beauty of Hinduism has always been its diversity, its teachings for
all levels and temperaments of people and for all aspects of
society, which sets it apart from absolutist and exclusive religious
creeds. Hence an absolutism of non-violence must also be questioned.
While Hindus in general took up Gandhian
non-violence, Muslims, with few exceptions, did not, nor did Hindu
groups like the Sikhs who themselves had a strong Kshatriya
Some Hindus felt Gandhian
non-violence would disarm them and make them vulnerable to attack,
while some anti-Hindu forces welcomed Gandhian non-violence as a way
of disarming and weakening any Hindu opposition. Certainly it can be
argued that Gandhian non-violence did not prevent the partition of
India and may in fact have promoted it. Yet
while Gandhi's absolute non - violence may have been excessive, many
of his other points, like his insistence on Swadeshi, or national
self-sufficiency, need more emphasis today.
Gandhi wanted to preserve the Indian
basis of Indian society and government, which is rapidly becoming
lost today. On the other hand, Nehru and his Congress Party built
modern India not on Gandhian policies but on Marxist socialism, not
on Gandhi's village emphasis but on a Soviet style bureaucracy that
became more allied with communism during the time of Indira Gandhi.
Lip service was given to Gandhi only and his image was used to help
get votes, even after most of his policies were abandoned.