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Non-violence Relative Economics And A New Social Order: The Editorial Approach

Published: 24.05.2015
Updated: 13.07.2015

The philosophy of Non-violence is a living practice. More than refraining from violence, it is a deep Reverence for All Life. It starts by cultivating a genuine respect for oneself; one's consciousness or life force, and for each of its supportive elements- the body, mind and emotions. We come to realize that our life-force is precious and that we are here to respect and reveal its innate wisdom. It is a process of taking care of both our inner being and the material envelope in which it dwells. Like a mother nurturing the development of her child, we do what is healthy and helpful for our spiritual growth. Kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself. For thereby one's own self is saved from various kinds of sins and resultant sufferings and is able to secure his own welfare.

Acharya Mahaprajna, a great thinker and practitioner of nonviolence, says: non-violence is based on the unity and equality of all souls- souls of all sentiments. Once we know that every living being is subject to pain and pleasure in the same manner as we and that therefore we must never inflict any pain on them, never oppress and exploit them, never rob them of their rights, we are on our way to realizing the true meaning of non-violence. Gandhi says: complete non-violence is complete absence of ill will against all lives. It therefore embraces even sub-human life not excluding noxious insects or beasts. Thus non-violence rests on a belief on the fundamental unity of all life.

Pacifists believe that the most effective, the most equitable, the most economical way of meeting violence is to use non-violence. This belief is based upon individual experience and study of history, past and contemporary. The search for alternative to war has led to many proposals, ranging from William James' "moral equivalent to war" to world law. Most far-reaching of these is that which would substitute non-violent, civilian resistance for conventional military defense.

Non-violence means making enormous effort required to overcome evil with good. It does not rely on strong muscles and devilish armaments; it relies on moral courage, that there is in every human being, however brutal, however personally hostile, a fund of kindness, a love of justice, and a respect for goodness and truth which can be reduced by anyone who uses the right means. To use these means is often extraordinarily hard; but history shows that it can be done - and done not only by exceptional individuals, but also by large groups of ordinary men and women and even by governments.

The first American Quakers, whose religion was pacifist, practiced civil disobedience when they refused to pay taxes supporting the British war effort during the American War of Independence. During the Second World War, Danish shipbuilders practiced non co-operation when they feigned misunderstanding and worked so poorly that their ship could not be used in war. Nonviolent direct action has recently become a high-profile manifestation of nonviolent principles, as when protesters damage fighter planes and other weaponry destined for use in war or by oppressive regimes. Many such protesters, having given their principled reasons in court, have been acquitted.

Gene Sharp, one of the major contemporary theorists of nonviolence, has said that non-violence involves a kind of "Moral Jiu-Jutsu". This characterization encapsulates the particular nature of non-violent action. Non-violence is not passive. Though it can involve persuasion, it is not merely this. Nor is it a form of coercion like that used by the military. Non-violence seeks to establish a human bond between the resister and those being resisted. In the long run this changes the oppressor and can transform the system which has created the oppression in the first place.

The view that nonviolence should not only be a philosophy or principle but also a whole way of life has been put into practice. Gandhi and Acharya Tulsi's aim was no less than to build a new society. To do this, one has to start at the roots. A community run on the principles of non-violence must practice nonviolent behaviour and honest dealings. Its members are equal whatever their gender, religion, colour or caste. As they act according to the nonviolent principle in all aspects of daily life, daily life becomes the embodiment of a nonviolent value system which benefits everyone and harms nobody. In such a society, people believe, other methods of direct resistance to violence and oppression can emerge naturally and effectively.

In most recorded instances of nonviolent action, four kinds of people have stood out. The nonviolent stance of one kind is rooted in their religious beliefs, and it is these people who have been speaking for peace the longest, since before the ages of Lord Mahavira, Buddha and Christ. Workers are another kind, whose inspiration and motivation is mainly political; they have realized that nonviolent strategies often stand a much better chance of success (and a lasting one) than armed revolt. The miners' strike that led to a mainly peaceful change of government in Belgrade (2000) is a case in point. Thirdly, there is the distinguished roll-call of conscientious objectors and war-resisters, especially linked to the two world wars but still in some countries struggling to bring about an end to military conscription.

