The Mahatma and the strengthening of non-violence

It’s a painful world. Marked relentlessly, indiscriminately, more and more by the fury of nature, In the name of a virus. Three years of total destruction of lives, resources, jobs and decrepit economic chaos.

The world’s great powers and economies are, however, in confrontation mode. Now is not the time to rake in the hated hegemony waiting. The super powers don’t realize that no one appreciates this. Military threats of war, violent instances are not what the peoples of the world need. Lively dialogue is fine. Political postures are always acceptable, but not threats of war. It is a frightened humanity. Any violent episode will erode the functioning of human minds elsewhere, the loss of faith in peace and a prosperous existence. After all, it is the same computer language that drives futuristic civilian spaceflight, as that used for a missile launch. The world needs rest, time to recuperate, rehabilitate and heal.

I wish the super powers had a word to ensure world peace in those times. It didn’t come with the heat as expected.

Not that there has been much wisdom in the past. The two superpowers had several treaties, such as strategic arms limitation treaties operating in several versions. The issue was nuclear restriction on both sides. Despite efforts to limit nuclear arsenals, there was a loophole that there are at least twenty countries that stockpile nuclear stockpiles.

On the lighter side, could it be shadow boxing, to deflect major global issues. It’s not too far back in time when North Korean dictator Kim Jong talked about his nuclear button. Only President Trump has talked about a bigger button!

In this context, one is forced to recall scenes from epic movies that one can replay in the mind. Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ begins with the scene of the ashes of the murdered Mahatma being immersed in the Ganges. There is only one background dialogue. “Years later, people will wonder if such a man really existed” by Einstein. Elite minds excelling in various fields have bandwidth to assess each other’s excellence. Attenborough took twenty years to make the film from the incubation period of the idea, to the story, the cast dialogues and the final screening. Truly, violence has got the world nowhere. Threats of war do not attract praise either from humanity or from Hollywood or Bollywood audiences. The world has seen more destruction in the past three years.

The Mahatma’s non-violence was a philosophy of life, as well as a weapon not to be inflicted, but to be resisted. From the “Dandi” march (to repeal the Salt Tax Act) out of sheer resistance, withstanding the blows of armed British cavalry, but without reacting.

The Imperial Empire had no answers. His non-violence finally culminated when the “Quit India movement” intimidated the imperial power to invite him to a round table asking for his cooperation during the war.

He had no doubt that his non-violence was a universal saying. He could in no way help Hitler in his bloody massacres, knowing the Holocaust well enough, (one of the darkest points in human history).

He was happy to stop his movement and take independence after winning the war. It is a defining moment in history that a country has delayed its last call for independence, in the interest of saving lakes of innocent people from the hands of a dictator.

The Mahatma was too smart to know what was about to happen. There was an assassination attempt somewhere around the 20and of January. His words perhaps to Nehru, or his own soliloquy were: “If tomorrow someone shoots me, I hope to have no hatred in my eyes, and the name of my Lord on my lips”. What superhuman sublimation Bar-at law, Mr MK Gandhi!

With a virus and its mutant ravaging human lives, can the powers that be delay their clashes, invest their resources, unite the world until this war is won?

One of Mahatma’s favorite hymns was,

Vaishnav jan to eney kahiye, jey pee parayi janey re

[The true human is one who can feel the pain of others]”



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.


About Michael C. Lovelace

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