The Use of Violence in Defence and the Immorality of Non-Violence

By Angry Anonymous

That the British had invaded and occupied India is not a matter in question. Those who argue, if there are any, that they merely came here to trade and being the kind-hearted ones that they were, then chose to stay-on and help the poor benighted souls of this land, can continue to do so.

In my humble reckoning they were occupiers and the proper way to deal with that fact, I believe, was to fight them, kill them, and throw them out.

But, this is not merely a question of efficacy of the tactic of non-violence, that is to say a question of differing approaches.

This after all was the argument with Communism – that it needed to be put into practice. Well it was put into practice and it failed. It is still in practice in places and it continues to fail.

The point is that the non-violent approach did not succeed. It was not Gandhi’s approach that brought an end to the British Occupation.

The British had been sapped by two wars and could no longer continue to occupy the largest of the lands that they occupied, the ‘Jewel in their Crown’, and so they picked up and left. That was it.

If they had been in a better position they would have continued the occupation. If they had been at the peak of their powers as they were at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, they would have continued with the occupation. They would have borne the moral burden of Gandhi’s struggle on their heart and carried on with the occupation gamely.

And the proof that the non-violent approach was a failure lies in the fact that the British continued to occupy other lands. After all, Gandhi wasn’t merely struggling to end the British occupation of India was he? He was trying to show that all peoples deserved freedom. Well in that case shouldn’t the British have ended their occupation of all lands when they ended their occupation of India? And moreover, shouldn’t they have ended their occupation of India itself a lot sooner, perhaps twenty or more years sooner than they did? Why did Gandhi’s pure and simple and righteous message take so long to get through to the British? Well the fact of the matter is that it didn’t get through at all. Gandhi’s non-violent struggle played no part in the British decision to end their occupation.

And that is the crux of the matter. One can continue to believe what one wants about the correct way, the moral way, to deal with a violation of one’s freedom but the facts are there for all to see.

And these matters aren’t in the realm of the hypothetical either. After all we have today in our midst a globe-straddling empire that is in occupation of a dozen or two dozen countries, some for over half a century. It has in the last decade invaded and occupied half a dozen countries. Are the people in those countries who resist that occupation in the wrong? Of course not. They are using any and all means to fight of the invaders and regain their freedom.

Now, if Gandhi put forth the teachings of the Buddha or Christ’s principle of turning the other cheek as the rationale for his non-violent approach then that would be fine. And it was after all the Christian approach, via Tolstoy, that Gandhi employed. But he claimed to have read the Gita and to be an adherent of the Dharma, and therein lies the dissonance for he clearly seems to have missed the central point of that battlefield sermon.

I believe it is not just a question of personal preference but a question of morality itself.

I believe it is the moral thing to do, the Dharmic thing to do, to use any and all means, force included, in defence of one’s land, culture, family, and freedom.




2 Responses to “The Use of Violence in Defence and the Immorality of Non-Violence”

  1. 1 Devdutt
    October 11, 2011 at 07:07

    Agreed. A tyrant by definition is inherently incapable of realizing some hidden wellspring of compassion in the face of Gandhian tactics. It is only because he sees the writing on the wall that he changes tact. Might always makes right.


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