Violence doesn't bring any lasting solution
- Part 2 -

Buyamayum Liyaquat Ali *

The monarchy's authority continued to erode, culminating in the forced relocation of the royal family from Versailles to Paris in October 1789. As the revolution progressed, internal divisions among revolutionary factions became increasingly pronounced. The radical Jacobins, led by figures like Maximilien Robespierre, gained prominence and advocated for a more radical transformation of society.

The revolutionary fervor gave way to a period of intense violence and upheaval, known as the Reign of Terror (1793-1794). During this period, the Committee of Public Safety, under the influence of the Jacobins, wielded immense power. The Committee initiated a campaign to suppress counter-revolutionary elements and perceived enemies of the revolution.

The revolutionary tribunal, established to try individuals accused of treason, conducted mass trials and executions, resulting in the deaths of thousands. Notable figures like King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were among those executed.

While the Reign of Terror aimed to eliminate opposition and secure the gains of the revolution, its violent methods had unintended consequences. The arbitrary and widespread use of the guillotine led to an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, pitting citizens against one another. Moreover, the economic situation remained dire, with inflation, food shortages, and economic instability persisting.

The rise of radical factions and the suppression of more moderate voices within the revolution fuelled internal strife. The Girondins, a moderate political group, were eventually overthrown by the Jacobins, contributing to political instability. The Reign of Terror's excesses also led to international condemnation and military interventions by other European powers, further exacerbating the turmoil.

The French Revolution serves as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of violence as a means of achieving social and political change. While the revolution initially aimed to address legitimate grievances and create a more just society, the violent overthrow of the monarchy and the subsequent Reign of Terror resulted in internal chaos, instability, and further conflicts. Instead of providing a lasting solution, the revolution's descent into violence underscored the importance of dialogue, compromise, and the pursuit of more peaceful avenues for change.

Ultimately, the French Revolution teaches us that violence may bring about momentary change, but it often fails to address the underlying issues and can lead to unintended and destructive consequences. It highlights the complexities of balancing revolutionary zeal with the need for stability and sustainable solutions. As societies continue to grapple with social and political challenges, the lessons from the French Revolution serve as a reminder of the importance of seeking non-violent and constructive means of achieving lasting change.

Mahatma Gandhiís Non Violent Movement

Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent resistance during the 1930s and 1940s stands as an iconic example of how peaceful means can achieve significant and lasting change. His strategic use of nonviolence as a tool of protest and liberation played a pivotal role in India's struggle for independence from British rule. Through his unwavering commitment to nonviolent methods, Gandhi demonstrated that peaceful resistance could yield more sustainable outcomes than violence, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to inspire movements for justice and freedom around the world.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, emerged as a prominent leader in India's quest for independence from British colonial rule. Inspired by his experiences in South Africa and drawing from his deep spiritual beliefs, Gandhi developed the concept of Satyagraha, which means "truth force" or "soul force." Satyagraha was a philosophy of nonviolent resistance that sought to confront injustice and oppression through peaceful means, appealing to the moral conscience of oppressors.

Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence was rooted in the idea that individuals had the power to effect change through self-suffering and civil disobedience, rather than through physical violence. He believed that nonviolence could expose the inherent injustices of a system, evoke empathy, and compel the oppressors to reconsider their actions.

One of the most iconic moments of Gandhi's nonviolent resistance was the Salt March, also known as the Dandi March, in 1930. In protest against the British monopoly on salt production and the exorbitant salt tax, Gandhi led a 240-mile march to the coastal town of Dandi, where he and his followers ceremonially produced salt from seawater.

This act of civil disobedience galvanized millions across India, showcasing the power of nonviolent protest in mobilizing public sentiment and challenging colonial authority. The Salt March and subsequent civil disobedience campaigns, such as the refusal to buy British textiles, demonstrated that nonviolent actions could effectively disrupt colonial economic and administrative systems. These campaigns compelled the British authorities to confront the injustices of their rule and generated international attention and support for India's struggle.

