Today the world remembers Gandhi’s (also known as Gandhiji and Bapu) 63rd death anniversary. On this death anniversary, I continue to be inspired on his message of non violence and unconditional love for all of humanity. It is Gandhi’s principles that inspires me to live for the greater good of humanity. I am a firm believer that the social justice movement in the United States will continue to move forward through the implementation of non violent tactics and principles. I have always stated that a violent revolution is based on individuals being guided by their reactionary emotions but when one is guided by their convictions that lie deep within their hearts, one will find the seeds of a non violent revolution.
It is through such non violent revolutions that we will see people in various parts of the world confronting their governments and demanding a change. The mainstream media will try to contaminate our minds by showing people throwing objects at police and causing chaos. But, what the mainstream media won’t show, will be how police officers, soldiers, will use extreme force to silence the voice of the people. They won’t show why people are rising up.
It is through non violence and direct participation from the people that Latinoamerica has changed its direction and has been a model for the rest of the world. Countries in Latinoamerica have demonstrated to the world that there are alternatives to the Capitalist model. Led by Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian Revolution has made great strides in the forms of education, health, culture arts and social programs. Critics will continue to find ways to criticize the progress that Venezuela has made. One cannot deny that the working people in Venezuela are better off now than they were 15 years ago. According to Eva Golinger, Venezuela has reduced its poverty by half.
With the rise of Chavez in Venezuela, we saw a domino’s effect take the whole continent by storm. We saw people such as Rafael Correa from Ecuador, Carlos Mujica from Uruguay, Evo Morales from Bolivia, Fernando Lugo from Paraguay, Cristina Fernandez from Argentina, and the list goes on, assume the Presidency through non violent social movements. In many of these countries, we saw the power of non violence via direct participation represent the voice of the people. We witness people taking to the streets and voting for a change in their country. The world was able to witness how the people were able to defeat decades of party dictatorship as was the case in Paraguay, when the victory of a former Catholic Bishop was able to end more than 6 decades of power from the Colorado Party. We were also able to see the historic victory of Evo Morales, becoming the first indigenous president of Bolivia. Not only did the people exercised their right to vote for revolutionary changes in their countries, but the world came to see, how the people took to the streets in a non violent demonstration calling for the return of Hugo Chavez when he was briefly ousted from power. It was through the force of the people in the streets that Chavez was rescued and brought back to power, on a failed coup attempted that was orchestrated by the United States in 2002.
In the United States, the principles of Gandhi is what inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It was the principles of non cooperation that inspired Cesar E. Chavez to lead a successful grape boycott that made America pay attention to the plight of Farm Workers throughout the United States. It was the conviction of justice and equality for all that lead Harvey Milk be the first openly gay elected public official in the U.S., when he became a member of the board of supervisor for the city of San Francisco. And, it is the spirit of civil disobedience along with non violence that has inspired the Close the School of America’s movement and made it one of America’s largest nonviolent social justice movements.
I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute to Gandhiji than his own fellow Indians staging India’s largest uprisings against the corruption that is sweeping India. Hundreds of people took to the streets today in India to protest the government corruptions.
Finally, I will leave you all with 10 quotes from Gandhi and my favorite song to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.
1. “Non violence is the greatest force at the disposal of [human]kind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”
2. “Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
3. “The spirit of non violence necessarily leads to humility. Non violence means reliance on God, the rock of ages. It we would seek his aid, we must approach Him with a humble and contrite heart.”
4. “Non-cooperation is directed not against men but against measures. It is not directed against the governors, but against the system they administer. The roots of non-cooperation lie not in hatred but in justice, if not in love.”
5. “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
6. “Whenever I see an erring man, I say to myself I have also erred…and in this way I feel kinship with everyone in the world and feel that I cannot be happy without the humblest of us being happy.”
7. “Non-cooperation is an attempt to awaken the masses, to a sense of their dignity and power. This can only be done by enabling them to realize that they need not fear brute force, if they would but know the soul within.”
8. “Hatred ever kills, Love never dies such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality, for it increases hatred.”
9. “I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that change a living Power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. That informing power or spirit is God. And since nothing else I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is.”
10. “There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e. the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cast many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being.”
Enjoy this great song as we remember Gandhiji.