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What if Gandhi also supported violence?

Photo by Elias Arias on Unsplash

During India’s struggle for freedom, Gandhi played a pivotal role in galvanizing the Indian population to resist the British colonial rule. The central theme of his movement was the idea of non-violent resistance. Gandhi strongly believed — permanent social change, especially the independence of the country can be achieved only through ahimsa.

Gandhi has a global reputation of being a pacifist, and his birthday, October 2nd is celebrated as the international day of non-violence.

Gandhi- the embodiment of non-violence, wasn’t an idealist as he also touched upon the possibility of using violence.

In the 2010 movie, A-team, one of the characters- Baracus undergoes a transformation in prison and when his friends break him out of jail, he finds it difficult to go back to his old ways. Baracus is conflicted between adhering to his newfound principles of nonviolence and his need to help his team complete a dangerous mission.

Nevertheless, he agrees to join the team, and before they gear up, Baracus has a conversation with the team leader and decides to read a quote by Gandhi:

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.

To which, the team leader, John Smith responds with another quote by Gandhi:

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.

Human beings harbor the idea of violence when they feel threatened or sense danger to their loved ones. When someone is cornered and their life is at stake, exercising non-violence isn’t going to help in any way. That’s cowardice and impotence at its peak.

Gandhi definitely propagated the idea of non-violent resistance. But, what happens when that resistance is broken by a violent force capable of decimating the person?

Every living being trembles while facing death. It is impossible to not be filled with violence in such a scenario, and Gandhi himself pushed the idea of acting on that violence. It is definitely not to be mistaken with filling oneself with violence and using that as the primary tool for fighting.

The sword should remain in the scabbard and should be unleashed only when the situation demands it. The shield can also reap desired results.

Thank you for reading.



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