Gandhi and Conflict Resolution in the New Millennium

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Gandhi & Conflict Resolution in the New Millennium – Social, Political & Economic Perspectives

Dr.MUMTAZ BEGUM, Associate Professor, School of Education, Pondicherry University

In his writings, Gandhi recognizes that “wherever there is a clash of ‘ephemeral’ interests, men tend to resort to violence”. He writes that it is because men see themselves separately with exclusive individual concerns and strive for personal benefits at any cost and as such they often resort to violence. For Gandhi “Ahimsa”(Non-violence) was important not just as a desirable virtue or merely as the means for the purification and ennobling of the soul but even more as the fundamental and perhaps the only way in which one could express one’s respect for innate worth of the human being.

It has been suggested that conflicts can be resolved by debates in which opponents try to convert each other. It was this aspect that Gandhi was keen to explore understand and live through. The dual process of disarmament (most importantly the internal) and development of a joint force would be both multilateral and democratic, the right of the majority to criticize or even intervene in the event of one nation violating the basic rules, would be ensured. With all large armies eliminated and all conflicts such as border disputes subject to the control of the joint international force, large and small nations would be truly equal, resulting in a stable international order.

A recent movement in conflict resolution studies introduces the transformative approach to mediation. This approach, which is significant for this study, sets the goal of changing not just situations, but the people themselves through mediation activities, which encourage empowerment and mutual recognition. This typically, is one approach adopted by Gandhi whereby he suggests that all persons ought to see every other person essentially as humans.

Conflicts, struggles, and fights—all are words used when two or more...
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