Learn from India about nonviolence | TheUnion.com

Learn from India about nonviolence

It is the 1930s. Gandhi’s nonviolent movement for India’s freedom from the rigid oppression of the British is beginning to succeed. A young Muslim in what is today the border lands between Pakistan and Afghanistan, motivated by Gandhi’s philosophy, organizes the world’s largest nonviolent “army.”

This young Muslim was Badshah Khan. He rallied 100,000 Khudai Khidmatgars, or “Servants of God,” from among the Pathan. The Khudai Khidmatgars were required to pledge themselves to a impressive list of peace actions, including “to refrain from violence and from taking revenge.”

Famous as fierce and unmerciful warriors, the Pathans followed an ancient code of honor demanding violent retribution even for the slightest insult. Today’s Pathan people include almost all of the Taliban. It is this culture of war and violence that makes Badshah Khan’s peaceful leadership so inspiring. Armed only with a deep inner commitment to resist the injustice imposed by the British, Khan refused to use any but nonviolent means. He was able to infuse the Pathan people with hope and change as they discovered the transformative power of nonviolence in action.

Nonviolence does work. There have been many incidences of successful nonviolent civil disobedience overcoming even the most vile of evils, including Hitler, Cold War Russian Communism and, yes, even the Taliban.

War is not the answer.

Charity Bryson

Nevada City

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