The former UK Prime Minister is reported to have said that Mahatma Gandhi’s doctrine of non-violence is not universal in the present world scenario. He appears to be weighed down by the victories(?) scored by terrorists since 9/11. I don’t blame him, for he saw no terrorism before 9/11, though India was bleeding for decades. The world’s super powers knew about what was happening and who was responsible for it and still they chose not to take notice. In fact, it was due to the tacit support to Pakistan by these super powers, terrorism has come to acquire such a dangerous identity. The result was 9/11, followed by the leaders like Tony Blair underestimating the threat from terrorism and walking in to Iraq and later Afghanistan. Now the cancer of terrorism has spread in every country. The world is under a siege; afraid of terrorism; diverting scarce economic resources to security against terrorist strikes; taking the world economy down and no solution in sight in the near future. The Clash of Civilizations has turned out to be a war of civilizations. It has already prepared the ground for the Third World War. The terrorists refuse to budge, withdraw or accommodate. Their philosophy or guiding principle is “my way or highway”. It is this danger that Mahatma Gandhi could visualize even before it presented itself to the world and which Tony Blair and others like him refuse to acknowledge even today.
Mahatma Gandhi’s faith in the power of non-violence drew its strength from centuries of thinking about the subject by scholars of superior class. It is interesting to note that the “conflict” emanates from “prescriptive religions”.Such religions have preached and continue to preach hatred for other’s point of view, a different religion. For their religion they have resorted to violence in the past, when more ghastly mass murders were perpetrated by them in the name of religion. Crusades and Jehad are testimony to that kind of a thinking. terrorism is flourishing in the name of Jehad because it is wholeheartedly supported by religious leadership and theocratic dictatorships. It is strange that sectarian violence continues even in those countries which practice one religion. The only conclusion that one can draw from such situations is that the fight is not for God but for Man- men who have appropriated for themselves power, pelf and privileges in the name of God & religion. They have ruled large populations and can’t give up such power! So the world will see continuation of religious conflict, manifested by terror activity somewhere or the other at all the time. Because of the existence of terrorism, leaders like Tony Blair are bound to feel that non-violence as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi is no more applicable universally. But quest for God is not yet complete. It is like the MOOC (Mass Online Open Course). No religion has so far succeeded in finding Him or His real abode, though mankind has created heaven, hell and many more things that hypnotize the followers to believe in what is being preached, like all kinds of happiness in heaven and torture in hell. The reality is that our greatest torture is not hell but those trying to frighten us in the name of the unbearable pain in hell for all kinds of sin, which also includes non payment to the religious establishment or hierarchy the ransom for escaping the fires of hell and getting the certificate to enter the heaven.
Mahatma Gandhi never preached cowardice. On the contrary, he practiced the methods to add strength to one’s individuality. Didn’t he say “Quit India”? Wasn’t it an order to the British Rulers? When the British government failed to implement the agreement with the Indian Leadership under Mahatma Gandhi and Gandhi realized that nothing was going to come out of the promises made unless he showed the British the power of the people and issued the fiat to quit India immediately. The British knew that it was the end of their colonization of India and withdrew to their own territory, unlike the Moghuls who got merged in India without a trace. But the British dealt the last blow by dividing the country in to India and Pakistan by actively fanning communalism and patronizing the likes of Mohammad Ali jinnah to counter national stature of Mahatma Gandhi. However, in the process they planted the seeds of terrorism that were to prove to be the scourge of the world. It was so because the values practiced and professed by Mahatma Gandhi were not appreciated by the British , who had greater appreciation for violence preached and practiced by Jinnah and his followers. It is the same violence that continues to afflict the world today and which Tony Blair finds more universal than the non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi.
Misinterpretation of the power and efficacy of non-violence is misunderstood even in India. The kind of poor leadership that the people of India have suffered for decades now has made the Gandhian approach of non-violence a laughing matter. People have no qualms of compunction in uttering inanities like “Majaboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi” (Helplessness thy name is Mahatma Gandhi). But then, don’t people utter such inanities about God or all other good things like values, ethics or morality? For these people it should suffice that Gandhi carried a long wooden staff in his hand, which is like the scepter in the hands of the common man in India and it is called “Laathi”. It symbolizes the power of the people. Non-violence only means that it is the last weapon of defence and offence if the need arises, but every other civilized methods should first be tried for conflict resolution and dispute settlement. Isn’t Tony Blair talking about the civilized society? Those who respect civilized society must respect the existing societies or their practitioners. Indians by nature have been practising non-violence for centuries and are going to do that, for they have reached this level after weighing the two doctrines (violence and non-violence) over several centuries. What violence achieves can be enjoyed in non-violence. It hardly needs any proof. Unfortunately, modern technological societies suffer from the compulsion of war as a necessary adjunct of industrial growth and jobs and people’s prosperity. Terrorism will suffer the same fate which communism has suffered, because they also propagated the dictum that political power flows from the barrel of the gun. Tony Blair need not suffer bouts of nervousness because of incidents of terrorism. Instead he should devote himself to destroy the factories of terrorism in places like Pakistan and encourage other world leaders, especially from the super-powers, to help destroy these factories (Europeans started colonization by first establishing their factories in India). There is only one thing which is universal: it is humanity. It does not undergo change. But colonization, war, conflict or terrorism are ephemeral phenomenon that are bound to cease after running out their cycle. days, weeks, months, years have no permanence, but Time is permanent. The space is one but the stars are many. Whatever views one may subscribe to, the universal remains the Truth, everything else is untruth. Who can claim the space? He who can claim space is entitled to claim copyright and monopoly over God. Till then, all the stars have full and equal sovereign rights over God! Mahatma Gandhi facilitated the human society to think on these lines and judge for themselves if it was superior to suffer internecine wars causing human blood to flow or live in peace and harmony gifted by non-violence. The world needs to adopt the Gandhian doctrine for a genuinely happy existence for all human beings on this lovely planet, which may be a unique creation (I have no quarrels with those who may like to call it evolution).