Gandhian concept of human security


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Gandhian concept of human security

  1. 1. Gandhian Human Security 1of 22 THE GANDHIAN CONCEPT OF HUMAN SECURITY AND PEACE QUEST FOR AMITY AMIDST GLOBALISATION AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION Anurag Gangal, Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, and Director, Gandhian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Jammu, Jammu – 180006, Jammu and Kashmir, INDIA. I Introduction: Holistic Security Security for Gandhi is a holistic phenomenon. In his Ideal society, there is no room for weapons other than nails of a woman. Security has nothing to do with weapons of any sort in the Gandhian arrangement of things. As regards atom bomb – of Hiroshima and Nagasaki type – Gandhi says, “I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children as the most diabolical use of science….. Unless now the world adopts nonviolence, it will spell certain suicide for mankind.”1 For him, it is more a matter of opting for a way of life. Gandhi is in favour of a nonviolent and more civilised life style. In today’s world, human security is possible only when the basic requirements of freedom and development are fulfilled. Gandhi adds yet another aspect to the concept of human security. Wielding weapons for any purpose shows a great sense of insecurity and fear among those who possess them. Otherwise, weapons may not be needed for “security”. German Action Committee is also demanding similar type of security by saying that “Security is not war, torture and terror”.2 That’s what even Amartya Sen also says in a different way. For Amartya Sen, considering and measuring development on the basis of GDP, national per capita income and other such widely accepted economic yardsticks is misleading and improper. For him, a nation with people having widespread education, necessary leisure time, proper and fulsome food, electricity for everyone, shelter for all and clothing for everyone along with near complete human security and a great inner sense of security can be regarded as developed instead of a country having high GDP etc without the fulfilment of basic needs. Among poor and rich nations alike, basic needs can be fulfilled only when there is a great sense of self-respect and high regard for moral values among leaders and
  2. 2. Gandhian Human Security 2of 22 administrators in the government. That is why Nobel laureates like Amartya Sen regards Development as Freedom (Oxford, 1999). Highest form of security is possible in a civilised and gentle world where even armed battalions do not coerce. Until there is widespread voluntary effort towards conflict-transformation by individuals and states alike, the cities of the world will not have rest from armed conflicts, wars and mass murders. Weapons cannot provide security. It is the morale and faith in God and truth that leads to real sense of security. Modern weapons and technology is leading to widening net of insecurity among peoples and modern armies. The Gandhian conception of security can provide a great sense of strength and conviction to modern global citizen. However, for this, a process of transformation has to begin for helping evolve a general confidence in the ways of Gandhian nonviolence. “Change is the law of nature.” It is a widely and universally accepted fact of human life over the ages. This law, however, does not change. Change involves innovation and zest for life. Modern technology is indeed its most glaring example. The ultimate end of this surging ahead of modern technology is in the “changelessness and timelessness” of the need for security, prosperity, development and peace. Ephemeral nature of change moves forth towards fulfilling the perennial needs of this spaceship Earth. ‘What changes’ is subject to a cycle of moving forward to attain the utmost need and truth. ‘What does not change’ attracts endless exploration for ageless human need of a permanent security. Can there ever be an enduring sense of security “as a living fact” for all individuals in this world replete with recurring experiences leading to innovations and acts of mass destruction through terror, mishaps and cold blooded, planned or schematic onslaughts against humanity at large? Quest for an answer to this query cannot but lead us to largely an unexplored perspective of nonviolence in the Gandhian conception of realities of human life. Present- day global needs and diverse scenarios of WMDs, depletion of resources, pollution, terrorism, increasing promiscuity in modern “civil society”, balance of terror and mutual suspicions among peoples and nations alike appear to be self-defeating.
