Gandhian Principles for Today’s Conflicts

by Arne Naess

If the emphasis of Gandhian nonviolence had been on Indian independence, was there then in an India, which in 1947 had gained its political freedom, a place for Gandhi to act as a politician? In fact, his prevailing influence became even greater than it had been before. He exerted a powerful influence on Nehru and the other Congress Party leaders, and his religious influence in Indian culture was immeasurable. One should be careful, however, not to attribute, either to Gandhi or to his influence, actual political decisions and policies such as those, for instance, that led to tensions in Kashmir and conflicts with Pakistan.

Gandhi still seemed, in 1945-46, to entertain some hope that India’s politics would be conducted in the spirit of nonviolence. That he was mistaken would not itself be a point of much relevance here, were it not for the widespread misconception that Indian politics is a direct expression of Gandhian ideas. (1) There are very good reasons for rejecting such a notion.

For instance, when Nehru became Prime Minister in September 1946, the military budget remained as it had been under British rule. Gandhi objected: “I have told our people not to depend on military and police help. . . . You cannot say it is good in one place and bad in another. The military help will degrade you.” (2) Military help spelt, “Goodbye to peace.” If Indian scientists were required by the state to participate in technical research for war, then, according to Gandhi, they ought to refuse to do so unto death!

Although Gandhi judged the responsibility for bloodshed in Kashmir in 1947 and thereafter in just the way the Indian politicians did, believing that India had right on her side in her struggle with Pakistan, and hailing the courage of the Indian soldiers, he still believed that India should never have resisted Pakistani troops or civilians with physical violence. India, according to Gandhi, might easily have offered Kashmir nonviolent assistance, and if the defenders did not surrender, but died at their posts without hatred for their attackers, this would have been an heroic deed, in which India would have played some small part, and which could have lent meaning to the Kashmir dispute for the whole world. But Gandhi admitted that he had no decisive influence on political policies and was a powerless witness to the violence. If people did not believe in nonviolence, he could not mobilize nonviolent defense. (3)

Here we are faced with an example of the insuperable difficulties leaders of nonviolent action and movements must always encounter. Only when belief in nonviolence is general among the people to whom it is being prescribed does it make sense to expect nonviolence on any large scale in any major crisis. During the 1930s Gandhi himself grew increasingly convinced of the fruitlessness, and even the danger, of calling for nonviolent action in a severe crisis unless he was absolutely certain the spirit and character of such action would be understood and widely supported. Numbers for Gandhi was always an important ingredient of satyagraha.

Furthermore, when the Congress party came into power in 1939, he saw “decay” setting in, and with it the impossibility of undertaking civil disobedience, because “though there is nonviolence enough among the masses, there is not enough among those who have to organize the masses.” He might have formulated this as: although there is enough potential for nonviolence among the masses, there is not enough among the organizers.

A tragic parallel to Kashmir in 1947 is the Indian invasion of Goa in 1961, when there was a corps of “soldiers of nonviolence” two thousand strong, the Shanti Sena. Narayan, one of its leaders and organizers, went to Vinoba Bhave when it became clear India was about to invade Goa, asking Vinoba, the most respected and famous of Gandhi’s disciples and head of the corps, to go to Nehru and propose that the Shanti Sena be sent to Goa in place of the Army. Vinoba, his interest now turned exclusively to social and land reform, refused. That such a chance to advert bloodshed should be missed was a severe blow to the supporters of nonviolence.

Despite, however, Gandhi’s clear and consistently negative attitude toward the idea of India having an army, his words do often suggest some support for military power. As early as 1928 he wrote:

“If there was a National Government, whilst I should not take any direct part in any war, I can conceive occasions when it would be my duty to vote for the military training of those who wish to take it. For I know that all its members do not believe in nonviolence to the extent I do. It is not possible to make a person or a society nonviolent by compulsion.”(4)

A respect for an individual’s convictions as to how a good cause is to be served best was in Gandhi married to a loyalty to the ideals of democracy. According to those ideals, individuals who do not believe in violence must not forcefully deprive those who do believe in violence of the means to exercise it. The latter must be given the opportunity to train themselves militarily, but should continuously be the target of persuasion of those who want never to use it. That those who believe in nonviolence should try to convert the believers in violence remains a duty of supreme importance.

