Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Force More Powerful

Here is a little about a movie that is a must see. A Force More Powerful, a three-hour documentary series, explores one of the 20th century's most important but least-understood stories - how nonviolent power overcame oppression and authoritarian rule all over the world. Narrated by Ben Kingsley, it premiered on PBS in September 2000.

The film is about three non-violent 'revolutions' that occurred this century - in India in the 30s, Black America in the late 50s and South Africa in the 80s. The makers of this film have done a good job of choosing to reduce the temporal scope of the documentaries, resulting in a detailed study of the actual logistics of civil disobedience. They have managed to obtain some amazing footage, in each of the three cases, that i had not seen before - such as the reactions of white store-owners in tennessee, and the riots in the townships of south africa.

Also Check out the Book.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gandhi's last words

In the early evening hours of 30 January 1948, Gandhi met with India's Deputy Prime Minister and his close associate in the freedom struggle, Vallabhai Patel, and then proceeded to his prayers. That evening, as Gandhi's time-piece, which hung from one of the folds of his dhoti [loin-cloth], was to reveal to him, he was uncharacteristically late to his prayers, and he fretted about his inability to be punctual. At 10 minutes past 5 o'clock, with one hand each on the shoulders of Abha and Manu, who were known as his 'walking sticks', Gandhi commenced his walk towards the garden where the prayer meeting was held. As he was about to mount the steps of the podium, Gandhi folded his hands and greeted his audience with a namaskar; at that moment, a young man came up to him and roughly pushed aside Manu. Nathuram Godse bent down in the gesture of an obeisance, took a revolver out of his pocket, and shot Gandhi three times in his chest. Bloodstains appeared over Gandhi's white woolen shawl; his hands still folded in a greeting, Gandhi blessed his assassin: He Ram! He Ram! ("O God!")
As Gandhi fell, his faithful time-piece struck the ground, and the hands of the watch came to a standstill. They showed, as they had done before, the precise time: 5:12 P.M.

Monday, May 22, 2006

January 20, 1948

On January 20, 1948--10 days, in fact, before he was assassinated--a handmade bomb was hurled at Gandhi as he attended a gathering. This act of terrorism was carried out by a Hindu youth. Fortunately, the bomb missed the mark and Gandhi survived. The youth was arrested. The next day, several adherents of the Sikh faith called on Gandhi and assured him that the culprit was not a Sikh.

Gandhi rebuked them, saying that it mattered nothing at all to him whether the assailant was a Sikh, a Hindu or a Muslim. Whoever the perpetrator might be, he said, he wished him well. Gandhi explained that the youth had been taught to think of him as an enemy of the Hindu cause, that hatred had been implanted in his heart. The youth believed what he was taught and was so desperate, so devoid of all hope, that violence seemed the only alternative.

Gandhi felt only pity for the young man. He even told the outraged chief of police to not harass his assailant but make an effort to convert him to right thoughts and actions. This was always his approach. No one abhorred violence more than Gandhi. At the same time no one knew more deeply that violence can only be countered by nonviolence. Just as fire is extinguished by water, hatred can only be defeated by love and compassion. Some criticized Gandhi for coddling the terrorist.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (Dec 1964)

I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.

Most of these people will never make the headlines and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live -- men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization -- because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake.