NEW DELHI – The books under review both describe the people and events that shaped the final years of the British Raj in India, and demonstrate a magisterial command of their subject. But the similarities end there: these books could not be more different in the ground they cover or, ultimately, in their sympathies. The first is by Ramachandra Guha, a well-known Indian historian whose previous works include an excellent biography of Mahatma Gandhi’s early life until 1914 (Gandhi Before India), and a historical survey of modern India following the Mahatma’s assassination in 1948 (India After Gandhi). Guha’s new book...
8 Feb 2018 – As is well known, Mohandas Gandhi had gone to England in 1888 at the age of 19 years to train as a lawyer. Before going his mother Putlibai who was a devout person, deeply religious and given to fasting regularly, extracted a promise from her son to abstain from wine, women and meat. Mohandas followed her advice and the promises he had made but on arriving in England, started dressing like a British person and tried to behave like one by taking lessons in dancing and elocution and following other traits of a British gentleman. On returning from England to Gujarat after getting his Bar degree, a Muslim firm in South Africa sought his services as a lawyer. After talking to his brother and other friends Gandhi decided to go to South Africa to work as a Barrister for a firm owned by Abdulla Sheth.
Net Neutrality is the keystone issue in the movement of movements. It is poised to become as pivotal to our interconnected struggles as the Salt March was for Gandhi and the Indian Self-Rule Movement. Gandhi's Salt Campaign offers us a model of how to get out of this mess - not just from the odious injustice of the end of Net Neutrality, but also from the tyranny of corporate rule. In 1930, salt was a keystone, yet stealth issue. When the Indian National Congress tasked Mohandas K. Gandhi with planning a new campaign against the British Empire's colonial rule, no one expected the Salt Satyagraha would unravel the empire that the sun never set upon.
By P.K. Wiilley for TRANSCEND Media Service - 30 Aug 2017 – The question of what constitutes a wonderful and advanced civilization is dependent upon Justice, which is buttressed by economics. All great philosopher-doers, concerned with the betterment of human life have recognized that the handling of the economic means for living life must be guided by ethics and morality for the good of all. Gandhi was no exception. He undertook a task, the sheer enormity of which remains unsurpassed to date: to create a free, truly democratic, independent, unified India, out of dozens of princely states, out of rigid, feudal-social-mindset-stratifications, after nearly 400 years of brainwashing colonialism. His awesome effort assisted by a less bridled media, gave his voice world-wide amplification. Gandhi was able to clearly define unifying ideals, to demonstrate ethical means for our awareness to express itself towards and for each another. In the realm of economics, as with all the ideals he evolved to, Gandhi saw Justice clearly, with moral economics as the means to ensure Justice. To ensure that all could eat, have education, homes, clothes, decent and meaningful employment, the basics for a good life, was and is, human justice and basic decency to one another.
By Ben Case for Roar Magazine. The argument over violence and nonviolence — one of the oldest and most divisive on the left — is back. Broken windows, mass arrests and one well-timed punch marked Donald Trump’s inauguration alongside massive nonviolent marches. In the weeks since, demonstrators converged on international airports, adding weight to a heated judicial fight over a sweeping ban on refugees and immigrants from seven countries, and fiery protests outside a famed hate-monger’s talk at Berkeley cancelled the event and forced the speaker to flee under police escort. Against the backdrop of a renascent fascist menace, the mix of tactical approaches has brought renewed fervor to the violence-vs-nonviolence debate. The dispute has been calcified into fixed positions, where it becomes less about persuading others to a strategic position and more about winning a point for one’s team.
By Mark Engler and Paul Engler for Waging Nonviolence - At the end of 1930, India was experiencing disruption on a scale not seen in nearly three quarters of a century — and it was witnessing a level of social movement participation that organizers who challenge undemocratic regimes usually only dream of achieving. A campaign of mass non-cooperation against imperial rule had spread throughout the country, initiated earlier that year when Mohandas Gandhi and approximately 80 followers from his religious community set out on a Salt March protesting the British monopoly on the mineral. Before the campaign was through, more than 60,000 people would be arrested, with as many as 29,000 proudly filling the jails at one time.
By Robert J. Burrowes. As most of the world ignores or hypocritically celebrates the 147th birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the International Day of Nonviolence on 2 October, some of us will quietly acknowledge his life by continuing to build the world that he envisioned. When asked for his message for the world, Gandhi responded with the now famous line 'My life is my message' reflecting his lifelong struggle against violence. Gandhi's life was dotted with many memorable quotes but one that is less well known is this: 'You may never know what results come of your actions but if you do nothing there will be no results'. Fortunately, there are many committed people who have identified the importance of taking action to end the violence in our world...