To many people in the West who read the news from India in 1945-48, Gandhi may well have seemed either to have given up nonviolence in favor of nationalistic militarism, or to have lost all political and moral influence. Both impressions are due to a failure of communication and understanding. Gandhi was an individualist, in so far as he stressed the duty of each individual to follow his conscience and to help others to follow theirs. But at the same time he thought that the sense of right and wrong is something that can and must be educated and strengthened, but remains forever prone to error.

It is misleading, without considerable qualifications, therefore, to pin India’s failure to find nonviolent solutions on Gandhi or his ideas, or to see even in his own apparent condoning of violence a weakening of, or a weakness in his ideals.

Gandhian Principles and Today’s Conflicts

If we were to count as failures, and this is a questionable assumption, the examples of Kashmir and Goa stated above, then we must ask, “How can Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence contribute at a practical level to the solution of today’s international conflicts?

Before answering this question directly, let us examine a misconception prevalent even among those who are favorably inclined toward the use of nonviolent means. In 1959 a newspaper article asked, “Shouldn’t the Tibetans have risen in revolt?” By way of clarification the author wrote: “During a press conference in Mussoorie on 20 June 1959 the Dalai Lama was asked, ‘Would passive resistance by your people have given better results than armed revolt?’ The Dalai Lama answered, ‘Up to the last day I tried to attain a peaceful settlement which did not succeed and so my people turned to armed revolt, being forced to fight for their freedom.’” (5)

Possibly the Dalai Lama was misquoted; but at any rate, he seems to have excluded the possibility of satyagraha: the people were “forced to fight for their freedom,” says the Dalai Lama. Yes, but a whole people cannot be forced to fight violently. Furthermore, if a nonviolent tradition had been established, the call to fight would have resulted in nonviolent struggle.

The very expression “passive resistance” seems to indicate that there was from the beginning no real consideration of a policy of nonviolence; satyagraha is an active measure. The Dalai Lama does not seem to have had any idea of a nonviolent struggle to avert the Chinese Communist domination of Tibet. We should note here, perhaps, that there have been no nonviolent currents in Tibetan politics during this century. Tibet has been isolationist, and isolationism as a political philosophy excludes nonviolent policies since such policies necessarily involve the idea of personal contact. Isolationism may have prevented any theoretical basis for Tibetan attempts at nonviolent solutions of conflicts with the Chinese.

Admittedly, however, even if the young Dalai Lama had entertained the idea of a nonviolent foreign policy, the chances of his initiating it would have been very small indeed. Gandhi acted as, and was considered, a man of the people; he depended on mass support. The Dalai Lama acted as, and was considered, a God. He was an isolated individual, shut off from contact with his people.

Consider the sentence “up to the last day, I tried to attain a peaceful settlement . . . ” This is the standard formulation adopted by governments that have little or no confidence in nonviolence. It omits any mention of the fact that failure of negotiation might indeed force the satyagrahi to turn to even stronger means, by nonviolent means, of course. It seems clear that we cannot describe the Tibetan defeat as an unsuccessful attempt to use the means of nonviolence in international politics.

