Gandhigiri and Genocide !

Having watched "Lage raho MunnaBhai" and "A Force more Powerful" recently, when I came across the Rawanda Genocide on wikipedia today, it was kind of a rude jolt to all the nice and cosy dreams of Gandhigiri.

Now everybody knows about "Lage raho MunnaBhai", a movie that has managed to bring Gandhian philosophy and methods back into everyday talk of everybody. Suddenly Gandhigiri is cool . Chain mails have already started describing the instances when somebody managed to fix a annoying person using the tool of Gandhigiri. Good for them !

Not everybody knows about "A force more Powerful", a documentry about various non violent struggles that happened across the globe during 20th century including सविनय अवज्ञा आन्दोलन led my Gandhi ji himself and many others. I watched only two stories, one about the civil disobedience movement in India and another one from Nashville, US that proved a major stepping stone in the civil rights movement. The stories, to say the least, fill you with hope because these are the tools that have given power to those who had none. People with no other recourse, no other option have turned to non violence and have defeated social evils, big evil regimes and what not.

However when one comes across incidents like Rwanda Genocide, the hope starts to look so blasphamous ! In Rwanda, between 6th of April and mid of july, 1994, alleged hutu militia killed an estimated 8,00,000 to 10,00,000 Rwandans, mostly tutsis but severel hutus also. What does one do in such a situation? Does non-violence even makes sense in such scenarios? Even Gandhi ji was faced with the same question during the second world war when holocast was going on. I am not sure what his stand was but he probably stuck to his stand saying instead of hiding, jews should come out in great numbers on roads and protest. Something to this accord. Of course, jews chose not to heed him.

But the question remains. What does one do in such conditions? The most basic assumption underlying the whole concept of satyagrah is the basic goodness of human nature, even if he is your enemy. Infact, one reason as to why satyagrah and nonviolence were so successful against british, may be attributed to the pride that they took in being very "fair" and "just" and that they wanted to at least pretend that they are good rulers. But what happens when that pretence of even basic humanity is dropped? When the other party is working with the single aim of eliminating you from the face of the earth and has no moral pangs about it?


Anonymous said…
As with a lot of other things, my take on this is that one size doesn't fit all. There's no single philosophy or ideology that you can apply at all times under all circumstances. Life is a series of trade-offs you make. Non-violence works sometimes, but not always.
Anonymous said…
I guess the interesting question is did Gandhiji think that one size doesn't fit all? Something tells me that he believed in non-violence no matter what evil lay on the other side. -- Priyendra
Anonymous said…
I had this discussion with some of my friends a few days my opinion success of Gandhian philosophy is definitely dependent on other side. In case british would have killed gandhi the first day (like RWANDA), gandhi wouldn't have succeded...
So gandhian way should be the first to be used..not the "only ONE" to be used.


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