The older I get, the more I appreciate and understand his contributions, and am simply blown away thinking that such a man was for real. He was not a figment of an author's imagination. It is so bloody incredible!
Every once in a while, I watch clips from the classic movie of his life that Richard Attenborough made, and Ben Kingsley brought to life ... and the scene that gets to my emotions is not Gandhi's assassination, which is how the movie begins too, but this one:
What a powerful conviction Gandhi had that he would be able to lead the people to freedom by standing up to the violent rule without throwing even a single stone. And even more, he was able to convince millions that it was possible.
I am not sure how many people in the contemporary world have at least a vague idea of who Gandhi was, leave alone an understanding of his message. Even in India! Sometimes it is hard to imagine that he was a mere mortal with his own failings ... Albert Einstein summed it up well that "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."
Could his message of non-violence work against the overwhelming background noise created by the likes of al Qaeda and the War on Terror?
Robert Wright presented a convincing argument on how such a strategy of non-violence could be successful even in the Palestinian issue:
If Palestinians want to strike fear into the hearts of Israelis they should (a) give up on violence as a tool of persuasion; (b) give up on the current round of negotiations; and (c) start holding demonstrations in which they ask for only one thing: the right to vote. Their argument would be simple: They live under Israeli rule, and Israel is a democracy, so why aren’t they part of it?
A truly peaceful movement with such elemental aspirations — think of Martin Luther King or Gandhi — would gain immediate international support.It could. But, nobody will ever lay their guns down, it seems like.
It is awful that religion and other differences continue to be used by the opportunists in order to win political gains for themselves. It becomes even more awful when, for instance, the violent actions of a few radical fundamentalists becomes the "Muslim Rage" in the media. The best way to demonstrate that a few terrorists being Muslims does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists is by playing two bhajans that were among Gandhi's favorites. What is so special about the videos here? These are being played, and sung, by Muslim musicians. Yes, musicians, and legends at that. Muslims. Peace and music loving like anybody else.
Thanks for everything, Mr. Gandhi. And, yes, happy birthday