In his book, My Land and My People, the Dalai Lama declares himself a believer in nonviolence. “I had and still have unshaken faith in the doctrine of nonviolence which [Gandhi] preached and practiced.” (6) Yet, despite his homage to Gandhi, the Dalai Lama does not seem to have understood that nonviolence could only have been effective in Tibet if there had been a thorough preparation, not only inside Tibet but also in China. The Gandhian principle is that the satyagrahi should go to the center of the conflict, but the Dalai Lama, though regretting Tibet’s isolationism, mentions no attempts at profound contact with the Chinese. In criticizing Tibet’s self exclusion from international affairs, he merely suggests that if Tibet had sought to join the League of Nations or the United Nations, her sovereignty would immediately have been recognized and not “clouded by subtle legal discussions based on ancient treaties . . . ” (7)

We know what terrible events followed the Chinese invasion: widespread execution of the clergy, bombing attacks on Tibetans in no way involved in the struggle; the familiar and senseless brutalities of war. But what they are not is evidence of the fact that violent uprising and war comprise the only alternative for a people, which an unscrupulous state seeks to obliterate. Gandhi says, “If one believes in violence as the only way to defend high values, one must use it notwithstanding the prospect that it opens up. But if it leads to nothing, the argument for nonviolent resistance to physical domination is not thereby destroyed.” (8)

The best short answer to the question “Should the Tibetans have rebelled violently, or nonviolently?” seems to be this: Nonviolent methods are only practicable when there are leaders who believe in them and can organize their people around nonviolent principles. If, therefore, it is true that the Tibetan leaders in 1959 were not convinced of the possibility of nonviolent struggle, the only choice open to them was, as they say, violence or submission.

When answering any questions, such as those above, about the political application of Gandhi’s ideas we should, among other things, keep the following factors in mind:

1. Gandhi withdrew from regular political life in 1934. Though still influential in politics, he no longer tried to articulate practical policies in cooperation with the Nationalist Party. It is entirely misleading, therefore, to judge the policies and actions of the Congress Party after this date as if they were Gandhi’s. And even though he was very active during the Second World War, we still have no way of judging how he would have conceived and directed the movement for freedom in the years that followed 1934, were he to have held a leading political position. If we are to conjecture how a Gandhi inspired president or prime minister would succeed today on problems addressing his nation, we would be most unwise to look to events in India between 1934 and 1948 for guidance.

2. Gandhian nonviolence (satyagraha) and anti-militarism are not the same, nor is satyagraha the same as the pacifism practiced in Europe between the world wars. It is an open question as to whether a movement that favors nonparticipation in war is or is not consistent with Gandhian teaching. Such a refusal to participate, moreover, can only be part of a political program or action, whether the latter is specifically Gandhian or not. For an action to accord with Gandhi’s teachings, it must harmonize with his basic principles and hypotheses, including his teaching on the Constructive Programme. Antimilitarism, starting with the principle that one should abstain from violence, is, as far as it goes, a negative program, not a constructive one.

3. Disarmament, the development of the United Nations, and solutions to the Cold War, can be, but are not necessarily, in accordance with Gandhian principles of conflict resolution. The crucial consideration is whether the framework in which they occur is one of violence or nonviolence, coercion or non-coercion, destructiveness or constructiveness. We must remember that the temporary aggravation of a conflict can be a part of satyagraha; and since Gandhi lent his voice to active intervention in oppression, we could hardly claim his support for a world peace that did not itself countenance such freedom movements as arise throughout the world, or at least those that are able to preserve the moral integrity of their purpose. Appeasement and Gandhian nonviolence are diametrically opposed policies. They have absence of violence in common, but where there is oppression and injustice, Gandhi brings to them conflict, not appeasement or submission.

4. Gandhi has no method to offer to those who struggle for selfish or ethically neutral ends. Appeals to support “the West” lack any Gandhian force unless devoid of the usual ingredients of power politics. But how many see defending “the West” as some kind of worthy extension of ordinary power politics in the noble service of “truth and humanity”?

Points Two and Three have a special importance, and if they are neglected, one is prevented from seeing the central and original conviction of Gandhi’s teaching: that truth, love, nonviolent standards of conduct, trust in nonviolent methods, and the duty to carry out constructive programs all work for the resolution of conflicts.

If disarmament is only regional and not universal, and if disarmed nations neglect to mobilize strong forces of nonviolence for the pursuit and protection of their valid and just international goals, then these countries will be just as weak as they were before, possibly even weaker if they have disarmed themselves out of fear, resignation, defeatism, or out of skepticism about the value of military protectiveness, combined with doubt or ignorance about the possibilities of nonviolent resistance.

