Use of Non Violence in Myanmar Protests
Synopsis: The February 2021 coup in Myanmar Protests removed the democratically elected government. Since then people have adopted the non-violent approach of Gandhi for pressuring the military junta.
- The democratically elected leaders in Myanmar’s protects were removed by the military on 1st February 2021 on allegations of election fraud.
- Subsequently, the military came to power and the main leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi got house arrest. This induced the masses to start non-violent protests in Myanmar.
About Non-Violence and its usage:
- It means positive action and not a state of passiveness. It involves working towards one’s goal using non-violent means.
- Mahatma Gandhi used a spinning wheel as a symbol for his idea of non-violence. The spinning wheel presented two messages:
- An instrument to protest against India’s growing industrialism.
- A symbol to show resistance to the British-made clothes that had replaced Indian handmade clothes.
- Martin Luther King turned to the symbol of the “American Dream” to portray his version of non-violence. The objective was to obtain social justice and equity for every member of American society.
Myanmar and tool of Non-Violence:
- The method was used in 1990 by Suu Kyi against the atrocities of the military government. Her efforts earned her a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
- The Buddhist Spirituality gave the moral strength that automatically took her towards Gandhian Non Violence. Later on, the masses were also attracted towards the noble method.
- The masses understood the Buddhist teachings under which each individual has the potential to change his circumstances. This was different from Despotic belief under which an individual is considered as faceless and helpless who can be manipulated at will.
- The same enthusiasm is now being witnessed in the current protests wherein masses are adopting new symbols of non-violence. This includes the 3 finger salute adopted by activists in Thailand against the totalitarian regime.
Significance of Non-Violent Protests:
- It is a laudable method to display the collective strength of the masses i.e. the power of the powerless.
- It displays a belief in the method of non-violence that might not deliver immediate results but is definitely the ethical path.
- Likewise, it is a peaceful way of questioning the legitimacy of the military government and demanding democracy.
- It further places a question on the democratic nature of countries that are criticizing the struggle for democracy in Myanmar.
- A greater number of people in Myanmar protects should engage in politics with ethical conduct. This would be in line with the Gandhian philosophy of associating politics with ethics that helps in delivering optimum outcomes.
- The future of Myanmar is not up to the military, it is up to those who follow the example of Gandhi in the streets of Yangon and Mandalay.
Source: The Hindu
Gandhian imprint in the farmer’s protest
Source: The Hindu
GS 4 – Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.
GS 3 – Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System-objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping.
Synopsis: The protesting farmers are going through physical and mental suffering in Delhi’s severe winter. But the Government and the urban middle classes do not seem to felt a sense of discomfort.
- Gandhi always backed non-violent methods of protest. Gandhi also believed rural economy based mass movement follow non-violent methods. This is evident in the incident when he cancelled the Non-Cooperation Movement after Chauri Chura.
- Today also, India is facing a rural economy based mass movement, following the principle of non-violence (Farmers protest). But the government and supporters of the farm laws are not respecting the non-violence.
- Scholars, columnists and advisers supporting the laws are of the view that farmers who are protesting are being misled and do not represent the farming community as a whole.
What steps should the government take to end the farmers protest amicably?
- Firstly, Persuasion approach- Persuading farmers about the benefits and other important efforts towards farmer’s welfare can end the protest.
- Secondly, Dialogue between equals- The Government should reach the farmers for negotiation as an equal partner.
- Thirdly, Removal of stereotypical perception- The urban educated class has certain stereotypes about farmers. These stereotypes have to be removed during negotiations. According to urban educated class:
- Farmers do not know their own benefits due to the general ignorance and lack of education.
- The farming community is simple-minded and therefore can be easily misled.
How the farmer’s protest and the Gandhian principles are relatable?
- Firstly, the idea of a peaceful protest is a legacy of Gandhi.
- Secondly, the faith in non-violence by the protesting farmers must be respected by the other side (the government).
Thus, according to Gandhi’s view the protester’s willingness to undergo physical or mental sufferings is a means of awakening opposite party’s human instincts.
- The government and the urban middle classes need to change their stereotypical perception regarding farmers.
- The government should also consider the suffering [physical as well as mental] of the farmers equal party to the negotiations