Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA)    &
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Short-version Non-Violence Manifesto (improved by Pakistani and Israeli friends in Washington!). Though it may be published like this today, there is always room for improvement if one of you has a suggestion (Oct 3, 2005).

The Non-Violence Manifesto

In a world steeped in violence, we dare to affirm non-violence as the highest value. Non-violence, towards others and towards oneself, is central to the possibility of a life worth living, for all.

We propose January 30th – the day the Mahatma fell to three shots – as a day of imaginative world-wide experiments in non-violence. For Gandhi, ahimsa, non-violence, was inseparable from civil disobedience, satyagraha or ‘insistently holding on to the truth’. In his time, such insistence took simple, ‘naïve’ forms, like a nation picking up from salt the sea in defiance of imperial law. The Paris school-children who sent out the Call for Ahimsa Day – also demanded ‘simple’ things that any child can understand: stop spending on weapons, ensure food, water, health, housing and education for all. Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Peace Nobel laureate, was the first to support their call, at the World Social Forum in India in 2004. In an age of killing for oil, a car-less day, walking and cycling – In Town, Without My Car! In an age of dying for branded clothes and shoes, a No-Logo Day without branded bodies and minds. No watching ads, no buying needlessly. In a world ruled by money, a No-Shopping Day. The sun and the rain, love and laughter, curiosity and conversation – the best things in life are free.

If on this one day we could speak up and act together across the world to reject violence in its many forms, always inflicted for a higher 'Cause' – nation, honour, order, progress, the gross domestic product, revolution or other gods, most of all the suppression of women – we may surprise ourselves, and find the confidence to do better.

The forms of non-violent action are many. From very personal – silence, fasting or prayer – to collective action planned at a World Social Forum. A music concert at the border, or children befriending the ‘enemy’. Handing out a poem in the street, or dining with neighbours we never met before.

Also, at 17H13 Indian time on 30th January, let us rise up together in different lands, perhaps at the sound of three shots, gongs or drum rolls, for a minute’s silence and introspection. Let this rising in communion express our common humanity and our refusal to condone violence, to forsake non-violence for any higher cause in the world.