Swaraj Peeth Trust

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Gandhi Shanti Sena (Community Based Non Violent Social Force)

Objective

To facilitate sustainable and harmonious resolution of situations of social and communal conflicts and disharmony through the means of dialogue and nonviolence, Shanti Sena will intervene by upholding fearlessness in the environment of fear; truth in the environment of untruth; and, nonviolence in the environment of violence.

We aim to raise a force of 50 trained Shanti Sainik by 2007. They will work in areas selected in their own neighborhood as their primary duty. We aim to raise such 100 trained Shanti Sainik by 2009 as our tribute to the Centennial of Hind Swaraj. They will be trained for nonviolent intervention in conflict situation outside of their neighborhood if needed.

Why Shanti Sena?

As a member of a community, nation and the humanity every individual, directly or remotely, is responsible for any act of violation of truth, righteousness and morality. Out of this awareness one acquires a sense of duty. The one fired by such sense of duty is called Shanti Sainik. With courage and equanimity, such a person upholds truth when untruth rules, fearlessness when fear reigns; and, nonviolence when violence dominates. Violence in its all forms is borne out of suppression of truth and is sustained by the power of fear. While violence in its physical, mental and spiritual forms, lays its roots in dogma, it finds its nourishment in silence. To seek a remedy is an act of nonviolence.

If we look back we have a whole century of an extraordinary show of nonviolence which has enlightened the modern world as nothing else has. The unique and great experiment in the power of truth and nonviolence conducted under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi has since inspired nonviolent movements for human liberation through out the subjugated world and races. Western nations themselves started investing in what the Mahatma called development of "science of the Soul." In India only a generation back the power of ordinary people's nonviolence saw huge social and political transformation under the leadership of Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Jaiprakesh Narayan. Nonviolence is such a legacy of India which has no parallel in the world.

A society which can not resolve its problems through means of peace and nonviolence may develop economically, but such development can neither add into real prosperity nor strengthen democratic fibre. Even with less means, family, village, community and a nation can achieve prosperity if people are united in harmonious relationship. Shanti Sena is for building social harmony and resolving conflicts through the ways of nonviolence.

Tasks of Shanti Sainik in conflict situation

  • To take full stock of the situation and do the nonpartisan fact finding investigation of root causes of conflict and tension;
  • To stand by people endangered by fear and violence and give them confidence and support;
  • To provide nonpartisan presence and monitor the situation;
  • To provide accompaniment to people trapped in hostile environment and help them for safe passage;
  • To help people trapped in conflict areas in ways necessary for running life, organize their daily necessary requirements and their emergency requirements;
  • To interpose in situation of violence and danger;
  • To stop rumours and rumour mongering;
  • To speak for the truth in a manner appropriate for resolving conflict and reducing violence and tension.

Devoted to non-violence, a Shanti Sainik is vigilant servant of the community.

Shanti Sainik approaches to resolve conflict at following five levels:

  • Change of outlook and thought on the strength of truth;
  • Change of heart through selfless service, right actions of atonement and Satyagraha;
  • By stimulating moral power of the community;
  • By creating m oral pressure;
  • Facilitating dialogue among the conflicting parties.

Tasks of Shanti Sainik in Peace Time

  • To organize Swaraj dialogue and Hind Swaraj Study;
  • To study the causes of tensions and conflict in the neighbourhood;
  • To study the methods of nonviolent conflict resolution;
  • To organize local units of Shanti Sena and conduct training;
  • Be vigilant, build relationships and programmmes cross communities to strengthen mutual understanding;
  • To build neighbourhood contacts;
  • To help the poor and the destitute and organize community initiatives.

Character of a Shanti Sainik

In order to build character of a nonviolent peace-worker one must devote a certain time consistently to selfless social service; introspect regularly in order to overcome anger and hatred towards someone whom one doesn't like, so that one practices and learns to imbibe forgiveness and compassion and thus become capable of loving and serving others.

How to enrol

  • Contact local or regional coordinator or Swarajpeeth office;
  • Participate in local programmes and / or help organize them;
  • Participate in and / or organize Swaraj Dialogue;
  • Undertake regular study of Hind Swaraj by M. K. Gandhi;
  • Participate in Hind Swaraj Study sessions and camps.

Area of work

Saharanpur , Muradabad / Bhojpur, Biharigadh, Bijnor, Kiratpur, Mirzapur , Jalaun, Rampur , Deoband , Delhi