The Watering Hole; Thursday January 22 2015; Gandhi

Sixty-seven years ago this month, Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi was assassinated. His death effectively occurred in media res; the Second World War had ended two years and five months earlier on September 2, 1945, and the Korean War which began on June 25 1950 was still two years and five months ahead in the future. Also, India had gained its independence from Britain some six months earlier with ‘Royal Assent’ given on July 18 1947. All was well in the world until that day, January 30, 1948.

Mahatma Gandhi was a famous name, one that popped up regularly in my growing-up years, but it wasn’t until the Academy Award-winning 1982 movie “Gandhi,” starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, that my attention was finally captured. One quote in particular gathered me in and wouldn’t let go. In just nineteen words Gandhi summarized his concept of religious tolerance by saying, to a small crowd engaged in religious argument, “I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian and a Jew — and so are all of you.” Stunning words, I thought, and though I still don’t know whether they were simply parcel to the movie’s script or whether they were words that Gandhi actually spoke, the concept implicit continued to pique my curiosity for years to come — to the point where whenever I’d run across a Gandhi quote I’d copy it and file it away for future reference.

So. One day last October my old computer crashed and a whole lot of files were gone for good, or so I thought. While rummaging around and taking a peek at old backup files in a variety of places, however, I stumbled upon my old stash of Gandhi quotes, and when I read them again it struck me that Gandhi was WAY ahead of his class — and way ahead of TODAY’s class as well — all those years ago. For example, in response to the presumably ‘journalistic’ query ‘What do you think of Western Civilisation?’ Gandhi replied, “I think it would be a very good idea.”

Just a guess on my part, but I’d bet if Obama were to propose such an effort today, McConnell and Boehner would each willingly volunteer to crawl across 40 miles of broken glass on their hands and knees just to keep it from coming to a vote. And they’d most certainly enjoy the undying support and cheers of the bulk of the Republican Party in the process!

With that somewhat ridiculous scenario in mind, I offer below a baker’s dozen additional quotes by Mahatma Gandhi, words that still today are descriptive of two worlds: the world that viable minds crave to someday see, to inhabit, and, too, the world that the mental midgets on the power/money ladder will never allow.

Here then is the voice of Bapu (endearing father), the words of Mahatma (‘high souled’ or ‘venerable’) Gandhi:

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.”

“To answer brutality with brutality is to admit one’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy.”

“Nature can provide for the needs of people; [she] can’t provide for the greed of people.”

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

“The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from the violence to which it owes its very existence.”

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

“Violent means will give violent freedom.”

“The moral to be legitimately drawn from the supreme tragedy of the bomb is that it will not be destroyed by counter-bomb, even as violence cannot be by counter-violence. Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence. Hatred can be overcome only by love.”

“It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, i.e., hate, ruled us, we should have become extinct long ago. And yet, the tragedy of it is that the so-called civilized men and nations conduct themselves as if the basis of society was violence.”

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.”

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

And finally this insightful concept, spoken well before the undercurrent reality became common knowledge (underlined highlight added):

“My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest shall have the same opportunities as the strongest . . . no country in the world today shows any but patronizing regard for the weak . . . Western democracy, as it functions today, is diluted fascism . . . true democracy cannot be worked by twenty men sitting at the center. It has to be worked from below, by the people of every village.

My only quibble with the highlighted portion is the word “diluted” — it diminishes the current politic of today’s Republican Party, not to mention that of “conservative” movements anywhere on the globe.

Mohandas K. Gandhi: a man of genuine peace, one who cared, who loved, who had no fear, harbored no malice — anathema then, anathema now.



53 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday January 22 2015; Gandhi

  1. Attaching the word “wars” to every new teevee program dilutes the seriousness and dreadful consequences of the real act of war.
    Storage Wars?
    Whale Wars?
    Border Wars?
    Parking Wars?
    And seriously, Cupcake Wars?
    Yeah, maybe if they were actually throwing cupcakes at each other…

    • I sometimes think that mankind’s greatest failing came when humans quit marking their territory by peeing on bushes and started instead to use lines on maps plus swords, arrows, guns, tanks, planes, etc., and today (to my great surprise) even cupcakes. I wonder how it happened? Why? What went wrong? I mean, the mental image of e.g. Boner raising his leg near a . . . ummm . . . Bush? . . . is probably enough to stop (or start?) even a cupcake war! 😯

    • Cupcakes that contain shrapnel that slices your face to ribbons as it smacks into you.
      Desensitization. Works on the weak minded.

    • Thinking of Joni Ernst, seems to me I read somewhere that she was born in 1970, and would therefore have been bread-bag age about the time Reagan was screwing everything up; she was probably in college during the four more years Poppy Bush had to screw everything else up that wasn’t already screwed up.

      Hmmm. Maybe that explains why today’s Joni Ernst is so screwed up?

        • No, actually I ran across her birthdate in an online biography and pulled the rest out of the air — with a little help from a C&L post. It’s not tough to figure, though, that great minds might each and all manage to do the bread-bag/Reagan math.

    • A real conservative would have made shoes out of pigskin. In the article linked, the author mentions Joni was given a mounted hog castration device by Lindsey the warmongering squirrel when she was sworn in. Interestingly, at least to me, there is no possible way to castrate a pig using that device.

  2. “The average age of Fox’s audience is dead. Not just old, but dead.” – Alan Grayson, just now on the Nicole Sandler Show.

    • Palin is failin’ fast. I suspect there’s a lot of truth to the ‘rumor’ that she’s a drunk. Can’t blame her, of course, given the family she’s living with.

      • I figure it’s a Big Gulp with plenty of vodka. She’s achieved the ultimate Grifter Paradise — when you have enough money you can stay drunk through your remaining years without getting evicted.

        • Yep, she always clearly had trailer park grifterism embedded deeply within her lack of persona, and courtesy of John McCain, Rupert Murdoch, and her moments of fame, she’s set for life in the vodka department.

    • I have no intention of seeing the movie or reading the book. Most of the veterans I know speak regretfully of losing men under their command, or losing comrades, or witnessing horror. Anyone who counts their kills is a fucking asshole.

    • It occurs to me that this fellow has no idea of the value of anything in life. I would guess that the majority of working people would consider the luxury of having more time to spend with their children one of finest things they could have, and yet these folks choose to farm the job out.
      The guy is also in serious need of a personal style consultant.

      • Near as I can tell, his net worth is a little less than zero, and that won’t change no matter how much money he winds up with.

        Big problem in this world is the standard practice of equating money with worth when the two are NOT related.

    • Does anyone else find it terribly sad that the men have two names while the women are listed by first name or just female?
      I always thought Larry Summers gave off a creepy vibe.

  3. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has died. His successor is his 79 year old half-brother who suffers from dementia.

    What could go wrong?

    • Wow. 42 years ago I was 15 and was able, with the help of my gym teacher, to arrange a safe and legal abortion for my best friend. She had it under my name, and fortunately my mother was also supportive when I had to confess what was going on after the clinic called my home. I did not realize at the time how new that experience was. I am thankful for the women whose work allowed that to happen, especially the women who sent up that clinic so quickly in the bastion of backwardness that Richmond VA was in the early 70’s.

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