowered. This is a very important conclusion, with great significance for the fighting forces of India. It can make the difference between the victory of the people, and their defeat through division and isolation. From the audience, comments have been made about the necessity to harmonise the individual interests with the interests of the collective and society. These are very important conclusions.
The most important feature of this conference has been that it has presented a coherent vision. Starting with an analysis of the present-day India, it has presented a vision for the future by drawing out a worthy balance sheet from the past. By highlighting the fact that the legacy of division is at the heart of the marginalisation of people in today's India, it has brought to the fore an issue that people themselves can take up to end this legacy.
It is clear that any changes to the status-quo will remain superficial unless people themselves participate in bringing about the change. Only people themselves can put themselves in the centre-stage of history.
This conference is a small step in that direction and much work will remain to be done before this aim is realised.