The Glorious 2019 Revolution in Sudan “Peaceful” and “Non-violent”

The Glorious 2019 Revolution in Sudan “Peaceful” and “Non-violent”

The revolution that broke out in Sudan in December of 2018 was against the tyranny, oppression, domination, dictatorship, economic and financial mismanagement, and corruption that had pervaded all organs of the Sudanese state.

This blessed and glorious revolution was an extension of several previous Sudanese revolutions- of 1964 against the regime of President Abboud and of April 1985 against President Nimeiri, again all repressive military dictatorial regimes. But the regime of “Ingaz”, turned out to be the absolute worst, most violent and bloody of all that the country had seen so far. The noble Sudanese people, one of the most kind, considerate and compassionate, had tried to put forth their just demands in past also but the dictator had silenced them through a reign of terror unleashed by his security forces. President Bashir brutally crushed dissent during his 30-year rule as his secret police terrorised opponents, while his hired mercenaries led murderous military campaigns in several regions of the country. But year 2018-19 was something different-was it because it being the 150th birth anniversary of the apostle of peace and non-violence, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi popularly called mahatma Gandhi-the father of Indian nation. So, despite being subjected to repression and live shooting by the oppressors and the agents of the regime, the simple Sudanese people held on to their belief in themselves though in the process hundreds of youth fell martyrs, sacrificing their lives for the sake of their country.Even school children were not spared and faced live bullets. We invoke Allah to accept them and bless their souls.

Led by the youth of Sudan, men and women, and demanding “freedom, peace and justice”, fundamental and the most basic of the human rights, they proved beyond doubt their unwavering grit and determination to achieve their long-cherished demands.The fundamental and basic slogan of the revolution was “silmiya-silmiya” or “peacefulness”, a slogan that the revolutionaries kept repeating and clinging to in spite of letting loose by the dictator all the force that was at his command. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese marched, all over Sudan and its cities and rural areas, in “million men marches”, in scenes that the country has not seen ever in the past. Nevertheless, adherence to the “silmiya-silmiya” or “Peacefulness” by the protesting people, remained the most effective method and weapon and which finally culminated into the fall of not only one of the longest-ruling dictators in the world, President Bashir but also his comrades in arm and cronies who dreamt of appropriating the revolution through back door.

The Sudanese people and revolutionaries having seen for several decades heightened level of exploitation and suppression by the military dictators and Junta already, called for “civilian rule” or “Madaniaw”. Realising it against an Armed Forces fully saddled in the politics and economics of power and having regional blessings was no child’s play but truly a daunting task. They repeatedly called for civil disobedience and general strike and which had to be hyphenated with normalcy, given the hand to mouth existence of the Sudanese people. This turned out to be an effective weapon, exerting enough pressure on the military junta to descend to the wishes of the common men on the streets by reaching an agreement to give up absolute power, take up ceremonial role as is in a democratic setup and let form a civilian government, a Cabinet of technocrats led by an able Prime Minister.

The Indian people and the Sudanese people are very similar in terms of diversity in language, ethnicity, religions and culture. The two peoples were under English occupation. India gained independence in 1947 and Sudan in 1956. Therefore, the Sudanese people regard their Indian counterparts and their struggles followed by the victory under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi with respect, appreciation and admiration, so much so that many Sudanese name their newborn children Gandhi and thus Gandhi became a common name in Sudan. The Sudanese people have had historically great cultural and people to people ties with the Indian people and have had drawn inspiration and guidance from the Indian people’s long history of struggle against the colonial powers for their own fight for independence from the same colonial masters earlier and the military junta now. While looking closely into the Sudanese revolution its definitely appears to be inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s policy of non-violence and civil disobedience in the face of British colonialism.As Mahatma had succeeded in leading the Indian people to victory and achieving independence and freedom for them with bare hands without ever holding a weapon while confronting and taking head on the violent repression unleashed by the brutal forces of imperialists.Similarly, the Sudanese people have been able to bring about the desired transformation in their polity and transition to civilian and democratic rule through peaceful and non-violent ways. As the Mahatma Gandhi forced the English colonial masters to descend and obey the will of the people, so did the Sudanese people with only difference that here the masters were none other but Sudanese dictators.

