Editor’s note : In the context of the horrors being experienced in the Middle East region Niloufer Bhagwat provides a glimpse into Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘nonviolent civil disobedience and non–cooperation’, as successful methods to overturn unjust political systems and to alter the status quo of injustice, that may lend a healing touch for those face to face with the horrors today. It has references to the Wahhabi and terrorist onslaught on Syria and of course now the Zionist -Wahhabi alliance which is visible to the whole world, the saga of the Palestinian struggle and the reality that Israel has lost the battle and war at the Bar of public and international opinion.
The moral political principles and strategies of Mahatma Gandhi continue to guide humanity
(International Conference on Gandhi– Disarmament and Development (Indore, 4-6 October, 2013)
The 21st Century finds our world confronting new challenges, no less apocalyptic than in the 20th Century, despite the industrial, scientific technological, and information revolutions , no longer confined to the traditional heartlands of Europe and North America. We are witnessing the financial and economic collapse of regions which owed the most to capitalist development, even as amazing transformations have radically changed the day to day lives of many in the world for the better, and in many respects for the worse. Simultaneously we have seen the most barbaric wars in human history to once again restructure, re-colonize and control many regions of the world; to seize by military or non military means every nation’s resources and budget, the savings of citizens, and the entire economic space and markets of vulnerable countries, directly targeting for mass elimination or displacement the civilian population, considered rivals for the seizure, consumption and use of resources, as we have seen in Iraq, Libya and Somalia among other countries. Even as the world is threatened with run away militarization, satanic weapon systems and pre-emptive strikes with atomic weapons are accepted military doctrine of some governments; simultaneously we face imminent threats to the earth’s ecosystem in several regions, adversely impacted by the relentless and unending search for more and more profits.
Human lives as a consequence have become the collateral of the pattern of capital accumulation known today by the sanitized expression, the “Market economy”, with the killings of millions recorded as mere statistics, and national and international legal systems rendered powerless.
In times such as these, even though it is more than half a century since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, wherever in the world individuals and social movements have struggled for answers, whether at ‘Tahrir Square’ or elsewhere, to surmount moral and political decay, to overturn entrenched exploitative systems or racial institutions, which sometimes appear to be difficult to defeat, in many political frontlines and arenas the world over, wherever citizens gather in mass to defy tyrannical systems, the moral political principles and strategies of Mahatma Gandhi continue to guide humanity, along with his critique of the human ravages of colonialism and capitalism as economic systems; his political strategy of mass political education, of ‘satyagraha’ ( the struggles for truth ), and ‘nonviolent civil disobedience and non–cooperation’, as methods to overturn unjust political systems, to alter the status quo of injustice; methods which Gandhiji adopted, successfully defeating the most tyrannical of tyrants, an entrenched Empire. In recent years Bolivia witnessed its Indigenous citizens resorting to civil disobedience, blockading the seat of government, with successive governments having to resign until the government of Evo Morales was elected. This was not a coloured revolution; the people of Bolivia changed their government through a mass movement for political and economic justice of the Indigenous people of Bolivia.
Mahatma Gandhi was far from politically passive; neither was he a narrow nationalist or a bigoted leader, attempting to convince the world of the superiority of his own political path, faith or religion. Gandhi was above all a seeker of truth, who believed in the essential oneness of mankind and humanity; yet at the same time, a practical political leader committed to learning from his own experiments in the political field, testing the many strategies for political action, as any kind of political passivity was alien to him. It was in South Africa, that Mahatma Gandhi arriving as a Barrister to assist in a legal dispute, went on to first become a cautious rebel when personally faced with racial discrimination, and then gradually assumed the leadership of the entire Indian community, when steps were initiated by the then South African racist government, to disenfranchise all Indians by the legislative assembly of Natal to prevent them from voting. This was followed by other discriminatory acts, such as the “The Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance”, issued in the province of Transvaal, which provided for racist and discriminatory finger printing and registration cards for all Indians, making it mandatory for all Indians to carry such cards among other degrading and discriminatory provisions introduced. Gandhiji seized the initiative, urging the Indian community that nonviolent civil disobedience should be resorted to, as unjust laws must be opposed; even as he tested the strength of his political principles and organizational capacity. The Natal Indian Congress was established by him to oppose such measures and organize resistance. Very few leaders could rival Gandhiji’s organizational abilities.
Gandhiji’s influence on all sections and classes of the Indian community in South Africa was predominant.
