Relevance of Gandhi Calling Maoists to espouse non-violence
The United Nations has declared October 2, as non-violence day to be celebrated universally. It is the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi who was born at Porbandar in Gujarat, in India, on 2nd October, 1869. The UN has done so to draw the attention of the peoples of the different regions of the world that are witnessing some or the other sort of intra and inter-community clashes. Since there is need for peace and tranquility in all the different parts of the world, the adherence to the path of non-violence will lead to a peaceful world by all means.
Readers may recollect that when the Maoists
were engaged in their
people’s war (before signing the twelve- point understanding with the seven-party alliance), their leader Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, through his article in a
national daily, had assured the people that the top
leaders like Prachanda and himself would not join
the government and would remain out of power
politics, like Gandhi and others. It is hard to challenge the integrity of his writing, but it is harder to challenge the efficacy of the non-violent method adopted by Gandhi. Should
one hold the circumstances responsible for shifting of his thought and action that followed therein after proving them as leaders hankering after power?
Before the Constituent Assembly election, the Maoist cadres first painted the walls with the slogan highlighting Prachanda, their supreme leader, as president of Nepal. Perhaps, the Maoist leader first wanted to become president with executive power of the newly born republic.
But they consoled
themselves by acquiring
the post of Prime Minister that has executive power
to rule the country. One
can feel that it is very difficult to give up power once obtained. Such an act of sacrifice is difficult for
the common people to
perform, especially for those who do and talk about politics in the name of people’s welfare.
It can be realized that
the kind of doctrine that they adopted does not
permit them to relinquish
or denounce power. It
was difficult for them to choose peaceful means to establish the republic
and democracy. But, they could have realized
that peaceful means has
its own merits. It does not take away the lives of thousands of people for bringing the so-called social and political transformations. It does not breed hatred against any one.
It is, therefore, proper
to understand the meaning underlying the term non-violence. The term used
by Gandhi for non-violence is Ahimsa. The usual
meaning of Ahimsa is non-killing. Since non-killing is merely one aspect of
Ahimsa, it is generally
considered as non-injury. Ahimsa can be understood as the opposite of Himsa, which means causing pain or killing any life out of anger, or with a selfish
purpose, or with the intention of injuring it.
According to Gandhi, killing or injury to life can
be an act of violence only under certain conditions like anger, pride, hatred, selfish consideration, bad intention etc. Any injury
to life done under these
motives is Himsa. Thus,
the negative meaning of Ahimsa is “non-killing or non- injury”, but this pre-supposes that a non-violent act is free from hatred, anger, malice and the like.
For Gandhi, the positive aspects of Ahimsa are much more basic than its negative characteristics. Ahimsa
is not merely refraining from causing injuries to creature; it stands for certain positive attitudes towards other living beings that one must cultivate.
Gandhi, while formulating the positive principles
of Ahimsa, precedes with
a basic conviction that it
is one of the basic and
essential qualities of mankind. While accepting
a place of Himsa in life,
he considered Ahimsa to be the law of life of man. It is more evident in Man who is both body and spirit.
Body can represent physical power and, therefore, can, on occasions, do Himsa: but man’s true nature is spiritual which is essentially non-violent evident from the fact that while the body or senses can be injured, the soul can never be injured. The moment the spiritual side of man is awakened, his non-violent nature becomes apparent.
In its positive aspect, Ahimsa is nothing but
Love, which is a kind of
feeling of oneness. In loving, one identifies himself
with the object of his
love, and this can be
possible when there is
its spontaneous outflow. Therefore, Ahimsa demands a sincere effort to free the mind from feelings like anger, malice, hatred, revenge and jealousy etc.
It is easy to hate, but it is difficult to love and especially when one has to love an opponent. Thus, for Gandhi, non-violence is meant for the strong and not for the weak as violence is essentially an expression of weakness. One who is inwardly weak develops a sort of fear and out of the fear starts arming against real or imaginary foes.
Thus, non-violence is required urgently in Nepal for drafting the new constitution and saving the peace process from derailment through consensus , mutual trust and love.
Prof. Mishra is former