October 2, 2007, was declared as the ‘International Day of Non-violence’ by the United Nations, in commemoration of the birth anniversary of Gandhiji.

Isn’t that a bit absurd? An International day of Non-Violence? What are we supposed to do…. not harm anybody for an entire day? Twenty-four hours? Gosh! Now that’s asking for too much!
Mothers’ day, Fathers’ day and now even daughters’ day, I can live with, but a Non-Violence day? This time the UN has gone a bit too far.

On a more serious note, the point I am driving at is this; what ever have exalted doctrines been reduced to? A mere twenty-four hours of ‘non-violence’ and ‘peace’, boring speeches in the Assembly hall of the United Nations? Somehow, I am sure Gandhi never intended it that way.

One cannot deny that debate and deliberation on world issues is essential before any action can be taken, but isn’t it enough that there are people, both military and civilian, who are being bombed, all over the world, almost everyday. Instead of a day of non-violence, why not have a day of ‘conflict resolution’, where representatives of all countries find constructive, ‘peaceful’ solutions to the problems at hand. Make that a week of conflict resolution! Wouldn’t this be the best way of showing our love and respect for the Mahatma?

But the scholarly diplomats and leaders of the developed and ‘not-so-developed’ countries of the world think otherwise. Or is it all just hogwash to keep the spotlight off more relevant issues, to avoid any active discussion in the public sphere?

Russia, France, Germany, China, Afghanistan and lo behold even Britain sponsored this day as that of non-violence.

A few facts about the above mentioned countries may be enlightening. Russia is the world’s top supplier of weapons, a spot it has held since 2001, accounting for around 30% of worldwide weapons sales. Russia is the principal weapons supplier to China and India, and provides weapons to Iran, Algeria, Venezuella among

other countries. With 350 nuclear heads stockpiled, France is the world’s third largest nuclear power. That severe human rights violations occur in China and Afghanistan is common knowledge.
Last but certainly not the least; India introduced the resolution in the UN assembly. A nuclear power, vying to strengthen its relations with the United States, the most irresponsible nuclear power there is.

Non-violence? Well, all we can hope for is that, every year atleast on October 2, Russia wont be selling weapons, China and India wont be buying any, and maybe, after some million years, when countries abandon hypocracy, they will abandon their violent plans and destroy nuclear weapons; that is, if they havent already destroyed us.

For those twenty-four hours every year atleast, let peace prevail.

Natasha Puri

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