You are here:
111. Outside his field
Major-General Gariappa is reported to have said as follows:
"Non-violence is of no use under the present circumstances in India and only a strong army can make India one of the greatest nations in the world."
I fear, like many experts, General Cariappa has gone beyond his depth and has been unwittingly betrayed into a serious misconception of Ahimsa, of whose working in the nature of things, he can only have very superficial knowledge. By reason of lifelong practice of Ahimsa, I claim to be an expert in it, though very imperfect. Speaking in absolute terms, the more I practise it the clearer I see how far I am from the full expression of Ahimsa in my life. It is his ignorance of this, the greatest duty of man in the world, which makes him say that in this age non-violence has little scope in the face of violence, whereas I make bold to say that in this age of the atom bomb unadulterated non­violence is the only force that can confound all the tricks of violence put together. It would have become the General, unaided as he can only now be, by his British teachers of military science and practice, not to have gone out of his depth. Generals greater than General Cariappa have been wise and humble enough frankly to make the admission that they can have no right to speak of the possibi­lities of the force of Ahimsa. We are witnessing the tragic insolvency of military science and practice in its own home. Should a bankrupt, who has been by the gamble in the share market, sing the praise of that particular form of gambling ?
New Delhi, 7-11-'47
Harijan, 16-11-1947