Mahatma Gandhi: An Ambassador of peace and non-violence
Mahatma Gandhi is the greatest apostle of peace the world has seen. His notion of peace is centred on non-violence, individualism, soul force and forgiveness.The Gandhian strategy is the combination of truth, sacrifice, non-violence, selfless service, and cooperation. According to Gandhi, one should be brave and not a coward.
He should present his views, suggestions, and thoughts without being violent. One should fight a war with the weapons of truth and nonviolence. Gandhi said that “There is no god higher than truth.” According to Gandhi’s thoughts, non-violence is the ultimate solution to every kind of problem in the world.
Gandhi used nonviolence in India’s freedom struggle as the main weapon and India became independent from British rule. In present times, there are some live examples that show the success of Non- violent resistance by using the Gandhian strategy. Mahatma Gandhi was against any form of exploitation and injustice. According to him, evils must be opposed at any cost.
But he insisted that the weapons must be non-violent and moral ones. The adoption of a peaceful method made one superior and put the enemy at a disadvantage but the condition is the opponent must be dealt with mutual respect and love. Gandhi believed that only through love an enemy could be permanently won.
Non-violence is the most ancient eternal value. This non-violence is the ground of the ancient-most civilization and culture of India. Mahatma Gandhi said on this very account while making his concepts and practices based on non-violence: “I have nothing new to teach you… Truth and non-violence are as old as a hill.” As we know, non-violence and truth are two sides of the same coin.
After knowing Gandhism, it is imperative for us to know clearly the concept of non-violence also as it accords the ground for Gandhism. Gandhi’s importance in the political world scenario is twofold. First, he retrieved non-violence as a powerful political tool and secondly manifestation of a higher spiritual goal, culmination in world peace. For Gandhi, means were as important as the end and there could be only one means – that of non-violence.
Mahatma Gandhi clarified in an edition of Young India: “…To hurt someone, to think of some evil unto someone or to snatch one’s life under anger or selfishness, is violence. In contrast, purest non-violence involves a tendency and presuming towards spiritual or physical benefit unto everyone without selfishness and with pure thought after cool and clear deliberation. The ultimate yardstick of violence or non-violence is the spirit behind the action.” There are many examples of their use like resistance, non-violent resistance, and civil revolution. Mahatma Gandhi had to struggle his whole life, but he was never disappointed, he continued his innate faith in non-violence.
The significance of non-violence was soon accepted worldwide. Martin Luther King adopted the methods of non-violence in his fight against the racial discrimination of the American authorities in 1950. Gandhism is very much contextual today on this accord. It is significant. We should grasp the importance of Gandhism while analyzing it.
According to Gandhi, the use of non-violence consists of anger, selfishness, hatred, and enmity. According to him, violence cannot do anything good to human beings. Stop an act of violence in its tracks. The effort to do so should be nonviolent but forceful. To focus solely on acts of terrorism, Gandhi argued, would be like being concerned with weapons in an effort to stop the spread of racial hatred. Gandhi thought the sensible approach would be to confront the ideas and alleviate the conditions that motivated people to undertake such desperate operations in the first place.
Gandhi dreamed of a new world of non-violence with an overall peaceful environment. However, its result depends upon its understanding and proper application. The present scenario of violence and exploitation all over the world has raised an important issue. Any nation which has suffered from communalism, dictatorship, corruption, and power games really needs to go back to Gandhi’s conviction of nonviolence and truth as his mission.
By adopting nonviolence, social, political, economic, and religious conflicts shall be removed. Undoubtedly, the social doctrine of non-violence that has emerged from Gandhian ideas has now become the key to forging and sustaining the new social and political order. Today, there is a need to adopt Gandhian philosophy and ideology in overall world to remove all kinds of problems and create a peaceful environment. Gandhi is not the past, he is the future.
In the midst of the Second World War, when he was asked what he would do if India became independent during his lifetime, he replied: ‘If India became free in my lifetime and I have still energy left in me … I would take my due share, though outside the official world, in building up the nation strictly on non-violent lines.
The real significance of the Indian freedom movement in Gandhi’s eyes was that it was waged non-violently. He would have had no interest in it if the Indian National Congress had adopted Satyagraha and subscribed to nonviolence. He objected to violence not only because an unarmed people had little chance of success in an armed rebellion, but because he considered violence a clumsy weapon which created more problems than it solved, and left a trail of hatred and bitterness in which genuine reconciliation was almost impossible.
Gandhi’s total allegiance to nonviolence created a gulf between him and the educated elite in India which was temporarily bridged only during periods of intense political excitement. Even among his closest colleagues there were few who were prepared to follow his doctrine of nonviolence to its logical conclusion: the adoption of unilateral disarmament in a world armed to the teeth, the scrapping of the police and the armed forces, and the decentralization of administration to the point where the state would “wither away”.
Nehru, Patel and others on whom fell the task of organizing the administration of independent India did not question the superiority of the principle of nonviolence as enunciated by their leader, but they did not coperider it practical politics. The Indian Constituent Assembly include a majority of members owing allegiance to Gandhi or at least holding him in high esteem, but the constitution which emerged from their labours in 1949 was based more on the Western parliamentary than on the Gandhian model.
The development of the Indian economy during the last four decades cannot be said to have conformed to Gandhi’s conception of “self-reliant village republics”. On the other hand, it bears the marks of a conscious effort to launch an Indian industrial revolution. The main cause of worry today is intolerance and hatred leading to violence and it is here the values of Gandhi need to be adhered to with more passion.
There are in the world many people who has fought great battles for social or political justice using the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. Amongst them stand out strongly: Martin Luther King, leader of the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s; Nelson Mandela, who brought an end to apartheid in South Africa; the Dalai Lama, who seeks a peaceful resolution in Tibet and Cesar Chavez who struggled to reduce exploitation of farm workers in California.
“Non-violence is a universal phenomenon and it has great relevance and significance. It is the ultimate solution to all kinds of problems and conflicts in society, nations, and the world”……………..M K Gandhi
“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon . . . which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”…. Martin Luther King Jr.
(The author is an educationist hailing from Srinagar)