Sample Essay on Effects of Non-Violence in India


Non-violence in the history of India was considered as one of the most essential values in life. This was also an ideology that was propounded by among other Indian leaders; Mahatma Gandhi.[1] Nonviolence in the view of Gandhi was a proper approach through which a movement could convert their opponents, win over their thoughts in a manner that does not make opponents suffer but in a way that shows the opponents that the proponents are willing to suffer in order to necessitate change.[2] The main objective of this paper is to assess how non-violent approach to political, socio-economy and religious aspects affected the development of India.

Effects on non-violence on the politics of India

Non-violence in India since pre-Independence was characterized by protests and persuasions, noncooperation and intervention. India through the efforts of Gandhi combined a variety of tactics in order to gain their independence from the colonial government of the British.[3] This included a series of campaign rallies founded on religious connotations. Through these perceptions Indian population gained the spirit of self-improvement characterized by the development of constructive programs. Through these programs, a new form of social order was to be created in India.[4]

The new social order that was grounded on communalism as defined by Indian political and cultural practices led to the development of secularism, a school of through inspired by the colonial government and the Indian sympathizers.[5] The conflicting views continued to affect India even after the country gained its independence. This is largely due to the intention of each of the conflicting factions to try the process of advocating for the interest of their factions in what was perceived as a non-violent approach to settling political and ideological differences.[6]

India is considerd as one of the most segregated societies in the world today. This is largely because the use of non-violence to political affairs in the country has resulted in high prevalence of political alienation of the poor and those of the lower case. Political leaders are often derived from members of the higher caste who make important decisions on the distribution of essential resources in the society.[7] In addition, through the Caste system political alliances have been formed among members of different classes and the alliance with the list amount of power in the within the system is often subjected to different forms of political alienations and limited representation decision making platforms.[8]

Despite the challenges that India faces because of non-violent approach to handling political matters, the country has experienced years of political harmony. This is largely because the operations and those of the government are based on negotiations and compromises.[9] This has not only led to the rise of a population that is relatively reluctant to understanding and deliberation upon political issues but also one that is gullible towards a movement opposing government actions.[10] The rise of terrorism and terrorist actions characterized by indiscriminate attacks on civilians was bound to create awareness on the levels of discrimination and political alienation of lower caste members of the Indian society. This was intensified by Arab uprising in the Middle East and Islam states in Africa. The fear of a possible uprising led the government into taking actions on how best to handle political issues within the country. For instance, the top leaders of the Mujahedeen terrorist group in India were arrested and charged of crimes against humanity. This led to a reduction of the capacity of this group to stage its terrorist attacks.[11]

Socio-economic effects

The use of non-violence approach to handling disputed and matters arising from social upheavals has over the years been effective in the development of the industrial sector and economy in India. The industrial sector in India has been operational in the manufacture of automobiles among other machinery.[12] By embracing innovation and acquisition of high levels of technology India is one of the highly ranked countries on matters of industrialization, technological innovation, and development especially in matters related to engineering. Non-violence approach to different social and economic matters has also been instrumental in enhancing the ability of the education system to produce intellectuals in different fields. These individuals are often willing to share their knowledge on the basis of reason and acceptance of defeat.[13]

However, with globalization and the need to take up industrial action in situations of disagreement and unwillingness to compromise, India has in the past few years been subjected to numerous instances of industrial action.[14] The automobile industry which has attracted multinational partners such as Japanese and Chinese companies have recently been characterized by a number of disruptive and violent actions that led to losses. The main cause of these demonstrations was the refusal by the foreign car investors to negotiate with the workers union in the motor vehicle industry.[15] It is important to note that the failure of such negotiations was an indication of neglect and discrimination of the workers largely drawn from the lower caste in the Indian society. Honda Motor India Limited faced industrial action in 2005, 2010 and 2011 on the basis of their desire to continue with their exploitative initiatives on the people of India based on the assumption that they are relatively non-violent.[16]

The effects of non-violence approach on the social and economic aspects of the society have led to the decline of the Indian economic progress and social cohesiveness. Since 2010, Indian economy has been subjected to massive strikes from teachers, coal miners and health care providers.[17] Industrial action has been perceived as the best approach against any action by the government or private investors. These strikes are however characterized by minimal instances of violence by the striking parties.[18] The frequency in the prevalence of industrial action is not only based on the desire to protect the Indian economy against flooding by the foreign investors but also to protect the rights and interests of the workers. At the beginning of 2014, for instance, coal workers in different mining plants in India went on strike to protest against the intentions by the government to privatize the sector to international investors. Additional objectives of the strikes was based on the assumption that privatization of the coal mining industry would lead to loss of employment opportunities and an increase in the cost of electricity which operate on coal.

