Much water has flown since 9/11 tragedy; the world is witnessing rise and rise of terror in middle east; Europe facing a refugee crisis; United States readies itself for presidental election. In such times a ghost of Gandhi’s follower scribbles a letter for future american president.
Dear Mr. President,
I wish to congratulate you for being elected as president of United States, and as my friend Ben (oh! you may call him Uncle Ben) says, “With great power comes great responsibility”. What your predecessors have done repeatedly to avenge with sheer violence, may have given transient pleasures and respite, but “I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even for noblest causes”.
Not beating around the bush (no offence to George), I would straightaway come to the point. How I wish you tackle Islamic State terror?
1. Non-violence: You bring back all your troops, and fight the terror with non-violence. Individuals or nations who would practice non-violence must be prepared to sacrifice everything except honour. Let them bomb you, gun you down which they will anyway do. Do not retaliate by force. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. What they want to instill is fear, and they would be embarassed to see you smiling and proclaiming peace. Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak. If those youths have been motivated for terror by some hatewords, same youths could be motivated for peace. You help build a band of youths in each of those affected states who would preach non-violence. Organise a mass fast across the world in name of Aylan Kurdi and the orphaned kids. Unite whole world peacefully marching across cities in terror heartland. I am sure you would witness many surrenders and redemptions. Non-violence is never a method of coercion, but of conversion.
2. Kingdom of righteousness- Our aim is to establish kingdom of righteousness on earth. Please do not support any nation in its violent militarisation and nuclearisation. Your country had this habit of cultivating one power to resist another. Real disarmament cannot come unless the nations of world cease to exploit one another. Rightfully or wrongfully, your country has been blamed for hegemony over any profitable corner of the world, and there is nothing wrong with capital generation. Capital is not an evil, it is its wrong use which is evil. Your capital can help in humanitarian aid but say ‘no to military aid’.
3. Apology– Its always the toughest thing to do, for a gigantic nation like you to bow down, but your apologies would be victory of truth. You apologise for your sins like hanging Saddam when there was no weapon of mass destruction. You apologise for bombing a state just to nail one man who finally was hiding in a small mansion somewhere else. Your sincere apology would erase the hatred. The right to err is universal condition of progress. In our experiments with truth, we err umpteen times, but a courage to apologise can wash off all our sins.
4. Religious Harmony– I wish if you could stand at the world podium and say boldly as me,
I am a Christian, and a Moslem, a Jew, and a Hindu.
Hate for Islam should be converted bit-by-bit, and they would no longer hate your religion. Religions are different roads converging on the same point. We all are equal, and a civilisation is to be judged by its treatment of minorities.
5. Bow for apology but not as cowardice– People often mistake me as a promulgator of cowardice. Let me tell you if I were in Somalia fighting for inequality and humanity, I would have never pulled my troops back. Now I tell you the only place for violence I advocate. Where there is only choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence. This would only come when above four methods fail. Fearlessness is the requisites of spirituality, and cowards are immoral.
But, I am sure my friend, you would get a much better result by using my four methods of peace.
“Peace has its victories much glorious than war”
Gandhi statue in Washington DC (Courtesy: Yelp.com) Gandhi statue in Washington DC (Courtesy: Yelp.com)
Note: Author has used Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings (sentences in Italics) in the letter as a tribute to the great man, and apologise for any misquotes.