Mental violence has no potency and injures only the person whose thoughts are violent. It is otherwise with mental non-violence. It has potency which the world does not yet know.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
The World Does Not Yet Know
Topic: Overcoming Adversity
“Mental violence has no potency and injures only the person whose thoughts are violent. It is otherwise with mental nonviolence. It has potency which the world does not yet know. And what I want is nonviolence in thought and deed.”
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known universally as Mahatma Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, a small town on the western coast of India. He hailed from a Hindu merchant caste family and his father served as the chief minister of Porbandar state. Gandhi's youth was shaped by deeply spiritual influences that stemmed from his mother's devout Jainism, which instilled in him beliefs in non-violence, fasting, meditation, and vegetarianism. As a young man, Gandhi travelled to London to study law, an experience that further broadened his perspective and exposed him to Western ideas of justice and equity.
Returning to India after completing his studies, Gandhi found himself dissatisfied with the legal profession and soon moved to South Africa to work on a legal case. It was in South Africa, faced with rampant racial discrimination, that Gandhi began to refine the philosophy of non-violent resistance, or Satyagraha, a principle deeply rooted in his religious beliefs. For nearly 21 years, Gandhi strove for the civil rights of Indians in South Africa, successfully employing methods of civil disobedience and passive resistance.
In 1915, Gandhi returned to India, bringing with him his deeply entrenched ideas of Satyagraha. He assumed leadership of the Indian National Congress and led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, ending untouchability, and achieving Swaraj, or self-rule. His role in the Indian independence movement was monumental, with his leadership and doctrines of non-violent resistance culminating in India's independence from British rule in 1947. However, his life was tragically cut short when he was assassinated on January 30, 1948. His legacy, nonetheless, continues to inspire peace movements globally, securing his place as one of the most significant figures of the 20th century.
Wilson, Andrew, editor. World Scripture II. Universal Peace Federation, 2011, p. 1079 [Mohandas K. Gandhi].
Mohandas K. Gandhi
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