One accepted move, for example, a move supposedly “in the right direction” toward ending the Cold War, is for opponents to make mutual promises that they will not try to influence conditions in other countries. But, of course, such a bargain is completely in violation of the spirit of Gandhian political action. Part of the population in Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe have been led to believe that there are Western Europeans who live in such terrible conditions that it is the duty of Russian and Eastern European citizens to come to their aid. Corresponding ideas can be found in “the West” concerning people in “the East.” But if we are to adopt Gandhian principles, we cannot view these unusual pleas lightly; for according to Gandhi, all life, in the last analysis, is one, and therefore cruelty to one is cruelty to all. The borders between countries mean nothing. So long, therefore, as we retain such beliefs about the conditions of such peoples’ lives, it follows that we must try to exert some kind of beneficial influence on their behalf. That is, we must try to interfere, and this may well create considerable friction. Of course, every step must be taken to acquaint ourself with the relevant facts about a country and we must be sure that our efforts will indeed assist those they are designed to help. Good intentions are not enough. Furthermore, if oppression and violence are practiced in our own country, then our efforts at helping others may become mere parody. There are, in sum, many conditions, which must be fulfilled in order to justify large-scale interference in other countries.

This brings us to point 4 mentioned above. Gandhi could never have conceived of satyagraha as an effective means of maintaining international domination, or even of balancing power, nor of protecting, in any way, national interests when such interests oppose those of others or enable a nation, for example, to secure economic hegemony over underdeveloped countries.

Can Nonviolent Defense Replace Military Defense?

Nowadays, just as before, military defense is an instrument in the hands of individual nations. The aims of defense are, of course, the safeguarding of a nation’s interests as a whole. The word “defense,” however, when we use it in connection with the kind of military power we have today, can be merely a “pious euphemism,” as it has been called. We talk of “defense power” as though it were a tool to prevent the aggression of foreign states. If this were in fact true, it might indeed make good sense to say that military force could be replaced by nonviolent force; militarism by satyagraha. However, no one acquainted with foreign affairs could come to assign to “defense power” so simple a role as mere defense, or think of it with such innocence.

Any application of Gandhian principles to present international conflicts presupposes that instead of a straightforward political definition of ends, one should make a critical evaluation of them, and that in so doing all ends that are ethically untenable or ethically irrelevant should be put aside. According to Gandhi’s teaching, particularly as illustrated in the initial phases of his campaigns, the motivation and the definition of an aim must be clear and unequivocal, and all the relevant circumstances thoroughly investigated before the struggle is finally set in motion.

Military enterprises, as we know, can succeed in their aims regardless of the motives of those who undertake them. With nonviolent struggles, however, it is quite the reverse. For, according to Gandhi, the results of any contest, whatever qualities of courage, discipline, and morale the antagonists might display in it, acquire their justification by virtue of a prior process of purification. Applied internationally, this means that Britain or the United States, let us say, can only be said to conduct their foreign policies according to genuine nonviolent principles if (a) their populations are well-informed about the conditions in those countries to which its foreign policy is directed; (b) the populations in those other countries are willing and able to judge the advances made toward them as ones based on moral grounds rather than as acts of expediency, and (c) can base their reaction to them on the same standards.

When we consider how limited the knowledge is of the countries that are seriously affected by foreign policies, the contrast between the contemporary situation and that of Gandhi’s followers in India and South Africa becomes acutely apparent. Certainly Gandhi’s politics had repercussions in Britain: the workers in the British textile industry are a case in point; but through personal contacts and a steady exchange of information, a certain level of communication between the various antagonists could always be maintained. It is clear that such a situation is the exception rather than the rule, and that this is so is, no doubt, as often the intention as well as the result of the policies meted out by the nations to their “opposite” numbers.

