Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Contrast Gandhi’s rejection of the use of force with Sri Aurobindo

Deconstructing Gandhian Satyagraha
Radha Rajan
01 Jul 2009

The permanent removal of the offender of dharma by use of force is effected with the precision of a surgeon wielding a scalpel: dispassionately, precisely, and as a necessary measure... Gandhi in his treatise on Satyagraha ignored the compelling arguments for use of force and advocated Christian non-violence and love, on the basis of a flawed reading of the Bible and a faulty understanding of its central character, Jesus Christ. Contrast Gandhi’s un-Hindu rejection of the use of force with Aurobindo:

Justice and righteousness are the atmosphere of political morality; but the justice and righteousness of a fighter, not of the priest. Aggression is unjust only when unprovoked; violence, unrighteous when used wantonly for unrighteous ends. It is a barren philosophy which applies a mechanical rule to all actions, or takes a word and tries to fit all human life into it.

The sword of the warrior is as necessary to the fulfillment of justice and righteousness as the holiness of the saint. Ramdas is not complete without Shivaji. To maintain justice and prevent the strong from despoiling, and the weak from being oppressed, is the function for which the kshatriya is created. ‘Therefore’, says Srikrishna in the Mahabharata, ‘God created battle and armour, the sword, the bow and the dagger’ [6]

Aurobindo’s advocacy of force and articulation of kshatriya dharma is in line with Hindu tradition of statecraft as exemplified by Kautilya’s Arthasastra. Gandhi’s absolutism on non-violence contrasts sharply with Kautilya’s exhortations on the use of force, and it is pertinent that notwithstanding the motivated propaganda about Kautilya’s ‘evil genius’, the Arthasastra is addressed to the dharmic king. Nor was Kautilya unique in prescribing the use of force or State power; he cited earlier opinions while explaining his own views:
Excerpted from
Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his freedom struggle
Radha Rajan
New Age Publishers (P) Ltd., Delhi, 2009 Price: Rs 495/- ISBN 81- 7819 - 068- 0
The book may be ordered from the publishers at
or at 011-2649 3326/ 27/ 28
The author is editor,

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