“Almost non-violence”

“If a man fights with his sword single-handed against a horde of dacoits armed to the teeth, I should say he is fighting almost non-violently. Haven’t I said to our women that, if in defence of their honour they used their nails and teeth and even a dagger, I should regard their conduct nonviolent? She does know the distinction between himsa and ahimsa. She acts spontaneously.

“Supposing a mouse in fighting a cat tried to resist the cat with his sharp teeth, would you call that mouse violent? In the same way, for the Poles to stand valiantly against the German hordes vastly superior in numbers, military equipment and strength, was almost non-violence. I should not mind repeating that statement over and over again. You must give its full value to the word ‘almost’.”

Mahatma Gandhi, “Discussion with B.G. Kher and others” (August 15, 1940), Collected Works, Vol 79, p. 122.


  1. epoliticus says:

    […] } The following note appears in a Radical Notes entry entitled Almost Non-Violence (taken from Mahatma Gandhi, “Discussion with B.G. Kher and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: