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Gandhi’s Non-Violence

What are the three kinds of violence?

1. According to Johan Galtung, violence is of three kinds – direct, structural and cultural.

2. Gandhi’s non-violence responded to the contemporary problem of violence at these 3 levels.

How did Gandhi respond to different kinds of violence?

Response to direct violence

1. Gandhi’s principle of non-violence is ‘Advaita’.

2. Violence against others is actually violence against violence.

3. He noted that sacrifice of self is infinitely superior to the sacrifice of others.

4. His non-violence implies self-purification of the individual.

5. He argued with reasons that violence as a contemporary means to settle issues should be avoided in our personal and social life.

6. In the long run, violence produces more harm than good as it produces a vicious and endless chain in which an individual or society gets trapped.

7. His non-violence calls for dynamic action at an individual level.

8. He considered non-violence must be applied in all social relations – familial, political, economic and educational.

Response to structural violence

1. Structural violence in a modern world is the problem of violence viewed in terms of concentration of power, large scale industrialization, and exploitation of one group by another.

2. Gandhi’s idea of ‘aparigraha’ (non-possession) and its institutionalized form ‘trusteeship’ and self-control are useful today.

3. He advocated the decentralized mode of polity (Panchayati Raj) and economy (Gram Swaraj) to minimize the structural violence of the society.

4. Gandhi proposed ‘Satyagraha’ which takes various forms like civil disobedience and non-cooperation.

5. He reminded the people that the State and the Government cannot exist without people’s cooperation.

6. He recommended that the edge of the political consciousness of people should be kept sharp and moral discipline must be maintained.

Response to cultural violence

1. Violence is the result of the dominance of the socio-political or economic structure of the society on a particular social group/ community.

2. One must view violence in its totality.

3. To develop a nonviolent worldview, he emphasizes on a new kind of socialization through ‘Swadeshi’ and a new kind of education through ‘Nai Talim’ in the society.

4. Implications of such ideas will nourish and foster nonviolent relations with others.

5. He also suggested that humans and nature must be in harmony rather than the exploitation of nature by humans.

6. Exploitation of nature by humans is leading to environmental crisis in present times.

Gandhi advocated the ‘green thought’ in our day to day life as well as an economy and developmental model based on natural order to save ourselves.