It is vitally important here, obviously, to see what kind of national policy could fruitfully be applied to the present international situation and to see, at the same time, if it could be a genuinely Gandhian one. We shall conclude this essay by presenting a five-point strategy, which is intended to fulfill these two requirements.

Five Programs for Building Nonviolent Power

The programs suggested here contain policies designed to promote strength and national “power” without being destructive or coercive, and without leading to any increase in violence. It is important lo note that “power,” here and in the ensuing discussion of nonviolent strategies must be defined in terms of influence, and not in terms of military might or war-potential. Power in this sense is something that both militarists and anti-militarists would be glad to have, albeit for different reasons.

If military strength were today greatly reduced, in the absence of any other significant changes, many people would justifiably feel even less secure from danger than they do already; their passive state of despair and fatalism would be reinforced. If, that is, the only means a person believes to be effective in solving a problem are no longer available to him, he has every reason to feel frustrated and deprived. Clearly then, a decrease in military strength must be preceded by the cultivation of a greater confidence in alternative means of defense. Current criticism of foreign policies is apparently based, however, far more on doubts about the value of armaments than on confidence in non-military means of defense. The result is that the struggle for disarmament has come either to be associated with the rather Utopian belief that no organized defense of freedom is necessary once there is disarmament, or with the feeling that there is no meaningful way at all to counteract tendencies toward dictatorship. If we recall the principle, which said that we should make Gandhi’s Constructive Programme part of our campaign and, as far as possible, give to all phases of any struggle a constructive character, one reason at least thus clearly suggests itself for the relative ineffectiveness of many disarmament efforts.

The following programs are motivated by the desire to construct a non-coercive foreign policy and a non-military defense policy, both of which would be determined by the political and military realities of our day. But those realities being what they are, this strategy obviously cannot ask either for immediate disarmament, or for disarmament alone.

1. Clarification of national commitments. The prime need of any nation is a program for the clarification of its national ideals, commitments, and goals. There are two reasons why this is the most necessary step for non-military defense, but even apart from these, it should be recognized that such a program is good for the nation no matter what form of defense it ultimately employs.

The main purpose of such a program would be, simply enough, to get citizens to understand what it is they are willing to defend. The morale and the efficiency of a people engaged in defending “a way of life” very much depends upon the extent to which they realize what that “way of life” is. A program, therefore, of working toward the most widespread understanding of the ideas, ideals and moral convictions, which are associated with freedom and not with violence, is of tremendous importance.

But the program is also of importance in so far as the definition of group goals in a struggle is something, which must come before the struggle itself. According to Gandhi, the clearer you make yourself about the essential points in your cause and struggle, the less likely you are to take a violent attitude. Furthermore, the better your opponent understands your conduct and your case, the less likely he is to use violent means.

The step-by-step clarification of goals is an immense task. Discussion groups, debates, articles, books, etc., must be enlisted in support of this self-examination and this self-examination must be carried out with the broadest cross-cultural knowledge of all those traits common to different ways of life. The task is, in a sense, an “ideological” one, but in quite a different sense from those detailed, articulated systems of conduct and goals which seek to compel compliance and to produce total conversion.

The program must consist very largely of increasing the involvement of those vast numbers of people who hardly trouble themselves at all to think out or define those things for which they stand, or even would like to stand. Vital in this respect would be the encouragement of one on one interpersonal discussion between people from different countries. It would mean lifting travel restrictions, facilitating travel in other ways, and encouraging those encounters, which are most conducive to the growth of cross-loyalties; and this, among other things, would require us to meet foreigners as individuals, not as symbols of their countries.

In many other powerful nations, contacts of the kind which multiply loyalties and clarify national purposes have often been avoided, or never have been encouraged because of a fear that arguments directed against the dominant political system might prove too winning, and would then result in “converts,” persons cooperating with potential “enemies.” It is, of course, impossible to justify such an attitude unless one is happy to leave political education to demagogic indoctrination or to the black and white simplifications of school textbooks. Nonviolent defense implies, after all, an intimate contact with “the enemy” and therefore the kind of education needed to discuss historical, political, and ideological matters with him.

