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    Violent resistance (continued)


    by Sunny on 16th January, 2009 at 11:12 am    

    Jai responds to my CIF article by saying what Udham Singh did was “actually in violation of Guru Gobind Singh’s Khalsa code for permissible violence, ie. you are not supposed to kill someone in revenge, or engage in assassinations.”

    Udham Singh was born a Sikh but he was influenced by socialism/communism, so I doubt he used religion to justify his actions. But that’s not the point. It’s arguable the murder of the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer, was more about re-igniting a sense of anger and dignity among Indians to take up the independence cause more strongly. That, as a form of resistance, would be allowed.

    Peter Beaumont made a similar point, asking why Palestinians reacted in violence against a much stronger enemy.

    It served - said my interview subjects - multiple functions: as a form of psychological release; as a focus for social cohesion and national identity, generating “martyrs” to celebrate; and, finally, as a constant reminder to the “other” - the enemy - that the Palestinians had not been defeated.

    Israeli hardliners live in the neo-conservative fantasy world where people will greet their occupiers with garlands, and that eventually they can break the will of Palestinians or wipe out Hamas through military action alone. In fact, if anything, their actions are weakening Fatah. And so it goes - they’ll keep claiming they have no partner in peace while ensuring Hamas remains the only ‘Palestinian protector’ in town.



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    16 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Jai — on 16th January, 2009 at 11:40 am  

      Udham Singh was born a Sikh but he was influenced by socialism/communism, so I doubt he used religion to justify his actions.

      Apparently he swore an oath of revenge in front of the Golden Temple in Amritsar before initiating his mission of vengeance…..Which is kinda ironic when you consider that the person who compiled the final version of the holy book residing within the Golden Temple specifically prohibited that sort of thing. Especially since that individual had considerable cause and motivation himself to engage in violent acts of revenge or initiate political assassinations involving his enemies (considering the huge personal losses that he suffered during his own lifetime), but that ain’t what he was all about.

      Having said that, when Udham Singh was captured (for those here who don’t know, he willingly gave himself up at the site of the assassination and had no intention of trying to escape) and was asked about his motivations, he stated outright that he was driven by a grudge against his target, someone he personally believed deserved to die. In this sense, his actions were very much in line with some of the more warlike aspects of Indian culture, and this mindset certainly wasn’t unique in terms of attitudes amongst many other people in other parts of the world either, at the time and historically (it still isn’t).

      Incidentally, apparently he also wanted to make sure that he didn’t accidentally shoot any of the numerous women present, which is why he didn’t kill as many men as he’d intended to.

    2. dave bones — on 16th January, 2009 at 11:40 am  

      I think for Islamists who believe in or read about Jihad it is much more simple. They seem very stuck on territory. If you take it they fight you for it or die trying. Its written in the Koran somewhere in very clear language. Obviously that is difficult to maintain in practice, but I would suppose tough conditions would always make people crazier.

      A community of this size could only be turned from this with some seduction of economic wellbeing. Cos this hasn’t happened the “We desire death more than you desire life” is becoming endemic isn’t it. What right wing people call a “death cult”.

      I really can’t answer the question “When is violent resistance justified”. I don’t have the experienece to pass judgement and I am glad that I have got to this age without having to. There must be very few generations throughout history as lucky as mine.

    3. Anas — on 16th January, 2009 at 11:41 am  

      Hi all,
      Have to say that I’m very impressed with the coverage PP has been giving the current Gazan slaughter and the stance that has been taken — sadly I’ve been too busy to add much to the discussion.

      However, as for the topic in hand, a couple of months back I attended a talk by Professor Norman Finkelstein on Gandhi that dealt with a lot of these issues regarding non-violence and the justifiability of violent resistance. Here’s my write up:

      http://anask.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/394/

    4. Boyo — on 16th January, 2009 at 11:41 am  

      “Israeli hardliners live in the neo-conservative fantasy world where… they can break the will of Palestinians or wipe out Hamas through military action alone.”

      I’m not convinced it is such a fantasy: the resolve of Hamas appears to be weakening - they are beginning to make peace overtures. Sadly this makes sense: as a movement which places violence at the centre of its philosophy every bit as much as the Israeli hardline, they also respect it.

      People talk of the Israeli “failure” to crush Hizbollah, yet although the military over-stretched, they neutered their machine to the extent that it remains relatively quiet today.

      Israeli military might defeated all-comers from 1948-onwards, and forced Fatah to make peace, hence we have Hamas. Yet note: far from having the entire Arab world as their enemy, over 50 years Israel’s ruthless intransigence has left only a rump of religious fascists confined to a desert strip.

    5. platinum786 — on 16th January, 2009 at 12:38 pm  

      A few fundamentals to help you understand my point;

      1. Death fighting for a righteous cause leads to martyrdom. That is an Islamic fact which all Muslims believe (feel free to define righteous cause).

      2. When you have no other choice you can either fight or surrender and submit.

      The Palestinians have no other choice, they are kept in the vile conditions we all know about, they are treated in the way they are, their lands are occupied.

      They can either accept defeat or die, trying to win (which in itself is deemed to carry the reward of martyrdom).

      So they fight, in any which way they can. You’ve seen kids throw rocks at tanks, you’ve seen crowds charge at hails of bullets, you’ve seen men blown themselves up.

