Satyagraha 9/11

World over when we talk of 9/11 it is about the biggest terrorist attack in modern times.

satyagrah 911It is the day when Al Qaida rammed two commercial airlines into the twin towers of World Trade Center in New York. This one event changed the World for ever. Today we have terrorism as a global phenomenon and every country is suffering it. USA, UK, Spain, Iraq, Pakistan, India, USSR. The list is endless and the fight goes on. Violence against innocents who have no role in any ideology. It is a war against humanity and yet world leaders continue to look at it from a nation perspective rather than human perspective That is why some say that the war against terror is being lost.

Probably no one knows that 9/11 is also synonymous with another type of war. It was a war against injustice, imperialism and tyranny. This was launched exactly 100 years ago in the city of Johanesburg in South Africa. It was called “Satyagraha”. This literally means “truth” and “force” implying the truthful force. The architect of this force was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who is India’s father of the nation, also known as Mahatma or great soul or saint. On exactly this day one hundred years ago he launched his non-violence struggle against or proposed legislation which required Indians to give their thumb impression on a registration card or they would be deported as common criminals.

This non-violent struggle resulted in the legislation being dropped and the first victim of Satyagraha, Gandhiji used the same methods against the British in India resulting in independence four decades later. Several world leaders have been inspired by the methods of Gandhiji like Julius Nyere, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Kenneth Kaunda, Aung Saam Su Kyi, Cech Walesa and Dalai Lama. The basic purpose of Satyagraha is to appeal to the conscience of your opponent by non-violent means. Gandhiji himself called it a war and warned his followers that just like any war there would be a price to pay even here.

However, it has to be understood that if the opponent does not possess a conscience then it will be difficult for Satyagraha to succeed. Some people wonder if it could work against dictators. It is ironic that the date which ascribe to one of the worlds most violent acts against the world’s most powerful nations is also the date when a non-violent movement was launched against the then world’s most powerful nations.

The difference is that while these great nations had caused exploitation in their own way the method of protest is remarkably different. The method of Satyagraha resulted in independence of several countries and brought to knees not only the British empire but also the regime in South Africa. The method of terrorism has united the world against the perpetrators of this heinous crime. While followers of Satyagraha have liberated nations and have been revered and awarded with recognition all over the world, followers of terrorism are hiding in caves and hated the world over.

What is unique is that they share the same date on which they were launched as world movements? Such is destiny.