Non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhiji came on this earth with his message of truth and non-violence (ahimsa) at a time when the forces of aggression and violence reigned supreme on earth. Mahatma Gandhi taught us what Christ and Buddha had longed to teach long ago. He became an immortal spirit who guides us through the path of peace and non-violence.
Gandhiji was born in a middle class orthodox Hindu family of Gujarat, at Rajkot. Having received his early education in India, he went to London where he qualified himself as a barrister-at-law.
Ahimsa or Non-violence: Mahatma Gandhi was the exponent of the cult of Ahimsa or Non-violence. Like the Buddha, Christ and Chaitanya he too believed in the ultimate victory of Non-violence over violence.
Force or violence, according to him, is madness which cannot sustain. ‘So ultimately force or violence will bow down before non-violence’. He had waged war not only against British imperialism; rather he declared war on all the forces of unrighteousness, untruth and injustice, all the world over.
Gandhi in South Africa: Having tried his luck in India, as a barrister, Gandhiji went to south Africa, were he set up a substantially sound legal practice. But soon he left practice and got himself engaged in social and political reformation. It was then that the racialism in South Africa was at its climax. The non-Whites were subject to worst form of torture. Gandhiji protested against this wrong attitude of the White government towards the Black peoples of Africa.
Gandhi demonstrated acts of truth and non-violence in South Africa. The non-violent protest of Gandhi got huge popularity. It was here that he cultivated in him the idea of ‘Satyagraha’, which he was to put into practice afterwards, both in South Africa and India. In South Africa, Gandhiji endeavored hard to secure for the colored people, including Indians who were domiciled there, equal rights with the White People. In this context he had to court imprisonment several times.
Also read:Gandhian Philosophy on Truth and Non-violence (Ahimsa)
Gandhi arrived India: After arriving India, Mahatma Gandhi joined the Indian National congress, which was at that time more or less a social institution. He made Congress an organization, which was to play its vital role in the winning of the country’s independence. Before he joined the Congress and took its reins in his hands, it was predominantly an organization of the Upper Middle Class people.
Mahatma Gandhi changed it into a mass-organization, in which the peasants began to take an active part. He firmly believed that freedom can be achieved in a peaceful manner. He wanted all his followers to always maintain truth and integrity. The principles of Ahimsa was practiced in all of the independence movements launched by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Non-cooperation movement got massive support and became the popular non-violence movement. The Indians were requested to avoid using imported goods.
The Civil disobedience movement was a non-violent resistance against the British tax regime.
On 8th August, 1942, Mahatma Gandhi called for immediate independence and launched the Quit India Movement. It remains an important event in the history of India independence.
Religious views: He studied Bhagwad Gita, the Holy Quran and the bible. ‘I see the same God in Gita whom I see in the Bible or whom I want to see in the Quran’. According to him, the best religion of the world is one which contains the best elements of all the creeds of the world.
His religion was peace and non-violence. His sword and the shield, both were love which was based upon non-violence and truth.
Conclusion: Gandhiji was an angelic being, a source of inspiration to his people. He was a messiah for the tortured and oppressed humanity. He is a spirit of non-violence, peace and love.
Category: Essays, Paragraphs and Articles, Famous and Great Personalities of IndiaTagged With: Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhian Philosophy on Truth and Non-violence
Truth and non-violence
The idea of truth and non-violence is at the core Mahatma Gandhi’s political thought. But he himself confesses that non-violence or ‘ahimsa’ was not his inborn virtue. He simply states: “In the journey searching for truth I find ahimsa. I have only retrieved it, never discovered a new.” Actually truth and ahimsa are closely integrated with his philosophy of life. He used to believe that ahimsa lies within the truth and similarly truth is in ahimsa. Once he thought that God is truth but later he observed that truth is God. So, he named his struggle ‘Satyagraha’. The Satyagrahi will be the worshipper of non-violence which will be his life and duty.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, ahimsa implies uttermost selflessness. It means, if anyone wants to realize himself, i.e., if he wants to search for the truth, he has to behave in such a way that others will think him entirely safe.
According to Gandhi, this is the way of ahimsa. He did not consider non-killing alone to be non-violence. To him, non-violence is not a negative concept but a positive sense of love. He talked of loving the wrong-doers, but not the wrong.
He had strongly opposed any sort of submission to wrongs and injustice in an indifferent manner. He thought that the wrong-doers can be resisted only through the severance of all relations with them.
According to Gandhi, non-violence never evades violence. On the contrary, it carries on a constant struggle against arrogance and violence. This is why he did not regard the pacifist as non-violent. He considered non-violence to be a very powerful active force. The followers of non-violence would never retreat at the sight of violence. They would rather devote themselves to the task of changing the hearts of perpetrators of violence through self-torture for establishing truth.
According to Gandhi, to move fearlessly into the dreadful jaws of violence is called non-violence. Thus, in Gandhi’s concept of non-violence there was no place for timidity or cowardice. He considered violence to be preferable to cowardice. While commenting on this matter in his article entitled ‘The Doctrine of the Sword’, he says that, given a choice between cowardice and violence, he would prefer violence. But he firmly believed that non-violence was certainly superior to violence and forgiveness was far more manly than punishment.
Though Mahatma Gandhi accorded the principle of ‘truth and non-violence’ a pivotal position in all his activities all through his life, he realised that the common people of India and even the majority of the contemporary Congress leaders had not accepted non-violence as a ‘creed’. For this reason he commented that he had doubt as to how many persons fully believed in the creed of non-violence.
But he thought that his movements did not at all depend on non-violent workers as believers in the creed of non-violence. He considered it to be adequate for his purpose if they followed the print principle in practice. Like those days, today also there is acute shortage of person really believing in the creed of non-violence. Consequently, clash of narrow selfish interests, struggles for power, world-wide competition for weapons of mass destruction, struggle for establishing hegemony, etc. have brought the world on the verge of a deep crisis.
In the opinion of the followers of Gandhi, the relevance of the Gandhian concept of truth and non-violence cannot be ignored or denied at all. However, the Marxists think it to be a utopian idea as it is impossible to put the principle in practice.
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