Every human being thinks that he should nither be abused nor harassed, beaten and subjected to difficulties by another man. This means that every individual expects the other to treat him non-violently.
Wherever we come across an incident involving our behaviour towards others, people argue that non-violence is cowardice. Like me, you too will be eager to know whether there exists a close relationhip between non-violence and cowardice. If there does exist any such relationship, it’s not worth a straw for us. We are not prepared to welcome any such thing which attempts to quench the fire of our valour and fills our heart with cowardice. If there does not exist any such close relationship and if it is merely an imputation on non-violence, we should remove our misunderstanding and evaluate non- violence properly.
1. Suppose Anil attacked Sunil. The latter ran away in fright. It is not non-violence, it is his cowardice.
2. Seizing another opportunity Anil attacked Sunil again. This time he retaliated by hitting him back. This is violence for violence.
3. On another occasion Anil attacked Sunil. This time Sunil remained calm and did not wreak vengeance on Anil. Instead he loved him. He had won Anil’s heart by his readiness for sacrifice. A coward takes to flight for fear of being attacked by his enemy. If he is brave, he himself drives the enemy away. Violence has two positive results: one’s own flight from the scene or the fight of another person. The former is known as cowardice and the latter is known as valour. There is neither flight nor valour in non-violence. Its power is love. It unites the hearts of two persons and frees them from fear. Our attitude to solve the problem is fraught with violence. We think that returning evil for evil shows. our strong retaliatory capacity and leaves a deterrent effect on the mind of the enemy. Thereafter none will have courage to do harm to us. We may take this stand against our opponents but then all the people are not opposed to us. What will be the basis of our behaviour towards those who are our friends or the members of our family or towards those who are neutral-neither inimical nor friendly towards us? Who can say that differences will never arise between you and them?
So long as there exists an occasion for suspicion, imagination and apprehension in the heart of man, there is every probability of dissensions cropping up. Can these walls separating us from one another be demolished by violence?
We cannot exist by causing the whole world to be our enemy. We need such people as may share our happiness and suffering. We need such people as are willing to exchange their hearts. We need those who can give and take support. This need can be fulfilled only be means of non- violence. Can we make the people share our woe and weal through violence? Can we win any one’s heart by adopting violent methods? One can never win affection of the people unless one creates an atmosphere of faith and warmth.
Violence has great force in it. By denying this fact we do not want to play hide and seek with truth. But it is bad as it divides us. What society needs today is the force that may unite us. If society is deprived of the elements of non-violence, will it be able to survive? When the forces of violence increase in society, leaders are worried. In violence they see the foundation of society shaking.
War is the result of an extraordinary situation. On such an occasion, violence becomes inevitable. Can we normalize the rules of a special circumstance. Some people say that the cause of our national slavery is non-violence.
This view is an attempt to reverse the historical facts. The Gupta period has been called the golden age of India. Non-violence occupied the most important place in that period. It was violence that caused our country to be under the yoke of the British slavery. Mutual jealously, hatred and discord dissipated the soul of the nation. The country was in such a bad shape that it succumbed to external invasion. Non-violence is the easiest and the most powerful way of solving the problems faced by us in our day-to-day life.
Non-violence coupled with loving, peaceful and simple life is an art of life. The violent tendencies like subversion and destruction etc. may compel the people to bow down to them but it is the path of force and coercion. Coercion leads society to the direction where there is no occasion to think whether it is right or wrong. Hence the nation pledged to move ahead in the right direction chooses the path of non-violence.