Remembering Mohandas Gandhi

January 30, 1948 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, is assassinated in New Delhi.

In an effort to end India’s religious strife, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas. He was on one such vigil in New Delhi when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s tolerance for the Muslims, fatally shot him. Known as Mahatma, or “the great soul,” during his lifetime, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.

Read the whole thing here: This day in history: 1948

Over the past few years the life and words of Gandhi have had a profound effect on me. I absolutely love the movie with Ben Kingsley. For followers of Christ, Gandhi’s words should strike a strong similarity to those of Jesus. If we say that we follow the Prince of Peace, why do we speak of “Just War”? Why do we still stand as advocates for violence to fix the ills of the world? What happened to following the example of Jesus in everything?

Here’s some quotes from Gandhi that really speak on this issue:

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.

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 or democracy?

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.

As I’m sitting here pondering the life of Gandhi, I’m watching the “U2: Live in Mexico City” dvd. Three songs are almost consecutive in their set: “Pride (In the Name of Love)” about Martin Luther King, Jr, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Please” about the violence in Northern Ireland. These songs and Bono’s personal work, and the work of Mlk, Gandhi and so many others, drive home the need to seek avenues other than violence and that we should strongly encourage it as Christ-followers.

The world hungers and cries out for Peace in every aspect of life. Parents and children, husband and wife, neighbors and communities, and most especially nations. What are we doing? Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is our Savior. Do we believe these things? Seriously? Is this just a social club for us? Is it a hobby we spend a few hours each week playing with? Have we ceased to harm others even with our words? Any contact we have with another person, do they see Jesus Christ or a church-goer?

You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down, and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of good literature.

If you’ve never seen the movie “Gandhi” I highly recommend it. It shows what is possible with peaceful resistance. I believe it is a great example for Christ-followers who seek to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ.