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TOPIC: gandhi

This Happened

This Happened — May 8: Gandhi's Fast Begins

Mahatma Gandhi began an iconic fast on this day in 1933 in protest against the British government's decision to separate the electoral system in India based on religion. He believed that the decision would lead to communal division and destroy Hindu-Muslim unity. Gandhi's fast lasted for a total of 21 days.

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As India Turns 75, A Look Back At Gandhi's Thoughts On Freedom

It was typical of Gandhi to bring opposites together, by noting that the very experience of hatred had made love possible by allowing Indians to take responsibility for their own actions and so the future.

As the day of India’s independence approached, Gandhi was frequently asked how it should be marked. His response was invariably to criticize the new government’s costly plans of celebrating it with spectacle and entertainment to recommend fasting, spinning and prayer instead.

This was not simply because of the violence then sweeping much of the country, or even to give the poverty of India’s millions its due, but so as to reflect upon the grave responsibilities that were the true gift of freedom. He spent Independence Day in riot-stricken Calcutta, trying to identify India’s freedom in the very midst of partition’s violence.

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Beyond Resistance: What India Needs Now Is A Revolution

As the 'center' continues to shift rightward — in India and elsewhere — people need to do more than just push back against the powers that be.


NEW DELHI — We are apparently resisting right now — in India against citizenship laws and procedures, in Hong Kong against the fugitive offender's amendment bill, and across the world against border controls. But is it enough?

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Gandhi, A Singular Guide For MLK And Civil Rights Movement

At the 150th anniversary of the Indian independence leader and philosopher of non-violence, looking back long line of African-American leaders influenced by his ideas.

NEW DELHI — This year, we mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. A person's ideas and actions can only be judged by seeing their role over the course of world history. Even as we see the myriad aspects of Gandhi's life and associated ideas a century and a half after his birth, we should not forget his prime importance to history and to his time: as the leader of the Indian anti-colonial struggle, the culmination of which led to the first break from the chain of Western colonialism.

It is for this struggle in all its aspects and complexity, that India cemented its place in the 20th century inspiring leaders ranging from Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah who coined the term "positive action" based on his study of Gandhian satyagraha to Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh who called himself a "disciple" of Gandhi.

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Sidharth Bhatia

The Comforting Calculation Of Modi Playing The Gandhi Card

The Mahatma's universalism is far from Modi sectarian-nationalist approach. But it's more than just a matter of international branding for the Prime Minister.

"I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any."

— Gandhi

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Rohit Kumar

Why Hindu Nationalism Will Never Kill Gandhi's Legacy

Despite episodes of hatred and nationalism, Gandhi's ideas are still alive and well in India.

NEW DELHI On January 30, 1948, Nathuram Godse walked up to Mahatma Gandhi at the grounds of Birla House and pumped three bullets into him at point-blank range. The frail old man uttered the name of God, and died.

Seventy-one years later, in a bizarre re-enactment of the assassination, members of the right-wing Hindu Mahasabha Party in Aligarh shot bullets into an effigy of the Mahatma. They also made sure that fake blood oozed out of their ‘victim". This ghoulish act has received widespread condemnation across the country and criminal cases have been registered against 13 people involved in the event, including Pooja Shakun Pandey, the Mahasabha leader who staged the event.

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Julien Bouissou

Hindu Nationalism And The Posthumous Glory Of Gandhi’s Murderer

Nathuram Godse, author of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in 1948, is the object of a quasi-religious cult among Hindu extremists. In the Maharashtra state, his great-nephew is spreading his message.

PUNE — This article almost didn't see the light of day. My mistake was to send a message to the great-nephew of Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, without realizing that my WhatsApp profile featured a healthy and smiling image of the "Father of the Nation." Suffice it to say that Ajinkya Godse was not too pleased.

His response arrived a few days later: "If you would like to meet me and to visit Nathuram Godse's memorial, first of all, listen to his last statement before the judges." He had enclosed an audio recording along with the letter. In it, an actor recites, for almost four hours, the murderer's final words before the court in November 1948 — included as a bonus is the audio reconstruction of the infamous great-uncle's hanging a year later. Everything is there, even the sound of the rope being wrapped around his neck and the stall falling to the ground.

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Sadia Rao

Amma Mia! India To New Zealand, The Women In Politics Paradox


Long before Angela Merkel or even Margaret Thatcher, Indian politics has produced some fearsome female leaders. Indira Gandhi, also known as the "Iron Lady" of India, took office as the first female prime minister of the country in 1966 and returned for another term in 1980. Years after Gandhi's assassination in 1984, her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi, carried forward both the family and female legacy, and still stands as longstanding president of the Indian National Congress party.

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Santos, An Awkward Nobel Peace Prize

The committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize does not approach its task the way the Academy assigns the Oscars. The Nobel is not a trophy to crown an achievement as much as a message … or more precisely, a "shot in the arm." The Nobel committee has long made it clear that they choose people or organizations that are advancing the cause of peace, and, as such, need an extra boost of international recognition to take their work and objectives further. It has sometimes led to some head-scratching choices. Last year, the prize went to the "Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet". In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama was lauded barely eight months after he took office.

The 2016 choice appears to be even more odd. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel this morning less than a week after a democratic rejection of his efforts to end the half-century civil war with communist rebel group FARC that has killed some 220,000 people.

The Nobel committee explained its choice in the face of last Sunday's referendum that rejected the peace deal: "This result has created great uncertainty as to the future of Colombia. There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again. This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londoño, continue to respect the ceasefire."

The committee added that the peace deal's collapse "does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead." It remains to be seen if this Nobel is that final shot in the arm needed to bring peace to Colombia. Or if the committee should start picking its winners like the Oscars.

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Not So Eternal Flame

The Raj Ghat memorial in Delhi is a black marble platform that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi's cremation. Comparing my slide to recent pictures, I noticed that an eternal flame was now burning on one end of the memorial; it doesn't look like it was there when we visited the monument.


Verbatim: Walesa, Greenwald, Depardieu

Quotes that made news, news that made quotes...

Julien Bouissou

Why India's Gandhi Dynasty May Be About To Crumble

Long revered amongst the founders of modern India, the Gandhi family is now facing the most delicate political moment in memory as its INC party risks losing national elections.

AMETHI — The small assembly of villagers gathered in the tent can’t wait much longer in this stifling heat of this district in northeastern India. All are wiping their foreheads, slumped in their plastic chairs — except for Munna, beads of sweat running down her face as she stands in front of a small stage surrounded by flowers. The farm worker put on her best sari and walked three kilometers in the hope of meeting Priyanka Gandhi, the great-granddaughter of the legendary Jawharlal Nehru, to hand her some written requests.

“We need water pumps in the village,” Munna says. “Party officials don’t listen to the poor anymore. We only have the Gandhis left.”

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