“In South Africa he found a people not only disarmed and enslaved, but used to it and accepting insults, a people apparently subdued and degraded. His first act was to make them aware of their dignity, their duties and their legitimate rights….the Durban affair” and later developments in Transvaal in South Africa, “revealed to the astonished Europeans, and to the Indians themselves, that they had a moral backbone capable of resistance.” This struggle exposed all those participating including Gandhiji, to physical attacks, jail, and even the possibility of death, however the civil disobedience and resistance went on till a satisfactory agreement was reached, though the sacrifice included several jail terms and the loss of lives of the some of the volunteers. Gandhi who had come to South Africa for a few months, was to spend 21 years of his life in this struggle.
The impact of this struggle on Gandhi’s formidable political opponents in South Africa, including General Smuts, is to be found in a letter to a friend written by General Smuts after Gandhiji left South Africa for India in 1914. General Jan Christiaan Smuts, who as Colonial Secretary and thereafter Secretary of the Interior was responsible for implementation of some of the discriminatory laws passed against Indians, wrote:
“The saint has left our shores, I hope forever”.
Several years later, when an exasperated Winston Churchill demanded to know from General Smuts who was twice Prime Minister of South Africa, as to why General Smuts had not assassinated Gandhi in South Africa itself, before the ‘half naked Fakir’ could threaten the British Empire in India; General Smuts replied – “How could I do this to a man who made sandals for me with his own hands when I imprisoned him”.
In later years remembering the Mahatma, General Smuts was to record: “…I have worn these sandals for so many summers since then, even though I may feel that I am not worthy to stand in the shoes of so great a man.”
The impact of Gandhiji’s work in South Africa has been abiding. Even though the Mahatma never returned to South Africa after 1914, his political inspiration later led directly to the civil resistance movement of the Indian Community against the racist “Ghetto” act in 1946, which institutionalized racial segregation in South Africa, until South Africa was liberated. Even after Gandhi’s assassination, in 1952 the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress were united in their ‘Campaign of Defiance against Unjust Laws’, when thousands courted arrest. However in the years that followed, due to the political intransigence and brutality of the apartheid government, imposing ‘White’ racist minority rule, the political struggles in South Africa became increasingly bitter, leading even to an armed resistance movement, despite the support of the International movement for the liberation of South Africa, in which India continuing the legacy of the Mahatma, was to play a leading role in the United Nations. The United Nations repeatedly censured South Africa’s apartheid and racist laws and imposed sanctions, which gradually led to the isolation of the apartheid government in all International fora. Gandhiji’s inspiration in South Africa continued well beyond the liberation struggle, influencing the establishment of the “ Truth and Reconciliation Commission” by the African National Congress, after South Africa was finally liberated, to assist racial reconciliation, to avoid the violence of a racial war to settle past scores for brutalities committed on the African and Asian people. The success of this Commission is reflected in the absence of racial strife in South Africa today, despite lack of complete agreement on present day policy.
There was always a moral angle to the political struggle of Mahatma Gandhi which was irresistible, making it difficult to defeat. Gandhi kept the attention focused on the injustices of society and the political system enslaving humanity, rather than obsession with individuals or his political opponents , de-personalizing issues, as a consequence all the energy and direction of his political battles were always correctly directed at the defeat of the system, which sought to enslave.
Though Gandhiji’s cultural and spiritual roots were rooted in the Indian philosophic and religious tradition, as articulated in the great Indian epics, in particular the philosophy of the Bhagwad Gita ,and the influences of the spiritual poet and personal friend Shrimad Rajchandra, Gandhiji was far from an Indian revivalist; the sources of his inspiration were not confined to India, they were global and universal, and included political essays such as Henry David Thoreau’s “ Resistance to Civil Government”, John Ruskin’s essay on economy – ‘Unto This Last’, Tolstoy’s personal philosophical work, ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’ and Christ’s ‘ Sermon on the Mount’. While accepting these influences, he tested and applied them in the context of conditions on the ground in South Africa and India, to communicate the political and social message of emancipation. Throughout his life, Gandhi did not perceive any conflict between his individual religious beliefs and other religious philosophies of the world which he equally respected, consequently his political and spiritual impact was widespread, among diverse races and nations, as his moral and political ideals and sources of inspiration had a universal appeal. People of diverse faith and nationality were to become his closest companions, some sharing his commitment to his political causes in South Africa, and others to his political struggles for freedom from colonial rule in India. The Scotsman C.F. Andrews an invaluable member of India’s Freedom struggle, also assisted Gandhiji with some of the negotiations relating to the struggle in South Africa; Sonja Schlesin of Russian origin as his Law clerk ran his Law Office in South Africa, while the Englishman Henry Polak was an editor of a newspaper at Johannesburg , assisting Gandhi. Hermann Kallenbach, the architect of German origin in South Africa, one of his closest friends, worked at the Tolstoy farm at Transvaal and at Phoenix in Natal; whereas the French writer and peace activist Romain Rolland was the bridge between Gandhiji and Europe. There was also the British Admiral’s daughter Madeline Slade, a sincere disciple, whom Gandhi referred to by the Indian name he had given her, Mirabehn.
