Friday, November 14, 2008

Mahatma Gandhi

A few minutes ago I finished watching the beautiful movie GANDHI starring Ben Kinsley. It is a powerful film and left me feeling drained. So many thoughts can be absorbed from this production, but the most impressive message is what one person can do if they are willing to give their life to a cause. One man, living in poverty, brought down an empire. He didn't have an army, he didn't have wealth, he didn't use theatrics or Karl Rove type tactics. He first studied the need and then went about finding a way to change the situation. His message of non-violence was so powerful that his followers were able to place themselves in harms way and even though being severly beaten, go against their natural instinct and restrain themselves from hitting back.

One of his 'fasts' occurred because he believed it was the only way to stop the violence between the Muslims and the Hindus. He was close to death before his sacrifice turned the trick and the fighting stopped. So the second thing I took away from the movie was that violence can be ended without more violence. Two natural enemies were halted from destroying each other by their admiration for one man.

Talking to one's enemies is so much more productive than going to war. Diplomacy does work if it is done with intelligent planning. A strong leader can sway the mob and turn violence into peace. The world needs that kind of leader now.

The third thing I took away from the movie was the loyalty of this man's followers. Gandhi was so firm in the right way to accomplish his goals that those who disagreed with him ended up believing in his wisdom. There was a messianic quality in their love of him. To a degree, I have witnessed this kind of loyalty in Obama's admirers.

Throughout history there have been leaders who emerged in a time of turmoil and were able to inspire a nation. Two men who were strong when needed were Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. While they were strong leaders in disastrous times, they were in a different category than Gandhi. I think Mother Teresa may be the only person I can think of who in my lifetime sacrificed everything for a cause, as did Gandhi.

And lastly, the movie was enjoyable because it was filmed in India and I felt like I was taking a tour of a country I will never see. I highly recommend this movie. It is inspirational.


Rain said...

I saw that movie some years ago and agree it was inspiring and beautiful

thailandchani said...

I saw that movie also and the message I got from it is "be the change you want to see". It was definitely a wonderful movie. Maybe I'll rent it again from Netflix. :)

Are you still in Tucson? I lived there in the early 90s.


Darlene said...

Rain, I watched it twice. That's unusual for me.

thailandchani - Yes I have been in Tucson for many years and hope I never have to leave. My home town is Colorado Springs, Colorado and I spent the first 35 years of my life there.

Joy Des Jardins said...

You know Darlene....I never did see that least not the whole thing. I think I saw part of it once a long time ago. I guess I'll have to add it to my Netflix gueue. I love Ben Kingsley, and I'm not sure why I never saw it...especially since I love great and inspiring movies.

ugich konitari said...


That was a great review of a great movie. There was great excitement here when Richard Attenborough was selecting the actors and filming.

You have hit spot on, on so many things Gandhi stood for. "Mahatma " in our language means "great soul". And he is regarded in India as the Father of the Nation.

We have so many religions in India and so many languages. The greatness of the man was in being able to unite folks of different persuasions and religions behind him. The other greatness was that he wasnt an urban phenomenon. He touched the hearts and minds of folks in rural areas, and that was his strength.

Besides being the freedom "fighter" he was, another thing that I admire about Gandhi, was his firm conviction that there needs to be self sufficency as a big factor in any economic reform. he was a great supporter of village industry, and handspun textiles.

Most politicians in a hurry to wallow in power, have forgotten all about him except on the two days we pay homage as a country. But those of us whose parents actually saw him, heard him, and read about him in those days, think of him as someone who happens , say once in a lifetime.

There is still an organization here called the Khadi and Village Industres commission, that promotes village industries. they have wonderful outlets all over India, and market, everything from Village textiles, to medicinal soaps,organic cosmetics, oils, foostuffs, footwear and so on.

I was in Tucson last year in May. I wish I had known you then. I was carrying some wonderful soaps with me from this place for some friends. Would have been delighted to gift you some.....

Darlene said...

Joy, do put it in your que. I am sure you will like it.

Ugich, Thank you so much for your input and additional information on Gandhi. I love reading your blog as I learn so much about your fascinating country.

kenju said...

I can't recall seeing it, but I will remedy that soon.

Darlene said...

Kenju - I don't think you will be sorry.