Monday, October 09, 2006

Non-violence: another view?

Are Mahatma Gandhi (and Medha Patkar) violent?

This question may sound preposterous, but according to Osho, Gandhi's non-violence, was in fact, acts of violence. This is what he says:"Gandhi thinks fasting is a kind of right means to a right end. And like his last fast he resorts to fast unto death every now and then. If a threat to kill another person is wrong , how can the threat to kill oneself be right? If it is wrong for me to make you accept what I say by pointing gun at you, how can it be right if I make you accept the same thing by pointing gun at myself? It would be a greater wrong on my part if I ask you to accept my views with the threat if you don't , Iam going to kill myself."If I threaten to kill you, you have an option, a moral opportunity to die and refuse to yield to my pressure. But if i threaten to kill myself , I make you very helpless, because you may not like to take the responsibility of my death on yourself."Gandhi once undertook such a fast unto death to put pressure on Ambedkar. Ambedkar had to finally yield to Gandhi's pressures, but said later Gandhi would be wrong to think he had changed his heart and still believed he was right and Gandhi was wrong, but in order not take the moral repsonsibility of the consquence he had to yield."It makes no difference whether i threaten to kill you or to kill myself to make you accept my view. In either case I am using pressure and violence. In fact, when I threaten to kill you, I give you a choice to die with dignity, to tell me you would rather die than yield to my view which is wrong. But when I threaten you with my own death, then I deprive you of the option to die with dignity. I put you in real dilemma . Either you have to yield and accept you are wrong or you take the responsibility of my death onto you. You are going to suffer guilt in every way and there is no choice.""Violence to an extent is necessary if one has to live. Even which we term as an instrument of non-violence could be violence. If I put a knife on your chest and ask you to obey me, it is violence. And if I sit and starve at your doorstep, threatening to die if you do not do what I say? Is this not violence? The former goes out from me to you, the latter is going towards myself. The latter is self-violence. A forcible pressure, mental cruelty, it is!"