CAN WE COMPARE OUR MISSION TO THAT OF GANDHI?
I recently read that Gandhi was not a perfect person. He had his own prejudices against other races, and had other human failings – as do all of us. Pretty much all I know about him and his struggles is from the great movie starring Sir Ben Kingsley. From the movie “Gandhi” I came to understand that it was necessary to use friendly persuasion and non-destructive/nonviolent civil disobedience to achieve his goal of India’s independence from Great Britain. Great Britain with its Imperialistic and corporate interests would never simply give up economic profits and total control without a military led backlash. For his ideas to work, the Indian people needed to be seen as unreservedly united behind the cause. His strategies and ideas in his domestic crusade need to be the basis for our worldwide citizen driven movement.
Today we have the ultimate global crisis on our doorstep. We can approach it in the same way as Gandhi did. Forget the local politicians and political parties. Forget begging corporations to do the right thing as you are wasting you breathe. Forget great expectations from well-meaning and fragmented NGOs, with their own agendas, Forget religious leaders as they pursue their own selfish interests. Forget the UN with its political intrigue and national interests. We need to take the problem of survival directly to the meek and humble masses and ask them to come to the aid of the planet and its entire population without reference to national borders.
Gandhi defined the goal for the whole nation in simple-to-understand terms; just as we must define the goals needed to save our planet and to lighten the injustices against its people in all our 190 plus diverse and independent nations. The Indian people eventually saw his clearly defined goal for independence from foreign rule as being long overdue, necessary and just and they eventually joined the struggle.
He started his nonviolent civil disobedience plan with a simple act of defiance. This initial campaign was his ‘march to the sea’ to challenge the British law that gave the making and selling of salt in India to a British corporation. In a nation of perhaps 500,000,000 he had 78 individuals who initially joined him on his 241 mile march to the sea. As his message grew, the followers numbered in the thousands.
It is worth noting that he took the problem directly to the people as he knew instinctively that all other avenues would simply lead to failure. The Indian people were the ones who took direct action and would have to share and endure the physical and the verbal abuse of those in control. In addition, they accepted the scorn of fellow citizens who were truly afraid of the unknowns that independence might bring. They accepted the initial hardship and prospects of future hardship from their action – whatever the hardships might be; knowing full well that the cause of independence for India was worthy of their efforts and physical pain.