The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Independence movement of India and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.
In accordance with resolution A / RES / 61/271 of 15 June 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an opportunity to “spread the message of non-violence, including through education and awareness-raising”. The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire to “guarantee a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”.
In presenting the resolution to the General Assembly on behalf of 140 co-sponsors, India’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Anand Sharma, stated that the general and varied sponsorship of the resolution reflected Mahatma Gandhi’s universal respect and relevance sustainability of its philosophy. In quoting the words of the late chief, he said: “Non-violence is the greatest force available to humanity, it is more powerful than the most powerful weapon of destruction conceived by the ingenuity of the ‘man”.
The Life and Leadership of Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi, who helped direct India’s independence, inspired nonviolent movements for civil rights and social change in the world. Throughout his life, Gandhi remains determined to believe in non-violence, even in oppressive conditions and face seemingly insurmountable challenges.
The theory of his actions, which included the promotion of mass civil disobedience to British law, such as the historic March of 1930, was that “this only means to lead to just ends”; that is, it is irrational to try to use violence to achieve a peaceful society. He believed that Indians should not use violence or hatred in their struggle to free themselves from colonialism.
The principle of non-violence, also known as non-violent resistance, rejects the use of physical violence for social or political change. Often described as “people’s politics,” this form of social struggle has been adopted by mass populations around the world in social justice campaigns.
Professor Gene Sharp, a leading scholar on nonviolent resistance, uses the following definition in his publication, The Politics of Nonviolent Action:
“Non-violent action is a technique whereby people who reject passivity and submission, and who consider the struggle as essential, can make their conflict without violence. Non-violent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflicts. An answer to the problem of how to act effectively in politics, especially how to effectively exercise one’s powers. “
While nonviolence is often used as a synonym for pacifism, since the mid-20th century, the term non-violence has been adopted by many movements of social change that do not focus on opposition to war.
A key principle of the theory of non-violence is that the power of leaders depends on the consent of the population, and non-violence seeks to undermine this power by withdrawing the consent and cooperation of the population.
There are three main categories of non-violence actions:
protest and persuasion, including marches and vigils;
non-violent intervention such as blockages and professions.