HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3

No Mahatma Ghandi, I

John W. Pinkerton

oldjwpinkerton@gmail.comRob Longenecker

If ever there were an Irish equivalent of Mahatma Ghandi, I'm certain his mates beat him severely and tossed him into the River Liffey just to clear his mind.

You know Ghandi, the little Indian man weaving cloth and smiling out at the world.

To young people I suppose he is somewhat of a mythological figure.  I was six years old when he was assassinated.  I recall the headlines in the newspaper and the discussions of the event.


Some folks think of him as a very poor man, but actually he was of a Hindu merchant caste family and trained in law in London.  After his education, he was off to South Africa to assist in the civil rights struggle there.

When he returned to India, he led a challenge to the British salt tax and later in 1942 called for the British to quit India.  For those who may not know, Britain conquered, occupied, and ruled India for nearly two centuries.

I believe most of us have an image of Ghandi living a modest residential lifestyle wearing the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl consuming a vegetarian diet pierced by long fasts for self-purification and political protest.

He saw India as a pluralistic religious state independent of Great Britain.  Of course, his pluralistic vision did not hold.  Pakistan was created to accommodate the Muslims and the rest of India was left to the Hindus.

Of course, not everyone was pleased, and a fellow Hindu shot Ghandi to death in 1948.

However, India had become an independent state again.

Today, we can not separate the name “Ghandi” from “nonviolent resistance.”  This concept had a long history in India, but Ghandi was the first to apply it to politics on a large scale and effectively.  Of course, the concept was repopularized by Martin Luther King in America.

If you ever have a spare 191 minutes, you might wish to spend the time watching the 1982 movie Ghandi featuring Ben Kingsley.  I recall talking my wife and a friend into accompanying me to the movie.  I think they hated it.  I loved it.  I think the fact that the theatre had a separate smoking section from which one could grab a cig and still not miss any of the feature was a big help for me.

Probably 30 years ago, I ran across a small Ghandi glass statuette.  I placed it on my side table next to my easy chair.  It is still there.  Unfortunately I'm still Irish.  No Ghandi I.