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Non-violence - does it always work?

Morgoth IF-Rockerz

Joined: 01 June 2004
Posts: 6831

Posted: 15 April 2006 at 3:17pm | IP Logged

We just did a chapter on Gandhiji for one of my classes.

My prof said that "Satyagraha works only on an enemy with a conscience". There were British officials who also condemned the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919. But, the consequences of Gandhiji's non-violent struggle for independence would have been very different had the enemy been Hitler or Mussolini, for instance.

Look at the Chinese spiritual group Falun Gong. All they did was participate in a non-violent procession and encourage meditational activities. They have been heavily persecuted by the government because it got afraid of the immense popularity of the group. The leader of this group lives in exile in New York today.

What is your opinion on this? What is the chance of non-violent struggles working out? 

PS. I dont know if this has been posted already. If so, feel free to close the topic.

Edited by T. - 16 April 2006 at 7:54am

mist Groupbie

Joined: 26 December 2005
Posts: 156

Posted: 17 April 2006 at 5:39pm | IP Logged
A very interesting point. I think I am likely to agree. I respect Mahatma Gandhi for his staunch belief in principles and how he led a struggle based on it. But I have always leaned more towards the extremist movements and believe more in Tilak's struggle.

I dont think a non violent movement would have lasted against Hitler or Mussolini. Quoting an interesting piece from Martin Luther King, about when non violence is successful and when a violent protest is called for.

"King argued that while some notable victories had been won by violence (for example, the American revolution among many independence struggles in former colonial countries), such models were not applicable to the civil rights struggle because "those fighting for independence have the purpose to drive out their oppressors." King argued that blacks and whites had to live together in a post-racist US, and the only way they could do that with any sense of common community was if they joined together in the struggle to create such a society. And he saw a united, non-violent struggle as the way to get everyone involved. "
sowmyaa IF-Dazzler

Joined: 23 August 2004
Posts: 3658

Posted: 18 April 2006 at 6:14am | IP Logged
I agree with both of you. Though I respect Mahatma Gandhi and I am sure something what he believed and did cannot be done by any ordinary people like me.

However, I believe in Lok Manya Tilak, Lalaji, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat singh and those martyrs. I don't think with some cruel enemy their guilt bites if they keep on killing and slapping and stumping innocents. They would be happy to have enemy following "ahinsa" so its just easy for them.
Aparna_BD IF-Dazzler

Joined: 01 July 2005
Posts: 4924

Posted: 18 April 2006 at 6:36am | IP Logged
I agree with all of you. Although i too respect Gandhi Ji for all that he did for our Country, i remember having a heated discussion with my other classmates in College in my "political science" class that if we had used the Extremist movement of violence during the British period we could have gained independence a few decades earlier!!

No way would have we stood anywhere duing the Nazi or Fascist regimes by following "Non- Violence", Dharna and non- cooperation teschiniques used by Bapu. Like you said .T , when an enemy has no conscience these techniques would have rolled of their backs!!

But i recall reading a very very fascinating discussion on another discussion board that if the Jewish people had started the non- cooperation movement , may be not as many would have been killed or would have been gassed in the gas chambers. As we know the Nazis employed the Jewish people themselves as labours in the camp and even used Jewish force at a low level to bring order and disclipine in the camps. IF all those people employed with the Jewish people would have resisted and not cooperated , the question is " How would the history have turned out then?????"

Edited by Aparna_BD - 18 April 2006 at 6:38am
Signora2 Goldie

Joined: 27 April 2005
Posts: 1006

Posted: 20 April 2006 at 8:40am | IP Logged
Most westerners say the same thing that Britishers after every wave of brutality towards Indians , took a backward step of reflection. But they did not hand freedom to us on a platter. the battle fatigue, Indian aspirations, global scenario all played a big role towards the achievement of our freedom.
The sun was setting on the British empire, they could expand their empires with the help of Indian soldiers, this could be advantageous only for a limited period, later several rebellions all sprang here in the regiments.
The French revolution went haywire because it did not have an ideology, a movement about liberty lost reason, it was hooliganism and mass murderers who took over France.
The South Africans could get freedom becuase in most part their movement was inspired GAndhijis non-cooperation. Any war is liberating if the cost of human life is minimum, unfortunately that is the not the case, ultimately what provides oxygen to a movement is that something extra that fires the imagination of the people, restores their self respect awakens them to fight unitedly, u need a mass leader to carry on the struggle. India's freedom movement had several leaders that throught the period proved an inspiration. The cause has to be just and should give hope to the opressed that Gandhiji managed to do.
Groovychick IF-Rockerz

Joined: 11 July 2005
Posts: 8418

Posted: 20 April 2006 at 10:41am | IP Logged
well said Clap
ok..firstly..i disagree..although mahatma ghandi settled things without any violence..this theory will not always wrk..or so i think anyway..the britainers used violence and force therefore the indians got scared and started 2 worry a violence does create an effect but sometimes too much violence can prove 2 be very harmful and non-effective if used too often or with too much force..
we start to ignore ppl when they try 2 get their point across with non-violence..
if sum1 does start to use violence then we start 2 get scared and listen 2 their point of view
1 more thing..i agree with souwmyaa..what mahatma ghandi did at that time..i think it would be very hard 4 this modern generation 2 do..he was one in a million..nowadays there are not many ppl who are ready 2 give their life for their country..i love my home country..but truely speaking..i'm not sure if i would be ready 2 give my life 4 it Ouch

ok..that's all i can comment because i don't know too much on the history of Mahatma Ghadi Embarrassed Confused
zara_123 Senior Member

Joined: 20 February 2006
Posts: 562

Posted: 20 April 2006 at 11:40am | IP Logged
wow uve all written paragraphs!!!!
wildblossom IF-Rockerz

IF-Crazy Creatives
Joined: 01 July 2005
Posts: 5373

Posted: 20 April 2006 at 8:59pm | IP Logged
i dont believe non-violence always works. first i took a course called peace studies and it was about non-violence and the world- genocide, war, etc.
gandhi- though popularly said to have brought india independence did not.
the reason the british gave up and left was that they could not handle war on two fronts. india was rising up to meet the challenge and fought britain. i admit gandhi was a smart politician though no one calls him one. he made the media pay attention to him and the british made it work for them. it was easier to say that they left india because of a peace-loving man who made them unable to harm the silent crowds of people refusing to fight. how could britain ever admit that they're great polished army could not handle fighting with india and all thier other conflicts at once? non- violence may have appeared in most great acts of reform, but it is rarely the main catalyst for change. people like to say non-violence and peace but such can not change the world. tell me- going to saddam and offering him a flower and giving him iraq back- will it make him a good man? if his people starve when he abuses them- will he change or will he just kill the protesters and hush it up??
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