Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gandhi: “If you can’t retain your principles, take out your sword and fight”

In its 50 Years Ago section, the International Herald Tribune mentions a Gandhi quote that is not often referred to, reverently, by the war-and-violence-is-always-bad peacenik crowd.
1961 India Abandons Gandhi’s Policy

Premier Jawaharlal Nehru said today [Dec. 28, 1961] that his ruling Congress party had abandoned Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of non-violence. Mr. Nehru told a press conference that peace could not be maintained by cowardice, and that Gandhi’s concept of non-violence implied the disbanding of armies and virtual elimination of police. He defended his decision by quoting Gandhi as saying: “If you can’t retain your principles, take out your sword and fight.” He denied that India’s action constituted an encouragement for Indonesia to take over Dutch New Guinea. While India supports Indonesia’s claim to the Dutch-held territory, he said, he was hoping for a peaceful settlement of the problem. Mr. Nehru said that India had “full justification” for using armed force against Portugal, and by doing so India became the agent of “the irrepressive force of history.”