Non-violence, in essence, is the use of peaceful means to bring about a positive and lasting social or political change. Use of non-violence as a solution is tantamount to giving aid to the injured, water to the thirsty and food to the hungry. One can legitimately ask: why should non-violence be used when violence offers more tangible and faster solutions?
Firstly, it is important to realize that the use of violence to solve a social or political problem creates a host of other problems in its wake. No matter how pure and sublime one’s aim is, use of violence to achieve it can never be justified. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “Violence breeds violence...Pure goals can never justify impure or violent action...They say the means are after all just means. I would say means are after all everything. As the means, so the end....If we take care of the means we are bound to reach the end sooner or later.”
Secondly, non-violence is a “tool” that is available to all. One doesn’t need either time or resources to acquire this tool. Every single person in this world can practice non-violence right from this moment, if one realizes its importance.
Thirdly, and most importantly, non-violent approach breaks the cycle of violence and counter-violence, which is usually triggered by the use of violence as a solution. If one group attacks another one violently, the attacked group is naturally instigated to retaliate with violence. This, in turn, provokes the first group to counter-attack with fiercer violence. This chain reaction continues until the government agencies effectively quell it or one of the groups is completely wiped out i.e. until a group has “won”. How can we term this outcome as a “win” when there’s no one to celebrate the “win” because this disastrous cycle results into nothing but massive bloodshed and deaths? Ethnic cleansing and communal riots are the obvious examples in which there is widespread bloodshed...