Patrice Riemens on Tue, 31 Jan 2017 13:00:46 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Fr Cedric Prakash SJ: Murdering the Mahatma Today (January 30)

Cf Sebastian's post "January 30, Time To Wake Up"

NB: The current prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, is an 
ideological heir of Nathuram Ghodse. In many aspects Modi, can be seen 
as a precursor of Donald Trump, and may be even, his 'guru'...

Fr Cedric Prakash sj*

January 30th 1948 will remain etched forever in the conscience of
the nation. On that fateful day at evening prayer, Mahatma Gandhi
fell to the bullets of his assassin Nathuram Godse, in Delhi. Godse
represented the fascist, fanatic, fundamentalist and 'feku' forces,
which abhorred the values for which Gandhi, espoused all his life
and particularly the idea of an inclusive, pluralistic and secular
India. These forces unfortunately are still very alive in India and in
several parts of the world today!

There are certainly those who disagreed with Gandhi during his
lifetime and there are many who disagree with his philosophy and his
methodology even today. Nevertheless, few will be able to contest
the fact that Gandhi was a man of principles who lived and died
for a cause. His life was frugal and exemplary and unlike several
politicians today, he did not care leave alone crave, for the
privileges and the trappings of power.

In his lifetime, he internalized and propagated two cherished values
TRUTH (Satyagraha) and NONVIOLENCE (Ahimsa). This twin doctrine
is today more than ever needed, as sizeable sections of India and
other parts of the world fall easy prey to falsehood and hate; to
divisiveness and violence. Gandhi believed in the spirituality
of inclusiveness. For him, the Hindu Scriptures the Bhagvad Gita
and Jesus Sermon on the Mount?(particularly the section on the
'Beatitudes')had to be read and meditated upon simultaneously since he
was convinced that they resonated with one another. He refers to this
in his autobiography ?My Experiment with Truth?

There was plenty of violence and bloodshed in the run ?up to India?s
independence. Gandhi truly desired an undivided India, in which Hindus
and Muslims would live in peace and harmony. In October 1946, he
spent weeks in Naokhali (today in Bangla Desh) literally bringing to
a halt, in a non-violent way, massacres and mayhem between the two
communities. On August 15 1947, as India celebrated her independence,
there were no celebrations for Gandhi; he was back in Calcutta
with his protégé Abdul Ghaffar Khan. He encouraged people to be
non-violent and peaceful; he himself prayed, fasted and spun yarn.
Those actions of his had a profound impact on the people- peace was
restored. When C Rajagopalachari, the first Governor- General of
Independent India, visited and congratulated Gandhi for restoring
peace in the city, Gandhi said he would not be satisfied "until Hindus
and Muslims felt safe in one another's company and returned to their
own homes to life as before." He sincerely cared for those who were
forcibly displaced.

On the day Gandhi was assassinated Pandit Nehru, India's Prime
Minister in an emotional address to the nation said, "the light has
gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere!" He was just
stating a fact. Darkness continues to envelop a good part of the world
today; the very forces that murdered Gandhi continue to murder all
that he epitomized. True there are some hypocritical gestures like
usurping the place of Gandhi at the spinning wheel, for a picture on
an official calendar. Gandhi never subscribed to showmanship nor was
he arrogant. He fought against sectarianism and racism and would have
left no stone unturned today to take sides with the refugees and other
forcibly displaced people of the world.

Indian Catholics will observe a 'Day of Peace' on January 30th.
Significantly, in a message for the Fiftieth World Day of Peace
(celebrated officially on January 1st 2017) entitled 'Nonviolence: A
Style of Politics for Peace', Pope Francis emphatically states that,
'violence is not the cure for our broken world.' He calls for a new
style of politics built on peace and nonviolence, and at the same time
for disarmament and the eradication of nuclear weapons. Both Mahatma
Gandhi and Abdul Ghaffar Khan are referred to in this message as icons
of nonviolence and peace. We certainly have much to learn from them.

The world today is in a turmoil as never before. In ways both subtle
and direct; through discriminatory policies and executive orders;
through manipulations and coercion, we witness the gradual break-up of
our world, even as hasty and unwanted walls are built to keep people
out. We need to do all we can to prevent the triumph of these forces
who are inimical to the cherished ideals and values of Gandhi, the
Apostle of Nonviolence. We must cry halt to their murderous march now!

30th January 2017

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
Advocacy & Communications
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) MENA Region
Rue de L'Universitie Saint-Joseph
Achrafieh 11002150 BEIRUT  LEBANON

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