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Gandhi - A Life Experiment
29 januari 2002, 14:11  |   GANDHI-RELATERAT  

The greatest tragedy is, how we idolize and admire people like Gandhi, distort their philosophies and conveniently shirk our responsibilities towards the society that we sustain.

The Indian independence movement carried no weapon as instrument and symbol. No rifle or sword – but a spinningwheel, charka. You can’t build nonviolence out of an industrial society, Gandhi said promptly. Not out of an economy based on exploitation. Because exploitation – abuse – is the very core of violence.

Gandhi’s close friend, the national poet of India, Rabindranath Tagore wondered over the fact that “the western world seems proud to conquer Nature. As if we lived in a hostile world, forced to tame a strange and reluctant order to bring us what we need. This view is the result of the habits of the Mind, that the city wall produces. For Life there in, naturally forces man to concentrate the Light of her mind on her own life and own work. And this generate an artificial gap, between herself and Nature – which nurses her.”

As a young lawyer in South Africa, even Gandhi wondered. It has always been a mystery to me, he wrote, how people can feel honoured by the disgrace of their fellow men.

The rifle, the dagger, the bomb, the missile… are in the final analysis only the the vehicles of Violence, its temporary homes. Violence’s true home, its nursery where it feeds and grows – and where active nonviolence should perhaps above all focus – is the human Heart with its hurts and angers, its fears and greeds.

If we could erase the ‘I’s’ and the ‘Mine’s’ from religion, politics and economics, we shall soon be free, he remarked. It is remarkable, how we try to convince ourselves that we can make this vanishing body undefeatable, while we doubt the hidden power of the soul.

THE “TERROR-BALANCE” of the Cold War has turned into a “war on terrorism”, but the old philosophy remains the same. The carrot and the whip. Threats and tempations.

Apart from that philosophy Gandhi experimented with two different impulses in human relations. Caring and sharing. It may sound simple, but in reality quite a challenge. It is that path, which still, 54 years since the shots echoed at the prayer meeting in Birla House Garden – is far too unexplored.

Jan Viklund, red.


Gandhi Foundation’s (U.K)
54th Annual Multi-Faith Service –
University of Leicester, U.K.