The situation became so frustrating for the Mahatma that he even thought of committing suicide so that ..

The situation became so frustrating for the Mahatma that he even thought of committing suicide so that ..[Page 34]. The doctrine of ahimsa was a serious hurdle in disturbing or demolishing the status quo. Therefore, as a prophet of a new religion, he once and for all made it plain that, so long as one worked in the midst of social life, all arbitrary prejudices against meat-eating or the use of force as such were wrong and meaningless. It is very significant to note that the religious systems that insisted on ahimsa were either ascetic or monastic, or suggested withdrawal from the world. The Radical Bhagats were neither monastic nor ascetic, but they never considered social involvement to be a duty or a field of spiritual training and growth. Kabir deems the world to be a trap from which deliverance has to be sought. His attitude towards woman is exactly like that of monastic or ascetic religions. While referring to the Bhakti cults of India, Ray says that these had completely surrendered to the status quo and the socio-political establishment of the day. All we wish to emphasize is that no religious system that suggests the love of man as an essential part of the love of God can accept or suggest the limitation of ahimsa for work in the moral or the social field. Ahimsa is inevitably linked with religious systems that have a world-view of life-negation and are unconcerned with socio-political changes. It is, in fact, an ascetic tool, being the product or a part of an ascetic or monastic methodology. It may be argued that great pacifists like Mahatma Gandhi successfully employed non-violence as the means of bringing about socio-political changes. But, it is now well-known that when the Mahatma had to face the major challenge of his life, he found himself helpless. The Mahatma being the greatest exponent of non-violence in modern times, when the Second World War broke out, the pacifists of the world looked up to him for a lead. But the Mahatma could furnish or suggest no non-violent or effective remedy. Ahimsa could be of little help to him in stopping the holocaust. The situation became so frustrating for the Mahatma that he even thought of committing suicide so that if he could do nothing to stop the destruction, he would at least not live to see the misery caused by it. [2. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad : India Wins Freedom, page 34]. The two occasions when he had to discard ahimsa as a tool are quite well-known, namely, when he agreed to the Congress accepting the responsibility of the war effort, and, again, when in 1947, he had no objection to the entry of Indian forces in Kashmir for its defence. [3. "Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad : India Wins Freedom, page 34"]

Back to previous page

Akali Singh Services, History | Sikhism | Sikh Youth Camp Programs | Punjabi and Gurbani Grammar | Home