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Love » After-marriage » Gandhigiri-080616
 
Marriage Mein Gandhigiri  Part 2: Ahimsa

Marriage Mein Gandhigiri Part 2: Ahimsa Can the age-old teaching of Ahimsa stand the test of time in a modern day marriage?

Mahatma Gandhi's principle of Ahimsa or non-violence is nothing novel for most of us. Ahimsa means refraining from causing pain or injury to another living being. This path is known as that of universal love wherein all other living creatures are respected and treated as one self. Gandhiji's famous words were, "An eye for an eye makes the world blind."

Ahimsa today
A comic scene from "Lage Raho Munnabhai"  paints a clear picture about the outlook on Ahimsa in our contemporary lifestyle. Munnabhai, who has adopted the Gandhian way of Ahimsa; is slapped by a police officer and instead of reacting revengefully, he turns his other cheek toward the officer. After the officer slaps the second one as well, Munnabhai  punches the officer's face. He justifies himself by stating that Gandhiji  did not say what to do after you offer your other cheek!

100% natural
For some couples like Naina and Sanjeev, violence in any form just seems unnatural in a marriage. "When you love someone, you automatically want to do what they like, say things to please them, and would never want to see them hurt. And it does not take a lot of effort." Naina and her partner never consciously decided to follow the path of Ahimsa, just a path of love. Sure they do have their differences, but resort to talking things through and compromising on both sides.

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Does Naina realise that Ahimsa has a deeper meaning than just physical injury? Himsa or violence on a broader basis is about physical pain and torture. Most of us forget that in the true sense violence also entails hurting someone's feelings with harsh words or deeds. Grudges and evil thoughts are like passive himsa, they eventually make way for the active himsa.

100% impossible?
Ahimsa thus, - in deed, word and thought - seems like a Herculean task in which we would have to put others before ourselves. "Maybe someone from Gandhi's generation could try that method. The complexities of life today demand that we always think about what we want first. Happiness is gauged by what we want, not what our spouses desire," says Renuka, an accounting assistant. She knows that ego and pride would have no place in a relationship that follows Ahimsa. Let's face reality; true humility is a virtue scarcely found these days.

So what is all this talk about trying to abide by Ahimsa in marriage?
In a situation when the spouse is violent or the woman is suffering autocracies at the hands of their husbands and in-laws the picture is clear. Gandhiji  pointed out three possible responses to oppression and injustice. One he described as the coward's way: to accept the wrong or run away from it. The second option was to stand and fight by force of arms. Gandhi said this was better than acceptance or running away. But the third way, he said, was best of all and required the most courage: to stand and fight solely by non-violent means. He also said, "Preparedness for battle must be there."

However, in the larger percentage of marriages himsa is not so visibly apparent. A quick taunt by the mother-in-law, persistent disapproval of one's preferences and habits, constant depreciation of one's identity - these are far more common. In fact, most marriages would include some or the other form of psychological himsa. And I speak globally - not just in India.

100% courageous
Achieving non-violence of action, words and thought in effect requires total commitment to acceptance. It means refusing to engage in verbal warfare even when justified. It means refusing to loose one's temper, sulk, scream, shout and hate.

So does it mean - you need to become a doormat? Of course not. According to Gandhiji, a person who bore crime was a greater offender than one who committed the crime.

What you need is the courage to stand up in defiance of himsa. The ability to be able to prove your point without attacking - physically or verbally - the himsak (attacker). This is not a courage that comes easily.

But once you accept that Ahimsa is the only way to a marriage that will allow you to connect physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually (add Orange love to your marriage) - you will also accept the effort that you must put in.

At the end of it all, if not total non-violence, both partners should certainly put enough effort not to actively hurt the other one by words or deeds. In Munnabhai's lingo, that marriage then would be "ekdum solid".

Also Read
Marriage Mein  Gandhigiri

Aarti Thadani
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