Gandhi

Gandhi For Today

How would Mahatma Gandhi confront terrorism today? And what action would the apostle of nonviolence take in response to the wars waged in the name of anti-terrorism? David Cortright’s new book, Gandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence for an Age of Terrorism, doesn’t directly answer these questions, but it provides an excellent foundation for anyone seeking nonviolent social change in any era, including our own.

Cortright, who teaches peace studies at Notre Dame, makes a thoughtful and compelling case that the power of nonviolent action is virtually untapped—our understanding of nonviolence as a political and social force, he says, is like the awareness of electricity at the time of Edison. With Gandhi and Beyond, Cortright provides a tool that could actually help change that lack of awareness.

The book, which has its roots in Cortright’s peace curriculum, has two related conceptual frames: The first is focused on Gandhi himself—his life, his teaching, and most important his “experiments with truth” that led to the independence of India. Since Gandhi was “the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale,” as Martin Luther King put it, this is an essential study for any Christian interested in social change.

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Sojourners Magazine December 2006
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A Life of Faithful Integrity

Arun Gandhi,

Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas K. Gandhi and cofounder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee, and Ann E. Helmke, a Lutheran minister and director of the San Antonio Peace Center, recently traveled together on a nonviolence tour to Palestine and Israel. Their trip provided the opportunity for this dialogue.

Ann Helmke: The world and its leaders are busy redefining, justifying and rationalizing, spinning and executing actions based on words. Words without actions are empty, but actions without discipline are very dangerous. How can we responsibly use the words "nonviolence" and "war on terror" in the same sentence? How can we bring the debate and actions to higher ground?

Arun Gandhi: Words without action and actions without discipline is a dangerous concoction. This is the nature of politics. My grandfather [Mahatma Gandhi] regarded politics without principle as one of the seven sins of human society. Politicians have ceased to be servants of the people. They have become masters, taken control of our lives. They decide the fate of a nation and its people. We, the people, are content with this because we simply want to enjoy our rights without responsibilities—the eighth sin of humanity.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2005
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