These were among the many, who shared his life’s journey at different stages, men and women of different nationalities, who worked with him, along with his committed colleagues and disciples in India. Their nationalities, cultures and religions made no difference to him, they were an integral part of his movement and life’s work and as close as members of his family.
It was to Gandhiji, his sincere disciple, that the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, addressed his last letter, in which the writer summing up his life’s philosophy wrote:
“The longer I live, and especially now, when I feel the nearness of death, I want to tell others what I feel so particularly clearly and what to my mind is of great importance, namely that which is called “ passive resistance” but which is in reality nothing else than the teaching of love uncorrupted by false interpretations….This law was proclaimed by all–by the Indians as by the Chinese , Hebrew , Greek and Roman sages of the world. I think that this law was clearly expressed by Christ…the people of the Christian world have accepted this law whilst at the same time they have permitted violence….Therefore, your activity in the Transvaal, as it seems to us at this end of the world, is the most essential work, the most important of all the work now being done in the world, wherein not only the nations of the Christian, but of all the world, will unavoidably take part.”
Tolstoy had chosen his apostle, and bequeathed to him a legacy, and this philosophy was spread by Gandhi through his struggles and example, to every corner of the world.
All Prophets are human, yet distinguished by their spiritual ability to be far seeing when others can barely look a few steps ahead. It was not surprising that Gandhiji possessed this quality.
When most intellectuals of the day, world wide and even in India, were carried away by the munificent magnificence of the Industrial and Technological revolution which had ushered in the age of Capital, as best represented by Western technological progress and its ‘civilizing mission’ which it had usurped; the Mahatma with his uncanny insight and understanding of the political, economic, cultural and social impact of the Imperialism of the British Empire he was opposing, looked far ahead and beyond the glitter, to the world wide pillage of resources, the degradation and incipient fascism at the heart of the system for millions in the world; its capacity for waste amidst plenty, its vast income differentials that made people of the same society inhabit different worlds; observing aptly that when the inhabitants of a small island had caused so much misery to the world by pursuing such a system, what would happen if millions in India and other parts of the world emulated and replicated the same system. Gandhiji was convinced that it was necessary to transcend capitalism.
It was the Mahatma’s moral force and example, his incisive political understanding and mass mobilization, his innovative strategies to defeat a system which had enslaved millions, that made the eminent French writer Romain Rolland, one of the most passionate voices of the anti–war movement of Europe in the pre Second World War period, declare in the agonizing years of the nineteen thirties, when Europe was plunged into despair, and drifting towards an economic abyss and another world war, that in the 20th Century there were only two paths to liberation, one was the Socialist Revolution of 1917 and the other was that of Mahatma Gandhi. According to this renowned author, these two paths could not be said to be antagonistic, they were merely different roads.
Several years earlier, as the debate was on in the International Communist Movement, on the strategies adopted by the Indian struggle for Independence against British colonial rule, as the first Socialist Revolution supported all anti-colonial and national liberation struggles; the other great revolutionary of the 20th Century Lenin, opined, that the tactical and wider unity forged by the leadership of the Indian National Congress, the mainstream anti-colonial struggle in India, among several other smaller streams, as having a better chances of victory, than the sectarian path proposed by M.N. Roy, a revolutionary from India.
This was political recognition of the correct political path forged by Mahatma Gandhi for Independence, despite the social complexity of feudalism in India, and its fragmentation of society into castes and classes, with widely different interests, which Gandhiji painstakingly and strategically united into the political struggle for Indian Independence.
