Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi: A Century of Peaceful Protest

Mahatma Gandhi: A Century of Peaceful Protest
He's a huge box-office hit. He's at the top of the
Indian music charts. He's on the front cover of
magazines. One hundred years after Gandhi first called
on his compatriots to resist white colonial rule
without violence, he is back in fashion once more.
by Justin Huggler

Indians this week have been remembering the day which
changed the fate of their nation for decades to come.
A hundred years ago, on 11 September, 1906, a young
British-trained barrister named Mohandas Karamchand
Gandhi addressed a meeting of 3,000 Indians in the
Empire Theatre building in Johannesburg and asked them
to take an oath to resist white colonial rule without
violence. It was the birth of the modern non-violent
resistance movement- and it has not been forgotten.

Mahatma Gandhi (1931)
Suddenly the Mahatma is back in fashion in India. Two
years ago, it was unthinkable that the centenary of a
speech by Gandhi, seen as a relic of the past by most
young Indians, would be so much as noticed in a
country that was obsessed not with figures from its
past, but with its headlong rush to embrace modernity.

But today Gandhi has caught the Indian imagination all
over again. He appears as a character in the biggest
Bollywood hit of the summer - a comedy, but one that
even his admirers accept does not degrade his message.
His writings are bestsellers again. He is at the top
of India's music charts too, with a tape of his Hindu
devotional songs, or bhajans. A new Gandhi museum in
Delhi is opening its doors to 2,000 visitors a day.

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