The fourth group is teachers. An education for peace is an education for co-operation, for caring and sharing, for the use of nonviolence in conflict-solving,' says a peace education expert: 'but an education that fosters competition, conquest, aggression and violence is an education for war.' Teachers world-wide are reported to be promoting nonviolent values, in the classroom by raising these issues, in the school by establishing procedures of mediation and reconciliation, in the community by upholding the right to a nonviolent education and education in nonviolence.

Teachers have also been exemplary in practicing nonviolent resistance to aggression. All round the world there are conflict-zones in which teachers educate the young in almost impossible conditions. In Afghanistan women teachers are continuing covertly to teach girls, though the fundamentalist ruling regime forbids it. In Burundi, the Peace School brought together children from all backgrounds, encouraged them to imagine a world without war and in the process stimulated local moves towards reconciliation in which the children took part. There have been other kinds of heroism: in Nazi-occupied Norway teachers, pacifists and non-pacifists alike, refused to obey orders to teach the Nazi party line, and consequently hundreds were imprisoned in harsh conditions (while others continued teaching secretly in their pupils' homes). Many of the teachers were interned in a concentration camp together, and so were able to support each other's resolve; significantly, they also made it clear to each other that anyone who wished to give in would also receive support and sympathy without judgment.

The present book is an effort to explore various possibilities which can contribute to developing a consensus for practicing nonviolence in different fields of life. In order to address the theme of "Nonviolence, Relative Economics and a New Social Order", chosen for discussion in this book, which has now come to the fore and in conceiving the contents of Nonviolence, it has envisaged to examine the multifaceted, economic and social context of which our wellbeing is today an important and crucial element. In such a broad framework it has been thought to present an exclusive reading material and practical guideline, up to a certain extent, on the subject of Nonviolence. In the light of this the present academic exercise has been oriented to focus on five dimensions, comprising of the following:

1.            Economics of non-violence
2.            Philosophy of non-violence
3.            Gandhian non-violence
4.            Training in non-violence
5.            Non-violence and social order

These five sections have been enriched by the academic vigour of contemporary authors, who have presented an exhaustive analysis of the theme and concept.

Section I has been addressed by two authors around the theme "Economics of Nonviolence". Today, we are beset with broadly two economic ideologies - one is capitalist model or the free enterprise model, and the other is the communist model of development. Both the systems have proved to be imperfect over the years, despite the fact that both have yielded tremendous production capacities. But, the systems have been alleged with very poor distribution, growing inequalities, and people living below the poverty line even in prosperous and developed countries. Such systems are truly futile; they cannot take care of its people who are denied even the basic necessities of life. So there is a dire need to evolve a model that fits in between the two extremes.

The UN brings out a Human Development Report every year. It is deplorable that we always talk about GDP, but never give a thought on how to improve the Human Development Status.

When all our efforts are directed towards the reckless and indiscriminate exploitation of the limited resource of our Mother Earth, Acharya Mahaprajna's concept of Relative Economics would definitely help us evolve a set of thought, a ray of light to serve as a beacon in all our developmental efforts. Acharya Mahaprajna's vision provides a blue print for a sustainable world. He wishes to set up an International Center for Relative Economic System, to look into the pros and cons of the present economic system, analyze the trends and provide a system that is sustainable.

Acharya Mahaprajna expressed his views on the so called strength and rare combination of Economics and Nonviolence. He opines that problems of apprehension and world wide conflict are bound to aggravate if we have a lopsided growth of economic ideas, devoid of the aforesaid combination. We need to make fundamental reformation in our concept of economics, by giving it the solid foundation of nonviolence.

Dr. Gandhi stressed on the urgency of pondering on the relevance and pros and cons of the relative economic system. Unfortunately, even the most developed countries of the world are speechless and mute when asked for an answer to tomorrow's sustainable world. He said that we need to take care of the Mother Earth and its offspring. He highlighted the views and role of Acharya Mahaprajna relating to Relative economics and emphasizes on real sustainable development.

Second section of this book is an attempt to crystallize the concept of nonviolence in different Indian traditions. Prof. Ahir stated in his article Ahimsa' that from a historical point of view the message of Ahimsa was in fact taught to the world by the first Jain Tirthankara, Lord Rishabhdev. Jain and Ahimsa are synonymous. To support his statement he has done an in-depth analysis of history.

Prof. J.N. Sharma and Prof. B.R. Dugar in their scholarly article "The Tradition of Nonviolence in Ancient India" point out the fact that Ahimsa had been an indivisible element of Hindu ethos since times immemorial. Hindu seers and sages went to the extent of pleading mercy and kindness even for the tiniest life in the divine creation.

Dr. Sushma Virendra and Dr. Bhupesh Chandra explain in their article "Nonviolence in the Vedas" that concept of Nonviolence that has been become a part of India's Political Creed originated in the Veda's and developed all through centuries it has always remained the hallmark of Indian Civilization.

Prof. Sogani stated that none of the living beings ought to be killed or deprived of life, ought to be ordered or ruled, ought to be enslaved or possessed, ought to be distressed or afflicted and ought to be put to unrest or disquiet. The socio-political organizations and the capitalistic setup can easily derive inspiration from this ethico-social statement. He further elaborated that the social Ahimsa has outward reference and spiritual Ahimsa has inward reference and the disparity between the outward and the inward is overcome through emphasis on inward reference.

Doris Hunter, Krishna Mallick explained the importance of selfless action in their article "Historical sources of non-violence -Bhagavad Gita". A man, who renounces certain physical action but still lets his mind dwell on the objects of his sensual desire, is deceiving himself. The truly admirable man controls his sense by the power of his will. All his actions are disinterested acts, but with self control. One must perform every action sacramentally, and be free from all attachments to results. This is the true way of nonviolence and truth.

If we have no selfish involvement in our actions, if we don't make a one-to-one relationship between the consequences of our action and Truth, if we believe Truth still survives even when it appears to be destroyed in the outcome of our actions, then there will be no opportunity for us to feel angry or violent.

Swami Tathagatananda expressed, Hindus believe that no lasting peace or freedom is ever possible as long as man is in the relative plan where good and evil go together. Hinduism prefers to follow the gradual course suited to individual. Only people under Sattva can practice ahimsa in the real sense of the term. The article explains that Ahimsa does not mean merely abstaining from murder, but rather not willfully inflicting any injury, suffering or pain on any living creature by word, thought, and action. Ahimsa really denotes an attitude and mode of behavior towards all living creatures based on the recognition of the underlying unity of life.

Prof. Skutch combines in his reflections a sensitive and fresh moral awareness with an equally sensitive awareness of the world of nature. His article on "Thoughts on Ahimsa" should revitalize the ethical feeling even of those who already hold the ideal of Ahimsa.

The third section is dedicated to "Gandhian Nonviolence". S.M. Tewari, the author of the article "The concept of non-violence the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi" expressed that nonviolence is the most significant concept of Gandhi's ethics, even as truth is the most important concept of his metaphysics. In his article human nature, concept of nonviolence, nature of nonviolence, essence of negative and positive nonviolence, nonviolence as love, nonviolence as an active force, who is truly nonviolent, puzzle of nonviolence and critical estimate have been explained in a good manner with rich references.

Prof. Mehta explains the principle of nonviolence as also the personality of Gandhi through various historical events and memories in his scholarly article "Gandhi and Nonviolence". In the course of a historical analysis Prof. Mehta stated, such was the emphasis which Gandhi began to place on non-violence that it seemed that the means were more important to Gandhi than the goal. He lived for nonviolence and died for nonviolence.

Joseph Kuttiancial and Stella Maris expressed in their article "Nonviolence: The core of Religion experience in Gandhi" that Ahimsa is raised in Gandhian philosophy to the status of an ultimate value but within the limits of certain praxeological relativity. The application of the principle of ahimsa in Satyagraha Movement too takes on this spirit, for ahimsa is not treated in Satyagraha as an abstract ideal. In the development of the principle of Ahimsa Gandhi demonstrated a keen sense of moral and ethical outlook.

