Human civilization has come a long way from the stone age, yet man continues to be violent, in his conduct. In the early stages of man’s development, men could survive only by violence. They had to use violence against wild and fierce beasts amidst which they lived. Violence against each other was also practiced. There was not much communication between groups of men and they were suspicious of each other’s intentions. Therefore, they attacked each other frequently. Violence then was, a way of life, dictated by the force of circumstances. But unfortunately and strangely, even today violence is prevailing in the conduct of human affairs and humanity seems to be feeling shaky under the impact of violence.
Man has not learned any lessons from the two World wars which brought about untold sufferings and destruction of men and materials. The scars of World War II are still present in Hiroshima and Nagasaki reminds the world of the damage that was caused by violence. The Israel-Arab violence is still going on and has resulted in deaths of uncountable men, women and even children. There was massive violence in Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq. the killing of thousands of men, women, and children in Iraq as a result of the U.S. attack is a strong reminder of the violence.
In South Africa, the white regime unleashed violence on the blacks, in their own home. Vietnam, Kampuchea, Grenada, Afghanistan, Falklands, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, all have witnessed massive violence and destruction.
Within India too, one can witness the spread of violence. Communal riots in various parts of the country including the recent violence in Gujarat have claimed many lives, besides heavy destruction of property. There has been massive violence in Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir where the sea-saw battle between the paramilitary forces and terrorist outfits has never stopped from the day of its beginning. Apart from these, one witnesses violence for the most trivial demands and destroy property and beat up teachers. In-laws burn their daughters-in-law because they have not brought enough dowry. Anti-social elements indulge in violence with impunity.
But why is violence on the increase? Increasing materialism has made man selfish. It has also made him insensitive to human emotions of pity, compassion, generosity, and affection. Nations want to expand their territory and influence. Men want to prosper materially at whatever cost. A rat race for material success is afoot, in which humans are ruthlessly trampling underfoot their fellow-runners. Cut-throat competition of the worst kind is being practiced by a man on man, simply to become richer.
Lust for power is another factor that has increased violence. The U.S.A. and other superpowers are competing with one another to increase their fire-power and their areas of influence. Occasionally, they also resort to direct violent actions in some of the underdeveloped countries to establish a puppet government there. Hitlers are no less power-hungry. They would do anything to increase their spheres of power. With the scientific and technological advancement, mankind has come to possess newer and more destructive channels, has increased the fire-powers of the countries manifold, it is a common psychological fact that the possession of weapons makes individuals and nations haughty and aggressive.
In modern times, religion and spirituality are at a discount and hence nations of the world have become less tolerant. There are little humility and inflated egoism. It is through religion and spirituality that the significance of non-violence is grasped. As all human beings are representations of God, we will love God’s creations only if we respect God. if this philosophy and outlook are adopted in life, violence is automatically eliminated from the world. World peace then becomes a reality. Men can then lead to secure and peaceful lives.
However, religion is regarded as the opium of the masses and a hindrance to scientific progress. It is a fact that today man is his own greatest enemy. By unleashing the animal in him, man is torturing himself with violence. If mankind is to survive, violence will have to be discarded and a spirit of friendly co-existence will have to be made the norm of human behavior.