october 2, 2010 marks what would have been mohandas k. gandhi’s 141st birthday. today is a national holiday in india, called: gandhi jayanti. widely considered to be the father of a independent indian nation, gandhi emphasized non-violent communication.
but it’s not just that he didn’t hit back, it’s that he chose his battles wise-like. confounding the empire with civil disobediance, the quit india movement chipped away at economic reliance on the british through events such as the salt march and hunger strikes. ghandi’s non-violence movement was core strategy in the anti-colonial, satyagraha movement, heavily influenced the u.s. based black civil rights movement and is still studied the world over by soldiers of all struggles, regardless of armed status. why?
perhaps because he trumped the sword with smarts. perhaps because he loved truly, and was loved in return. perhaps because he was not perfect, and knew it. definitely because he championed hindu-muslim unity. absolutely because he saw through all the distractions inherent in centuries of colonial conditioning, saw through the distractions to the simplest yet best war tools. most definitely because he lived his life as his message. which i feel we could learn a lot from these days.
the american press is all glee at exposing india’s failures regarding the current commonwealth games. and this summer, when i was in india, so deep in india, i heard plenty of people, foreign and domestic, disdainfully dismissing india for being dirty, smelly, grimy. but they still be coming for more, in droves. because what india may lack in external packaging, it more than makes up for in internal soul. true, western countries may be cleaner, but capitalist cores are supposed to be good at packaging. the product, though, the product been losing quality for a minute. i guess a balance would be nice. a nation state trump tight on the inside and the outside would be cool. international relations, not to mention interpersonal relations, that aren’t simply swinging, willfully uncontrolled from love to hate, would be appreciated. i know i’m striving for balance. i hope gandhi ji would approve.
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