I would like to give here a small contribution of humble suggestions…
I think that most of the people that are already practicing ahimsa in their life would prefer to sign a manifesto of nonviolence than to take a ‘pledge’.
A ‘pledge’, as a commitment to become nonviolent and peaceable people, is for people who need to acknowledge their own violence and pledge to change, to become… if I give the pledge to anybody, they might take it as I’m telling them that I see them as violent and I give them the 7 commandments to change lifestyle and attitude… Do you understand what I mean?
A “manifesto” of Nonviolence, written as positive affirmations, ….
”we, committed to nonviolence, do this and that…” could work better… I think… for the goal to bring Peace and Nonviolence to the forefront.
There are many people who are already behaving according to the principles of the pledge, but they do not know they are 'nonviolent'.
Many do respect, listen, forgive, communicate, play peacefully, are 'green' with environmental issues, and are corageously confronting the difficulties of their daily life... and they do not know they are peace builders…
If the 'pledge' is an 'instrument' of 'conversion', good... but let us open the register of the many who are 'making a difference' already and we'll find out that the majority of the people are 'nonviolent' and the 'violent ones are an outdated 'minority'.
I agree. See, I am non-violent, but cannot claim I am practising non-violence. If I sign a pledge to be non-violent, I am afraid I may break it any day. But I support Ahimsa and want every political, collective action to be non-violent. A manifesto of positive non-violence is welcome. It should also include actions that create condusive conditions for peace. If we do that people will have an opportunity to change the language of dialogue. Even governments too can be presented with the manifesto as yardstick.
Riccardo for me a Pledge is something Sacred and must be looked upon as coming from your Heart and Soul.
Today it is suffering the same fate as words like.......... Icon and........ Legend.. Any one can be seen today as an Icon or Legend......and people will readily take Pledges with little intent or idea of carrying out that Pledge.
Gandhi once organized a meeting in Bombay to talk about a Satyagraha Action he had in mind .........I think it was about the Kheda camapign.......Gandhi spoke about the proposed campaign and when it came to the..... Pledge every one stood up and said YES we will take the Pledge.....Gandhi said NO we will go home and THINK about it and come back tomorrow at the same time and THEN we will take the Pledge
Tomorrow came at the same hour as yesterday BUT..........there were a lot less people who turned up to Action the Pledge.
Garvin is absolutely right. Further, in "End of Kheda Satyagraha" (chapter XXV) he has given a new principle which should form a part of any manifesto; Gandhi says: "It was the people's right to determine who was poor, but they could not exercise it. I was sad that they had not the strength to exercise the right". It is the governments that come out with pre-determined definitions of who could be considered living 'below poverty line'. We should see to it that people's voice is heard in this matter.
Here is more on Pledge: "Interpretation of pledges has been a fruitful source of strife all the world over. No matter how explicit the pledge, people will turn and twist the text to suit their own purposes...One golden rule is to accept the interpretation honestly put on the pledge by the party administering it. Another is to accept the interpretation of the weaker party, where there are two interpretations possible. Rejection of these two rules gives rise to strife and iniquity, which are rooted in untruthfulness. He who seeks truth alone easily follows the golden rule. He need not seek learned advice for interpretation. My mother's interpretation of meat was, according to the golden rule, the only true one for me, and not the one my wider experience or my pride of better knowledge might have taught me." (chapter 17 - Experiments in Diatetics).
My experiments in England were conducted from the point of view of economy and hygiene" (Autobiography Ch.17)