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The Pancha Bhoota and International Humanitarian Law: An Intrinsic Relationship


About the Centre

Centre for Advanced Study in International Humanitarian Law (CASH) is an esteemed research centre of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law [RGNUL], which is dedicated to research in the field of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The centre invites you all to attend the said event which is being organised in collaboration with the Temple of Understanding (United Nations-affiliated NGO).

About Temple of Understanding

Temple of Understanding (TOU) is an initiative born out of a realization that the world is in grave danger unless the gifts, wisdom, and insights of religious traditions could be recognized and cultivated to promote positive social change. Juliet Hollister founded TOU in 1960 with an aim to make this world beautiful and peaceful with the help of assimilation and tolerance.

About the Webinar

The Centre is organising an e-webinar on “The Pancha Bhoota and International Humanitarian Law: An Intrinsic Relationship” in collaboration with Temple of Understanding (India). This dialogue will explore the inter-relationship between the five basic elements of life- the Pancha- Bhoota (Prithvi, Apas, Agni, Vayu and Aakash), the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs), and the International Humanitarian Law.

The Theme of the Event

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. These principles of IHL or the Law of War are rooted in the rules of ancient civilizations and religions- warfare has always been subject to certain principles and customs. It is pertinent to explore in detail these ancient ideas that have shaped IHL and analyse how they affect the field of law in the modern times. One of these ideas is the theory of the Pancha Bhoota or Pancha Maha-Bhoota which states that all cosmic creation can be traced back to five basic elements: Earth (Prithvi), Water (Apas), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu) and Space (Akasha).

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, as geopolitics is fraught with disputes that are connected to the 5 elements of life, we tend to forget that we do not bring or take away any of mother earth’s jewels. From Yemen to Kashmir to the claims on Outer Space, everything boils down to conflicts over these 5 elements. The world has seen the utter devastation that the lack of eco-sensitive practices can bring, such as in the aftermaths of Vietnam and Rwanda. Therefore, IHL must go beyond traditional roles and concern itself with matters of biodiversity conservation and climate change in conflict areas.

In the present scenario, it will be interesting to recognize how equal access to the 5 elements of nature particularly during the times of warfare may form a crucial part of the International Humanitarian Law regime in the times to come. Although war may be inevitable, it is crucial to ensure the sustenance of a basic code of ethics, the first step of which is ensuring equal access to the basic elements for all parties concerned.

The Objectives

  1. To enhance our understanding of the interrelationship between Sustainable Development and the connect of these 5 basic elements to life.
  2. To delve into the ancient relationship of the elements of life and the laws of war
  3. To elucidate on the interplay between IHL and IHRL in the context of post-conflict reconstruction.
  4. To develop best practices to avoid these 5 basic elements from being contentious or denied during conflicts.
  5. Keynote Speakers

The speakers at the event include:

  • Dr. Karan Singh
  • Dr. AK Merchant
  • Dr. Suman Khanna Aggarwal
  • Dr. Stellina Jolly

Details of the Event

Date: October 2, 2020

Time: 6 PM (IST) onwards

Platform: CISCO Webex

Registration Link: click here

Contact Information

Ms. Kopal Tewary: 8146455835 Ms. Sohini Bose: 9830484429 E-mail ID: rgnulcash[at]

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