Gandhi and his Peaceful Pedigree (Gandhian Philosophy)

Richard Doiron
While unknown numbers bear the family name in the nation with the largest population on earth, the surname evokes his presence and his peaceful pedigree around the world.

In the end, he was frail and failing in health, and yet his many strengths provoked an assassin's bullets.  Such was to be part of the legacy of the man whose non-violent approach to life and liberty caused the mighty British Empire to capitulate and give India its freedom.

As for the premise of a lone - and crazed gunman - being behind the assassination of the great man, two men were hanged and six more were imprisoned for life after the fact.

Perhaps one of his greatest traits was curiosity: he wanted to know about other people and studied comparative religions, deeming each one to have its inherent merits. And the more he studied, the more he adjusted his thinking. He had experienced racism, which he abhorred; in his mind, all were equal, and he especially wanted women to have more say in the affairs of the world.

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow," he said. "Learn as if you were to live forever." In saying these things, one wonders if he may have had premonitions.

His approach was that we needed to be the change we wished for in the world, and that change necessitated forgiving others, which was an attribute of the strong, he concluded - the weak could never forgive.

He had little use for cowards: he was, as it has been said, a soldier for peace, a premise much aligned with Native North Americans sometimes known as warriors for peace. It was not about violence but about taking a stand against injustice and brutality. Like North American "Indians," who looked to seven generations past and seven yet to come, he foresaw a future intrinsically connected to the present: that which we did now had a ripple effect into the distant day.

He who would influence great minds in all corners of the known world, worked from a basis of love; in that context, borders were non-existent. Nor could conditions, too often untenable, be applied to the paradigm of love. To him, meeting of the minds necessitated a meeting of the hearts. But peace, to be achieved, could never come by way of violence. Every Indian should see himself as a free man, he proposed, and the good fight was to be a non-violent fight. This was no mean feat, he knew, though some might have seen him as impractical. So be it, his non-violent resistance ultimately freed India from the grips of the most powerful empire in history, an empire that to this day still holds sway over 22% of the world's land mass.

He saw extremes of poverty and wealth in the world and considered poverty the worst form of violence there was; that violence had to be overcome through cooperation and through education, which also suggested a keen study of other nations. He saw no future in armed conflict, with history to clearly validate his position on the matter.

He would meet a violent end, something he would not have wished on anyone, suffering the same fate as would other men who advocated non-violence, men he had influenced, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. He would inspire men such as the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, in effect men of vision, such as he had been in his own lifetime, a lifetime steeped in near-impossible obstacles.

This writer, in far off Canada, has been influenced by him also and has been fortunate to be published alongside such men as the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and other men of the ilk, mostly by invitation.

No, these great men have not seen world peace in their time and for their efforts, but it is not through their failings, not any more than for the failings of the Great Mahatma. Mortal men live and die, but the very name Mahatma, conferred as it has been on him, is one used in reverence, suggesting a great soul.

In terms of history, few men can be visioned by a single name millennia after their passing. His nation has not to worry that his name will one day soon no longer evoke the man of peace who lived and died between the years 1869 and 1948 and who, since 1944, has been called the Father of India.

BIO: Richard Doiron, Canada; work in print sixty years; author of two novels, two biographical works; estimated 1000+ poems published in over 200 anthologies, periodicals, personal books; Awards: Lifetime Achievement, 2012, World Poetry; 2017, Pentasi B World Friendship Poetry; 2019, named World Poet Laureate, Pentasi B World Friendship Poetry;  nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, 2019. Named LAUREATE OF THE IVAN AIVAZOVSKY INTERNATIONAL LITERARY AND ART PRIZE 2022 (Ukraine- USA-Germany).

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