What Gandhi Taught me About Love and Nonviolence

I was probably about 7 years old the first time I watched the film Gandhi. It still holds pride of place in my film collection, nestled in between The Sound of Music and The Godfather I, II and III sits my worn copy of Gandhi. Close friends have been forced to sit through 3 hours of film as I study every single piece of dialogue and nuance. The film has layers deep as the crevices on the mountain range behind my grandparents house in Okebukun. The message of the film of Gandhi is love and non-violence in the pursuit of human freedom. Nothing I have seen in the many, many years since has convinced me that there is a better path to tread than love in the quest for a better world.

One of my favourite scenes in the film is the burning of the passes. Peace does not mean giving up, ever. If we want to see change, we must keep on pushing till we see it, or die trying.

Using violence loses you the moral high ground. In the speech below he says ‘In this cause, I too am prepared to die… but there is no cause in which I am prepared to kill…They cannot take our self-respect if we do not give it to them…They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me, then they will have my dead body. NOT MY OBEDIENCE!’

Non-violent resistance is persistent. Many struggles have failed because ideals have betrayed and strayed. ‘I want to change their minds, not kill them for weaknesses we all possess.’ When Gandhi fasted India came to a standstill. As he says below ‘In the end, you will walk out. Because 100,000 Englishmen simply cannot control 350 million Indians, if those Indians refuse to cooperate.’

Great resistance need great leaders. The protest at Dharasana salt works only succeeded because of great leadership, sacrificial leadership. Such that when the leader was arrested, his guidance continued. We all deserve a better world, but someone has to stand up for it. We have more in common than the things that divide us.

Love Always: The film ends with these lines spoken by Gandhi, ‘When I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it: always.’

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