Gandhi on Non-Violence

According to Gandhi, non-violence means having the ability to keep your composure when faced with physical or verbal danger. By doing so, you are forcing your attacker to see their own inhumanities. This is real power. Power is not reacting violently to violence. When one resorts to violence, they have already failed because they have allowed their victim to influence those reactions, thus giving them power over their mind. Non-violence is the willingness to sacrifice one’s body according to Gandhi. This indicates that the person who is able to do so is the one who possesses true strength. Returning the violence is not honorable and does not coincide with non-violence.
This definition is associated with many challenges, the most prominent being that it is difficult to react non-violently in violent situations. As humans, we have the right to life. We also have the right to protect ourselves from any danger that threatens that right. Another challenge associated with this definition is that it would ask nations to sacrifice their security. A sovereignty has the right to protect its inhabitants from any danger brought to the nation’s border. History is comprised of occurrences that contradict this definition. If people and states did not react to violence, they would continue to endure cruel and inhumane treatment. Their reactions to violence is what shaped our world today. For instance, many African countries would still be oppressed from colonization if they would not have fought for their sovereign and individual rights. Lastly, his definition of non-violence abandons justice. Justice is a human right that we are all granted. We do not view the protection of this right as non-violent, we view it as fair or just.
Some may feel that Gandhi’s contributions are not tenable to reality. They may say that violence is inevitable and sometimes the answer to lethal situations. However, if everyone practiced Gandhi’s contributions, it would be very much possible. The one factor that makes this questionable as being tenable to reality is the participation of every person. In reality, every person on earth will not abide or live by this definition. Unfortunately there are people in the world that feel violence is the only logical response. They feel this gives them power and physical power to some is worth peace. This very thing challenges Gandhi’s contributions as being tenable to reality and prospering in the twenty-first century. World conflicts today exist because of violation of individual rights, sovereignty and justice. We also place more value on our lives and security as opposed to teaching violent perpetrators to be humane. Before allowing someone or a nation to threaten our security, we will resort to violence to eliminate our enemy before giving them the chance to do so first. In many cases, both individual and state, we attempt to react non-violently to avoid violence and war. We do so through peace talks and protests. Still, this may not always be enough to solve conflicts so those who try non-violence eventually become violent which is why there is no alternative to this violence and non-violence polarity.

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