The initial protest and sloganeering turned to indefinite sit-in in front of the General Command headquarters of the armed forces, tirelessly to achieve one goal, the ouster of the dictator despite the period being of Holy month of Ramadan and protesters fasting. But later on it acquired another dimension as well that is establishing “civilian rule” as the military officers who had taken control of the country after their coup against Bashir had all served President Bashir loyally until his ousting and some of them had taken direct part in regime’s worst atrocities, seemed to be getting cozy in their chairs in the Transitional Military Council.

The two peoples of India and Sudan suffered from the British policy of divide and rule.In India, the divide between Muslims and Hindus and further intra grouping divides of various kind like based on caste and hierarchy and in Sudan until this day between the centre and periphery, the Arabs and non-Arabs, Muslims and Christians and earlier between North and South Sudan. Mahatma Gandhi went into fasting for days at a go, to express his dismay and resentment at various kinds of divides prevailing among the children of the same land and to convince them to renounce and coexist peacefully to focus on the fight against the colonialists. Likewise, in view of the situation in Sudan, one of the most beautiful slogans echoed by the revolutionaries, “You arrogant racist all peoples are Darfur”, which in essence meant that all Sudanese people are one and they rejected all forms of discrimination and policies that led to the outbreak of war in Darfur, the Blue Nile and the NubaMountains.This shows the sagacity and dignity of the Sudanese people who despite coping with years of calamities and tribulations despite having been endowed with bountiful resources- both human and natural had to live with worst living standards.

The Sudanese protestors were also chanting at times at the sit-in, “we will remain here as Gandhi did and we will not leave our place until our demands are met.” A slogan pronounced in Arabic as “Sabinaha” which literally means we will remain solid as concrete meaning will never give up.So the dispersal of the sit-in protesters using excessive force and live bullets in which more than 125 of them were killed, was akin and compared to the “Jallianwala Bagh massacre” by he British in India. The Sudanese protesters clung peacefully but firmly to their demands in the same manner and spirit as did the Mahatma.So, in the minds of the Sudanese protestors, it may be reverberating “as Gandhi succeeded, so, will we, despite the difficulties, hardships and repression” let loose by the regime.

The bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries – India and Sudan - have been strong since pre-independence days and has grown even stronger.There is so much to learn from brotherly India. The process of building the Indian nation after independence was a long and arduous task. The entire Indian people voted to establish a Constituent Assembly to frame a permanent constitution for their country and that has and still leading and guiding them. Today, India is the largest democracy and one of the largest economies in the world. India is at the forefront in sharing and transferring its knowledge and experiences to African countries so that they can help themselves in their progress and prosperity and stand on their own feet. Today, our country is much like India of before and the conditions they overcame. So, the Sudanese people and government can benefit from the experiences of India in the process of reconstruction and rebuilding of their nation. We salute the inspirational leader Gandhiji and all the liberals of the world who stood by the great Sudanese people in their blessed and glorious revolution against oppression, tyranny and dictatorship. Also, salute to the Sudanese women the “Kandakas” or “queens of the world” who stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the revolution.

They had enough of Bashir in last 30 years and had no intention to put up with him any longer so, their demands included the most basic political right, the right to choose their ruler and which they expressed through their call “Tusgot Bass” that is “just fall, that is all”.This was akin to Gandhiji’s call for “Swaraj” earlier and later “Quit India”.There were some voices which doubted as to how could India administer itself in the face of so many problems and the Britishers leaving. But Gandhiji was aware of his own peoples’ inherent strengths.Here, in Sudan also the same TINA (there is no alternative) factor was working as advertised by the former regime.But again the Sudanese people decided to take their destiny in their hands and the rest will be history.


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