  3. 3. Gandhian Human Security 3of 22 Mahatma Gandhi is a known proponent of nonviolence and peace in the world. He has widely written on war, peace and security vis-à-vis individuals, states and vaster global perspectives. Gandhi, however, is not a system builder in thought and action. He is a perceiver of reality as a “practical idealist” interweaving the two cords of human knowledge and dynamics in life. Gandhian vision is alive with holistic perception of truth, foresightedness and scientific analysis. Gandhi sees an inherent linkage between knowledge, virtue or wisdom on the one hand, and security of a civil society comprising understandably connected individual(s), groups, administrative units, polis of different magnitudes, provinces, sovereign states, international and global organisations, on the other hand. There is very clear line of thinking and continued relationship amongst these aspects of security from the level of an individual to an international establishment and global order. Security, defence, apt strategic environs and peace have to begin with the individual first. Other levels of security will have to follow suit. That is why Gandhi says, “There cannot be internationalism without nationalism.” This is the Gandhian order of holistic logic that must be adopted for a securer and more peaceful world. As such, Gandhi’s view of security for both an individual and a state can be have meaningful only through certain inter-related measures taken by the world community of nations over a period of time. These measures are:  Global conventional and nuclear disarmament.  Preservation of environment and ecology.  Resolving the population, poverty and unemployment menace.  Thinking more of peace than about war and weapons.  Globalisation with a human face.  Evolving a world culture where smallest should feel the tallest. II Security without Weapons Security for Gandhi is not merely strategy and technique of defeating an invading army. It is not an international, as it were, wrestling among nations with weapons of mass destruction. Security, for him, does not mean disbandment of modern armies and other disciplined forces. It is also not merely self-defence. Security, for him, initially is a notion based on logic of why should there be a threat in the absence of some solid political and
  4. 4. Gandhian Human Security 4of 22 economic gain. In other words, gainful motive has to be there. The nature and perception of such a motive emerges here as more important. Peace and development through security are the essence of modern conception of security. Instead, for Gandhi, security is possible through peace and development only. The major difference in these two views is primarily that of emphasis. The Gandhian perspective considers security as a natural corollary of development and peace. It is not weapons and machines but pulsating human beings who are of real significance. Everything else is secondary. An inherently ever widening twenty-first century contradiction and security predicament is there in available stockpiles of weapons providing a peculiar sense of security replete with threats of complete human extinction. Modern security is possible through mutual assured destruction (MAD). What a dilemma it is! This trend shows a specific direction of thinking. This needs transformation. That is why Barash and Webel say: However one judges the desirability of peace or legitimacy of (at least some) wars, it should be clear that peace and war exist on a continuum of violent / nonviolent national behaviours and that they constantly fluctuate. Neither should be taken for granted, and neither is humanity’s “natural state.” The human condition – whether to wage war or to strive to build an enduring peace – is for us to decide.3 Similarly, nonviolence is the Gandhian way of life. Nonviolence comes naturally to human beings. This is part and parcel of their existence, survival and evolution. Violent behaviour is always an exception. Albert Einstein is also one with Gandhi when he says: We need an essentially new way of thinking if mankind is to survive. Men must radically change their attitudes toward each other and their views of the future. Force must no longer be an instrument of politics…. Today, we do not have much time left; it is up to our generation to succeed in thinking differently. If we fail, the days of civilised humanity are numbered.4 A noted botanist in the mid twentieth century, Luther Burbank, explains a very sensitive aspect of security and peace through an experiment for developing a spineless and thornless variety of cactus. He says:
  5. 5. Gandhian Human Security 5of 22 While I was conducting experiments to make ‘spineless’ cactus, I often talked to the plants to create a vibration of love. ‘You have nothing to fear.’ I would tell them. ‘You don’t need your defensive thorns. I will protect you.’ Gradually the useful plant of the desert emerged in a thornless variety.5 The need is to make experiments with an open mind and objective scientific outlook. Gandhi had this faith in social and political experimentation. A positively practical attitude to evolution of ever new avenues and vistas of knowledge must never be put aside. There are quite a few masterly works by Gandhi and his commentators anent his views on discipline, life style, political, military and economic decentralisation, stateless society, development, peace and a federation of nations leading to security, i.e., social, military, political, legal, economic and ecological etcetera. A two volumes study by M. K. Gandhi, Nonviolence in Peace and War; Gopinath Dhawan’s The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi; H. J. N. Horsburg’s Nonviolence and Aggression: A Study of Gandhi’s Moral Equivalent of War; S. C. Gangal’s Gandhian Thought and Techniques in the Modern World; Joan Bondurant’s Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict; Johan Galtung’s “A Gandhian Theory of Conflict”, in David Selbourne (Ed.), In Theory and Practice: Essays on the Politics of Jayaprakash Narayan and Gene Sharp’s Gandhi as Political Strategist: With Essays on Ethics and Politics are a few noted and well known works throwing ample light on Gandhi’s concept of conflict, security and peace. It is primarily on the basis of these studies that an attempt is being made here to recapitulate major pointers in the area of Gandhi’s nonviolent conception of security, conflict, peace and development.6 These studies, among others, point understandably to a Gandhian security strategy comprising three concentric and systemic spheres or circles leading to a securer world. Human relations are not hierarchical, horizontal, vertical and pyramidal. They are spherical and ocean like. It is perennial process. Each thought and act interacts from within and without. This is an endless mutually interwoven melting of one into another. Moving to and from one to another. Inner energies must be provided creative outlet not only for all purposes but also for defence policy, security network and foreign policy etc.
