Volume - 3 : Issue - 4

Published : Oct - Dec 2004

Group : From the Editor's Desk

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The Sindhi community, in general, is always considered to be non-violent and peace loving. Is non-violence an inherent characteristic of the Sindhi? Is it part of our heritage, tradition and upbringing? Or is it part of our Hindu Dharma?

Having recently taken my grandson to witness Dassera celebrations and the burning of Ravan’s effigy it dawned on me that Hindu Dharma cannot be synonymous with non-violence. The annihilation of Ravan – the symbol of evil at the hands of Lord Ram – the symbol of all that is moral and good, was unquestionably not by non-violent means. The entire Bhagvat Gita is devoted to Lord Krishna’s exhortation to Arjun to raise arms against the enemy on the battlefield of Kurukshetra – definitely implying violence.

As a counter, we have the example of a contemporary saint Mahatma Gandhi – the apostle of peace and ‘Ahimsa’ who led the nation on these principles to freedom from the British yoke and ushered independence by adhering to his chosen path of spirituality and non-violence, believing it to be – Hindu Dharma.

I begin to wonder whether due credit has been given to Gandhiji’s intelligence and pragmatism. Given the resources available, violence could never have succeeded against the might of the British and would have led to the hardening of attitude culminating in bloodshed and massacre of Indian freedom fighters. It was only non-violence, portrayed as being symbolic of the spiritual heritage of the country that could shame the British and try their endurance; which ultimately succumbed to the strength of the Mahatma’s conviction and charisma. This would lead us to regard him as a brilliant strategist who adopted the optimal approach under the prevalent circumstances.

But what about us Sindhis? We have been greatly influenced in our spiritual quest by Sufism and Guru Nanakdev – the simple philosophy of equality and universal love has had a tremendous impact on the Sindhi psyche. The articles “Sindh & Sindhis” by Late Shri Motilal Butani and “Sindhis Resistance against fundamentalism” by Niranjan Dudani in this issue, very aptly reiterate this non-violent characteristic traced through Sindhi history. So are we following a spiritual path or because of being so thinly spread all over have decided “discretion is the better part of valour”.

In conclusion are we non-violent –
1. because of our spiritual leanings,
2. on account of the Sindhi diaspora, or
3. as mentioned in the previous issue – on account of LACK OF UNITY. Because to stand up and fight for a cause one first needs to be united.

On that note I sign off leaving you something to chew on – WISHING YOU A HAPPY DIWALI AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.

Ranjit Butani