The International Day of Non-Violence is celebrated on 2nd October, the birthday of the great peace movement leader, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi led the successful and peaceful movement for India’s independence from British rule and his ideals continue to inspire civil movements and freedom actions across the world.
Today, it seems like peaceful protests, peaceful demands for justice, peaceful dialogues and peaceful negotiations on fundamental rights of human beings is continuously met with frustrating defeat. It seems like there shouldn’t be a struggle for something so plain and obvious; women should have equal rights as men, children should have good education, rapists should be brought to justice and citizens should have good lives in their countries. I believe that the struggle for these rights is hinged on the simple gift of compassion.
Often, we seem to identify specific actions with specific types of people and disregard the significant fact that we are all human. We unconsciously believe false biases that have been formed within us through media, social interactions and many other things that influence our way of thinking. We think things like; a rapist is a man, an uncultured person is an African, a terrorist is a Muslim, someone who is easily taken advantage of is a woman, a racist must be Caucasian and because of this, we struggle with comprehending if these groups of people deserve a different kind of tag.
Gandhi wanted better for his people in India – all people! It didn’t matter their race, gender, age, social status, religion or any other thing. It was about freedom for the people.
Each of us has something we fight for, but the way we fight is what should make the difference. We should never allow our frustration to overwhelm our actual goal. We must refrain from acts that cause harm to the lives and property of other people. Razing down properties does not bring justice and peace, it only distracts from the actual message. Physical fights with opposers does not foster communication it only creates further gaps in understanding. Promotion of bias does not teach people to be careful and understanding, instead it makes them resent one another.
Peace is all encompassing. Peace is liberating. Peace is stable. Peace is always necessary.
Gandhi tells us to “Hate the sin, love the sinner” we need to remember this when we go through our battles. The fight is against “the sin”; the sin of injustice, lack of peace, insecurity, inequality etc. and not against one another.
We fight racism. We fight inequality. We fight rape. We fight child marriages. We fight gender based violence. Let’s all fight together.