  6. 6. Gandhian Human Security 6of 22 Questions of racism, sex, gender exploitation and colour etc must be done away with a global education and foreign policy networking. Gandhian viewpoint in international affairs may be put in the form of the following diagram: Gandhian Security Paradigm7 These spheres, as in above mentioned diagram, in an international perspective, represent:  Immediate neighbours as immediate sphere.  Other poor less developed, underdeveloped, developing and countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America (AALA) are in the mid sphere.  Developed -- economically militarily and otherwise very powerful great powers or superpower -- countries constituting the outer sphere. As Gandhi says, in this global security buffer design, there will be: …ever widening, never ascending circles. Life will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom. But it will be an oceanic circle whose centre will be the individual always ready to perish for the village, the later for the circle of villages, till the last … becomes one life composed of individuals, never aggressive in their arrogance but ever humble, sharing the majesty of the oceanic circle of which they are integral parts. Therefore, the outermost circumference will not wield the power to crush the inner circle but will give strength to all within and derive its own strength from it… No one… [will] be the first and none the last.8
  7. 7. Gandhian Human Security 7of 22 Utmost priority, apparently, is to be given to good understanding and relations with immediate neighbours like Pakistan and others. A holistic security climate has to be expanded from the inner most circle of neighbours and beyond. That is how three broad security buffer spheres must be created through very friendly relations based on utter mutual faith and nonviolence. In the absence of a general belief in the power of nonviolence and love, i.e., truth, this pattern must still be strengthened despite continuing armaments race and “overkill” capacities of WMDs or nuclear, biological and chemical (NBCs) weapons. These weapons cannot provide us security inasmuch as they are there for mutual massive destruction and spreading terror. These weapons do not defend us. They are meant to kill during wars and terrorise during peacetime. About thirty countries already possess these WMDs. Anti-tank nuclear bullets are also in use. Nearly 100, 000 nuclear bombs are also there among these states. United States and Russia alone share more than half of this arsenal.9 Only less than an iota of present-day stockpiles of armaments was there in Gandhi’s time. Practical-idealism of Gandhi emerges even more clearly when he says in this context: It [nonviolence] is of universal applicability. Nevertheless, perfect nonviolence, like Absolute Truth, must forever remain beyond our reach.10 Perfect nonviolence is impossible so long as we exist physically, for we would want some space at least to occupy. Perfect nonviolence whilst you are inhabiting the body is only a theory like Euclid’s point or straight line, but we have to endeavour every moment of our lives.11 This impossibility of “perfect nonviolence” does not prevent an initiative in this direction. As long as there is absence of general, fundamental, practical and political belief in the efficacy of nonviolence as a way of life, till then at least a Nonviolent National Defence Army, Navy and Air Force can be evolved on Gandhian lines of nonviolent spirit and nonviolence of the brave. This nonviolent national defence system can work alongside existing defence forces. Such simple but effective steps can be taken up at the level of Central and State Governments only when India has evolved a defence policy. These simple Gandhian
  8. 8. Gandhian Human Security 8of 22 solutions to complex current tangles certainly need spirited and sincere long-term initiatives for transforming prevalent meta-conflict orientation towards a belief that despite continued struggles, conflicts, war and weapons of mass destruction-peace and nonviolence as a way of life are practical options. Despite mass violence and increasing crime graph, we are all living a nonviolent life in our routine affairs. (i) What we need is merely to think and act in the most common and obvious terms. We are not doing it anent resolving our more serious and potentially volatile conflicts. (ii) This is possible even in this age of globalisation. We are also not opting for nonviolent ways when most of the nations and majority of population in the world are reeling under one or the other type of overt, covert and subtler exploitation in politics, trade and mass media. (iii) We must learn to sit together like common human beings without attaching unnecessary airs to our own persons. That is why Albert Einstein has said, ‘Generations to come will scarce believe that such a man as this, in flesh and blood, ever walked upon this earth.’ One of the greatest admirers of Gandhi is Albert Einstein, who sees in ‘Gandhi's nonviolence a possible antidote to the massive violence unleashed by the fission of the atom’. B R Nanda writes in the 2001 edition of Britannica Encyclopaedia, ‘In a time of deepening crisis in the underdeveloped world, of social malaise in the affluent societies, of the shadow of unbridled technology and the precarious peace of nuclear terror, it seems likely that Gandhi's ideas and techniques will become increasingly relevant’. This relevance has to be put in action as Gandhi always said, ‘My life is my message.’ This action is possible at least at three levels without affecting adversely the current surging ahead of modernisation and globalisation. First, at individuals’ unilateral and voluntary level. Secondly, at the level of voluntary organisations. Last but not least, at the level of a national government voluntary mobilisation and necessary socialisation on a vaster plane. The international perspective will follow suit on its own as a logical outcome or natural corollary of other three levels.12
