Satyagraha (holding on to truth) Vs Duragraha (holding on by force)
In independent India ,Gandhi has been misunderstood out of ignorance and his philosophy sometimes misused and exploited out of sheer political devices.In my personal opinion no leader of modern India has been misunderstood as much as MKG!
A lot many of us have tried writing about him but very few have tried understanding him or his doctrines!
Anna Hazare’s next fast is fast approaching!
We the people, allowed it for one cause,no matter how noble, will we now on, allow fasts for any cause?
Who decides which cause is worthy or more worthy? Anna’s crusade against graft was worthier than, say, a crusade against female infanticide or child labour?What about illegal mining? Or illegal killing of Tigers? What about the Mulla Periyar dam?or AFSPA? Sharmila Irom?-must we leave her to die?
By conceding thus, have we set a precedent whereby the Government will be expected to accede before any form of civic pressure in the form of such fasts?
Has anyone thought what would happen if the cause was not a near unanimous one but an intensely polarising one like reservations.What if two opposing groups in large numbers decide to fast for their respective beliefs? Who will the Government give in to then? Will those on the other side be allowed to die?
At this stage, it is very necessary to have some clarity regarding the Gandhi’s “Satyagraha”…perhaps no single idea has been invoked or distorted as much as this one.Gandhi has just been used as a legitimising stamp with total disregard for the true essence of the Gandhian Satyagraha.Gandhi defined his Satyagraha as an ethical weapon to apply moral pressure on his adversary in order to force him to be a part of a common pursuit for the truth.It was more like a search for the correct option which was to be pursued by both sides.It was surely not blackmail to force the opponent to bend him/her to one’s own will.
Here an important conceptual distinction has to be made between Satyagraha and the contrary! Superficially almost resembling one another but with serious fundamental differences that lie beneath. MKG never resorted to any fasts to get major Indian demands fulfilled.Most often he sat on a strike against his own people.His fast was not a weapon to score victory over his opponent.It was more a moral insturment to carve out common space with an adversary in pursuit of larger social good.In the words of MKG “A true satyagrahi should always be ready for the highest form of settlement.” He will therefore constantly and continually approach the constitued authority,appeal to public opinion, educate the public, state his case calmly and coolly before everybody who wants to listen to him, and after having exhausted all these avenues, resort to Satyagraha.
Gandhi contrasted satyagraha (holding on to truth) with duragraha (holding on by force), as in protest meant more to harass than enlighten opponents. He wrote: “There must be no impatience, no barbarity, no insolence, no undue pressure. If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy, we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause.” (R.K. Prabhu & U.R. Rao (eds.),”Power of Satyagraha” in The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi)
This philosophy has been utterly misunderstood and distorted to suit the need of the hour in Independent India.I can see a clear case of blackmail being practised in the garb of Satyagraha.
Victory I am sure was never a part of MK’s political vocabulary.Also, Satyagraha was not meant to be a routine everyday activity.It was to be resorted to only after all other means had been exhausted.
Formal imperialism is a thing of the past but still we use his philosophy just because it gives people a framework maybe a way out of conflicts, real and apparent that have enveloped our country.Conflicts are much more rampant today and can be much more destructive given the fact that highly developed weapons are available.What one fails to realise is that as Gandhi transformed the national movement he was also transformed by it.So, the need of the hour is to construct a dynamic Gandhian philosophy than some eternal antiquated versions existing suiting the convenience of a random few.
Stop buying into the system-people!The real issue is eradication of corruption.
We surely lack Social Leaders who can show the way to our predominantly aimless masses.In the name of non violence Anna Hazare led an intolerant, irresponsible and adamant movement that paralysed the Indian democratic system.
It almost seems like the Janlokpal Bill is to be written under the dictation of Anna and his group.Then why send representatives to the Parliament at all? The wall created between the Political leadership and civil society can only be broken through dialogue.Wonder how many people gathered around Anna have an idea of the Constitution and the legal framework of our nation?
Anyone hear the word Duragraha?…errr mean blackmail?….umm arm-twisting? Holding by force?
When the cacophony of the civil society and the senile chants of the politicians reach a cresecendo the voice of reason is lost.We need transparency in existing set ups rather than invent a whole new one.
Lokshahi cannot be replaced by a Lokpal-Shahi! Hope we don’t turn into Anna-ther Hazard!
May “Satyagraha” decide whether it’s going to be collective survival or collective suicide!