TODAY -

Mechanism for peace

N. Arunkumar *



Recently, a popular news and information portal of Manipur termed my opinions about issues in our state as those of a person who adheres to Gandhian like non - violence. I welcome that branding with open arms and would like to know how many people are there in our midst that would prefer violence as a means of solution to the problems that beset us.

If my guess is correct, the vast majority of people living in the state are genuinely peace loving and would love to go about their daily business of living in that mode rather than commit themselves to violence all the while. The only violence that ordinary people indulge in, is wielding the butcher's knife in opening up the fish or chicken that will finally go down their gullets at meal time.

If that can be considered as violence, then that is what a vast majority of our people should be blamed for. I for one, am definitely a dedicated non - violent person who would not be able to even eat chicken if it is slaughtered in front of my own eyes at most times. And, in that I am not alone, as I have come across so many people who are of similar opinions like mine when it comes to seeing blood and gore in our lives.

Violence has indeed hardly solved any of the pressing problems of the world. Had it been so, then 'Alexander the Great' would still be having his dynasty intact today. He died miserably, without even being able to see his motherland again. His idea of domination of the world, even if it called for violent means, ended in a whimper as he had to face revolt from his own trusted soldiers who were fed up of fighting and killing all the time to cater to his vision of being the emperor of the world.

A vain thought if ever there was one, I am sure. The mightiest empires of this planet have all come to dust, as violence has never been rewarded with everlasting gifts. The basis on which mighty empires were built in the beginning was the affinity to use violence whenever necessary, as an instrument to suppress other lesser mortals and subjugate them to an extent that they meekly submitted themselves to the diktats of those regimes.

Dictatorship is one such modern form of subjugation that we are aware of from our current history text books. It is also based on complete surrender of the individual to the directives of an individual who would not hesitate to exercise clout with bloodshed to ensure that his necessities are fulfilled without opposition.

Take the case of Hitler, the tyrant who annihilated millions of hapless Jews in the last century. No German today is or can be, except those with macabre minds, proud of what he had done to those millions of people and, had taken the entire world to the brink of chaos and murderous vengeance at that time. The world was divided then, as much as it is divided today on various issues concerning mankind in general.

Every leader, of every nation, will be seen talking of the progress of mankind and its survival on the planet with resounding statements that seem like they were the appointed guardians of peace and evolution over us lesser mortals. How much farther from the truth they all are and will be, can be gauged from the fact that the world is today as volatile as it was then and, will perhaps remain so till ages to come.

But, the paradox of the reality remains that all talk of non - violence and co - existence remains ensconced as lofty principles in books and for the purpose of oration only. Genuine attitudes to such principle are said to be ingrained within our psyches from ages ago. Genetic engineering has probed, and is still probing, deeper into the secrets of human blue - prints, to discover the secrets of enigmatic mankind to ensure that kind of Utopian harmony on the planet.

It will perhaps take some time to generalize human behavior and categorize it convincingly. Any psychologist worth his onions will humbly accept that they base their studies on certain hypothetical parameters only, and not on perfect theoretical boundaries. Violence and non - violence are two such extremes of human behavior that never fail to draw fascinating conclusions about our ethics as men, as the most superior creations of god.

In fact, we are witness to so many various forms of this violent streak in our daily existence that it fails categorization even in simple words. Look at a mother struggling to feed her baby by coaxing, cajoling and even threatening that he would be taken away by the devil from beyond the hills if he does not eat his food. Look at the manual laborer pulling his cart - load of merchandise to deliver to its destination in spite of heat, summer or rain.

Look at the amount of bandhs, general strikes and other forms of shut - ins that deny the people their right to daily livelihood and, opening up possibilities of hunger at them hopelessly. Those are also violent forms of living that we are regularly grappling with in our times now.

What is pleasant about such things? What is the pleasure in watching a man being beaten up or killed in broad daylight?
What is so pleasant about going to the local butcher and selecting the sauciest hen to be slaughtered right in front of your eyes with a chop to its neck?
What is juicy about watching a husband and wife quarrelling over trivial matters with their children helplessly looking on at them in horror?

Violence…violence and more violence everywhere, and yet we brand those who hate it as Gandhians. Gandhi was no doubt the quintessential figure of non - violence that has ever walked on the planet in a generation of his own. He had contributed unique ethics towards embracing peace in the world through dialogue.

That however does not mean that he had completely negated the requirement for an army to protect our hard earned right to live in peace. He had supported the formation of an army to protect Indian territories from further foreign domination. Sadly, those same forces are also engaged in settling internal disputes today, sometimes with ruthless tactics. If sitting by the sidelines and taking an impartial view of our bloody situation today is Gandhian, so let it be.

I am indeed a believer, since I trust the effectiveness of Gandhian non - violence and dialogue. The use of guns to solve our problems always perpetrates more hatred and retributions that we could do without, at the moment. I leave it to the valued estimation of the reader, if he would support violence or otherwise, to further this debate to a level of sophistication.

Here, to conclude, I would like to recall the words of the (Late) Martin Luther King, from a speech he delivered on accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace, way back in 1964. The words from that speech are a perfect summary of the mechanics of peace for us today. I quote:

"Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood."



* N. Arunkumar contributes to e-pao.net regularly . The writer can be contacted at hareedesiree(at)hotmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted at e-pao.net on 27th August 2009.




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