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Gandhiji’s Concept of Non-Violence and its Relevance in Present Society | Article by Tapan Das

Gandhiji’s Concept of Non-Violence and its  Relevance in Present Society  Article by Tapan Das

Gandhiji’s Concept of Non-Violence and its Relevance in Present Society


Introduction:

Gandhiji’s entire philosophy is based on truth and Non-Violence. Non-Violence or Ahimsa is the fundamental tenet of Gandhian Ethics. His greatness as a leaderand thinker lies in his transformation of the individualistic message of Non-Violence into a successful technique of direct mass-action. His interpretation of Non-Violence is that it is not merely a negative state of harmlessness, but it is a positive state of love as doing good to the evil doer. Non-Violence is the greatest and the most active force in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi revives Buddha’s ethics of Ahimsa and applies it to social, economic and political problems. He evolves a new outlook on life based on the doctrine of Ahimsa and sees to solve all social, political and economic problems in the light of this principle. He gives a new orientation to the problems, that face humanity today and offers a new solution. He was influenced by Tolstoy who believed in absolute altruism. Tolstoy maintained that the true self could be realized in acts of self-sacrifice alone and that moral goodness is identical with altruism.

Objective:

The main objective of this article is to highlight Gandhiji’s concept of Non- violence and its relevance in present society.

Methodology:

This paper is based on secondary data, which is mainly descriptive, collected from books, research papers, articles, internet, newspapers etc.

 

Gandhiji’s concept of Non-Violence:

Gandhiji gave his ashramites this concept of Non-Violence. He said that Truth and Non-Violence are as old as the hills. Explaining more clearly the transition from the action of Truth to that of Non-Violence, he says that Ahimsa and Truth are so intertwined that it is practically impossible to disentangle and separate them. They are like the two sides of a coin.

According to Gandhi the word Ahimsa has both a negative and positive aspect. The positive aspect of its meaning is more fundamental for Gandhi because, it comprehends the negative aspect also and represents its essence. In working out the positive principles of Ahimsa, Gandhi proceeds under a conviction, that Ahimsa represents one of the basic and essential qualities of mankind. That does not mean that violence does not have any place in life. In fact, during one’s existence, one has to commit ahimsa of one kind or the other, yet Ahimsa is considered to be the law of our species. This is apparent from the fact that even when violence appears to do some good, the good that results is very temporary.

Nothing permanent can be built on violence. Ahimsa is nothing but love. Love is a kind of feeling of oneness. In an act of love one identifies himself with the object of his love, and this cannot be possible unless there is an effort to free the mind from every such disposition that prevents the spontaneous outflow of love.Therefore, Ahimsa demands a sincere effort to free the mind from negative emotions of anger, malice, hatred, revenge, jealousy etc., because these create obstacles in the way of love. Love according to Gandhi is the energy that cleanses one’s inner life and uplifts him and as such, love comprehends such noble feelings as benevolence, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, kindness, generosity, sympathy etc. It is easy to hate, but it requires supreme energy and strength to love. The task becomes still more difficult when one is required to love a person who is ordinarily regarded as an opponent. Therefore Gandhi says that non-violence is meant for the strong and not for the weak.

Non- violence again is conceived as a gospel of action. It is not an attitude of indifference or passivity. It is true that the seeds of non-violence lie deep down in the heart, but they are expressed and given shape in actions. Non-violence is a dynamic process involving continuous and persistent deliberations, efforts,strains and actions. It is true that non-violence requires extreme patience on the part of one who is using this method, but this patience is not a sign of inactivity.

It is an expression of a conscious effort to force the so-called opponent to see and realize his own mistake.Therefore, it is said that non-violence involves sacrifice and suffering.

Sacrifices, according to Gandhi are an indispensible companion of love. Love demands a going beyond the self. a self-transcendence. Only he can love, who is selfless, who only believes in giving not in taking. Gandhi also feels that non- violence conceived as love and conscious suffering can give full protection to one’s self-respect and sense of honor. In fact, the non-violent man does not bend. It is the opponent who has to bend. He infact practices forgiveness in the maximum degree, and in the process the opponent is almost put to shame. It is the firm conviction of Gandhi that Ahimsa can be practiced universally. It is a power which can be wielded equally by children, young men and women or even grown up people of all places and times. It does not involve the use of any external object, it only demands a sincerity of purpose and a purity of intentions and as such, it can be practiced by everybody, in the society, as much by nations. But there is one supreme condition attached to the practice of Ahimsa.

It cannot be practiced unless one has a living and unflinching faith in God. The practice of Ahimsa requires an inner strength, which can only be generated by unwavering faith in God. A sincere faith in God will make man see everyone as fellow beings and one who is essential. Thus, the love of God would turn into a love of humanity, which alone can make possible the practice of Ahimsa. It is as a result of the realization of the unity of mankind, that one will be able to love his fellow beings. Faith in God, therefore, is the most fundamental condition for the practice of Ahimsa.

 

Relevance of Non-Violence in Present Society:

Gandhiji’s concept of Non-violence seems to be quite relevant to the modern society. In the present times, we find rapid development in every field. This development is a result of advancement in science and technology. However with this development the world has become too materialistic and we have lost all our spiritual values, happiness etc. But spiritual perfection with all its values is regarded as the highest ideal of the entire human race. This spiritual perfection is possible only through the life of moral action and in that case

Gandhi’s thought becomes very much relevant. Gandhi himself wanted the development of science and technology. But at the same time we all know that it had been Gandhiji’s endeavor to remind the people of the ancient values and thus to bring about spiritual awakening. He knows that people can attain peace and real happiness only through spiritual and moral awakening, not by mere science of matter. Science and spirituality must meet. Peace in our mind can bring peace to the society and every one desires it.

Today the entire human race is facing a crisis due to violence in the name of religion, language, community etc. In such a situation Gandhi’s religion becomes extremely necessary and relevant. Gandhi’s religion is the religion of Truth and Non-violence. His religion is highly practical. It includes the idea of unity in the world. His religion being the religion of truth can be practiced by all. Thus a sense of universal brotherhood is created which is very essential for the development of the present society. In this way Gandhiji’s view of Non- violence has become exceedingly relevant to the present society.

 

Conclusion:

Gandhi was a practical idealist. His ideal of non-violence has a deep impact in our society. By applying this in our daily life we can promote peace, unity, honesty and become a crimeless society. If we the people of India can adopt non-violence and ‘satya’ or truth as our main weapon, India will surely become a crimeless country. We will be able to accept every Indian as our brother or sister and can believe everybody without judging or investigating them. Joy and satisfaction will prevail in every corner of our country. In short we will be able to see a new India emerging

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T
apan Das

Assistant Professor

Department of Political Science

S.B.M.S.College, Sualkuchi

Email Id – dtapan46@gmail.com

 

Illustration By : Tandra Dey

References:

1. R. Sarvepalli : “Mahatma Gandhi Essays & Reflections.” 4Feb. 2013,

Published By Jaico Publishing House.

 

2. Lal B.K. : “Contemporary Indian Philosophy” Nineth Reprint, 2013.

Motilal Benarsidass (P) Ltd. Delhi.

3. Sharma N. : “Twenteeth Century Indian philosophy.” Bharatiya Vidya

Prakasana, Delhi, 1999.

4. Mahadevan. T.M.P.& Saroja. G.V. : “Contemporary Indian Philosophy”

1981, published by S.K. Ghai, Managing Director, Stealing Publishers

Private Limited, New Delhi.




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