The Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust holds biennial international conferences in her memory to discuss causes and ideas dear to her heart. The first was held in January 1987 in New Delhi under the title 'Towards New Beginnings`, the second in January 1989 on the theme `The Making of an Earth Citizen` and the third in November 1991 on ``Challenges of the Twenty-first Century. `All the three conferences have been interrelated, one deriving from the other. The proceedings of these conferences, with suitable editing, are published for the benefit and use of thinkers, scientists, policy-makers, social activists and world bodies including governments. The present volume contains the deliberations of the third conference. The challenges we face today are simply galore. The decline and fall of empires old and new in this century; the assertion of self-determination and independence by large and small groups of people; the devastation wrought by world wars, local wars and internecine strife; the creation and demolition ofente`ntes, blocs and walls; the exhilarating spectacle of yesterday`s implacable foes becoming today's eager friends; the accumulation of armaments of fearful lethality; the sunrise and sunset of much acclaimed revolutions; the disillusionment over ideologies, doctrines and dogmas, particularly that of state-directed economic management; the uncheckable march of consumerism; the prevalence of hunger and destitution amidst world-wide plenty; the fission of the atom and excursions into outer space; the communication explosion creating illusions of omnipresence and omniscience; the conquest of old, familiar diseases and epidemics but the rise of the ailments of progress; the alarming spread of planetary pollution and the remorseless exploitation of nature owing to the growing number of human beings with growing appetites; the collapse of faith and spiritual tranquillity going hand in hand with the rise of fundamentalism? All these demand earnest thinking about the ways in which human beings and other living species can endure on Earth and live in harmony and hope, freedom and worthwhileness.
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