Children Play with Swords and Pistols
Because all the tendencies of the children come into
play when they are given enough free scope, several
difficulties arise, especially in controlling the
noise and movements they make. A few days ago, they
began to make swords and pistols out of meccano. So,
in a general way, when these things come up, when
the children are engaged in this kind of activity,
should we intervene, or wait until the movement dies
down and disappears?
should... you should question the children and ask
them in an off-hand way, “Oh, you have enemies? Who
are these enemies?”... That is what you should say....
You should make them talk a little.... It is because
they see that... There is a strength and a beauty
in the army which children feel strongly. But that
should be preserved. Only, armies should be used not
to attack and capture but to defend and... protect.
First you must understand properly: for the moment,
we are in a condition where weapons are still necessary.
We have to understand that this is a passing condition,
not final, but that we must move towards that. Peace
- peace, harmony - should be the natural result of
a change of consciousness.... You see, there is this
idea of non-violence about India, which has replaced
material violence by moral violence - but that is
far worse! You should make them understand this....
You can say this, explain to the children that to
replace physical violence, material violence, by moral
violence, is no better. Lying down in front of a train
to prevent it from passing is a moral violence which
can create more disturbances than physical violence.
You... can you hear me? But it depends on the child,
it depends on the case. You must not give any names,
say what this or that person has said. We must make
them understand ideas and reactions. You should...
That is a good example: you should make them understand
that lying down in front of a train to prevent it
from passing is as great a violence... even greater
than attacking it with weapons. You understand, there
are many, many things that could be said. It depends
on the case.
myself encouraged fencing a great deal because it
gives a skill, a control of one’s movements and a
discipline in violence. At one time I encouraged fencing
a great deal, and then too, I learned to shoot. I
used to shoot with a pistol, I used to shoot with
a rifle because that gives you a steadiness and skill
and a sure-sightedness that is excellent, and it obliges
you to stay calm in the midst of danger. I don’t see
why all these things... One must not be hopelessly
non-violent - that makes characters that are... soft!
You should have taken the opportunity to tell them,
“Oh, you should learn fencing!” And a pistol too?
tell them... teach them to shoot... make it into an
art, into an art and into a training of calm and self-controlled
skill. One should never... never raise hue and cry....
That will not do at all, at all, at all. I am not
at all in favour of that. The methods of self-defence
should be mastered, and for that they must be practised.
(Ibid. Vol. 12,pp.436-39)