  9. 9. Gandhian Human Security 9of 22 III Security Dilemma There is also a related aspect of a ‘security dilemma’ or striker’s falling into the pit instead of scoring a few points through excessive rebound play in the carom board game among inter-state “patrons” of civil society today. One’s security becomes a threat to another player in the globalising twenty-first century’s global civil culture (?). Politics by all means is an integral part of such activities. Security then becomes a menace to its preserver itself. When ‘security’ is leading to ‘insecurity’ then why this hullabaloo and concern for security of individuals and nations alike? Whom who is benefiting? Why this is happening? No doubt, security is a must for all as a fundamental need and human right to life. This need has to be fulfilled. Security beyond this need emerges into an utterly self- aggrandising global nexus and Mafia causing loss of precious human lives of brave soldiers and common citizens alike. Indeed, “How much land does a man require ?” Individuals among peoples of the world understand this predicament. Nations and statesmen and nations are bound to ignore it for they have to act otherwise. Security for peace is relentlessly negating its purpose. Amassing of WMDs, terrorism of different types including nuclear terrorism further proves this glaring logic and reality. No state has ever achieved the security it desires without becoming a menace to its neighbours. Apart from ‘genuine’ concerns about security needs of a state, there are other reasons also leading to ever widening arms race. They are all practical pointers to national leaders’ strong belief in military might as their only real protection when they are facing an irritating and hostile opponent: …the financial profits to be made, desire for advancement on the part of individuals whose careers depend on success in administering or commanding major new weapons programmes, political leaders pandering to bellicose domestic sentiment, and inter-service rivalry within a state.13 All these are realities of modern deep-rooted political perversion. Politics -- as political thinkers, actors and Gandhi in particular say – is concerned primarily with establishing truth and order in society. Ongoing diverse manipulations in politics
  10. 10. Gandhian Human Security 10of 22 represent something different than what is political. Manipulations and perversions of civil society in this age of globalisation are presenting intriguing trends:  Bringing together of global trade and economy to a notable extent.  Smaller traders, investors, entrepreneurs, and industrial units facing far greater challenges.  Increasing burden of poverty, population, pollution, proliferation of armaments and (precarious) peace, i.e., ‘five Ps’ on Afro-Asian and Latin American (AALA) countries.  Emergence of United States and Europe as relatively more stable global economic and political peace zones of the world.  Widening framework of work and space for international actors, organisations and operators.  World peace through WMDs deterrence based on dwindling foundations of mutual terror.  Terrorist groups having their own share from state-of-the-art weapons.  Preventing a situation of a third world war through institutionalised terror.  Security threat from terrorism and ‘War on Terrorism’. These trends further complicate quest for a comprehensive security perspective when most of the states in the world are able to ensure at best ‘a pretence of security’ despite their constantly burgeoning military budgets. Even for their limited military security needs, these countries depend, expressly or implicitly, either on other great powers or on so-called ‘collective defence / security’. Such wasteful security scenario point to a need for a more comprehensive policy of defence and security especially for poorer AALA countries in general and South Asia in particular. IV Nonviolent Security Pointers Gandhi has spoken and written profusely on nonviolence, security, peace, war, conflict, world order and world federation of nations etcetera. He, however, has never explained any aspect singularly or in piecemeal fashion. He has never written exclusively on security issues alone or separately. May be, it is for this reason, Gandhi has evolved a holistic and a very comprehensive vision of security and world peace. Accordingly, political, economic and military decentralisation of resources and power is necessary for his concept of Swaraj based on self-reliance, self-sufficiency and
  11. 11. Gandhian Human Security 11of 22 really effective independence and freedom. Only such independence can assure security. Gandhi’s second best ideal is for a democratic system driving its strength directly from villages especially in the Indian context. It is not possible for a modern State based on force, nonviolently to resist forces of disorder, whether external or internal…. (However,) it is possible for a State to be predominantly based on nonviolence.14 Gandhi, in reply to a question – “Is not nonviolent resistance by the militarily strong more effective than that by the militarily weak?” – says: This is a contradiction in terms. There can be no non-violence offered by the militarily strong…. What is true is that if those, who are at one time strong in armed might, change their mind, they will be better able to demonstrate their nonviolence to the world and, therefore, to their to their opponents. Those who are strong in nonviolence will not mind whether they are opposed by