Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Happy Birthday, Gandhi-Ji

"Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this in flesh and blood
did walk upon this earth."  (Albert Einstein reflecting on the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi)

I was in college when Richard Attenborough's film about Gandhi came out.  My friends and I were floored by it; moved by it; profoundly touched by it.  I'd say that in the first week it was out we must have gone four or five times to see it.  (To be honest, by the fourth time we went we were smuggling in large bags full of our own popcorn and were only a little self-conscious about stuffing huge handfuls of popcorn into our mouths while Ben Kingsley was onscreen asking for "water . . . and a little lemon.")

I do understand that there was more than a little hagiography in that film, and yet from all that I've read over the years since, it painted a fairly accurate portrait.  It might have been ever so impressionistic, but that doesn't mean that it's not true.

And, so, each year I try to mark Gandhi-ji's birthday.  Sometimes it's just being quietly aware of the anniversary.  Some days I re-watch the movie.  And some days I just try to be a little bit better than I am, so that I can help the world to become a little bit better than it is.

This year I've written this post, discovered this lovely photograph, and wish to encourage anyone reading this to spend a little more time to read a collection of Gandhi's thoughts.

Pax tecum,

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! New struggles in freedom are now overwhelm by media. This can help a cause or obscure it in analysis. Instant critique of important issues make them passe' quickly. Peoples 15 second attention spans can't handle it. Gandhi lived when people waited for news with anticipation. Now news is 'created' without fact checking. Internet is still a valuable news medium. Thanks for reminding us of Gandhi's work.

JamieMc said...

Thanks for the reminder about Gandhi's birthday. I was similarly affected by the movie and it was one of several nudges that led me to become an ordained clergy person.