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Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Gandhian Concept of Non-Violent Society: A Modern Perspective

By P. I. Devaraj & Syamala K.

The WORLD TODAY is dominated by greed and competition, speed and restlessness, pollution, poverty and starvation, exploitation, ecological destruction, war and violence. The standard of living of the people has risen with multiple amenities for a comfortable living. But despite extra ordinary progress in the fields of science & technology, there are ample signs of a sick human society. As a result of the degradation of man, culture and society many serious problems have arisen. If democracy is to survive and if science has to be utilized for maintaining the stability of society, if peace and security of the people is to be ensured we have to work hard and steady. 

A healthy and harmonized society can exist only when its members imbibe some moral and ethical values. Only such values can ensure mutual aid and co-operation. Only when the people internalize ethical and moral values in their lives and actually practice them in their day-to-day lives they can build a healthy and progressive human society. In order to attain this we have to bring about certain changes in human nature and attitudes. For the reconstruction of society, its social, economic, political and religious institutions, value systems and tradition which breed violence should be removed and replaced by new ones. As stated by Dr. Sampooran Singh, “we are often caught in an acquisitive culture which consists of ambition, comparing, competing and acquiring. This is called psychological aggressiveness. This is actually a subtle violence which has led to making the whole human race in to a civilized violent community. Violence benumbs the sensitivity and this makes our understanding of life poorer. No wonder, man has emerged as a violent species. Mahatma Gandhi foresaw this situation and one of his major intentions while he wrote 'Hind Swaraj' was to teach the Indians that 'modern western civilization' with the above said consequences posed a greater threat to them and to humanity than did colonialism. He said that "I would ask you to read Hind Swaraj with my eyes.... and see therein the chapter on how to make India non-violent. You cannot build non-violence on a factory civilization..."

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