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Detailed Discussion Forum

We are living today in an era where social, cultural and political spheres are void of spirituality. At this time when mankind is confronted with clashes of national interest, religious biases and ethnic and racial prejudices, non-violence can be a well-trusted means of laying a way of life. But there is another central philosophical question which the human race has been unable to answer:

“Why is there violence………. rather than non - violence?” …….…

When once asked if non-violent resistance was a form of “direct action”, Gandhi replied: “...It is the only form.” He said it was the “greatest force...more positive than electricity, and more powerful than even ether.” Gandhi believed non-violence could be put into practice at every level of human experience. He has acted as a prophet for 21st century generation and his voice urges us to continue struggling on behalf of what we view as right and just.

We are served on a platter, in a world where there are calamities such as terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and fanaticism, to choose out of choices. The choice of non-violence is ours. We live in a world of “overlapping destinies” where the fates of cultures are heavily intertwined. It is no longer a world of closed communities where tyrannical orders or religious traditions represented the sole layers of historical legitimacy. Never in the history of the human race has non-violence been so crucial. Only the most barbaric and despotic regimes, however, have attempted to prevent their subjects to think and to practice non-violence.

Skepticism about non-violence is subtle and far more complicated. How do we answer the cynicism of those who are not votaries of violence and may actually want to reduce use of violent methods but have no faith in non-violence as a philosophy, as a method, as a way of life? This is why many people who admire Mahatma Gandhi, even revere him, perhaps regard him as the most towering figure of the 20th century – don’t believe that his advocacy of non-violence is practical or doable by ordinary people.

Like Gandhi Ji, Thomas Merton a Christian Monk, put great emphasis on why the votary of non-violence cannot feel superior or treat the opponent as some form of ‘low life’. Christian non-violence, wrote Merton, means that you cannot see the adversary as being totally wicked and utterly incapable of being reasonable or well-intentioned. Such an attitude, Merton said, would defeat the very purpose of non-violence – which is to foster openness, communication, dialogue. It is when these fundamentals are compromised, Merton found, that acts of non-violent civil disobedience just end up antagonizing the adversary, making him still more unwilling to communicate in any way other than through bullets.

But a question arises if we should teach the children of this generation of 21st century the meaning and value of non-violence and if the answer is positive then why?

Everybody learns about wars in their history classes. The basics include: who fought, what was the cause, and who won? But do we teach children about the real information behind wars? Do we teach our kids that during wars, millions of people may die just by being caught in the crossfire or that servant citizens by the hundreds of thousands may have lost their lives on the battlefield? Why do we speak of wars with such reverence and pride that we have forgotten what the real objective is---peace?
You might think that "world peace" as a term and concept has become tritely overused and clichéd due to improper usage/ poor publicity. What we need is a makeover of minds. That's right, a mental makeover. Imagine that you are nine years old and your teacher decides to speak a bit about social studies for the day. She has chosen the topic of the discovery of your state, country, etc.

What was supposed to start out as a diplomatic, non-political lesson ends up being a debate between children on who won the war of claiming the lands or war of independence . I think that history is important and that wars are definitely part of what shaped modern society into what it is today. However, I think that more education systems need to teach the peaceful inter relational methods of non-violence. Does this mean that Sh. M. L. K. Gandhi should be promoted to the utmost? Of course not.

We should teach kids as is appropriate. Although, we should definitely focus on the principles of non-violence that we should be instilling in the next generation of possible global leaders. This is important for an incredibly number of reasons, far to multitudinous for we to entail presently. Rather, if we observe the situation as is, then we will realize the benefits quite quickly. We can reduce teen violence, aggression and mental upset. We can also have a tremendous impact as the voice of a public who are tired of their nation's quarrels. Just as education is perhaps the greatest tool of change, non-violence is the greatest facet of the newly born human condition.

Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.- Thomas Edison

Gandhi ji said, “There is no hope for the aching world except through the narrow and straight path of non-violence.” If we want to reap the harvest of dialogical coexistence in the future, we will have to sow seeds of non-violence.



Mrs Noen Bella
Pine Grove Public School
Bassi Pathanan
Distt. Fatehgarh Sahib

(Matter reproduce)