It is easy to narrate the vices of violence and virtues of nonviolence, but the troubling question is how to face violence through nonviolence. Experiments in nonviolence are only hope for mankind’s deliverance. Therefore .Nonviolence too needs investment. Had we invested in nonviolence – the ‘science of soul,’ in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, in the similar way as we have in the science of violence, war and weapons, we would have progressed in the direction of just and harmonious order. Cultural Democracy- Swaraj – grows proportionate to the growth of nonviolence. Growth of nonviolence is evident in the manner people engage with dissent; differences of opinions, interests and vision; and, resolve the exponentially growing conflicts between justice and freedom – structural exploitation and violence – such that the two become synonymous. Swaraj is justice-freedom symbiosis.
Swaraj Peeth strives to follow Gandhi’s edict: “A mound of thought for an ounce of right action”.
It is in the process of such engagement with people in untying and resolving the factors that cause various forms of violence, that one finds clues to the potentiality and actuality for structural nonviolence, for such a nonviolent voluntary force requiring to visualize and rise above the Self and authentically rooted in the community can become vehicle for a sustainable transformation and of legitimization of a simple, healthy, communitarian way of life. A society in a state of internal and external harmony can enjoy prosperity and happiness in simplicity and an environment of security; not so in hankering for a consumerist way of life which draws its power and sustenance from an individualistic vision and practice of life in which nothing is sacred as man is at the center of the universe. Thus a Gandhi Shanti Sainik, Gandhi Peace –volunteer is a peace-monitor, peace-keeper, peace-builder and peace-maker all rolled into one.
Swaraj Peeth Philosophy
Gandhi’s dialogue on what makes a social order structurally nonviolent, the means and methods of realizing it for an individual, society and a nation; forms of violence, and his vision on tradition and modernity, draws people’s imagination the most because it touches and appreciates what is innate to human being: universal goodness or nonviolence as human nature, expressed in undaunted quest for freedom and justice. They find in the exploration and explanation of the meaning of the term Swaraj the meaning of all the phenomena, reasoned and ethically grounded answers to the questions the youth have including about compounding predicaments of the modern world and its consequences on their life, morality and identity; contradiction between knowledge and life, thought and action and principles and practice; loss of control over their life and path of their destiny. – These and such questions remain unanswered by political ideologies and religious teaching in an all encompassing and inclusive frame work of Truth, Nonviolence and Reason; or, justice and freedom. Modernity’s success is their crisis – crisis of livelihood, identity and human dignity. Answers and the planed correctives applied to the various predicaments of modern time are mutually, internally contradictory. Correctives applied to any one realm of life are incoherent and contradictory to the order and moral balances in other realms of life. Not only that, such correctives are incompatible with the very correctives applied to the predicaments of other realms of life. Life being one indivisible whole, this incoherence, discontinuity and incompatibility – in other words the failure to internally harmonize all the departments of life, necessarily creates conflict within individual’s private life, with fellow being, his corporate life and in society, nation and the world. Modern thought miserably, and by now notoriously lacks coherence, a transcendental vision, an understanding of the inner balancing force of Life, due to which all its ideals such as progress and development, and values such as freedom, democracy and justice are mutually incompatible and inherently conflicting, resulting in unmanageable, self-perpetuating, almost autonomous growth of violence, exploitation of the weak by the strong, conflicts, wars, and ecological destruction.
Swaraj, “meaning self-restraint and not freedom from all restraint, which freedom and independence often mean” is an overarching principle that establishes logical-conceptual unity among all the seeming discontinuous and conflicting realms, departments of life, and phenomena. Unfortunately nonviolence has been least understood in terms of Swaraj. Swaraj Peeth endeavors to do that, cultivate ‘Swaraj Awareness’ in its humble way. Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj in order to reawaken India, and through India the world, to the true meaning of freedom and how it could be actualized in all the departments of life.
Thus for Swaraj Peeth the issues of ways of thinking and ways of life are equally important in its search for an answer to the present moral, material and ecological mess in which the world has been landed.