Non-violence and its True Form in India
Non-violence is sheer hypocrisy. It’s thoroughly impractical. We, Indians, have lived under its cloak for a long time. Our principles towards non-violence have been just a farce; it’s only the behavior of a hawk in the clothing of a dove”- Says my learned friend while elucidating various incidents of grim violence in India.
In the late eighties, when thousands of people died in different incidents of terrorism in Punjab, one small report in the local newspaper in Odisha caught our attention. It was worthy news for intellectual stimulation. It compared the figures of crimes with those of Punjab and interestingly, our state, which was famous as a peaceful state had higher incidents of deaths in various crimes than the latter. Literally speaking, we had murdered more humans in incidents like dowry torture, extortion, and political vendetta and the sum of the crimes was higher than any troubled state in India.
In India, generations grew with the idea that our independence came through a struggle by non-violent means; no bullet, guns, tanks and not even a thought of animosity towards the Omnipotent British. We showed our humble acceptance while receiving thrashing from the British. Generations after independence imbibed the idea from the text-books that our freedom struggle was by-and-large a peaceful one with non-violence as the backdrop.
India is perhaps the only nation to have placed the concept in the minds of school going children firmly that “non-cooperation” by non-violent method was the sole act that we, Indians, had resorted to drive the mighty British away from our nation. A child, who was spoon-fed this notion in the school, failed to realize by his above average intelligence from the figures of death during the freedom struggle in killings, arson and riots that the real truth contradicted the precepts of non-violence.
Our freedom came through paying highest in principal with interest only by blood. Hundreds of thousands killed in the Police torture during fight for freedom and subsequently in riots during partition of our nation amply proved that freedom came exclusively at the cost of gory suffering. Admittedly, non-violence was the needle that sewed the entire nation in unity against the British Raj that ultimately led to the end of it. But achieving freedom after paying so highly in blood for almost a century, we again laid the foundation of a new nation on the ethics of same non-violence, where we permitted the masked hawks to rule the roost with unlimited power.
During the post-independent period, we took giant strides in policies in freeing the society from superstitions and clutches of caste, creed and bias. But that only confirmed the actions of power-mongering hawks, who wore the clothes of doves of non-violence and peace but to remain in power they resorted to all means of mal-practice and violence available in their books. The political “netas” and bureaucrat “babus” are ideal examples!!! The policies that we formed to remove caste, creed and bias only re-divided our society in another form; India had two new-castes- “the haves” and “have-nots”. The people, who maneuvered in power politics only by the methods of violence and mal-practice, grew richer and famous overnight. But the honest and innocent people, who survived following the ethics of non-violence and principle, were simply exploited and made poor. The instances are the bright film personalities, politicians and other fabulously rich people, who surprise every one by their rags-to-riches tales of success. But the real truth is discovered when the visibly embarrassed public find their links with gangsters, mafia, crime and black money.
The society, that was once built on the simple foundations of Gandhian Philosophy, preaching non-violence, truthfulness and honesty, is now facing the dilemma of being identified as part and parcel of a nation where scams, corruption, bloodshed and dishonesty have become common features. In the present context, where can you place non-violence; which is now being dubbed as the actions of cowards and fools?
“Non-violence is the highest qualification, gained from spiritual seeking and it is the highest order of a spiritual life that is attainable only after supreme renunciation. It is irrelevant for a nation, where materialistic gains are the ultimate goals” - says a spiritual figure of our land.
“Today, in India, almost every innocent person finds to his astonishment and surprise that he is being robbed of his valuable right. There is duplication of almost all good products that we eat and use. There is unbelievable corruption in employment. Gullible public is shell-shocked to find that the trustworthy people are only bogus, individualistic frauds, working solely for their own advantage. The burden of inflation and taxes keeps on growing; under which millions of honest and sincere taxpayers are laboring hard. All these make us angry. We are in no way in a situation to keep our calm. The under-current of resentment is growing” - opines a septuagenarian, who has witnessed the entire turmoil since independence.
“We were misled as our leaders promised to lead us in to an imaginary Eldorado, following the humble principles of non-violence, peacefulness and integrity. Believing in them, we have become a nation of utter disparity and discord in almost all functions of democracy, where good principles have lost their sheen forever” - concludes the professor of Sociology in the hour-long discussion on relevance of non-violence in the making of a nation.
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Pt. Srikant Mohanty
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