Gandhi's philosophy extended beyond mass protests and marches. He advocated for boycotts of British goods and institutions, recognizing the economic power that consumers held. By encouraging Indians to support indigenous products and refrain from purchasing British goods, Gandhi sought to weaken the economic foundations of British rule and empower local communities.

These boycotts showcased the potency of nonviolent economic resistance. They highlighted the interconnectedness of colonial economies and the impact that collective consumer choices could have on imperial powers. Through boycotts, Gandhi not only fostered a sense of selfreliance but also undermined the economic stability that sustained British colonialism.

The Quit India Movement of 1942 marked another significant milestone in India's struggle for independence. Gandhi launched a nationwide campaign demanding an immediate end to British rule, calling for the "Quit India" resolution. While the British authorities responded with mass arrests and crackdowns, the movement's emphasis on nonviolent civil disobedience and noncooperation showcased the resilience and determination of the Indian population.

Despite facing severe repression, the Quit India Movement illustrated that nonviolence could be a potent force even in the face of adversity. The British response to the movement generated international criticism, tarnishing the image of British colonialism and reinforcing the moral high ground of the Indian struggle.

Gandhi's nonviolent resistance not only played a decisive role in India's journey towards independence but also left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire movements for justice and civil rights worldwide. The principles of nonviolence, civil disobedience, and moral persuasion advocated by Gandhi have been adopted by numerous movements, from the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Gandhi's success in achieving India's independence through nonviolent means demonstrated that peaceful resistance could achieve more sustainable outcomes than violence. By appealing to shared values of justice, morality, and human dignity, nonviolent movements can mobilize widespread support, foster empathy, and exert pressure on oppressive regimes to reconsider their actions.

Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent resistance during the 1930s and 1940s stands as a testament to the transformative potential of peaceful means in the face of injustice and oppression. His strategic application of nonviolence, whether through mass protests, boycotts, or civil disobedience, showcased the effectiveness of moral persuasion and the capacity of individuals to effect profound change without resorting to violence.

Gandhi's legacy serves as a reminder that violence is not the only path to achieving justice and liberation. Through his philosophy of Satyagraha, Gandhi exemplified the power of collective action, moral strength, and unwavering commitment to truth in challenging oppressive systems. His accomplishments highlight the enduring relevance of nonviolent resistance as a potent tool for achieving lasting and meaningful change in the world.

Disadvantages of Violence: Victims of violence suffer lasting psychological trauma and it also sets a negative example, especially for young people who may grow up thinking it's an acceptable way to solve problems. Resorting to violence can alienate potential allies or supporters, hindering progress in addressing the underlying issue. Violent acts often cause damage to property, such as vandalism during protests turning into riots.

Violence against authorities can undermine the legitimacy of institutions, leading to societal unrest.

Acts of violence attract negative media coverage, damaging public perception and potential support for a cause. Violence can hinder progress in areas like education and development, as seen in regions plagued by ongoing conflict. Violent acts like rioting can lead to environmental destruction, such as fires destroying forests or urban areas.

Violence can have lasting consequences for generations, impacting social fabric and development opportunities. Violence places strain on healthcare systems, with resources diverted towards treating victims. Violent acts lead to economic losses through damaged infrastructure, decreased tourism, and disrupted trade.

Violent conflicts can destroy cultural landmarks and heritage sites, erasing history and identity. Resources that could be used for development and progress are diverted towards addressing the aftermath of violence. Communities plagued by violence live in constant fear, inhibiting social growth and cohesion. And it erodes trust between individuals and groups, hindering cooperation and collaboration. It also bypasses diplomatic solutions that may have led to more peaceful resolutions.

Violence disrupts educational systems, depriving children of opportunities for learning and growth. Engaging in violence can result in criminal charges and legal penalties. Lastly but not the least a wise man or community learns from otherís mistake.


* Buyamayum Liyaquat Ali wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an Ex Navy man & RTI Activist from Mayang Imphal
This article was webcasted on 02 September 2023.

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