      When can you justify violence, when you have no other choice, the people of Palestine feel they have no other choice. Even the Arabs don’t back them up support them politically or economically, as the leaders are pathetic. The only strong men they have to turn too are those maniacs in Hamas. Nobody is born a Hamas member, you are made one.

      We can pretty much guarantee, that many of the children who have had family die in Gaza in the last few weeks will avenge that, in any which way they can.

    6. kELvi — on 16th January, 2009 at 2:37 pm  

      Gandhi criticised both Udham Singh and earlier Bhagat Singh, as he did in the case of almost every extremist (what the violent rebels of the time were called) of his time. While he admired their courage, patritoism, and even compassion (for the care they took not to target anyone but the wrongdoer) he said that a violent struggle would soon descend into chaos and begin to find enemies among the very people it sought to liberate. There is some warrant for his opinion, when you consider the cases of Winnie Mandela, V. Prabhakaran (Sri Lanka), the commies of the USSR, China, and everywhere else, modern day jihadists - Taliban, Hamas, and Hizbollah.

    7. SE — on 16th January, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

      @Boyo:
      Another fucked in the head pro-bush anti-brown(people) supporter, these Pro-Israelis are fucked in the head.

    8. marvin — on 16th January, 2009 at 5:08 pm  

      SE, did you know that many Israelis have brown skin? I expect you think they were all shipped over from whitey central in Europe. You are seeing the world in black vs white, literally.

    9. comrade — on 16th January, 2009 at 5:58 pm  

      Udham Singh was born a Sikh but he was influenced by socialism/communism, so I doubt he used religion to justify his actions.

      This is the title of the book on Shaheed Udham Singh EMERGENCE OF THE IMAGE ISBN 8187521066. It has all the secret documents which were leased by the Home Office in the eightes covering is trial. If you like a copy of the book, Please contact Bhusan on 0121 551 4679.

    10. comrade — on 16th January, 2009 at 6:10 pm  

      struggle would soon descend into chaos and begin to find enemies among the very people it sought to liberate.

      The above was in responce to the Ideoly of the revolutionaries. particulary the Statement by Bhagat Singh ‘ The struggle wiil continue against the expoiolting classes wheather they are White or Brown. Ghandi represented the ruling classes and he feared the strength of the orginzed working class.

    11. soru — on 16th January, 2009 at 8:49 pm  

      It is logically impossible for the working classes to win a military struggle: any class that wins a civil war is either a self-deluding faction of the warrior class, or learnt to became one in the course of the fighting.

    12. Ravi Naik — on 16th January, 2009 at 9:35 pm  

      Udham Singh was born a Sikh but he was influenced by socialism/communism, so I doubt he used religion to justify his actions. But that’s not the point. It’s arguable the murder of the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer, was more about re-igniting a sense of anger and dignity among Indians to take up the independence cause more strongly. That, as a form of resistance, would be allowed.

      First of all, thanks for bringing up a pretty good topic. However, I think you are in denial that this was an act of revenge in order to justify Udham Singh as your hero. Personally, he acted with far more honour than the British Raj, who not only killed innocent men, women and children in the most cowardly of ways, but also refused to assist the wounded. Udham Singh, on the other hand, killed a military officer.

      Still, as all acts of violence, one could ask whether Udham Singh’s action would have brought more violence to Indians as revenge, and bring about a never-ending cycle of violence.

      All in all, it was not Udham Singh’s act of revenge who brought this urgency to Indian independence. It was the massacre on one hand, and the fact that there was a considerable support by the English both in England and India for the massacre. The butcher of Amritsar also got financial support from the public and was hailed as the savour of India. Tagore renounced his knighthood because of that. I think this was the wake-up call for independence from those who thought they were above Indians and came to civilise them. All in all, we are all barbarians.

      I think an interesting question is whether resistance can be made through non-violent means.

    13. Boyo — on 16th January, 2009 at 10:15 pm  

      Isn’t it possible to block SE? It’s like having a drunken adolescent in the room.

    14. kELvi — on 17th January, 2009 at 7:12 am  

      Comrade, gandhi was a member of the ruling classes, that’s why he cleaned dry latrines, and brought peace to violence stricken communities while India’s commies - were working as informers for the colonial administration. Gandhi was way more popular than anything or anyone in the world in his time. In fact it is the commies who were afraid of his mass appeal.

    15. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 17th January, 2009 at 5:53 pm  

      please accept anything I say as expressing my own thought process through honest questioning, and I admit I am an expert in nothing. Deciding when to justify violent resistance would include more than the desire for independence from an oppressor and require extreme clarity on the revolutionary side. Is it always really for freedom or a fight against change? Something else to ponder over is if occupation can be a necessary part in the evolutionary process. In no way am I defending anyone or anything, but can it be said now that many of the problems facing India today are things within the society and culture, british rule were at that time itself trying to end? I think it is fair to say Gandhi represented the ruling class. One thing I have always loved him for is he asked both sides to see each other, and it was working, then there was violent resistance to that changing. Same as King sent a message of change … and violent voices also sprang up on both sides.
      Jesus also asked for change.
      Maybe pride needs to be examined as a negative motivation along with revenge, and how much “resistance” is just an excuse to not change?

    16. comrade — on 17th January, 2009 at 7:33 pm  

      but can it be said now that many of the problems facing India today are things within the society and culture, british rule were at that time itself trying to end

      You are totally arrogant of British Imperial History of India
      The murder, loot, torture, famine, you need to read the version of event written by the oppressed not the oppressor.



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