In his article "Gandhi's Non-violence and India Today" Dr. Devdutta expressed Gandhi's hope in free India in a very interesting manner. But the situations are almost contrary to Gandhi's hope in today's India. The mainstream powerful elite and the intellectual elite by and large take for granted the irrelevance of Gandhian heritage - especially the seminal concept of nonviolence for the purpose of facing the challenges of present times. Lawlessness, terrorism, police violence, political violence, societal violence, communalism and criminalization are quite alarming in present India. If Gandhi were alive today, he would find himself completely at sea, particularly in a situation like this when the country is full of violence.... In every area whatever he stood for has been subverted.

The author explains why Gandhi's experiment in nonviolence has no guidelines to offer to deal with the problem of "transition" through which India is passing today.

The fourth section is the specialty of this book and discusses the different dimensions and techniques of "Training in Nonviolence". Theodor Ebert mentioned in his article "Nonviolence: doctrine or technique" that the doctrine of nonviolence and its forms of action, war or conflict is no longer condemned in principle, but nonviolent action postulated as the only form of 'waging war' compatible with human dignity. The claim or the hope that this method will eventually become universally applicable is unmistakable, but the present demand is no longer for a belief in the doctrine but for research into the techniques of the struggle.

Peace is not possible without ahimsa (non-violence). Ahimsa is not a theoretical principle which can be fruitful only through preaching. Scientifically speaking, unless bio-chemical transformation is bought about, we cannot hope to change the heart of man. This requires proper training of mind through which the negative emotional forces responsible for human behaviour of aggression, violence etc. can be mitigated and one can hope of nonviolence to flourish in man's behaviour, individually as well as socially. One of great exponents of training in non-violence, Acharya Mahaprajna has developed a systematic and scientific technique through which it is possible to impart such training. The learned author, Prof. Muni Mahendra Kumar, who is one of the chief disciples of Acharya Mahaprajna, has explained the scientific basis of Acharya Mahaprajna's technique of Training in Non-violence and also dealt with the practical aspect. In short this article "Change of Heart: The Training of the Mind" is a unique one in the sense that it elucidates a very vital strategy of training in non-violence which can be practically adopted in the field of education to bring about a total change in human society.

R.R. Diwakar expressed in his article "Ahimsa Culture for Human Survival" that Ahimsa culture would mean not the passive, dormant, and occasional expression of the great, noble and self-denying emotion of love, but that cultivated and well-nourished culture in which every activity of the physical, vital, intellectual, aesthetic, moral and spiritual energy of a human being is informed and instinct with love overflows to reach through identification with every being on earth to fulfill high human destiny.

Samani Dr. Mangalprajna, Vice-Chancellor, Jain Vishva Bharati University, emphasizes on the urgent need to take care of the Mother Earth in her article "Role of Nonviolence in Global Survival". The depleting ozone layer is a matter of grave concern for her. She stated that the world is at such an impasse where we cannot afford to have indiscriminate depletion of resources. The urge for aggrandizement is destroying the very foundation of human society. She wishes to implement training in nonviolence and nonviolent lifestyle for a better and sustainable world.

N. Satyanarayana the author of the article "Condition for the Realization of Nonviolence" sets out methodically some of the ethical and philosophical preconditions for the realization of the ideal of nonviolence in actual life.

Jerome D. Frank, the author of the "Psychology of Non-violence" has mentioned that nonviolent campaign can succeed with the component of brinkmanship. Nonviolent tactics can also succeed against an adversary who possess superior means of violence and is prepared to use them. Leadership and mobilization of public opinion through the media of mass communication also are the effective weapons for non-violence techniques. He further explained that -"we should try to combat the trend that glorifies wars and military heroes by emphasizing in our education, instead of warlike achievements, the achievements of the heroes of peace by dramatizing them as those of war.

Johnson explained in his article "Non-violence and Self Rule: A Hierarchical Perspective" that Gandhi's approach to social change was guided by principles, truth, love and self-suffering and he believed these are as applicable to individuals as to nations. These values are pragmatically understandable to people of different backgrounds, historical situations, and spiritual development without any discrimination to achieve the goal.

