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.
Category: BlogTagged With: Mahatma Gandhi
The Non Violence In The Life Of M K Gandhi
The Non-Violence in the Life of M K Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was one of the most famous leaders with a
movement in non-violence. He opposed British imperial rule in India
during the 20th century. In reference to non-violence, Gandhi had two
key teachings of ahimsa and satyagraha.
Gandhi used the principle of ahimsa (doing no harm) that was common to
Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, and used it as the springboard to
large-scale action. He used this concept to fight off not only the
colonial rule but also racial discrimination and social divisions such
as the untouchables in society.
Ahimsa translates as ‘non-violence’ or ‘non-injury’ and this concept
is contained in the Vedas so it is quite an ancient theory. The four
holy books contain a teaching that reads, “Do not kill any living
being”. Gandhi explained that true love could be used to combat
violence using non-violence. He also referred to it as being the
aspect of God or truth. He said in the Harijan, 12 November 1935,
“Non-violence is an active force of the highest order. It is soul
force or the power of Godhead within us”.
Gandhi believed that all people have a capacity within themselves of
non-violence or love so he declared that the best way of overcoming
the evildoers in the world was to not retaliate and make them change
their hearts. He also believed that passive resistance through
motivation of all life could overcome hatred and cruelty.
He said in the Harijan, 5 September1936, “Non-violence is a power
which can be wielded equally by all – children, young men and women or
grown-up people, provided they have a living faith in the God of Love
and have therefore equal love for all mankind. When non-violence is
accepted as the law of life, it must pervade the whole being and not
be applied to isolated acts”.
Gandhi believed that there are six ‘prerequisites’ that believers in
non-violence should follow. The first is that non-violence is the law
used by rational beings while brute force is the law of the jungle.
The second is that believers in non-violence should also believe in
God. The third is that non-violence should be used as a mechanism of
defending a person’s self respect but not for the protection of
personal property or wealth. The fourth is that non-violence is
self-sacrifice and so possession of other people’s property and
countries is immoral. The fifth is that non-violence is available for
all to use so caste, creed and age are irrelevant but faith in the God
of Love is required. Therefore non-violence should be accepted as he
law of life. The sixth is that this law of non-violence and love
should be applied to the local community as well as all of humanity.
He said, “Non-violence is more powerful than all the armaments in the
world. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of...
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