The Shanti Sena or “Peace army.” MK Gandhi’s way of making this world riot proof.

We are constantly being astonished at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence.  But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.M. K. Gandhi shantisenaThe shanti sena was made up of Gandhi’s followers in India. Its non-violent methods have been adopted by other movements such as the World Peace Brigade, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Swaraj Peeth, the organisation Peace Brigades International and the Rainbow Family of Living Light, and have served as a basis for the practice of  Third Party Non-violent Intervention.

“Shanti Sena” is a term first coined by Gandhi when he conceptualized a nonviolent volunteer peacekeeping program dedicated to minimizing communal violence within the Indian populace. The words “Shanti” and “Sena” both come from Sanskrit. Shanti means peace and Sena means army, or a drilled band of men.

Gandhi first used the term Shanti Sena in 1922, during the first large-scale riots between Hindus and Muslims after his return to India. Gandhi had invited a few hundred colleagues to come to his ashram and discuss organizing Shanti Sena. The conference was set for February 1948. He was assassinated by a Hindu, Nathuram Godse before the conference.  Gandhi’s assassination resulted in widespread communal violence ending with partition and the murder and dislocation of millions. What an Independence indeed!