The last section of this book shows the goal of nonviolent efforts and dedicated to "Nonviolence and a New Social Order". "The Gandhian Model of Non-violent Social order" written by the Prof, L.M. Bhole's objective is to explain briefly the major ideas of Mahatma Gandhi, which can serve as the foundation of a nonviolent social-order. In the first part of the paper, the author describes how the whole world is engulfed in the cult of violence at present and argues that the solution to this human predicament lies in following the Gandhian path. The 'dwadash vratas are briefly explained in the second part. A few Gandhian concepts in social organization (structure), which can reinforce the inner prerequisites of nonviolence, are discussed in the last part.

Eajaz Husain states, the only change that has occurred is that we are independent politically. The social evils that existed before independence are still with us in more pronounced and harmful forms and are symptomatic of our diseased minds. It is for us, to prove ways of preventing the disaster which stares us in the face.

Today, society is facing poverty, pessimism, racial and communal riots. So there is the need for change, and that too, a revolutionary change. Amal D. Dhru the author of the article "Nonviolence and Social Situation," advocates that this change can come through nonviolence because it deals with understanding, we being human, should follow the way which is a human way.

Prof. Nalin K. Shastree has addressed a relatively new aspect of fusion of organized mass struggle and nonviolence, where he has emphasized that nonviolent action has played a key role in the struggle for social change all over the world. It has a long and proud history, a source of strength to humanity. Believing nonviolence as a philosophy, a principle, a way of life and a practice, which means broadly abstaining from the use of physical force to achieve an aim, Prof Shastree has laid his emphasis for nonviolence as an effective way of dealing with conflicts, needs, thought (including lateral thinking), resourcefulness, vision, planning, patience and commitment. He has recognized nonviolence as a philosophy or principle that can inform anyone's actions, anywhere and at any time. He has selected a number of success stories from across the globe and has conveyed very successfully the message that strategically nonviolence has the potential to empower citizens, thwart coups, overthrow dictators and defend nations. The global examples also reveal that sometimes nonviolent direct action responding to oppression or abuse of power seems to spring up spontaneously in apparently unrelated times and places. Prof. Shastree has underlined that one of the reasons that these discoveries amaze and inspire us is that official histories and media accounts don't generally record these events and many nonviolence activists remain as unsung heroes. Therefore, his message is very loud and clear for invoking the people's concern for establishing an alternative social order for a sustainable development and living.

In present-day India, where pandemonium prevails in all walks of life without exception, to bring about a change is a necessity -whether through non-violent means or violent means. S.K. Kunalan suggests in his article "Nonviolence and the present social situation" that the youth of India swear like Albert Einstein "Given a fulcrum I will change the world."

Can a nation defend its possessions against external aggression or every internal disruption by means of nonviolence? N.K. Bose the author of "Nonviolence and Defence" started his views with this question. He stated, it was Gandhi's belief moreover that every kind of possession could not be defended by means of non-violence. Heart of a person like Hitler might not after all be touched. But the Satyagrahi's action will have an appeal to the ordinary soldiers, who as men are no better and no worse than any of us. And the moment the latter begin to think, the spell of their commander's indoctrination would be broken, and the latter would become isolated. In this manner defence of non-violence possessions can be organized by means of Satyagraha.

In his article "The Future of Non-violence" Dave Dellinger starts as well as concludes with crucial disposition that the power of active nonviolence has been discovered and crudely utilized in certain specialized situations, but our experience is so limited and our knowledge so primitive that there is legitimate dispute about its applicability to a wide range of complicated and critical tasks.

He further stated, non-violence is supremely the weapon of the dispossessed, the under privileged, and the equalitarian, not of those who are still addicted to private profit, commercial values, and great wealth.

If we cannot respect our neighbours more than to keep large numbers of them penned up in rat-infested slum ghettos, how will we develop the sense of human solidarity with our opponents, without which nonviolence becomes an empty technicality and looses its power to undermine and sap enemy hostility and aggressiveness? How will we reach across the propaganda-induced barriers of hate, fear, and self-righteousness (belief in the superiority of one's country, race or system) to disarm ourselves and our enemies?

