Thursday, March 12, 2009

Salt march

                               Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi *1869,†1948.
(some one thought the Cleveland winter cold, and placed a muffler about the neck)

It is becoming common for many large cities and moderate cities to have a statue of Gandhi. There is one in London, the capital of the empire he defeated, other cities, that, have no connexion to him, Moscow and New York City.

During the last depression, in one of Franklin Roosevelt’s projects, there was built, in Cleveland, on then Liberty (now M. L. King) Blvd., Cultural Gardens. They have not been finished. In the new Indian Garden, a bronze statue of Gandhi, by Gautam Pal, was installed in 2006.

Gandhi so impressed his fellow nationals, they acclaimed him ― Mahatma (great soul) ― for what he did, and how he did it. The english empire held south Asia and South Africa. Gandhi was familiar with how the english ruled.

There is a passage from Luke first half of vi. 29:
And to him that striketh thee on the one cheek, offer also the other.
This was the key passage to Lev Nikolajevič Tolstoj and to Gandhi. They corresponded.

I want to tell others what I feel so particularly keen about, namely what is called non-resistance, but what is essentially nothing other than the teaching of love undistorted by false interpretations…This law has been proclaimed by all the world's sages, Indian, Chinese, Jewish, Greek, and Roman. I think it has been expressed most clearly of all by Christ…―Tolstoy to Gandhi, 7 September 1910.
That, and the Golden Rule:
And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner. ― Luke vi. 31.
All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets. ― Matthew vii. 12.
See thou never do to another what thou wouldst hate to have done to thee by another. ― Tobiæ iv.16.

Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself...― Leviticus xix.18.
But there is evil, and injustice in the world, and people want better. As Aristotle taught ― man is a political animal. How to act? Non coöperation with evil and injustice. The irish under the english used the boycott. Labor refused to labor. In using a variation of the golden rule, ahimsa (non-injury), and non coöperation Gandhi confronted the empire again and again.

In America, the bostonians dressed as red indians, and dumped british tea in the harbor, to protest british taxation. They did this secretly, and in dark, and in disguise. Gandhi and his indians protested british taxation of salt. They marched 24 days, beginning on 12 March 1930, peacefully, in the open, from Ahmadabad to Dandi on the Arabian sea, and made salt. The british responded brutally. They arrested Gandhi, again. They ran a world wide campaign of black propaganda against him and his people. The campaign of peaceful refusal began. The english lost, eventually [they did not want to leave France either 500 years previous].

Gandhi had campaigns against the evil of his people. He opposed the caste system and the treatment of dalits, the untouchables. The laws to-day are in their favor, but not the actions of indian society.

Slowly the world is beginning to commemorate his presence, if not his ideas. The little dedication ceremony in Cleveland did not have much hoopla. The indian community recognised one of their own. Congressman Kucinich, a war opponent, was in attendance. The Quakers had given him a Gandhi prize for peace*. Many people admire Gandhi in the US, but few politicians, and fewer will act in his fashion. Peace does not win votes here.


I am being led to my religion through Truth and Non-Violence, i.e., love in the broadest sense. I often describe my religion as the religion of Truth. Of late, instead of saying God is Truth I have been saying Truth is God, in order more fully to define my religion.

Gentle Jesus, the greatest passive resister the world has seen.

Live simply, that others may simply live.

Those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics, do not know what religion means.... Spirituality that has no bearing on and produces no effect on everyday life is an ‘airy nothing.’

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Nonviolence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering. It does not mean meek submission to the will of the evildoer, but it means putting of ones whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his religion, his soul, and lay the foundation for that empires fall or its regeneration.

Jesus gave mankind, in these lessons and in his life, the great goal toward which to aspire. It is because there is such a goal, and because there was such a figure as that of Jesus, that I cannot be pessimistic, but instead am hopeful and confident of the future. And it is because his life has this significance and meaning for me that I do not regard him as belonging to Christianity alone, but rather to the whole world, to all its peoples, no matter under what name they worship. be a good Hindu also meant that I would be a good Christian. There was no need for me to join your creed to be a believer in the beauty of the teachings of Jesus or try to follow His example...
Gandhi did not win a Nobel prize for peace, Kissinger did though.

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