–by Vinoba Bhave (Jul 3, 2014)
If it is not possible to dissolve the army today, we must at least be agreed that we shall dissolve it tomorrow. But so long as you do not give up reliance on arms, this is not going to be. We should, therefore, build the structures of nonviolence in the country. If we can at least show that we do not need police or an army for maintaining internal peace in the country, we shall have some idea of how to introduce nonviolence in international relations. […]
We need a Shanti Sena, a Peace Army, which can inspire confidence among people in its ability to safeguard peace. Progressively then it will become less necessary to maintain a police for the maintenance of law and order. In course of time the need for an army will also go. The first requirement is, therefore, the formation of a Shanti Sena.
This was Bapu’s dream [Gandhi’s dream] of Shanti Sena. The groundwork for it is to deploy a Seva Sena –Service Army– all over the country. Without a Service Army, a Peace Army would not be possible.
In the long run the Peace Army will itself be only a Service Army. It will always keep itself engaged in the work of service, it will familiarize itself with the conditions and when there are disorders it will try to curb them. […]
Only he can be a soldier of Peace Army, who serves all this like a mother. We serve with the love of a mother and when a bond of affection subsists between us and the people, we shall not consider our life too precious when faced with a difficult situation. Sacrifice will be natural. We shall not consider it a sacrifice at all. It will seem an act of love. The Peace Army will, therefore, always be a Service Army. […]
It will not be enough if we are compassionate and desirous of serving. When I become a soldier of the Peace Army, I would like to work for all. But if I work without the consent of all, I shall gain no accretion of strength. We do not aspire simply to go amongst the people and die. We also want to see peace established. We want that our presence among the people should inspire in them the sentiment of peace. So it is not merely a question of the right to serve. Those, who aspire after the power to make a moral impact on the people, must secure a measure of consent from the people –the willingness on their part to accept service from us and to do what little we expect them to do. […]
One thing must be borne in mind. It would be untruth to think that the Peace Army will be able to provide a sense of security to the people in the way the military does. Even if this notion promotes a measure of security, it will not be self-secured. And so long as this situation remains, real peace will not come. Peace in a town or village is ultimately the responsibility of those who live in that town or village. It is the responsibility of the soldier of the Peace Army only in so far as she is a resident of that town or village. A Peace Army should, therefore, be systematically organized in every town, every village, every residential area. […]
In short, the purpose of the Peace Army is to make the people feel secure, but self-protected. The purpose of the Peace Army cannot be served by the police or the army, but only by an organization of the people. We have to free our civic life from the grip of the police and the army. We must patiently explain the idea to the people and inspire them to make the desired effort. […]
If disorders occur, the Shanti Sena must be ready to sacrifice itself in the attempt to restore peace. Soldiers in this Peace Army with love in their hearts must then go amongst the unruly and must, even if it should cost them their life, persuade them to desist. Absence of malice is not enough. There has to be love in their heart and that for all the warring elements. […]
In the Peace Army women can play a more important role than men. In a Shanti Sena every woman can make her contribution. In general, women are more compassionate than men, they are more gentle of heart. Brutal killing does not fall in their province. In the Peace Army the quality called for is love.
–Vinoba Bhave in Vinoba On Gandhi, chapter Imperishable Seed: Shanti Sena, compilation by Kanti Shah. [Creative comic above by Dharma Comics ;-)]