Non-violence – UPSC GS1

Why Gandhi insisted on non-violence?

Gandhi objects to violence because it perpetuates hatred. When it appears to do ‘good’, the good is only temporary and cannot do any good in the long run. According to Gandhi the use of non-violence consists of anger, selfishness, hatred and enmity. According to him violence cannot do anything good to human beings.
Gandhi’s concern was both based on theological as well as more pragmatic considerations :
  • India was in no position to get into an armed conflict with the British, having been robbed of all economic and moral strength.
  • Gandhi had the option of reinvigorating a nation that has lost all confidence in its power and inner strength.
  • After these practical considerations, Gandhi found that the only alternative was to fall back upon what was integral to India’s cultural and historical psyche, the principle of non-violence. This non-violence was used in conjunction with the philosophy of non-attachment.
Gandhi declared the two goals of his life to be ensuring India’s freedom and to achieve it through non-violence.One without the other would be unacceptable and weakening. Violence, Gandhi believed, brededviolence, and can never be a solution to India’s problem
Role played by non-violence:
Non-violence played a very important role in defining the course of Indian national movement, from the 1920s to the final achievement of the freedom.
  • It formed the basis of the methods of Satyagraha that became closely associated with the Gandhian whirlwind in Indian politics. Gandhi understood economic profit to be the guiding force of the imperialist project and attacked the British government at where it hurt most, which was financial gain.
  • Picketing, non-cooperation and organised resistance to British modes of oppression were the main modes of the non-violent political movements in India. It shaped the course of the Civil Disobedience Movement as well.
  • Even at a later time, during the Quit India Movement, Gandhi’s theory of non-violence held strong in the face of the new and radical waves in the world of Indian politics like communism and armed revolution.
  • Even at the dawn of independence, as Nehru was getting ready to eloquently unleash his ‘tryst with destiny’, Gandhi was busy on the troubled roads of Bengal, preaching non-violence to mad rioters