Nonviolence as a philosophy or principle can inform anyone's actions, anywhere and at any time. Nonviolence as an effective way of dealing with conflict needs thought (including lateral thinking), resourcefulness, vision, planning, patience and commitment. There are now organisations which provide training in nonviolent techniques, and groups of experts in nonviolent conflict resolution who go into troubled areas, much as relief workers do, acting as mediators and passing on their nonviolence skills. In a world where the currently prevailing systems are caught in the arm-lock of violence, nonviolence can't offer instant remedies or results. However, it is catching on. Most people reject violence and killing. People who are ready to kill and who actively seek out violence are in fact a very small, though horribly effective, minority. Nonviolence doesn't deny the existence of conflict- conflict of one kind or another will probably always be present in human society - but it does assert that no conflict need be dealt with using violence and armed force, ever. The aim of its supporters, therefore, is the dismantling of the power structures, military systems (including arms manufacture), and economic networks (including the arms trade) that make violence and war a non-choice option at all. It has been hoped that the present book shall create a purposeful dialogue and shall invoke a genuine interest in people's mind to imbibe the flavour of non-violence in thought and action.

The editor feels immense pleasure in receiving the best of cooperation of fellow academicians, who have contributed their articles. The soul of this book is the blessings of the Acharya Shree Mahaprajna, who is a living legend in the field of non-violence and creation of an alternate social order. The Editor remembers him with immense respect at this occasion and prays His Holiness to continue the shower of his blessings in coming times too. 1 give my sincerest homage to Late Shreechand Rampuria* former Chancellor of Iain Vishva Bharati University, who was the force behind the dream and execution of the series "Facets of Jain Philosophy, Religion and Culture". This book could have never been completed without the active and encouraging support of the Vice Chancellor of JVBU Dr. Samani Mangalprajna, who took personal interest in getting this book published. The book could not have been shaped without the sincere efforts of Dr. Samani Satyaprajna and Dr. Samani Rituprajna, who have taken deep interest in the editing; I put on record my heartiest gratitude for their efforts. The editor is indebted to Mr. Asutosh Pradhan, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Social Work, Deepa Ram Khoja, and Prafulla Valokar for their kind hearted support and cooperation.

I hope this intellectual exercise will prove to be a harbinger of meaningful academic reflection which will revitalize the centrality of the nonviolence in man, society, nation, and culture and in our day to day life.

B.R. DUGAR

Sources

Title: Non-violence Relative Economics And A New Social Order
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati University, Ladnun, India
Editors: Prof. B.R. Dugar, Dr. Samani Satya Prajna, Dr. Samani Ritu Prajna
Edition: First Edition, 2008

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  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Mahaprajna
  3. Ahimsa
  4. Albert Einstein
  5. B.R. Dugar
  6. Bhagavad Gita
  7. Bhupesh Chandra
  8. Body
  9. Buddha
  10. Concentration
  11. Consciousness
  12. Cooperation
  13. Dave Dellinger
  14. Economics Of Non-Violence
  15. Einstein
  16. Fear
  17. Gandhi
  18. Gene
  19. Gita
  20. Hinduism
  21. JVBU
  22. Jain Philosophy
  23. Jain Vishva Bharati
  24. Jain Vishva Bharati University
  25. Joseph Kuttiancial
  26. Krishna
  27. Krishna Mallick
  28. Mahatma
  29. Mahatma Gandhi
  30. Mahavira
  31. Muni
  32. N. Satyanarayana
  33. Non-violence
  34. Nonviolence
  35. Prof. Muni Mahendra Kumar
  36. Ram
  37. Relative Economics
  38. Rishabhdev
  39. S.K. Kunalan
  40. S.M. Tewari
  41. Samani
  42. Sattva
  43. Soul
  44. Stella Maris
  45. Sushma Virendra
  46. Sustainable Development
  47. Swami
  48. Swami Tathagatananda
  49. Theodor Ebert
  50. Tirthankara
  51. Vedas
  52. Violence
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