2002-11-21 (3rd of 3) Gandhi and the wearing of white. Crash course in non-violent resistance.
(1 of 3) Find Alternatives to the Killing Ways
(2 of 3) Non-violent resistance versus killing war – Checkpoint Charlie – Compliance
(3rd of 3)
GANDHI AND THE WEARING OF WHITE
We need a crash course in non-violent resistance!
The “white shirt” uniform did not begin with the East Germans, as Murli Pendharkar explains:
Did you know that I have had the privilege to hear Gandhi in person, several times? I was merely a teenager then. …
The white dress in Gandhi’s non-violent movement came because Gandhi wanted to give Indians a non-violent means to fight the British. Indian cotton was being shipped to Great Britain for making yarn and then the British-made cloth was being brought back to India and sold to Indians. The process resulted in most jobs going to Britain.
Gandhi taught Indians how to prepare home-spun yarn and millions of them began using that yarn – all white – called Khadi for all their clothing needs. Gandhi thus fought the imperial industrialists effectively by using non-violence. Using Khadi-made clothes was a sign of national pride. It still is but it has been somewhat corrupted in post-independent India by politicians.
I wish you well in your quest for a peace army.
Gandhi’s another weapon was ‘truth’. The British Judges used to be baffled when Gandhi pleaded guilty to all charges levelled against him and showed willingness to go to jail smiling. In my public speeches, I often use a quote of Gandhi’s which goes as follows:
“In the midst of darkness light persists, in the midst of death life persists and in the midst of untruth truth persists, hence I believe that God is light, life and truth.”
Gandhi goes on to say, “The concept that truth is god is a very powerful one. People can deny god but they can not deny truth.”
Many thanks to Cliff in Nova Scotia, Canada: Here is the quotation:
In the Midst of Darkness I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever changing, ever dying, there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves, and re-creates. That informing power or spirit is God.
And since nothing else that I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is.
And is this power benevolent or malevolent? I see it as purely benevolent. For I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, Light. He is Love. He is the Supreme Good.
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RELATED EXCERPT FROM (2 of 3) Non-violent resistance versus killing war – Checkpoint Charlie – Compliance
UNIFORM: WEAR WHITE, THE COLOR OF PEACE
– to bring down the Berlin Wall, the people in East Germany gathered on Sunday mornings in village squares, all wearing a white shirt, adopting the symbolism of Gandhi. They formed a circle and held hands. The movement spread quickly from town-to-town and bamboozled the guns of the East German military establishment, who understood it was an act of defiance, but were powerless: how would they be able to explain the gunning down of people for standing in a circle and holding hands?!
We are seldom reminded that the “Iron Curtain”, the Berlin Wall came down through non-violent resistance. That was a great feat..
There was no massive loss of life, no devastation of the Earth.