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Gandhi’s Non-violence : A solution to India-Pakistan?

(The following content maybe regarded as biased, prejudiced, extreme-right, sanghi, narrow-mindness and chauvinism by some intellectuals of the society. If you have a soft corner for the so called father of his nation and believe in his principle of non-violence, you may choose to ignore the write-up)

We all know Pakistan and all its government have been sponsoring petty terrorism and cross border infiltration, radicalizing youth, funding the separatists in Kashmir, resulting in deaths of a number soldiers. Still we’ll be ignoring the fact that there are literally myriad lives being affected by killings of the soldiers. The fidayeen attack in Uri, most chances are their parents don’t even know that their sons have been radicalized being promised something utopian in the afterlife by “hurting” some people (Oh, the irony!) Still, like the soldiers have been scapegoat since years now, they’ll be killed by such activities, people will be angry for some days and criticize the government for not taking any steps, IPL will come and everybody will forget what happened. I mean this is what has been happening over the past right? No one would care for them.

So- is the Gandhian way of non-violence a solution?

For this we need to understand what Gandhi’s non-violence actually is. He held that total non-violence would rid a person of anger, obsession and destructive impulses, that nonviolence is a thought, word and deed, that how creating a nonviolent and non-exploitative relationship within the society was imperative for an ideal society, that construction of Poorna Swaraj or complete independence was only possible by the truthful and nonviolent means.

All that is crap and utter bullshit.

Gandhi took non-violence to an extreme level. When I say extreme, it’s more extreme than the fanatic gurus and lunatic left wing extremists who talk about a Utopian class-less and state-less society at the end – the “communist society” – that too only by passing through phases of capitalism (more at Why isn’t anything right with the left?) According to an interview given for his biography to Louis Fischer, this is what Gandhi said and he reported :

“Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs. I believe in hara-kiri. I do not believe in its militaristic connotations, but it is a heroic method. That would have been heroism. It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to the evils of Hitler’s violence, especially in 1938, before the war. As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.”

-The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1950)

Now I fail to understand such a stance for non-violence. Clearly, either he misunderstood non-violence, or in a bid to look cool and different from the philosophers at that time, he didn’t have an iota of idea about what he was preaching.

Again some warriors of Gandhism and the pseudo-intellectuals claiming everything was right with the Gandhian principle would quote incidents like Quit India Movement which was followed a surge with violence which lost it’s momentum there-after, thus claiming that violence was actually not which was needed to win the war. First off : Gandhi wasn’t the leader in the movement. Second : Violence started only after all the leaders went to jail. Third : Even if he supported the violent upsurge, it was maybe because his ideologies failed in the previous ones? Otherwise why this change of stance?

Also, some claim that he supported violence for self-defense. The following abstract is a testimony of his support for violence for self-defense- of course with a little bit of skepticism from my side. 

“Thus when my eldest son asked me what he should have done, had he been present when I was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether he should have run away and seen me killed or whether he should have used his physical force which he could and wanted to use, and defended me, I told him that it was his duty to defend me even by using violence.”

– The Doctrine of the Sword

See what he did here? He connects violence with a moral failure (even by using violence), even in self defense .Connecting violence to moral failure with violence is more of an extreme support for non-violence  which in my intellect, is flawed and without any premise.

People who would claim I nitpicked certain points and paras to prove my point are free to judge so. But taking a Gandhian side of non-violence for tackling cross border terrorism or finding a solution with Pakistan – I am sorry but I don’t support it.

We talk about having a “Gandhian way on non-violent approach”, but haven’t we had enough of those? What happened after we started “sada-e-sarhad”, or the Shimla Agreement ending in ceasefire at borders or letting go of the 90,000 POWs? Did anything progressive happened? What happened when we gave them the MFN(Most favored nation) status? Are our goods immune from non-tariff barriers there?

People when talking about finding a solution, like a diplomat would or an aspiring civil servant would while answering such question of the GS-4 section of a mains paper, will fill the answer with all types of keywords for an “ideal” ethical answer like compassion, integrity, brotherhood, love, what not! But the reality is, if you were one of the person from a family losing the earning member of a family, and your future barring the “concession” will be nothing more than filled with darkness, you would not think “technically” or “diplomatically” or “ideally”, but emotionally. This doesn’t mean we should go for a war with them, but I just want to ask, TILL WHEN will this continue?

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