It is not widely known that Gandhi sympathized with the objectives of the first Socialist Revolution of 1917, though he had reservation on some of the methods adopted. This sympathy with socialist objectives was not surprising, as Gandhi’s paramount concern was not only freedom from colonial rule, for him that was only the first step in the objective to abolish hunger, unemployment and the social practice of untouchability, which was a scourge in India; as Gandhi stood for egalitarian ideals and the overall economic emancipation and social reform of Indian society. What distinguished the Indian Freedom Movement from other political movements, was Gandhi’s emphasis on social reform of the still feudal Indian society and its backwardness, as an integral part of the movement, which embraced all weaker sections, with mass participation of women encouraged at every level.
Gandhiji’s moral and political influence in the world had reached such heights, that leaders and heads of State of fascist movements in Europe, desired a meeting with the Mahatma to increase their own political respectability, when the Mahatma visited Europe in 1931, on his return from the political negotiations at the Round Table Conference convened in London. Politically curious about fascist political movements spreading across Europe, Gandhiji met Mussolini at a request from the dictator, but declined to give Mussolini the political respectability Mussolini sought, the Mahatma had already chosen his path. While attempting to build the widest coalition to overthrow foreign rule, Gandhi’s genuine and evolving spirituality made him consciously seek out the weakest and the most exploited of society, to communicate to them his political message for social, economic and political emancipation, as it is to them he was closest, as the political leader of the Scheduled Castes, and one of the main architects of the Constitution of India, Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, a renowned scholar and constitutional expert was to admit in the Constituent Assembly, after Gandhi’s assassination, while paying him homage. It is not surprising that workers of the Lancashire Textile factories in Britain, with whom Gandhi stayed in a working class district in England, while attending the negotiations at the Round Table Conference, came out and cheered Gandhiji, wholly sympathetic to his movement, and understanding when the Mahatma explained, that the political movement for the boycott of foreign cloth in India, which included the cloth manufactured by them in Lancashire, was absolutely necessary to emancipate the poorest of the poor working people and peasantry of India, who were much worse off than the textile workers of Britain. It is not only in England that he had admirers, but among all anti-colonial movements in Africa, in Egypt and the entire Arab world, which recently once again became visible, when millions in Egypt gathered at Tahrir Square, with many declaring that they were inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.
In a world engulfed by “unending war” which has destroyed millions and so many societies, with thousands of bombing sorties on each of the countries destroyed including on Afghanistan; our understanding of the political truth Gandhi represented, would not be complete without recalling the public stand taken by Mahatma Gandhi at Lausanne in Switzerland in 1931, even as war clouds hung over Europe and fascist political forces were on the ascendancy, with their shrill war cries.
To the media in Europe interacting with the moral and spiritual leader of India’s political struggle, this is what he said:
“I observe throughout the West a sickness of heart. You seem to be tired of the military burden under which Europe is groaning, and also tired of the prospect of shedding the blood of your fellowmen. The last war, falsely called great, has taught you and humanity many a rich lesson. It taught you some surprising things about human nature. You also found that no fraud , no lies, no deceit was considered too bad to use in order to win the war; no cruelty was considered too great; there were no unfair ways and means for encompassing the destruction of your so-called enemy. Suddenly, as in a flash, the friends of your youth became enemies, no home was safe, nothing spared. This civilization of the West was weighed in the balance and found wanting…”
In this context, to us, Private Bradley Manning, the United States soldier, unjustly convicted by court martial under the Espionage Act among other laws, for exposing the videos of war crimes, despite the War Crimes Act of the USA and its Constitutional provisions, when there were no other avenues for disclosing some of the worst crimes in the annals of the world, which it was mandatory in accordance with the Nuremberg principles to disclose, is a Gandhian prisoner of conscience , among others ,who must not be forgotten.
Gandhiji placed before the people of Europe , an alternative to acquiescing in aggressive wars, that is absolute ‘Civil Disobedience’ and ‘Non-Cooperation’ with the state which militarizes to wage aggressive wars, emphasizing that “the refusal of military service was only a secondary episode in the real fight which needs to be fought, which involves a total refusal to co-operate with the exploiting and militarist State …refusal to pay taxes, refusal to hold posts, refusal of even the apparent or superficial benefits which the State confers or claims to confer….There must be total void round that State making it impossible to function” that mere non-co-operation with the Army of such a state “was too little”; it was absolutely necessary in such circumstances to non-co-operate with every activity of such a state, when it resorted to aggressive warfare. During the course of the same visit in the context of the political issues confronting Europe, when Gandhiji was asked questions on Capitalism, he replied: ”Labour does not know its own power”….”Did it know , that it would only have to rise to have capitalism crumble away. For labour is the only power in the world.”