the militarily weak or the strongest.15 As regards training of the nonviolent army, Gandhi says: A very small part of the preliminary training received by the military is common to the nonviolent army. These are discipline, drill, singing in chorus, flag hoisting, signalling and the like. Even this is not absolutely necessary and the basis is different. The positively necessary training for a violent army is an immovable faith in God, willing and perfect obedience to the chief of the nonviolent army and perfect inward cooperation between units of the army.16 A nonviolent State must be broad based on the will of an intelligent people, well able to know its mind and act up to it. In such a State the assumed section can only be negligible. It can never stand against deliberate will of the overwhelming majority represented by the State. … If it is expressed nonviolently, it cannot be a majority of one but nearer 99 against one in a hundred.17 In such a state, armaments race is not required. As V. K. R. V. Rao puts it: unless the armaments race is brought to an end and effective steps are taken towards disarmament… there is no use talking of a new international order (or security)…. This was Gandhi’s view and it becomes truer and more urgent in its need for recognition today.18 Under Swaraj (self-rule) of my dream, there is no necessity of arms at all.19
  12. 12. Gandhian Human Security 12of 22 Alas, in my swaraj of today there is room for soldiers…. I have not the capacity for preaching universal nonviolence to the country.20 Gandhi has seldom given a piecemeal treatment to challenges he faced in his life. He has said and written anent varied aspects of life and human concerns. In this context, he has made a very bold exposition in his Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule. On 24 April 1933, he says – on page 04 in the beginning of this booklet: I would like to say the diligent reader of my writings and to others who are interested in them that I am not at all concerned with appearing to be consistent. In my search after Truth I have discarded many ideas and learnt many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of truth, my God, from moment to moment, and, therefore, when anybody finds any inconsistency between any two writings of mine, if he still has faith in my sanity, he would do well to choose the later of the two on the same subject.21 [In 1942, Gandhi said that if he survived the attainment of freedom by India, he would] … advise the adoption of nonviolence to the utmost extent possible and that would be India’s greatest contribution to the peace of the world and the establishment of a new world order.22 Writings and sayings of Mahatma Gandhi and majority of commentators and critics of Gandhian philosophy have shown not only inherent but also explicit significance of the idea of essential harmony and oneness of humanity. Gandhi has never regarded himself as a system builder. His experiments, however, have led him to evolve – for several commentators and analysts like S. C. Gangal, Mahendra Kumar, Raghavan Iyer, Savita Singh, Ramjee Singh, Johan Galtung and others – a Predominantly Nonviolent State as his second best Ideal and a Nonviolent Society as his ultimate Ideal for establishing a vibrantly creative global and just political ethos where cooperation, equality and nonviolence have replaced exploitation, inequality and bloody warfare and mutual hatred. Similar ideas are currently being propagated and discussed by internationally acclaimed authors and statesmen alike even if they are apparently not so much directly influenced by Gandhi.
  13. 13. Gandhian Human Security 13of 22 Indeed, Gandhi’s holistic notion of security is a practical-idealist concept. Gandhi has never written or said much about security in particular as a term with specific meaning that is being attached to it in the strictly military sense. Yet he had foreseen almost all major trends and strands. Gandhi is one with former United States (US) President Bill Clinton’s statement: “ the central reality of our time is that the advent of globalisation and the revolution in information technology have magnified both the creative and destructive potential of every individual, tribe and nation on our planet.” 27 Gandhi has a holistic approach to human problems, in which reform or reconstruction should concentrate, more or less at the same time, at all levels of human existence and activity, i. e, individual, local, national and international levels. Security of every individual citizen of the world today has its globalised dimensions too. Ever new weapons, trading and economic network unfolding newer and subtler exploitative ways of human comforts, mutual destruction and domination. This is an ever-accelerating trend of modern “civilisation”. Gandhi, going much beyond Bill Clinton, finds in this civilisation: …. people living in it make bodily welfare the object of life. …. If people of a certain country, who have hitherto not been in the habit of wearing much clothing, boots etc., adopt European clothing, they are supposed to have become civilised out of savagery. …. [Ever increasing blindfolded mechanisation] is called a sign of civilisation. ….Formerly, only a few men wrote valuable books. Now, anybody writes and prints anything he likes and poisons people’s minds. …. As men progress,… [they] will not need the use of their hands and feet…. Everything will be done by machinery. …. Formerly, when people wanted to fight…they measured between them their bodily strength; now it is possible to take away thousands of lives by one man…. This is civilisation. ….. [Earlier] men were made slaves under physical compulsion. Now they are enslaved by the temptation of money and of the luxuries that money can buy.
