Gandhi For Non-violence

M.A Rahman Shah *

Important Events:

1. Date of birth: The 2nd October 1869
2. Born to Karamchand and Putlibai Gandhi, of Bania caste, Youngest of seven.
3. Place of birth: Porbandar in Gujarat.
4. Age at the time of marriage : 12/13 years (1881)
5. Age when he left England for higher studies. 18 years
6. Age at the time of arrival to India after studies: 21 years.
7. Age of qualification for the bar in England: 23 years(1891)
8. Age when he left India for South Africa for practicing law: 25years (1893)
9. No of years he stayed in South Africa: about 21 years.
10. Year of coming back to India:1914/1915 (at the age of 45 years)
11. Name of struggles for Indian Independence: Satayagraha Campaign 1917, Non-cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement including Dandi March 6th April 1930, Quit India Movement 1942.
12. Swaraj/Independence: 15th August 1947
13. Date of Martyr: 30th January 1948
14. No of years he survived: 79 Years.

'Generation to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such one as ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth' Albert Einstein. Today, the 2nd October 2007 is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Democratic Republic of India, and is observed as the National Cleanliness Day throughout India.

Cleanliness in today's parlance should be religiously a massage of cleaning ones inner-self, the invisibility in human being, and the environment that is visible all around us. One may agree with the fact that unclean mind and the filthy environment are the source of all the evils that beset the society and the mother earth. Charity begins at home.

So let us start from the self then to members of the family and to our own houses before we embark on the neighborhood, the society and so on. To day let us do this homework if we really mean National Cleanliness Day. To day is also the International Day of Non- violence that was declared by the UNO on the 2nd October 2007 if I remember it correctly.

Non-violence, a practice the Mahatama carried the movement for independence through in the 19th century successfully has become to day a world issue for taking it forward. The Mahatma owns this pride. However, not even an effigy of Mahatma exists today to do the job. For Mahatma there was more of a leadership that was working in him than of politics with more and more people to follow him. It is a far cry to day for such a man as Mahatma to search.

The reason, every body is highly charged with politics from toe to top leaving the issue at the backseat Heinous crimes both national and international are the order of the day. The authority in power is only to see to mature their term for which the people have given the mandate. They never see things in its real perspectives with retrospection forgetting the real or the root cause of the fact in issue.

Taking India as an example there are issues throughout the length and breadth of the country that are tackled with the power from the muzzle of the gun only. Why peace keeping force only? Why not also, Peace Keeping Committee instead to try their luck? The PKC must consists of men of high integrity of national figure in various faculties, neutral, non-influential, non-political , non prejudicial, non-bias, intercommunity etc.

Let them go on foot ,in the sun, in the rain, to the friends, to the enemies, into the jungles, into the seas and face the cross-fire to search for the real story, real cause, real peace and finally recommend to the Government in power with all the transparency. When half clad fakir, the Mahatma ,can take to the celebrated Dandy March thousands of miles, why not this PKC for few miles.

Let us adopt at least some non-violent steps to deal with people in violence. Commandos, which are not defined in any of the Indian Acts and Laws if I am not mistaken, Army, and PMF's should be kept as a last chance to deal with any issue. Wanton use of such force has created cycles of violence costing innumerable lives in many parts of the country that has been compromised by paying paltry blood money to the survivors who are lamenting for the rest of their lives for their loved ones.

Coming to the world arena, the Americans and the NATO , all birds of the same feather, with their most sophisticated arsenals and manpower under their command, are fighting, Osama bin Laden, a fugitive Arab , and a one man army. The footage, for these countries for entertainments, have been made a reality in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israeli held Arab and Palestinian lands and last but not the least Iran on the making. Who they are fighting with? Men armed with catapults, stones and tears.

They are the ones who have been evicted of their country, who have been denied any nationality and made wanderers. History repeats by itself. It was the Arab wanderers, the Bedouins in the 6th and 7th centuries AD who showed their velour in defeating the mighty Holy Roman Empire and the Persian Empire who, for years, occupied the Arab lands in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and parts of Arab Peninsula by wanton use of force. They not only defeated the overwhelming Roman and Persian forces in these Arab lands but they pushed them into the heart of Europe by these Bedouins on their Arabian horsebacks .

Unable to face them in strength, the Arabs were charged with the use of sword to spread Islam. But , in fact, it is other way round Now it is one man, a pseudo Bedouin in Osama, the whole of the Western power is fighting with in this 21st century on the surface, in the air and on the high seas. Who is this Osama? Is he the one trained and financed by the USA in the eighties to fight the USSR in Afganistan? Now the table is turned round. It is Russia, now, who is watching the USA facing the same tune as the former faced.

For years history has not dawned in Afghanistan, a country used for practice shooting of latest weaponry by the world powers over the last more than 30 years. Why some of the Arabs and Arab origins are fighting the Western Power? Is it the double standard Western policies in the Middle East, these men are fighting for? One policy for one country and the other deadly one for other The Americans and their allies invaded Iraq on totally wrong excuses and flattened the civilization and other infrastructures never to be restructured.

If these are not the violence in the truest sense of the term what else it could be. These are the powers who have emulated the International Day of Non-Violence. With the present rate of indulgence in violence by the Western Powers and in the absence of search for real cause or root of the issues and bringing about a viable solutions on them, such emulation as mentioned above is nothing but a far cry.

