Many individuals in the contemporary society in which we reside in have various opinions in regards to any topics or situations that may occur. One topic in particular is what is just, and unjust? Or even before one asks that, they ask, “What is Justice? ” Single individuals, I believe will differ in their opinions of justice, however, which view of justice is correct? Would that view be an appropriate one for all situations?
Can justice be used, or assumed to be the same in every situation? Should one belief of justice be used as a universal law? My mind begins to boggle when looking at what my belief of justice is, in comparison to what the authors in our course readings have to say about justice. I find myself agreeing with some of what certain authors say nonetheless, I find myself in disagreement with most ideas from the same authors.
To take a step back and to get a clear view, I see myself in strong divergence with the view of the author of “Non-Violent Resistance”, M. K. Gandhi. His implications do not justify, and there are many of his beliefs that I am in disagreement with. Prior to looking at Gandhi’s belief of non-violent resistance, we must understand the meaning of violence and non-violence. Violence being specific forces in any form that are intentionally applied to assault others, bodies, minds or intellectual levels.
It is often an exhibition of anger. Looking at the definition, we must be aware that non-violence is not limited to not doing the act of violence, rather, it is the practice of the ahisma, were not only do you appreciate the co-existence of living or non living beings, but you also contribute and maintain harmony in the total existence by experiencing a oneness, non duality with the existence itself. In the beginning of the article, it reads a cutting from the April number of the east and west.
It states that M. K. Gandhi is neither a saint nor politician. I agree with that statement. He could never be a shrewd or power hungry like a politician would be, neither could he be a saint because he could not be outstandingly devout or a virtuous person throughout every passing second of his life until death. M. K. Gandhi himself did not consider himself a saint: “Now I think that the word saint should be ruled out of present life.
It is too sacred a word to be lightly applied to anybody, much less to one like myself who claims only to be a humble searcher after truth, knows his limitations, makes mistakes, never hesitates to admit them when he makes them, and frankly confesses that he, like a scientist, is making experiments about some ‘of the eternal varieties’ of life, but cannot even claim to be a scientist because he can show no tangible proof of scientific accuracy in his methods or such tangible results of his experiments as modern science demands. Pg. 395) he says.
He was incidentally a politician and occasionally a saint but in my eyes he will always be a nation builder and a contributor to world peace rather than a saint attempting to unite the world. Gandhi had no intentions to be a politician, the power, the title, the office meant nothing to him. He was constructive and objective when it came to politics, not to get power for himself but to create results by remedies implemented by authority.
Circumstances drove him to be a politician, “If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircle us today like a coil in a snake from which one cannot get out of, no matter how much one tries. ” (pg. 395) However, he cared, he wanted to build a nation and always kept India in the back of his mind. He wanted life to be saintful, spiritual, and non violent and he discovered the idea of having hartals (direct actions), by non co-operation, ceasing to assist the wrong directly or indirectly.
Hartal is an instrument, a mean or a strike, where people with common concerns are united for the purpose of participating in expressing their concerns with non-violence and non co-operation to authorities with a clear determination to resolve it. He produced results by making authorities implement solutions. I disagree with Gandhi’s idea of Hartals. Non-violence is excellent to an extent but as soon as your target begins to use violence on you, you will be left in a position where the only battle you can fight is one that is using the same weapon as you, non-violence.
If you come against a battle were you are using non-violence, and the opposing team is using violence, they have more power and strength than you, and you are guaranteed to lose. M. K. Gandhi not only supported the non-violent hartals, but he felt there were no actions without a cause and no results without an action. For him causes were behind actions and actions were behind results. That idea perfectly molds his idea of hartal. Hartal is an action with a cause, behind that action is found to create a result.
This direct action of Hartal is based spiritually where it is serving the higher behest of ahisma of doing what is godly right, other wise known as righteous. That in India is known as “Dharm” and some call it Sanatan or Hindu Dharm. This is not equal religion. Hartal has no intentions to harm anyone. It builds up confidence and determination and allows people to feel braced for the struggle ahead. Gandhi feels that it aids people to feel strong and capable to defy the physical might. By doing so, it also eliminates any sense of revenge and redresses the idea of seeking remedies.
