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Nonviolence- The highest religion

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This is a famous quote by Gandhiji and one of the most re-quoted quotes. I WAS INSTANTLY CONVINCED when I heard this quote for the first time. However, after thinking a bit more, I came to the conclusion that it depends on “whose eye.” I will explain more below.

Let’s say there is a person X who eyes people and takes away their eyes. He eyed his first victim Y and took his eyes. If the victim ‘Y’ is not going to take away X’s eyes, then “X” is left loose to eye more people and continue blinding people. Eventually, leading to a blind world. 

If victim “Y” randomly picks up another person and takes away his eye, and then this random person chooses another random person and takes away his eyes, then, yes, the world will become blind. 

But, here, unless “Y” is a psychopath, why would “Y” choose a random person who has done no harm to him and take away his eyes?

So the correctness of this quote depends on “whose eyes.” “Yes,” it is an act of violence, but violence is not to be judged independently; it is a dependent variable on intention. “Violence” is only the end result; what carries more weight is the intention. That has to be used to decide whether the action is doable or not. 

If someone attacks you instead of trying to protect yourself, why should anyone surrender themselves to their killer? What is the benefit of that? 

Gandhiji said, “Even if the Muslims want to kill us all, we should face death bravely. If they established their rule after killing Hindus, we would be ushering in a new world by sacrificing our lives.”

It is not clear what is the use of “sacrificing” our lives- “Sacrifice your life“ for what? — “To eradicate yourself?” Typically, the term “sacrifice your life” is used to denote someone’s choice to end his life while in “active action” for a greater cause like — “ saving innocent people live’s” —  and not to end your life in silent surrender and inaction. Gandhiji advises inaction while innocent humans are dying. It is a “suicide” and not a “sacrifice.”

Hindu life cannot be deemed so cheap that it is not even worth fighting for! It is mainly snails, worms, and other lower animal species that show no resistance to their killings. Followers of the Hindu religion belong to the human species and should be treated so, and they have all the rights to resist and exist.

Ideally, Gandhiji, the idealist he was, should have told this to Muslims also. However, he did not tell any such things to Muslims. Neither did Gandhiji say that he would fast to save Hindu lives should such a thing happen.

Maybe the right quote should read like this –

Taking the correct eye for an eye will save the world from going blind.

I must admit that while I have great respect for Gandhiji and find him inspiring, I am not convinced by his philosophy of absolute non-violence as I find it against the laws of nature.

Even if some people still insist that non-violence has to be unconditional. In that sphere of non-violence, our own body and life should be included as well, and allowing anyone to be violent towards our own body is an act of violence too. All changes start with your home; your body is your home, so practice non-violence starting from your own body. 

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