Different facets of violence: Do we have to remind ourselves that Gandhiji fought the mighty British Empire neither by killing the British Rulers nor by acts of terrorism but by the peaceful means of non-violence tempered with truth? Today the terrorists are up in arms and resorting to violence resulting in the death of their own kit and kin. Have they attained peace or any of their objectives? The terrorists felt that Mahatama Gandhi and Mrs. Indira Gandhi were obstacles in their way and so they removed them by brutally killing them in the land of Lord Rama, the symbol of peace and tolerance. Similarly, Rajiv Gandhi, the symbol of dynamic India, was assassinated at the cost of his campaign for peace or restoration of peace. One would like to ask these people if they have attained peace or independence after getting rid of these leaders.

The answer is definitely everybody's guess. One may find little difference between India of British rule and India of today. The atrocities committed by the British are being repeated by our own people today. In Manipur too, the people are reeling under the violent acts of our own children in the name of insurrection, despite a sigh of relief after the holocausts of Burmese invasion of Manipur in the seventeenth century and the cross-fire between the British troops and the Japanese invaders in Manipur during the WW II.

The atrocities go on unabated on this small patch of land even after these devastating wars. Gandhiji is for non-violence and deadly against violence because it creates a cycle of greater violence with chain of ever increasing force. Gandhian non-violence is that of the strong. The constituents of non-violence are truth and Ahimsa in thought, word and deed. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said 'Ruins are those who are terrorists or extremists' (in words and action) 'Al Hadis. The jihadists and other fanatic blind followers on the path of suicidal and other acts of destruction have ever apply their mind on this peace of Hadis of the Holy Prophet.

Even the Quran, the words of Supreme Almighty Allah states. Quote'Terrorist acts are more sinful than slaughter of man. Unqoute ' . It is unfortunate that the Holy Quran has not been interpreted correctly and has fallen in the wrong hands for misuse. The innocent people today are under duress, threat and intimidation from the ultras resulting in the social tension, killing, kidnapping, extortions, ransom and what not.

Who are the ruins? The innocents and the ultras themselves. Such crimes are committed by disgruntles and bad-heads who are the youths. They are frustrated ones who are illiterate, school drop-outs, poor and confounded. They are prone to misguidance and need to be integrated to the social mainstream. Time and again Government has been insisting to initiate peace talk keeping the doors open. These youths should shun violence and adopt the path of peace and non-violence.

When Gandhi could win the mighty British Empire with non-violent movement, our misguided youths also can adopt non-violent means. In fact violence will remain counter productive and dilute their cause. Culpable crimes happening on daily basis in Manipur are related to insurgency involving almost all the major racial and religious affiliations both valley and hills ' Meities, Muslims, the Nagas, the Kukis only to wrest for about 22,000 or so square kms of land ,some for re-drawing the map and some for restoration of the so called lost sovereignty .

It is vague and complicated- people claim. Targeting each other between the SF and the armed ultras not only cause casualties on both sides but also on the innocent civilians. Root cause- youth unrest. The whole process can come to normalcy only when the SF goes to their barracks and the ultras go back to their homes and open peace talks. Gandhiji was very much concerned with the students' unrest that turns to violent scenes on many occasions.

In fact he called upon the youths and students:
1. I ask you to go to villages and bury yourselves there, not as their masters or benefactors, but as their humble servants. Let them know what to do and how to change their modes of living from your daily conduct and way of living. Only feeling will be of no use, just like steam which by itself is of no account unless it is kept under proper control, when it becomes a mighty force'.

2. Innocent student or youth is a priceless possession not to be squandered away for the sake of a momentary excitement, miscalled pleasure.

3. Students cannot afford to have party politics. They may hear all parties, as they read all sorts of books, but their business is to assimilate the truth of all and reject the balance. That is the only worthy attitude that they can take.

4. Students must not take part in party politics. They are students, searchers, not politicians'.

5. I am an autumnal leave on the tree that might fall of any moment, the teachers are the young sprouts that would last longer, but fall off at their proper time; but you, the students, are the branches that would put forth new leaves to replace the old ones.

6. I hold it to be quite wrong on the part of the students and pupils to take part in political demonstrations and party politics. Such ferment interferes with serious study and unfits students for solid works as future citizens.

Gandhijis philosophy: To Gandhiji truth and non-violence are as old as the hills. He used to say that there is nothing Gandhism in his philosophy. He left no set of doctrines or dogmas in set formulae. He never claimed finality about his views .There was no rigidity about his ideas. He never wanted his supporters to follow his precepts blindly.

He had simply treid, in his own way, to apply the central truth to our daily life and problems. He used to say that the opinions he had formed and the conclusion he had arrived at were not final. They may be changed any time and he had nothing to teach the world. Every year on this day formal functions are held to pay homage to the Father of the Nation by high dignitaries including politicians giving inspiring speeches.

I think this formal way is not correct one to pay homage to this great soul. The real way lies in introducing various schemes to change the country as per his vision. These are like bridging the gap between haves and haven'ts and removal of ill-literacy, ignorance and poverty. I hope the concern authorities will consider these views in right earnest.

Before aiming at the moon, the government should first aim at the roots of poverty and deprivation by formulating schemes, projects, planning etc. I conclude this essay without any ill feeling against any body.

* M.A Rahman (IPS Inspector General of Police (Armed Police)) contributes regularly to The writer can be contacted at kanglashah(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on October 03, 2010.

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