Paradoxically, we could say that the more we render our defenses vulnerable to blows from the outside world, the less vulnerable our society becomes. Failing any fruitful self-examination in the light of criticism from “foreigners,” however, the result of future emergencies and contact with “the enemy” might well be that he will gain more converts than would have been the case had the average citizen been treated as a free and responsible per­son, a person with the full right to objective information.

2. International service. As a means of defense, international service (like other non-military means of defense) should be undertaken primarily for its own sake. International service aims at relieving human poverty, suffering, and threats to personal dignity and integrity. If participants in international service serve only because their doing so will assist a defense effort, this inevitably reduces or destroys many of the intrinsic values of the service, as well, ultimately, as its contribution to defense.

For policymakers it is important, however, to recognize the relation between international service and the defense problem:

Firstly, international service can remove important causes of conflicts and wars by contributing to the establishment of conditions favorable to conflicts without violence.

Secondly, international service can strengthen, can encourage, peaceful one on one interaction between potential “enemies,” and thereby contribute to the development of personal loyalties between individuals of various countries, factions, and races. Even if sponsored by national governments, the service should move from individual to individual, rather than from nation to nation. The idea, let us recall, that one’s primary affiliations are with one’s country is, according to Gandhi, a false and hazardous one. Personal contacts are, to put it briefly, superior to national projects.

Thirdly, international service, with no political “strings” attached, can contribute to the development in other countries of a positive attitude toward its sponsors, This, of course, reduces the chance of aggression against them. A potential “enemy,” that is, would see from our self-sacrifice that our intentions were not aggressive— something which he would never be able to see if we were to remain fundamentally isolationist. Furthermore, in the event of a crisis, any country’s plight would receive far greater attention, publicity, sympathy, and aid once it had demonstrated that it was consistently dedicated to such international goals as constructive international service and non-military aid. For small countries, like Switzerland and those in Scandinavia, this fact is of great importance and is, in short, what would prevent them from being swallowed or annihilated in a clash between great powers.

Fourthly, participation in international service can offer valuable training in sustaining a high morale under adverse conditions, and in learning that discipline which is part of working and suffering for a great common cause. The ability of people to practice such cooperation in times of crisis in their own country will thereafter be decidedly enhanced. It will minimize the danger of wanton violence and of fifth columnism, and will provide the leadership with a people capable of individual initiative under the most extreme conditions.

Finally, those who directly receive help from a country will behave more sympathetically toward that country in the case of a later conflict. (Thus the number of starving Austrian children, who in 1918 were invited to Norway, behaved magnificently and avoided violence when they returned to Norway as soldiers and administrators during the 1940-45 Nazi occupation.)

A program of large-scale international service would call for great private and governmental expenditure. Under present conditions, the cost would have to be largely in addition to the military budget, which would mean an increase in taxes. For the rich countries of the West, such added costs would not lead to bankruptcy; for other countries much could be done to reshape their economies and educational institutions.

3. Improving our own society. A non-military defense program would give us a society far more worth defending. “Housecleaning” by the whole society is required by the very idea of nonviolent defense; a society must not only deserve to be defended, it must realize that any of its institutions, if based on ideas of an “enemy,” or of “bad people” rather than bad deeds, are simply inconsistent with nonviolence.

Certain aspects of decentralization must be encouraged, whether or not such decentralization is desirable in all respects. Individual citizens will have to learn to make decisions for themselves in small groups, and to become less and less dependent upon the government or the leaders of large organizations. Those institutions in our society, which do train the individual to make responsible decisions in a crisis; must be strengthened lest demoralization, inertia, and anarchy ensue should an invader seize the state apparatus or it is destroyed in atomic warfare.

4. Non-military resistance. Unfortunately, the customary way in which military defeat and total defeat are thought to be the same prevents any discussion of the problems of occupation at the government level; such discussion is considered there to be “defeatist” or deficient in “defense-mindedness.” In fact, however, the reverse is far nearer the truth, for by thinking military and total defeat to be the same, some people neglect a vitally important sector of defense, and thus reveal themselves to be seriously lacking in defense-mindedness.

