The International Day of Non-violence coinciding with the day Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic apostle of non-violence was born, is being celebrated tomorrow. What could be a better theme for this issue than nonviolence as an instrument for fighting all forms of oppression and violence.
The day is marked both by celebration as well as solemn observance. Celebration because it is a great day associated with the birth of the messenger of non-violence and introspective observance owing to the ever increasing relevance of his credo in a world of mounting violence.
It is hardly oxymoronic that the preacher of non-violence fell to an assassin's bullet like his ardent follower Martin Luther King a few decades since his mentor's death. Both the assassinations only go to vindicate the righteousness of their noble cause for humanity. Mandela's treatment of his former incarcerators after his release from prison was awash with respect for Gandhi's teachings.
Basically, nonviolence is war against lies and therefore a quest for truth undeterred by individual, group or state-sponsored violation by various kinds of machinations. George Orwell explaining why he writes a book says, 'there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing'.
Breaking the silence is important for overcoming incipient forms of oppression, people, particularly women, have had to endure. These are more insidious than manifest violence against which a voice can be raised and remedy sought.
Ideological extremism-induced violence and devastation and the invasive war on terror are equally to blame for a severe deficit of peace worldwide. Religious violence in the form of fatwa, attempted denigration of other's religion, political violence with its many-fanged diabolism, and drone and missile attacks have been on a spiral.
Curiously, at a time of financial and economic downturn arms spending comprises 2.6% of world's GDP which works out to US$236 for each person globally. Already, the world's GDP has been scaled down by 2% this year so that arms spending could cost human advancement apart from keeping flashpoints on a boil.
From philosophy to the mundane, we have a fall from sublime to an abyss. 'Rethink the fear' as an instrument of crime control is basically a call for Rab to function within legal limits. Basic rights for women including equality within marriage and at the time of dissolution will have to be guaranteed if we are to have a balanced, productive and creative society. Fighting for rights of Dalits (socially disadvantaged) remains a problem area in our country.
Forty years of reducing institutions rather than building them, inclusive development for poverty eradication, dynamics of a rising China, Che of whom Jean-Paul Satre said, 'the most complete human being of our times' and the first ever cricket test between England and Australia in 1877 that featured an English man born in Dhaka -- all come within the covers.