  14. 14. Gandhian Human Security 14of 22 ….There are now diseases of which people never dreamt before, and an army of doctors is engaged in finding out theirs, and so hospitals have increased. This is a test of civilisation. …. Today [not earlier when special messengers were needed to send a letter], anyone can abuse his fellow by means of a letter [of email] for one penny. True, at the same cost, one can send one’s thanks also. …now, [people] require something to eat every two hours so that they have hardly leisure for anything else [more meaningful]. ….. This civilisation is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed.”23 Real holistic security for Gandhi is possible only through Panch yama of Patanjali, i.e., nonviolence (ahimsa), non-stealing (astaeya), Truth (Satya), non- possession (aparigraha) and chastity (brahamcharya). Global though sectoral reformation programme for regeneration of every individual is needed for balancing the negative effects of the process of globalisation. It was Gandhi’s conviction that individuals – of whom the nations and global communities are constituted – must have priority in any scheme of reform or reconstruction. Yet another idea in Gandhi’s scheme is that any durable programme of reconstruction must be marked by a measure of coordination and integration at various levels of social action through voluntary effort. Press and media have a very significant role in this sphere. Media, for Gandhi, must be having unmistakable autonomy and self- reliance with little dependence on advertisement revenue. The cultivation of nonviolence by the individual and the establishment of non-exploitative economy at different levels will lead eventually to the emergence of what he calls nonviolent nationalism. Ultimately, these nonviolent nations will function under a world federation or international organisation on the basis of: 1. Political and economic independence without any type of colonialism or imperialism and exploitation. 2. Voluntary effort with dedication and commitment. 3. Goals and means not imposed from above but developed from within. 4. Equality for all. As such every nation must feel as tall as the tallest. 5. Decentralisation at political and economic spheres.
  15. 15. Gandhian Human Security 15of 22 6. General disarmament. 7. Unilateral disarmament. 8. International society as a voluntary organisation. 9. Common good of all. 10. Bigger nations ready to “give” to the smaller nations. 11. Amicable and peaceful settlement of all disputes. 12. Small international police as long as the world is able to develop a general belief in nonviolence. 13. Free, open, alert and impartial Media. 14. Full employment. 15. Preponderance to mutual sense of service.24 Such a blue print may as well be the guiding spirit of present-day quest for security and globalisation. In this security perspective, the individual has specially a two- fold significance for Gandhi. First, proper education and training to the individual for understanding and imbibing the values of a normal society. A normal fraternity, for Gandhi, is one where development does not pose diverse types of threats to the individual and humanity. For evolving such a normal course of life, a Global Education Order must be established through value-related and need based education. Nearly all aspects of human life are to be covered in this programme ranging from material, moral, emotional and cultural to spiritual needs of the individual. The individuality, creativity, identity and voluntary efforts have to be the fundamental terms of reference in the launching of such a global education order. Secondly, Gandhi emphasises the role of the individual in decision- making and in sharing the national and international responsibilities. There is no place for undemocratic or authoritarian regimes in Gandhi’s agenda of security and peace. To steer clear of undemocratic or authoritarian tendencies, Gandhi suggests two more correctives of (i) limited State power and (ii) socio-economic decentralisation. As regards the former, Gandhi is one with Thoureau’s principle that “that government is best which governs the least.”25 To quote Gandhi: I look upon an increase in the power of the state with the greatest fear because…it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality which lies at the root of all progress.26
  16. 16. Gandhian Human Security 16of 22 In order to curb emergence of authoritarianism, the size and role of police and military, for Gandhi, has to be limited to dealing with thieves, robbers, raiders from without and a few emergencies only. It would be better if police and military perform largely the role of a body of reformers.27 Gandhi looks forward to the emergence of a world where “no state has its military.”28 Socio-economic decentralisation is yet another corrective measure to curb undemocratic tendencies. Gandhi’s global vision moves upward from the individual and a federation of village republics to an international federation of nations in a society marked by voluntary cooperation and decentralisation. Aldous Huxley, while supporting Gandhi, says, “…democratic principles cannot be effectively put into practice unless authority in a community has been decentralised to the utmost extent possible.”29 The modern inter-linking of people and economies under contemporary security debate must give careful attention to the Gandhian pointers in this age of technology for keeping away from the pejorative aspects of concurrent science and development patterns. Otherwise, it will prove to be a “nine days wonder” only. For Gandhi, in the larger context of security, peace, freedom, equality and non-exploitative society, there are several other important realities. Such as: …Our nationalism can be no peril to other nations inasmuch as we will exploit none just as we will allow none to exploit