An invading power should be met, that is, with whatever forms of nonviolent resistance can best be adapted to the case, whenever that power attempts to extend its domain by forcing inhabitants to violate their basic principles. Even, for example, if a country’s major institutions were all taken over or demolished, and all recognized leaders executed, and even in the event of extensive deportations, nonviolence might be the only means to safeguard the rights, dignity and integrity of the individuals who survive.

5. Research. Non-military means of defense have in the last decade been studied, in a preliminary sort of way, from the strategic point of view. But nothing comparable to the extent or quality of military research has developed in this newborn area. A foreign policy devoid of threats of mass violence has as yet been thought unworthy of implementation. However, the creation of numerous peace research institutes, in part sponsored by national governments, suggests at least a growing interest in this area, as did the first representative international study conference of civilian defense at Oxford in 1964.


It might not be out of place in this very brief essay to say once again that every attempt in the field of foreign affairs to identify a specifically Gandhian course cannot avoid being highly subjective. This follows from the nature of the highly complex considerations involved in any matter of foreign affairs. There can be no rulebooks of Gandhian policy. There are no easy Gandhian formulae. This, however, does not necessarily reduce the value of Gandhi’s teaching in the contemporary political situation. After all, the indication of direction that a compass-needle gives is of some value in itself, even if it takes no consideration of the terrain through which we must pass.


1. An interesting article by James Bristol, which shows an intention on India’s part to conduct a military policy in the spirit of Gandhi, is to he found in Peace News, October 1959. Concerning those people who stood by Gandhi when he was still alive, Bristol says, among other things, “What alarmed me (and I know of other Western pacifists who have also become alarmed) was the fact that far too few of these men display that same vigorous criticism of their own country’s arms preparation that they give eloquent expression to when it’s a matter of the great powers arming themselves.”

2. D. G. Tendulkar, Mahatma: Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Bombay: Vithalbhai Jhaveri and D. G. Tendulkar, 1951-54; Vol. 7, p. 334.

3. For corroboration, see, for example, Pyarelal, Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase, Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1956; Vol. 2, pp. 502ff. The relationship between Gandhi and India’s policies, and particularly the contrast, is one of the topics discussed by Gene Sharp. See, for example, his Gandhi Wields the Weapon of Moral Power, Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1960.

4. Young India, 13 Sept. 1928. See also: Prabhu and Rao, The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, Madras: Oxford University Press, 1946; p. 65.

5. Translated from Rolf Thue, “Gandhi-laere og Tibet-laerdom,” Aftenposten (Oslo), 28 August 1959, afternoon edition. I mean here only to illustrate the difference between violent and nonviolent strategy. Whether the Dalai Lama actually did use the words he is quoted as using and whether conditions in Tibet in 1959 were as described, I am not at all competent to judge.

6. Dalai Lama, My Land and My People, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1962, pp. 131-62.

7. Ibid., p. 79.

8. D. G. Tendulkar, op cit., Vol. 8, p. 136.

A NOTE ON THE TEXT: This essay by Arne Naess is from the long out of print, Gandhi and the Nuclear Age, Totowa (New Jersey): Bedminster Press, 1965; Part Four, Chapters 1-4, pp. 109-130. We are grateful to Mrs. Arne Naess for permission. Copyright © 2013 Mrs. Arne Naess/Estate of Arne Naess. We are also grateful to Alan Drengson for his assistance.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An extensive editor’s note is appended to our earlier Naess postings, as at the end of the “Gandhi and Group Conflict” articles. For an example click here.

“When planted in the garden, the mustard seed, smallest of all the seeds, became a large tree, and birds came and made their home there.” Luke 13:19

“For me whatever is in the atoms and molecules is in the universe. I believe in the saying that what is in the microcosm of one’s self is reflected in the macrocosm.” M. Gandhi