The eminent French writer, Romain Rolland, a biographer of Mahatma Gandhi, who supported India’s freedom movement and was a link between the people of Europe and Mahatma Gandhi, whose life and work the writer had followed and supported for forty years on that continent, in a period critical for Europe, kept urging Gandhiji to influence and attempt to reverse with his acknowledged world wide moral authority, the disastrous events in Europe and the drift towards a world war. This writer and anti – war activist has left us some vignettes of the Mahatma in his writings and correspondence:
“…in any judgment passed on him, this one essential must be borne in mind: he is in constant evolution. There’s nothing fixed about him, nothing settled once and for all….This has always been his method of self–instruction and action; direct social experimentation, repeated and verified, step by step, and broadening his circle at each step. There’s no doubt that his thoughts have been modified in the course of these experiments. By way of a symbolic example, let me quote you a thing he admits to himself, his transformation four or five years ago of an ideological formula dear to him : “God is truth” into: “ Truth is God“ which is his present motto….India was in the lowest degree of serfdom and discouragement, and it was Gandhi who by his heroic example (he has often been imprisoned, beaten and threatened with death ), gave her a sense of pride and dignity, and revived in her the powerful breadth of independence. This was no mean task; imagine three hundred million human beings reawakened by the tireless propaganda….his deepest sympathies lie with the labouring people and the millions of disinherited and oppressed…”
A revolutionary is known by his disciples. In the United States of America, Reverend Martin Luther King emerged to follow in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, convinced that “Non-Cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is co-operation with good”, referring to the Mahatma as “the guiding light of our inspiration”. With this Civil Rights Movement of the United States led by Martin Luther King, and inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, was to commence another struggle for the emancipation of the African American people, which the American Civil War had failed to accomplish, despite the abolition of slavery, and which is still an unfinished task, even as Reverend Martin Luther King was to be silenced by assassination in the same manner as Mahatma Gandhi, the Guru and his disciple sharing the same fate. The movement commenced with a single act of non-violent civil disobedience when Rosa Parks refused to vacate the “Whites Only” seat in a bus, a humiliation inflicted routinely on African Americans, leading to the organization of the ‘Montgomery’ bus boycott by all African Americans, under the leadership of Reverend Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), organizing for Civil Rights, which then spread to the whole of the State of Alabama. The boycott continued for 383 days despite the hardship involved, inflicting heavy financial losses on the Transport Company, until the United Supreme Court declared the racial segregation laws unconstitutional. About this struggle and the impact of Mahatma Gandhi on the movement, Reverend Martin Luther King was to write:
“In the summer of 1956 the name of Mahatma Gandhi was well known in Montgomery. People who had never known of the little brown saint of India were now saying that name with an air of familiarity. Non-violent resistance had emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulatory ideal. In other words Christ furnished the spirit and the motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method.”
The struggle was unstoppable, spreading rapidly throughout the United States of America, with its leader like Mahatma Gandhi, criticizing the system which imposed segregation, exposing simultaneously all the tendencies within the United States which made for a violent society, including militarism, which Martin Luther King maintained was a continuation and extension of the anti-human policies of economic exploitation and racism within the United States, and against all the working people of the United States of America. At the New York Riverside in a speech titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” on the 4th April 1967, a year before his assassination, Martin Luther King made a historic public indictment of the political system of the United States, in the context of the Vietnam war and the addiction of the system to war, referring to the “United States as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi believed that in any society where millions were hungry, food was the “divinity” to be installed in every home, and that every religious philosophy in fact mandated respect for all of humanity, cutting across cultures; Martin Luther King his great disciple stressed that:
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar, it comes from seeing that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring” and that “any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with slums that damn them, the economic conditions which cripple them, is a spiritually moribund religion, in need of new blood”.
Apart from the Civil Rights Movement of the United States, one of the most important political movements in the world today, the Palestinian struggle for ‘National Self – Determination’, has been inspired among other liberation struggles, by Mahatma Gandhi, with the mainstream of the Palestinian people, adopting and re-adapting Gandhian strategies, resisting inhuman policies till date. It is the pursuance of this difficult Gandhian path, by the people of Palestine, which has sustained them in spirit, through the saga of their trials and tribulations of over half a century against a brutal occupation by the government of Israel and the Zionist movement, in defiance of every resolution of the United Nations, which has claimed ”exceptional” and “chosen people” status, while imposing creeping genocide on the Palestinian people, with the entire Palestinian territory converted into one of the largest concentration camps, in collaboration with the world’s foremost military powers.