The tendency by the Indian government to ignore pleas by different unions with the knowledge that their actions will not generate into violence has in the past led to high levels of industrial action in the country. In 2014 for instance teachers’ strike in India led to the closure of more than 60,000 public institutions in the country.[19] This was based on the failure by the government to address issues related to the teaching conditions in public schools and the low remuneration packages that have over the years characterized the lives of the teaching fraternity in public schools. Teachers were engaged in different form of non-violent approach to solving problems and these included protests, negotiations an abstaining from their duties in schools.[20]

Despite the efficiency and effectiveness of non-violent approach to issues, its frequency has resulted in more industrial actions and less interest by the government to apply its machinery and expertise in seeking lasting solutions to such problems. This has led to a reduction in the performance of the education sector considering that students are subjected to varied instances of teacher absenteeism and the uncertainty about the duration of such strikes. These strikes have been disruptive of different examinations and activities that are considerd important in the development of the education sector.[21]

Other than the availability of different technological innovations and applications in India, the economic progress of the country is highly dependent on a strong and healthy workface. This necessitated that the health care service providers must alt all time be subjected to safe and well equipped working conditions. In addition, they must also be subjected to equal and better remuneration packages.[22] The desire to negotiate salaries and working conditions of the health workers in India has led to instances of large scale industrial action within the sector this has been exacerbated by the failure by the government to address concerns of this group in a timely manner.[23] Since 2011, India has been facing lengthy strikes by the doctors and other health service providers. This has not only affected the economic growth of the country but also reduced the quality of healthcare provided in the public hospitals.[24]

Effects of non-violence on religion in India

Hinduism, Islam and Jainism populate India. The co-existence of these religious beliefs has been propagated by the culture of non-violence, which argues for the neglect of physical confrontation while advocating for the need to address disputes in a peaceful manner.[25] The desire by different religious denominations to convince other religious groups that their doctrines and fundamental beliefs are relatively better has also degenerated into the development some form of religious tension between Hinduism and Islam.[26]

The political growth of India has been founded on Hinduism considering that the ruling party bases most of its rulings and legal actions n Hinduism. This in the view of Muslims is an act of religious intolerance and it explains the rise of instance of terrorist attacks against innocent civilians within the country.[27] Despite actions by the government to arrest and charge the leaders of the terrorist groups, there is tension within the country concerning the use of the caste system to rule and the realization by the marginalized individuals that the government of India is discriminatory in serving the interest of members belonging to other religious denominations.


Since its independence in 1947, India has been instrumental in the use of non-violent approach in solving different disputes. This approach has been successful in maintaining relative peace in the country and ensured economic progress. Despite this success, the country’s economic sector has been characterized by numerous instances of industrial strikes that have weakened the economy. In addition, the country is experiencing instances of religious conflicts and intolerance.


Atack, Iain. Nonviolence in Political Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter. Visions of a Better World: Howard Thurman’s Pilgrimage to

            India and the Origins of African American Nonviolence. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.

Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence. Cambridge University Press:

Cambridge. 2014.

Nagler, Michael N. The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action. 2014.

Roberts, Adam, and Timothy Garton Ash. Civil Resistance and Power Politics the Experience of

Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present. Oxford: OUP Oxford, 2011.

[1] Atack, Iain. Nonviolence in Political Theory. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), 28

[2] Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter. Visions of a Better World: Howard Thurman’s Pilgrimage to India and the Origins of African American Nonviolence. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014), 88

[3] Ibid,  104

[4] Atack, Nonviolence in Political Theory, 30

[5] Atack, 33

[6] Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. 2014), p. 22

[7] Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter, 120

[8] Atack, 17

[9] Nagler, Michael N. The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action. 2014, p. 67.

[10] Roberts, Adam, and Timothy Garton Ash. Civil Resistance and Power Politics the Experience of Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present. (Oxford: OUP Oxford, 2011), p.45

[11] Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira, p. 22

[12] Nagler, Michael N. The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, 19

[13] Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter, 120

[14] Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira, p. 24

[15] Nagler, Michael N. The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, 22

[16] Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter, 122

[17]Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira, p. 24

[18] Roberts, Adam, and Timothy Garton Ash, 55.

[19] Nagler, 28

[20] Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira, p. 26

[21] Roberts, Adam, and Timothy Garton Ash, 67

[22] Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter, 122

[23] Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira, p. 27

[24] Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter, 120

[25] Jain, Manoj, and Demi. Mahavira, p. 27

[26] Dixie, Quinton ; Eisenstadt, Peter, 121

[27] Nagler, 30