Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Blessed are the Peacemakers

"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind"--M. Gandhi

Peace Ya"ll. No, seriously peace! The UN has declared today the International Day of Peace and Non-violence, which non-coincidentally falls on the day of the Mahatma's birth (October 2, 1869). And since we are in the midst of wartime, it doesn't hurt to stop and think about our peace pioneers, Gandhi of course being our premier guru in teaching the culture of peace and tolerance. As his beloved India struggled to break free of the British Raj, Gandhi preached the message of unity, and called his people to civil disobedience and peaceful protest. He walked. In one instance, 240 miles from Sabarmati (home of the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat) to the Dandi coast to protest the British salt tax. He fasted. Sometimes for as long as 3 weeks, to protest communal violence and governmental non-cooperation. He meditated. These were his weapons. Powerful, yet simple actions and reactions to injustice and violence.

To celebrate today's significance, the University sponsored 108 minutes of yoga on the Quad, and a lecture by a Political Science professor who recently returned from a Fulbright Fellowship in New Delhi. The slide show and discussion were followed by tasty Indian treats--samosas, channa masala, and chutneys galore! We ate. And then we ate again, toasting Gandhi and peace, somewhat ironically, with our plates full of food.

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