Gandhi’s was one of the first voices internationally to be raised against the colonization of Palestine, as he was no stranger to the rights and wrongs of the world. The Mahatma’s was a simple and unequivocal stand, that “Palestine belonged to the Palestinian people”; foreign settlers could not legitimately usurp the lands of the Palestinian people, as wrongly permitted by the Balfour Declaration. This early stand influenced the position of the then government of India in the United Nations in 1948, when India opposed the creation of the State of Israel, and supported only one State of Palestine in all Palestinian territories, even as other world powers and the General Assembly supported the creation of two States, that is a State of Israel along with the Arab State of Palestine on what was Palestinian territory, with majority of the people, still Palestinians. Predictably the Arab state of Palestine was never allowed to be created and despite delimitation by UN resolution, had its territories swallowed up in the creeping aggression through war and colonial settlements, which continues.
Today these diverse strategies of Resistance adopted by the Palestinian people, reinforced by other struggles and developments, have resoundingly defeated the government of Israel morally and politically at the Bar of international public opinion and in international fora, which includes the pronouncement of the International Court of Justice in the Advisory Opinion declaring the Wall constructed by Israel illegal, in violation of Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law.
Reinforcing the mainstream of the Palestinian movement, apart from the spectacular defeat of Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2006 by the Hezbollah, Lebanese National Resistance, has been the world wide Gandhian strategies adopted by the International Solidarity Movement in support of Palestine, the ‘Free Gaza Movement” of the Gaza Flotillas, and the International Movement for ‘boycott and disinvestment’, directed against the government and companies of the occupying power, aimed at ‘lifting the veil’ of the oppressor’s inhumanity and denying the Israel state respectability. The ‘Flotillas to Free Gaza’, was one of the most imaginative and formidable non-violent armadas ever launched in the world, by citizens of different countries, with the consistent support of a few sympathetic governments, which was equally important in winning the battle for International public opinion, even as some peaceful volunteers on the vessel “ Mavi Marmara”, were murdered by commandoes and other vessels were hijacked on the High Seas in an act of piracy , with all on board courting arrest.
With these diverse strategies, the battle for world opinion and the moral and political victory has already been won by the people of Palestine, which has led to the State of Palestine being granted Observer Status at the United Nations and earlier member status with several UN agencies, what remains is the demolition of the Wall, dismantling by Israel of all institutions of racist state, the right to return for Palestinian refugees and the physical vacation of all occupied Palestinian and Arab territories by the state of Israel. Events have proved Gandhi right on the Palestinian question, whereas most major powers perpetrated a grave injustice, for which not only the people of Palestine but the Arab people as a whole have bled through wars, conflicts and the seizure of the region’s resources , with world peace threatened by a nuclear war on related issues ,which was mostly recently averted.
Yet we cannot conclude that Gandhiji was ignorant of the real causes of political violence. Though the Mahatma consciously sought to avoid violence, he was wholly aware that in the absence of an orderly political mass movement, violence would become a reality in societies where millions were brutalized or exploited. In 1945 almost at the end of his life, in a revised edition of his 1941 ‘Reconstruction Programme’, Mahatma Gandhi warned that:
“A non-violent system of government is clearly an impossibility so long as the wide divide between the rich and the hungry millions persist….”
In every forum , the world over, wherever the political, economic , social and ecological future of humanity and preservation of the planet earth, our common home, is debated and discussed, Gandhiji with his simple precepts provides a guidance for all generations Reverend Martin Luther King, the Mahatma‘s great disciple summed up the Mahatma’s contribution:
“Posterity could not escape him even if it tried. By all standards of measurement, he is one of the…greatest men in world history.”
Niloufer Bhagwat, a lawyer and wife of former Indian Navy Chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat. Vice President Indian Lawyers Association — Mumbai, Tokyo International Tribunal Judge.
“The empire game our government has been playing is coming to an end one way or another. This is the fate of all empires: they overextend themselves and then suffer a financial catastrophe, typically involving the destruction of the currency. We are already seeing the pattern emerging in our own case. We can either withdraw gracefully, as I propose, or we can stay in our fantasy world and wait until bankruptcy forces us to scale back our foreign commitments. Again, I know which option I prefer.” — Former Congressman Ron Paul