For Global Peace with Social Justice in a Sustainable Environment
Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
CHAOS v. MISRULE
There is no mistaking the earnestness running through the letter. And I have so much regard for the friend’s views, that if I could have suited mine to his, I would gladly have done so. But I must say that my choice was deliberate. Chaos means no rule, no order. Rule or order can come, does come out of no rule or no order, but never directly out of misrule or disorder masquerading under the sacred name of rule or order. My friend’s difficulty arises, I presume, out of his assumption that the present Government of India represents “some sort of discipline whether imposed or stimulated”. It is likely that our estimates of the existing system differ. My own estimate of it is that it is an unmitigated evil. No good therefore can come out of this evil. I hold misrule to be worse than no rule. Nor need my words cause any confusion in the minds of the ignorant or the violent. For I admit my correspondent’s contention that chaos can be the result only of violence. Have I not often said in these pages that if I were compelled to choose between this rule and violence I would give my vote for the latter though I will not, I could not, assist a fight based on violence? It would be a matter for me of Hobson’s choice. The seeming quiescence of today is a dangerous form of violence kept under suppression by greater violence or rather readiness for it. Is it not better that those who, out of a cowardly fear of death or dispossession, whilst harbouring violence refrain from it, should do it and win freedom from bondage or die gloriously in the attempt to vindicate their birthright?
My non-violence is not an academic principle to be enunciated on favourable occasions. It is a principle which I am seeking to enforce every moment of my life in every field of activity. In my attempt, often frustrated through my own weakness or ignorance, to enforce non-violence, I am driven for the sake of the creed itself to countenance violence by way of giving mental approval to it. In 1921 I told the villagers near Bettiah that they had acted like cowards in that they had instead of resisting the evil-minded Amlas left their wives and homes on their approach. On another occasion I expressed myself ashamed of a priest who said he had quietly slipped away and saved himself when a ruffian band had entered his temple to loot it and break the idol. I told him that if he could not die at his post defending his charge non-violently, he should have defended it by offering violent resistance. Similarly do I hold that, if India has no faith in non-violence, nor patience for it to work its way, then it is better for her to attain her freedom from the present misrule even by violence than that she should helplessly submit to a continuing rape of her belongings and her honour? Look at the shameless manner in which, for sustaining the spoliation of India, British statesmen (?) are setting one party against another. They have suddenly discovered the untouchables, for they seem to fear that the Hindu-Muslim dissensions alone might not prove enough security for retaining possession of the ‘most glorious diadem in the British Crown’.
They are trying to set the helpless princes against the people. Sir John Simon finds it necessary to play the same game. The penetrating intellect he is said to possess does not penetrate the very thin veil that covers the frauds that are set up for his edification and he finds nothing seriously amiss in the Indian atmosphere. This sort of ‘orderly discipline’ has unmanned and unnerved the people as nothing in their previous history has ever done. My own position and belief are clear and unequivocal. I neither want the existing rule nor chaos. I want true order established without having to go through the travail of chaos. I want this disorder to be destroyed by non-violence, i.e., I want to convert the evil-doers. My life is dedicated to that task. And what I have written in the previous paragraphs directly flows from my knowledge of the working of nonviolence which is the greatest force known to mankind. My belief in its efficacy is unshakable, so is my belief unshakable in the power of India to gain her freedom through non-violent means and no other.
But this power of hers cannot be evoked by suppressing truth or facts however ugly they may for the moment appear to be. God forbid that India should have to engage in a sanguinary duel before she learns the lesson of non-violence in its fullness. But if that intermediate stage, often found to be necessary, is to be her lot, it will have to be faced as a stage inevitable in her march towards freedom and certainly preferable to the existing order which is only so-called but which is like a whited sepulcher hiding undiluted violence underneath.