Gandhi’s Views on War and Peace

Being a confirmed war resister, I have never given myself training in the use of destructive weapons in spite of opportunities to take such training. It was perhaps thus that I escaped direct destruction of human life. But so long as I lived under a system of Government based on force and voluntarily partook of the many facilities and privileges it created for me, I was bound to help that Government to the extent of my ability when it was engaged in a war, unless I non-co-operated with the Government and renounced to the utmost of my capacity the privileges it offered me.


It is worse than anarchy to partition a poor country like India whose every corner is populated by Hindus and Muslims living side by side. It is like cutting up a living body into pieces. No one will be able to tolerate this plain murder. I do not say this as a Hindu. I say this as a representative of Hindus, Muslims, Parsees and all. I would say to my Muslim brethren, ‘Cut me to pieces first and then divide India.’… If we continue to fight among ourselves, the shackles of slavery will never be removed. The British are bound to quit this country. They are a nation of businessmen. They calculate the profit and loss from every transaction. They have realized this, it is no longer profitable to rule India. But what good will that freedom be to us if we continue to fight among ourselves after the British leave?


When two nations are fighting, the duty of a votary of AHIMSA is to stop the war. He who is not equal to that duty, he who has no power of resisting war, he who is not qualified to resist war, may take part in war and yet whole-heartedly try to free himself, his nation and the world from war.


All activity for stopping war must prove fruitless so long as the causes of war are not understood and radically dealt with. Is not he prime cause of modern wars the inhuman race for exploitation of the so-called weaker races of the earth? (Young India, 9-5-1929, p. 148)


What is happening today is disregard of the law of non-violence and enthronement of violence as if it were an eternal law… We see today a mad race for outdoing one another in the matter of armaments.


Personally, I think the end of this giant war will be what happened in the fabled Mahabharata war. The MAHABHARATA has been aptly described by a Travancorean as the Permanent History of Man. What is described in that great epic is happening today before our very eyes. The warring nations are destroying themselves with such fury and ferocity that the end will be mutual exhaustion. The victor will share the fate that awaited the surviving Pandavas. The mighty warrior Arjuna was looted in broad daylight by a petty robber. And out of this holocaust must arise a new order for which the exploited millions of toilers have so ling thirsted. The prayers of peace-lovers cannot go in vain. Satyagraha is itself an unmistakable mute prayer of an agonized soul. (Harijan, 15-2–1942, p. 40)


Published by minervasperch

All offerings by R. Divya Nair

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