By Robert J. Burrowes for Popular Resistance. In the Engler's book, This Is An Uprising, the authors try too hard to make nonviolent action fit into a model they have created by combining thoughts from a few (US) authors – essentially Saul Alinsky, Frances Fox Piven and Gene Sharp – to describe an approach to change based on structure-based organizing, momentum-driven revolt and the creation of prefigurative community. They then use a few case studies, all of which (including the campaigns of the US civil rights struggle) are from the USA except for the Otpor struggle to overthrow the Milosevic regime in Serbia and the struggle of the April 6 Youth Movement and its allies to remove the Mubarak regime in Egypt, to illustrate their argument.
By Robert J. Burrowes for Popular Resistance - On behalf of those of us who struggle to honor Gandhi's legacy to the world, I would like to wish Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi 'happy birthday!' Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 and had he defied both the assassin's bullet and the aging process, he would have been 146 years old this year. In theory, the world celebrates 2 October as the International Day of Nonviolence but it is a day that few remember or commemorate meaningfully. Perhaps this is appropriate given the rather desultory progress we have made in making our world nonviolent. Still, while our scorecard might not be what Gandhi would have hoped nearly 68 years after his death, a number of people are making a committed effort to create this nonviolent world. This effort, by its nature, must be multifaceted. Much of it is mundane; some of it profound. Let me tell you about some of these efforts by people I find pretty inspiring.
To Gandhi, noncooperation was the nonviolent counterpart of guerrilla war while the constructive program was the counterpart of a parallel society from below similar to parallel hierarchies important in the Mexican, Chinese, and Viet Nam revolutions. He increasingly believed that noncooperation and withdrawal of consent, taken by themselves, were woefully ineffective, sometimes using the term useless, since they do not feed the hungry or permanently relieve the oppressed. Positive action was imperative to actually pursue social betterment and justice in every village. Nonetheless, he strongly believed that satyagraha was always available as necessary, and kept in mind its goal of conversion and moral transformation, not retribution. He rejected western materialist values and industrialism. But to achieve political independence, a fundamental and moral reconstruction of society from below was required which, to repeat, was centered on economic renewal of autonomous village life and sardovaya (social uplift for everyone).
Not long ago, a prosecutor in Palermo heard something strange on a wiretap. A mobster was telling a henchman not to punish a store for failing to pay its pizzo, or protection money. Palermo, the largest city in Sicily, is at the heart of mafia country. In the past, trade association surveys have shown that about 80 percent of the town's shops were paying pizzo. But now more than 900 Sicilian firms, a majority of them in Palermo, are publicly refusing to give money to the mob, thanks to one of the most remarkable social movements to emerge in the last decade. Addiopizzo—Italian for "Goodbye, protection money"—is resisting the racketeers with tactics you're more likely to associate with Gandhi or the Arab Spring than a campaign against organized crime.
As we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on October 2nd, the International Day of Nonviolence, we have the chance to reflect on our progress in creating a nonviolent world. Obviously, creating a nonviolent world has many facets and is a long-term work-in-progress. But if we are to regenerate human society in accord with principles of love, nonviolence, justice, equity and sustainability, it is emphatically clear that we need to dramatically recreate much of our culture, particularly in the West, where hatred, violence and injustice are 'built-in'. How can we do this? According to Gandhi: 'If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children.' So, as we reflect, I would like to encourage people to consider and, hopefully, adopt Gandhi’s suggestion before it is too late. I have spent my life trying to work out why humans are violent and, in the end, I discovered that Gandhi was right. Without even realising it, we humans terrorise our children and inflict phenomenal violence on them. How do we do this? We do it by 'socializing' our children. That is, we inflict visible, 'invisible' and 'utterly invisible' violence on our children in order to make them do what we want.
I see the fabric of my country’s rights and justices fraying and I see climate change advancing. There are terrible things about this moment and it’s clear that the consequences of climate change will get worse (though how much worse still depends on us). I also see that we never actually know how things will play out in the end, that the most unlikely events often occur, that we are a very innovative and resilient species, and that far more of us are idealists than is good for business and the status quo to acknowledge. What I learned first in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was how calm, how resourceful, and how generous people could be in the worst times: the “Cajun Navy” that came in to rescue people by boat, the stranded themselves who formed communities of mutual aid, the hundreds of thousands of volunteers, from middle-aged Mennonites to young anarchists, who arrived afterward to help salvage a city that could have been left for dead. I don’t know what’s coming. I do know that, whatever it is, some of it will be terrible, but some of it will be miraculous, that term we reserve for the utterly unanticipated, the seeds we didn’t know the soil held. And I know that we don’t know what we do does. As Shane Bauer points out, the doing is the crucial thing.