Tag Archives: India

Tolerant people of the past: Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Tolerant person of the past: Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and ...

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and spiritual leader of India.

 

Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most influential Indians of the last century is most famous for his non-violent civil disobedience. He was the leader of Indian Nationalism in British- ruled India. Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights and freedom across the world.

What would he say if he would look at the world today? How would he respond to the movie “Innocence of Muslims” and the following protests? Gandhi also had to deal with violent clashes between religions, and even though he was a great man, he could not stop it from happening. However it is argued that without his presence and persistence on non-violence the clashed would have been bigger, bloodier and deadlier. He had to live with racism while living in South-Africa, and deal with the intricate caste-system in India upon his return. The troubles of today are not that different from the troubles back then. Religions battle for ownership of absolute truth, creating enemies out of everyone who does not belief the same.

Democratic freedom has been won by India, and people live (mostly) in peace. In the Middle-East however this freedom has not been won in most countries, or has only been won recently and the political struggle has not (yet) evolved into a democratic political process. But the dictator has been beaten, the dragon has been slain, but the world did not change overnight. There is the need for an enemy, someone needs to be blamed. The difficult political relationship that has evolved over the past decades between the Western World and the Middle-East creates a platform for the search of an enemy. And when the insults keep coming, it is easy to hate.

Gandhi promoted asceticism; compassion for all forms of life; the importance of vows for self discipline; vegetarianism; fasting for self-purification; mutual tolerance among people of different creeds; and “syadvad,” the idea that all views of truth are partial.

Mutual tolerance of people of different creeds.

The idea that all views of truth are partial.

In times like these we could use someone to stand up and be the new Gandhi.

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”

 

Series: Tolerant people of the past

Charlie Chaplin

Mother Theresa

Related:

Freedom of speech vs Innocence of Muslims

 

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Tolerant people of the past: Mother Theresa

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26.8.1919-5.9.1997)...

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); at a pro-life meeting in 1986 in Bonn, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mother Theresa

I can remember her well, the old wrinkly lady on tv. By the time I had the maturity to appreciate her work wholeheartedly she was no longer officially in office. But she had such a charisma and noble vibe around her that she was still quite often in the news, helping in one of her missions, trying to make the life of the poorest of the poor a little bit better. She did not do this for fame or money: it was her life’s mission.

 

 

 

She was the recipient of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She refused the conventional banquet given to laureates, and asked that the $192.000 funds be given to the poor in India. Mother Theresa stated that earthly rewards were important only if they helped her help the world’s needy. All over the world she worked hard to battle for people that needed support. Even though she was a devout Christian, her work transgressed over the boundaries of religious teachings. Teresa received Vatican permission on 7 October 1950 to start the diocesan congregation that would become the Missionaries of Charity. Its mission was to care for, in her own words, “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”

Her actions aimed at the poorest of the poor, but she was not blind for the difficult problems that are common in western civilized societies. I will not state that there is no poverty in Western Society, however the problems are significantly different from the poorest people in for example India. Recognizing this difference in her Nobel price speech Mother Theresa stated:

“Around the world, not only in the poor countries, but I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society—that poverty is so hurtable and so much, and I find that very difficult.”

The life of Mother Theresa shows devotion and action for people that need it most. Be more like her, and be kinder to people that are not as fortunate as you are.

How did the life of Mother Theresa influence you? What is it about her that you remember the most? And how do you see her life from the perspective of tolerance?

I’d love your feedback. Also if you have a suggestion to spot someone in the spotlight let me know!

Series: Tolerant people of the past:

Charlie Chaplin

 

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