us.30 The satyagrahi must maintain personal contact with people of his locality. This living association of human beings is essential to a genuine democracy.31 I have no doubt that unless big nations shed their desire for exploitation and the spirit of violence of which war is the natural expression and the atom bomb the inevitable consequence, there is no hope for peace in the world.32 Mechanisation is good when hands are too few for the work intended to be accomplished. It is evil where there are more hands than acquired…33 I entertain no fads in this regard [i.e., his avowed opposition to mechanisation and capital-intensive technology]. All that I desire is that every able-bodied citizen should be provided with gainful employment. If electricity and even automatic energy could be used without…creating unemployment, I will not raise my little finger against it…. If the Government could provide full
  17. 17. Gandhian Human Security 17of 22 employment to our people without the help of Khadi hand- spinning and hand-weaving industries, I shall be prepared to wind up my constructive programme in this regard.34 To reject foreign manufactures merely because they are foreign, and to go on wasting national time and money on the promotion in one’s own country of manufactures for which it is not suited would be criminal folly, and a negation of the Swadeshi spirit.35 Decentralisation of political and economic power, reduction in the functions and importance of State, growth of voluntary associations, removal of dehumanising poverty and resistance to injustice … will bring life within the understanding of man and make society and the State democratic….. The nonviolent State will cooperate with an international organisation based on nonviolence. Peace will come not merely by changing the institutional forms but by regenerating those attitudes and ideals of which war, imperialism, capitalism and other forms of exploitation are the inevitable expressions.36 [I am not against all international trade, though imports should be limited to things that are necessary for our growth but which India -- and for that matter any poorer country -- cannot herself produce and export of things of real benefit to foreigners.]37 Gandhi is clearly having a very comprehensive view and understanding of security based on a nonviolent way of really civilised life. He is presenting an out line of normal human behaviour away from cut-throat conflicts and massive wars of mutual hatred. In this attempt, he is visualising security as a manifold concept running into every aspect of life. An action plan may well be in line with the larger tenor of this research piece here: V Gandhian Comprehensive Security Action Plan 1. Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and other related forces may be there in the absence of a general belief in the power of nonviolence. 2. Comprehensive Security will be the most fruitful phenomenon when citizens and nations of the world do not have to bother about it as their top most priority. 3. Security without weapons is necessary as an ultimate aim. It is inherent and increasing sense of insecurity that goes for weapons. Real security is when one does
  18. 18. Gandhian Human Security 18of 22 not even have to think of armaments. That means a very positive and healthy security environ. 4. Concentric spheres of security must be grasped properly for creating comprehensive security environs globally step by step. 5. Development, Environment protection, Employment for all, Balanced population, Eat thy bread by the sweat of thy brow, Universal disarmament, Unilateral disarmament, doing away with nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. 6. Security must not become a fetish of an age or era. 7. Nonviolence is possible only in a gallant and brave world of citizens. 8. Cowards cannot be nonviolent. 9. Violence is preferred vis-à-vis nonviolence of a coward. 10. Highly decentralised pattern of economy will be less prone to instantaneous devastation at one go in the event of bombardment by the enemy forces. 11. Highly decentralised political setup helps wider participation alongwith lesser abuse of political power. 12. Nonviolent Brigades must also be developed and trained in panch yama. 13. All armed forces and Nonviolent Brigades must be given training in panch yama discipline. 14. Comprehensive Security policy must be visionary based on experiences of history, present-day situation and prospective possibilities and every potential visualisation. 15. The most powerful country in the world must be an important aspect of a defence policy formulation. 16. Collaborations with foreign mercenaries must be avoided to the greatest possible extent. 17. Exports from foreign countries must be made only in such areas where there is no other alternative in the interest of citizens of a country. 18. Mechanisation and modern technology is to be adopted in areas where it is necessary for national self-reliance and not otherwise. 19. Open borders with immediate neighbours are preferred. 20. Free people to people contact must be given priority.
