Peace Matters Index

international day of non-violence

ONLINE contents

- conscience in cold storage
- international day of non-violence
- small arms
- militarism and science
- problems with the hydra
- some thoughts for remembrance day
- what covenant? what nation?
- pupils against the military

- compled issue pdf

Non-violence is the law of the human race and is infinitely greater and superior to brute force.’

As a motley collection of war making and torturing nations signed up for the United Nations International Day of Non-Violence to take place on Gandhi’s birthday in October 2 we are reminded of Gandhi’s vigorous defence of the Peace Pledge Union’s radical anti-war stance which came under sustained attack in the Indian press in October 1936 almost exactly 71 years ago. Non-violence’, writes Gandhi, ‘is the law of the human race and is infinitely greater and superior to brute force.’ – an ideological position few of those who claim that he has been an inspiration would share. ‘Non-violence is inconsistent with the possession of other people’s countries’ he writes.

On a visit to India Brown laid a wreath at the Gandhi memorial in Delhi, and praised the courage shown by Ghandi in the fight for India's independence, and Margaret Thatcher's struggle against communism. You get the feeling that he is missing something – you don’t have to struggle through Gandhi’s slightly unwelcoming prose to suspect that threatening nuclear annihilation was not his preferred way. No chance then that Gordon Brown is about to start bringing the troops back to Britain or scrapping Britain’s US sponsored nuclear weapons and start retraining the British military into a somewhat less armed humanitarian force. Readers may wish to enlighten him by explaining something of Gandhi’s approach.

Curiously Gandhi has been steadily climbing the popularity chart. In a millennium poll in 2000, he was voted the greatest man of the past thousand years by readers of the BBC News website. Hmmm - one has to hope that vote casters had a better understanding of what Ghandi was about than our Prime Minister.

More hopefully a recent survey of newly-appointed head teachers asked which management styles they felt to be most effective.

Gandhi, who led a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in India against British colonial rule, typified the most popular style. In contrast, only about one in 10 heads approved of the ‘coercive leadership’ model of Winston Churchill.

Gandhi and Churchill: A Dialogue on Power


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