Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed. But I had to make my choice. I had either to submit to a system which I considered had done an irreparable harm to my country, or incur the risk of the mad fury of my people bursting forth when they understood the truth from my lips
On Gandhi Birth anniversary-Oct 2 (1869) we went through some aspects of the work of this great Indian leader, and how they are relevant to the Libya,Arab world of today.
To do so, we reflect on his speech made when he was on trial for sedition- in Ahmedabad Gujarat.
He focused on his audience, which were two- the Judge and the people of India. He was organizing Satyagraha- meaning Non Violent Passive Resistance. To the Judge he told his Legal position, and to the people of India he conveyed his mystical belief in the right for India to be free and the future as a free country. He began his speech by telling- Non Violence is the first article of my faith, it is the last article of my faith. He mocked the Section 124 A as the prince amongst laws applied against dissidents.
NON VIOLENCE for Gandhi-ji as he developed the principles of Civil Disobedience on the ground in the Indian national movement included the voluntary submission to penalty for non cooperation with evil.
Gandhi believed in the principle that British rule was evil for India and hence we would not cooperate with it. He told that while he has no personal enmity, he regards this system as evil.
SPIRITUAL PRECEDENTS. …The concept of Non Resistance to evil was brought forward as a social-spiritual force by thinkers like Henry Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy.
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE..Henry Thoreau was jailed for refusing to pay tax.
“I have paid no poll tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night: and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way. I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through before they could get to be free as I was. I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax. They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder; for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall. I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous.”
APPLICATION..The above passage by Thoreau regarding the thoughts which cannot be confined , found able persons like Mahatma Gandhi who applied them in their contexts.
CURRENT DISCUSSION..In Tripoli, common people are tired and fearful of the security vacuum.
In UN General Assembly in which US Secretary of State John Kerry led off by insisting that the more than three dozen nations present were speaking with one voice , and that this voice was calling for peace. All the other nations , a rich ensemble of foreign ministers and diplomats , echoed his call that the peace plan, now in its seventh draft , be accepted by all sides in Libya with no more changes.
The partial exception was Russia, whose own representative mentioned the need to adhere to the 11 July initialling of a previous draft peace plan, one more favourable to the House of Representatives. But he too joined states as various as Mali and Morocco, Nigeria and Norway, Jordan and Germany, in asking Libya’s leaders to back the plan, crafted over 12 months of tortuous diplomacy by Leon.(Source reference 2)
MILITARISATION OF CONFLICT. The present imbroglio is a follow-up of the NATO Bombing, which led to change of ground level dynamics followed by a Security vacuum, after the dissolution of the State as was before 2011.
INFLUENCE OF GANDHI ON MLK
Just as Thoreau and Tolstoy influenced Gandhi, MLK was influenced by Gandhi
NEED FOR DIALOGUE..Does the message of Civil Disobedience and Non Violence have any relevance in the Libya of today?