“Be The Change…”

Today is Gandhi’s birthday. No, this time I don’t mean the turtle, I mean the beloved and iconic human rights leader also known as the father of India. If he hadn’t been assassinated in 1948 , today he’d be a spry 140 years old.

I bring this up because Gandhi was the man. He stood up for his beliefs, took the punishment, advocated compassion and turning the other cheek.  His famed quotation “You must be the change you want to see in the world,”  finds its way into Half The Sky. It’s a big concept to think about and a hard one to enact: don’t look for someone else to do it, don’t sit back and watch, don’t complain- be the change yourself. Or as Aretha Franklin put it “TCB.”

Here’s to being compassionate and proactive . And as for Gandhi the turtle, we celebrate his birthday on the same day as mine.

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One thought on ““Be The Change…”

  1. Beth,

    I think you are so right about Gandhi! And being the change we wish to see certainly is a superhuman task. One of the key things to understand about Gandhi’s vision is illustrated in the following exchange from the movie “Gandhi”:

    Nahari: I’m going to Hell! I killed a child! I smashed his head against a wall
    .
    Gandhi: Why?

    Nahari: Because they killed my son! The Muslims killed my son!

    Gandhi: I know a way out of Hell. Find a child, a child whose mother and father have been killed and raise him as your own.

    Gandhi: Only be sure that he is a Muslim and that you raise him as one.

    I do not know whether this account is historically accurate or whether Gandhi or a scriptwriter actually uttered these words. It is a moot point because the spirit, tone, and message are all Gandhi. Gandhi also said “I am a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew – and so are you”. By that, I think he meant that metaphorically he was speaking for the soul of India – and something even more important: he was emphasizing the importance that he placed on harmony and on empathetic ethics. Gandhi was way ahead of his time in understanding that the ability to see the world through another’s eyes is the first and most important step on any true path to peace (whether it is interpersonal or global).

    In this very troubled time with U.S. troops on ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I pray that more of us reflect on Gandhi’s “way out of hell”.

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