“Whilst we may attack measures and systems we may not, must not, attack men. Imperfect ourselves, we must be tender toward others and slow to impute motives.” ~ Gandhi, Young India Sept. 29, 1921
It is interesting that this statement of the core principle of nonviolence (and the reasoning behind it) occurs a little less than a year before the unfortunate incident at Chauri Chaura in Uttar Pradesh, where demonstrators lost control and burned down a police station (and its occupants), causing Gandhi to undertake a penitential fast and call off the impressively successful “non-cooperation movement,” the first major, directly anti-government campaign of the freedom struggle. We are so far from being “tender toward others” or “slow to impute (wrong) motives” today, in our political lives most conspicuously (you’ll be reading this during the “deplorable” US presidential campaigns of 2016), that it’s arresting to see how far he could go in his ability to let go of a power that seemed within his grasp when its imperfections came to the surface.
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Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.
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