  19. 19. Gandhian Human Security 19of 22 VI Conclusion: Whither Security Several thousand people are being massacred daily in the world today. This is quite a war like situation on a larger plane. This is no small matter when it relates to precious human life of so many global citizens. Every human life is as precious as the life of all other individuals. It is not only weapons, wars and terrorists but also diplomatic instruments of peace are also singing the ‘cacophony’ of violence. That is why T. Schelling says: The power to hurt is nothing new in warfare, but… modern technology… enhances the importance of war and threats of war as techniques of influence, not of destruction; of coercion and deterrence, not of conquest and defence; of bargaining and intimation… War no longer looks like just a contest of strength. War and the brink of war are more a contest of nerve and risk taking, of pain and endurance… The threat of war has always been somewhat underneath international diplomacy... Military strategy can no longer be thought of ... as the science of military victory. It is now equally, if not more, the art of coercion, of intimidation and deterrence... Military strategy ... has become the diplomacy of violence.38 This “diplomacy of violence” is not the only concern of security in this age of globalisation and emerging “global village”. Major security dimensions are there in varied areas of rising human needs and expectations such as (i) threats to political stability of different regimes, (ii) operational aspects of democracy, (iii) widespread terrorism for avowed self-determination, (iv) ethnic crises, (v) economic exploitation and determinism, (vi) political and economic violence, (vii) expanding frontiers of security and threat perception of modern states, (viii) widespread economic deprivations, (ix) dangerous fallout of modern technology, (x) population imbalances, (xi) widening gamut of corruption in higher echelons of economic and political power, and (xii) poverty, (xiii) unemployment and (xvi) proliferation of armaments etcetera. In the light of these major security threats, Gandhi suggests that there are four pillars of a peaceful Gandhian world order:
  20. 20. Gandhian Human Security 20of 22  It should be nonviolent.  It must be non-exploitative and cooperative.  It has to be based on the reform, regeneration and education of the individual.  It must work its way up to the global or international level through reform or nonviolent reorganisation (including democratisation) at other (or preceding) levels of society, such as local or national. What Gandhi is emphasising here relates very closely to the well known UNESCO aphorism that says: Since war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed.39
  21. 21. Gandhian Human Security 21of 22 References and Notes 1 Harijan, 29 September 1946. 2 3 David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2002, p. 25. 4 Ibid. p. 3. 5 Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, Jaico Publishing House, Bombay, Second Indian Edition, 1975, Twelfth Impression, p. 353. 6 M. K. Gandhi, Nonviolence in Peace and War, Volume – I, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, Third Edition, 1948; M. K. Gandhi, Nonviolence in Peace and War, Volume – II, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, First Edition, 1949; Gopinath Dhawan’s The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1957; H. J. N. Horsburg’s Nonviolence and Aggression: A Study of Gandhi’s Moral Equivalent of War, OUP, London, 1968; S. C. Gangal’s Gandhian Thought and Techniques in the Modern World, Criterion Publications, 1988; Joan Bondurant’s Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict, Princeton, 1958; Johan Galtung’s “A Gandhian Theory of Conflict”, in David Selbourne (Ed.), In Theory and Practice: Essays on the Politics of Jayaprakash Narayan, OUP, New Delhi, 1985 and Gene Sharp’s Gandhi as Political Strategist: With Essays on Ethics and Politics, Boston, 1979. 7 Adapted from Baljit Singh, Indian Foreign Policy: An Analysis, Asia Publishing House, 1976. He has explained the three concentric circles of foreign policy of a nation like India. 8 Pyarelal, Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase, Ahmedabad, Navajivan Publishing House, 1958, Volume – II, pp. 580 – 581. 9 E.J. Hogendoorn, A Chemical Weapons Atlas, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September/October 1997 Vol. 53, No. 5. 10 Harijan, 05 September 1936, p. 236. 11 Harijan, 21 July 1940, p. 211. 12 Daily Excelsior, Jammu, 08 April 2004 (Edit page). 13 Barash and Webel, Op. Cit., n. 1, p.203. 14 Harijan, 12 May 1946. Raghavan Iyer (Ed.), The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986, pp. 448 – 450. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 “Disarmament and Development”, Gandhi Marg, New Delhi, May – June 1982. 19 M. K. Gandhi, For Pacifists, Ahmedabad,1949, p. 43. 20 M. K. Gandhi, Nonviolence in Peace and War, Op. Cit., n. 5., Volume – I, p. 28. 21 Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, Navajivan, Ahmedabad: 1938, p. 04. 22 Harijan, 21 June 1942. 23 Harijan, 22 June 1935 and 15 September 1946; M. K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, Navajivan, Ahmedabad: 1938), p. 08, Preface by Mahadev Desai. See also Raghavan Iyer (ed.), The Moral and Political writings of Mahatma Gandhi: Truth and Non- violence, Volume – II, (Oxford, London: 1986), pp. 212 – 214., Parentheses and Emphasis added. 24 Anurag Gangal, New International Economic Order: A Gandhian Perspective (Chanakya, Delhi: 1985), Chapter – II, pp. 29 - 30. 25 Young India, 02 July 1931. 26 N. K. Bose, Selections from Gandhi (Ahmedabad: 1948), p. 42. 27 M. K. Gandhi, Nonviolence in Peace and War , Op. Cit., n. 5., Volume – I, Chapter – II and pp. 145, 324. See also S. C. Gangal, The Gandhian Way to World Peace (Vora, Bombay: 1960), pp. 100 – 101. 28 S. C. Gangal, Ibid. , p. 100.
  22. 22. Gandhian Human Security 22of 22 29 Encyclopaedia of Pacifism, (London: 1937), p. 100. 30 S. C. Gangal, Op. Cit., n. 24, p. 90. 31 G. N. Dhawan, op. cit., n. 5., p. 284. Emphasis added. 32 M. K. Gandhi, op. cit. , n. 5., Volume – II, pp. 163 – 164. Emphasis added. 33 Harijan, 16 November 1939. 34 Quoted in Ram K. Vepa, New Technology: A Gandhian Concept (New Delhi: 1975), p. 170. 35 From Yervada Mandir (Navajivan, Ahmedabad: 1933), p. 96 – 97. 36 G. N. Dhawan, op. cit., n. 5., p. 341. 37 Ibid., p. 96. 38 T. Schelling, “The Diplomacy of Violence”, in R. Art and R. Jervis (Eds), International Politics, fourth edition, Harper Collins, New York, 1996, pp. 168 – 182. 39 UNESCO Preamble