One more thing !

"Remembering Gandhi"


||om tat sat||

Remembering Gandhi,

Walking across the Mississippi River using an enclosed pedestrian way on many a Sunday mornings to the Ames South Asian library in the basement of the University of Minnesota Business School building on the west bank, was a pleasure even on a late December morning because I was going there to read up on Gandhi archives that included the Chicago tribune reporter's dispatch on the Nonviolent protests at Dharasana salt works in 1921. There was a feeling of thrill as I read those articles in those times.

Then a few days ago I was hearing the eulogy for the US Congressman John Lewis, a veteran of Non-Violence.

The words were flowing.

There is some power in those words.

The power of those words ricocheting across the memory banks reminded me of Gandhi, my hero of the twentieth century.

Those words were surely not meant as a remembrance of Gandhi, the man of the last century. Those words were for the American warrior of Nonviolence.

The words were flowing.

".. an idea that he couldn't shake off took hold of him – that nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience were the means to change laws, but also change hearts, and change minds, and change the nations, and change the world. .. ".

I could not believe that I was hearing a eulogy, extolling a person devoted to Nonviolence in this twenty first century, amidst of all that bombastic verbal and nonverbal violence.

My mind wandered off to those insidious messages that float in the new mediums of communication, WhatsApp and Facebooks, forwarded by faceless people, denigrating Gandhi, the father of nonviolence movement.

Apparently, some people unable to measure up to the ideals or even understand the ideals, can only think of raising their profile by denigrating the respected idols. Now there is a new 'we' in these platforms. The new 'we', in these platforms do not challenge the soft lies promoted in this messaging, lest we seem to hijack the usual conversation of friendly greetings and friendlier jokes, and thus upset our own community. Inevitably we let the soft poisoning to continue.

The words of eulogy continued to flow.

"...we know what happened to the marchers that day. Their bones were cracked by Billy clubs, their eyes and lungs choked with tear gas. As they knelt to pray, which made their heads even easier targets, and he was struck in the skull. And he thought he was going to die, surrounded by the sight of young ..ones.. gagging, and bleeding, and trampled, victims in their own country of state-sponsored violence."

Hearing those words, the scene of salt march at Dharasana works floated in front of my eyes. It is a scene right out of Gandhi movie. Watching that on the screen brought tears. With a world moving more towards "Self", as in selfishness, as the first goal, now even a thought of that brings tears.

The eulogy was continuing

".. That's where real courage comes from. Not from turning on each other, but by turning towards one another. Not by sowing hatred and division, but by spreading love and truth. Not by avoiding our responsibilities to create a better country, and a better world, but by embracing those responsibilities with joy and perseverance and discovering that in our beloved community, we do not walk alone."

Long time ago Einstein said about Gandhi " ..generations to come will scarcely believe that such a man ever walked on this earth ..". The floating denigration campaign against yesterday's greats Gandhi, Buddha and Ashoka is like an injection of slow poison which is going one step more. They may no longer be the idols. The colors are changing.

The eulogy was concluding.

The lasting power of those words lit a good feeling.

A good feeling that somewhere across the globe, even if it is far from home in India, a hero of nonviolence is being celebrated.

So, Gandhi-ism and nonviolence will survive. It will survive because of its innate goodness.

That is the only way to change hearts and minds.

||om tat sat||