An anthology of Gandhi’s writings, patched together with short biographical sketches. Takes a little getting into simply because many of the quotes are drawn together from all over the place and often you’re [not sure] that … you’re reading [inside or] outside the … square brackets23, but what the man has to say is revelatory. We all have this idea of Gandhi; mine is mainly derived form the Attenborough movie (which hit me at a very impressionable age.) To hear him explain himself is a real eye-opener.
In the future, whenever I hear anybody bitch about humanity’s supposed inherent evil, Gandhi will come to mind. Whenever we retaliate and answer terror with terror, Gandhi will come to mind…. He really was one of the preeminent thinkers of the 20th Century, and whenever we repeat mistake after mistake, it’s going to be crucial to remember that we already figured this out. It’s like MLK said: “If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable …. We may ignore him at our own risk.” And non-violence has made great strides since Gandhi (MLK, East Germany, Russia), but those stories aren’t told quite as frequently as that of the supposed “Greatest Generation.” It’s like the man says: “History is a record of an interruption of the course of nature. [Non-Violence], being natural, is not noted in history.”
What’s stunning to me is the strength and courage it took. I can think of nobody more principled than Gandhi, and it’s almost frightening: in order to transform the world, he knew it was essential to transform himself, and his lifelong search for Truth would always begin with himself. What’s easy to overlook is that to him, non-violence was the most powerful tool for change–not the choice of the weak, but the weapon of the most courageous. There’s lots of food for thought here, about what it means to live under an oppressive and illegal government, about freedom, will, power, love, optimism. There are also almost prophetic insights into the future of Pakistan and Palestine, industrialism and urban life. I wish I’d marked this book up so I could pull out some quotes for you, but this is a library book.
Perhaps I’ll buy my own and read it again.