Sunday, September 11, 2011

Satyagraha

A friend pointed out that this was not only the 10th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks, but also the 105th anniversary of the start of Gandhi's Satyagraha campaign.
And people were wondering, how can we resist with the state so powerful, and we don’t have any weapons, you know, because every time, even today, when somebody talks about resistance, everybody thinks in terms of weapons and war and fighting. And that’s when grandfather explained to them that we don’t need any weapons of mass destruction. We have the ability to respond to this nonviolently and with self-suffering. And that’s what he encouraged the people to do. And they came out into the streets with love for the enemy. You know, grandfather didn’t tolerate any hate for the enemy or any anger for the enemy. He said nonviolence has to be complete nonviolence. We have to have love and respect for the enemy, and that is the only way we can overcome them. And that’s what he showed in his work.   -- Arun Gandhi
I tend to be dubious of political programs that rely on saintliness, given the short supply. Nonviolence seems so impractical, until you compare it with the track record of violence.

1 comment:

scw said...

Have you read Joseph Lelyveld's biography of Gandhi, "Great Soul"? It lets some air out of a reputation that I have long suspected was considerably inflated.