For example, the events of Jalianwala Bagh, Champaran and of South East Africa that Gandhi addresses in the essay, all displayed Hartals. M. K. Gandhi felt that any commemoral of such events are to raise temples of peace, “the widows and orphans have been and are being helped, but we cannot bless those souls of those who dies without knowing why. ”(Pg. 395-396) The examples that Gandhi touched on, where Hartals were used as a method of actions are a direct example of why I disagree with his method.
I feel that psychologically Gandhi may be correct, and the Hartals may unite the people and give them the confidence they need, but as for making them strong I feel that physically Hartals were not doing the job. By eliminating a sense of revenge I admit it does help you to concentrate on seeking a remedy, but your life is just as important as any solution being fought for. Having acted with non-violence caused many deaths with mass killing in all those situations. If they were taught to keep strong and peaceful as well as known to act upon violence with the same source they were being attacked by.
The fight would have been both sided rather than one, not only did their non-violent Hartal make them not find a remedy but it also made them lose many lives. There is one part of this article that I strongly, disagree with. When the April number of the East West states “Shall we not now try for a larger symbiosis such as Buddha and Christ preached, and bring the world to breath and prosper together? Mr. Gandhi seemed destined to be the apostle of such a movement. ” (Pg. 394) Gandhi states in the essay that he disagrees with that comment, however, not as strongly as I do.
In context of circumstances, the time, and the environment of Gandhi. He could never be compared with Buddha or Christ. A mean, such as Hartal was appropriate for Gandhi to use, but not necessarily that same mean would be appropriate at another time for similar cause. However it is easy to appreciate the principle of ahisma and spirituality in all three of those great souls. In spite of this in my eyes all three reside at different levels. It is true that they all used direct actions, and Gandhi says, “They would not raise a finger against their enemies, but would gladly surrender themselves rather than the truth for which they lived. Pg. 396)
Gandhi feels he “simply and humbly follow in the footsteps of the great teachers named by my critic. ” (Pg 396) I feel the circumstances when Christ died on the cross and defied the whole empire to be an entirely different time and situation then when Gandhi lived. That is why I feel direct actions at that time may have proven to be for the best but Gandhi’s Hartals in my view proves nothing than a large amount of dead bodies. Gandhi’s law of suffering, interested me the most throughout the essay. He feels that suffering is the result of an action that I agree with.
But he also feels a raise of revolution comes from suffering in individuals or groups. When one can identify that raise of revolution them selves or a figure of a godly man can open your eyes to it. Then the journey of your revolution begins with the direction of that identifier or initiated by yourself. This law of suffering is the only theory of Gandhi’s that I slightly agree with. During the time of slavery in India, Indians suffered for centuries, and our nation builders identified the raise of revolution from time to time.
Amongst those nation builders was M. K. Gandhi. He very effectively amplified the raise; by educating Indians that freedom is “your birth right. ” Gandhi believed that you must have this right with ahisma with applying non-co-operation. India did suffer, but after our raise of revolution, like Gandhi discusses, we were free, and much happier as a nation. Gandhi also feels that one may eliminate their errors that have occurred in the past, but one can never get away from the Law of Suffering. There are many historical events that he goes on to articulate to prove that.
For example, if Yudhister did not suffer, than the greatest psychological book, the Mahabhart would not have been created. Also, if Arjun did not suffer, than there would have been no one to create the inspiring, guiding Geeta. And, of course, Jesus sufficed himself to free a sorrowing world. I do see where Gandhi would believe that suffering does bring a raise of revolution, nevertheless, I don’t feel that every situation has something good coming out of the suffering that took place prior to it. Gandhi then goes on to relate the law of suffering to the Hartals.
He feels that participants in Hartals do suffer, “The purer the suffering, the greater is the progress. Progress is to be measured by the amount of suffering undergone by the sufferer. ”(Pg 397) I feel that No matter how great or how less a person suffers if they raise to that revolution, it will not be better if they suffered more, it would be better depending, on how badly they, themselves want it. M. K. Gandhi then proceeds to further explain non-co-operation. He says that there are progressive steps that are needed while ceasing to assist authority.
Here are just a few that I felt were important: ) To give up titles and recognition of honoring posts. 2) Previous arrangement at larger scale, and must succeed. 3) Totally no support 4) Suspension of taxes. Non-co-operation is a voluntary movement. This movement can only succeed, if the feeling is genuine, and it is strong enough to make people suffer to the utmost. There are different methods that one may contribute to the non-co-operation. Physical sacrifice, money, or labor. I feel that because this movement has no rule of thumb, and all you have to keep is the spirit of spirituality, the success would not be great.
I think that the success depends entirely on disciplined and concentrated non–co-operation. It is dependant on strict obedience to what the instructions are, one needs to be calm, and there has to be absolute freedom form violence. This should only be tried in a calm atmosphere. There should be no anger or want of revenge. Being calm should be strength not a weakness, and people should be knowledgeable, not ignorant. All of these principles are very difficult for one to follow while they are frustrated and in need of something. One of these principles is guaranteed to break in destruct the entire theory.
That is why I do not support it. This non-co-operation should have an environment free from violence, and a spirit of self-sacrifice. When looking at Swedishi, that Gandhi speaks about; it does have a legitimate place in the movement. His idea of sacrificing the liking of foreign goods, not to wear or support a foreign service over the nations products, wanting, and wearing products produced in India, rather than Europe, was good. Having people support the Indian economy, creates patriotism, and builds self-esteem. It makes a commitment to the country. Foe example, as we say here in Canada… “Buy Canadian, be Canadian. ”
M. K. Gandhi, then continues along with his essay, and begins to bring up his belief, that I disagreement with the most. M. K. says without the unity of Hindu-Muslims, India cannot attain her freedom. I extremely differ with him. I feel that India could have easily got her freedom by having a unity amongst the majority of Indians (Hindus). Nothing should be gotten at the cost of the majority or by appeasing the minority. Which is exactly what happened. M. K. was wrong when the Muslims demanded separate countries. Not only did he accept their demands, he persuaded his colleagues to accept the division of India in the name of Religion.
He felt that in the name of religion he was doing right. I feel that Gandhi was wrong with what he believed, in a whole. He said that India could not attain freedom without the unity of Hindu-Muslims, but he was wrong, and he proved that by giving them the support to separate. By him appeasing the Muslims his cost resulted in the division of India. Is justice to have a country separated, because Gandhi wanted to accept a demand in the name of religion? Unity has nothing to do with religion, a common thread of culture, which both Hindus, and Muslims could attain it.
Gandhi’s main belief was non–violence and he himself admits that the Muslims do not believe in it. He denied keeping together the country for the sake of his followers, but gave in to the demands of his non-believers. Gandhi also articulates, that the right of civil disobedience is an inherited right of a citizen. He feels that it is a beautiful form to signify growth, and it is not a discountenance, it leads to strength and purity. I feel that he is true about it not being an approval to death, however a beautiful form, is not what I would describe it to be. It is more like something that is a must, and not a choice.
M. K. Gandhi has a view on justice that I will never entirely or perhaps even remotely agree with. I believe justice to be an old fashion means of retribution. It gets as simple as, the good get rewarded, and the bad get punished. I feel that every individual should act according to their situation is at that time. Nothing can be universal. Justice as defined in Webster’s is the quality of being just; equity; merited reward or punishment; the administration of the law. My definition of justice is very similar to the dictionary definition, and I believe that it works fine in the courts and that it would work fine everywhere.
For example, if someone gives information about a murder, than they should be rewarded with some money. If someone murders someone they should be killed for it. I believe in the death penalty, and I feel that justice is what every individual feels in their heart. If an individual may see someone on death row, they might have compassion for them, however if that was the killer of that individual’s mother, for them justice might be to see them dead. Or maybe not? In conclusion, I feel, M. K. Gandhi caused a disaster by dividing the entire country.
I feel that was not just. As for his viewpoint of non-violence, I feel that there comes a time when you have to watch over yourself or your values, and have to obtain a weapon. If not, you are weak, and the conflicting side, will abuse you, and take advantage of you. Even when it came to India’s freedom, Gandhi’s non-violence practice with hartal did assist, but there were also many revolutionary people who were fighting, by using violence, who gave a very cruel time to the British, and had a great deal to do with their departure of India.
Nothing is universal, nor is it imprinted. I feel that justice should be made at an individual discretion everything is subject to change. What the meaning of justice is changes in the minds of individuals as they encounter different situation. With regards to non-violence as a whole, survival causes violence and weapons, if the big fish never fed off the little fish, how would they perish? If humans never violently killed animals to eat, or even plants, how would we continue to exist?