India has remained united after independence and retained democracy due to the non-violent approach followed by Mahatma Gandhi which became ingrained in the hearts of Indians, his grandson Rajmohan Gandhi said.
On his first-ever tour of China, Rajmohan said 68 years have passed since Mahatma Gandhi, also known as “Father of the Nation”, was assassinated but his principle of nonviolence still influences present-day India.
Rajmohan, a biographer and research professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US, said “nonviolence was a great success,” as Gandhi planted a nonviolent tradition in the hearts of Indians, who learned to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation.
“If India had adopted violence, more and more violence would have taken place. There are so many ways Indians can fight against each other, but one reason India has remained a united single country after 70 years (since independence) is nonviolence,” state-run china.Org.Cn reported today, quoting him as telling a meeting here on Monday.
In other words, had guns been employed to resolve differences in the early 20th Century, then guns would have had to rule India afterwards, he said, adding, had that happened, India would not have become a democratic country but a military dictatorship.
He cited his grandfather’s two biggest successes as democracy and the unity among different religions in India.
Rajmohan’s remarks are significant in China’s context as Chinese leader Mao Zedong followed the opposite, advocating the principle of power through the barrel of a gun.
While India became independent in 1947, China came under the rule of the Communist Party headed by Mao in 1949.
On the partition of India and formation of Pakistan, Rajmohan said it was Gandhi’s biggest failure, since he was unable to unite the country’s Muslims leading to Pakistan’s creation alongside India’s independence in 1947.
Rajmohan said Mahatma Gandhi’s unity-minded holistic principles should apply to India’s peripheral diplomacy, particularly in its ties with China, another populous country as well as a major power and growing economy.
While China has replaced the US as India’s top trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to about USD 70.83 billion, relations between both the countries were affected by border dispute and mistrust.
Rajmohan, a specialist in South Asian studies, said the two countries “should keep the planet in mind”.
“Although China and India have a border and a recent history of conflict and tension, both counties should look at each other in the context of the plant, thinking about what we can do together for the world. We should realise that our differences should be resolved, instead of letting them get in the way of cooperation and partnership,” he said.
Former Chinese Ambassador to India Zhou Gang, who was present during the meeting, supported Rajmohan’s suggestions.