Gandhi did not approve of “Gandhism” as he explained: “There is no such thing as Gandhism, and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems… I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.”
But in present times, for many, Gandhism is understood as “a body of ideas and principles that describes the inspiration, vision and the life work of Gandhi, and it is particularly associated with his contributions to the idea and practice of nonviolent resistance, sometimes also called civil resistance”. The term “Gandhism”, at the present time, also encompasses what Gandhi’s ideas, words and actions mean to people around the world, and how they use them for guidance in changing the past for building their own future.
If you did follow the international news during these last months, you could have witnessed the crowds manifesting in almost all capital cities of the nations of the world. Everywhere people, and especially the new internet generation, have organized civil, nonviolent protests against the injustice of regimes and fake democracies.
It is a global revolution and it is a ‘nonviolent’ revolution of the people of the world, of different cultures, different religions, different languages, but united, with courage and determination, to be the change they want to see in the world.
This is a young generation of global citizens, human beings that think different, that have realized that the whole world is one, with no barriers, and that the truth is that geopolitical boundaries are but an old illusion that has vanished in their minds. They have overcome nationalism to embrace the concept of ‘One world, One family’…
They want freedom from national governments and direct democracy in their communities, they want freedom from party politics and economic exploitation… they want a better world and they know it is possible to create it with their participation.
Long time ago, in 1997, for the conclusion of the celebrations of the golden jubilee of Indian Independence, Arya B.Bhardwaj, Margaret Huge and myself, as international coordinators of Jai Jagat Mahotsav, organized in New Delhi, at the Gandhi Peace Foundation, a multimedia exhibition, “Small Is Beautiful”, to inform India about the global circulation of the ideas of Gandhiji and Vinobaji and how their messages had changed the mind and actions of so many people and groups around the world… since than a lot has happened and we have been monitoring the expansion of the global nonviolent movement for truth, love, compassion and simple living.
Now that the western world is under the stress of recession, and economic depression, rapidly downsizing the expectation to globalize the political and financial patterns of the modern form of the Anglo-American empire, the nonviolent freedom movement is rapidly expanding all over the world, creating the need of a new, just, social order for the whole humanity.
Is it an evidence of the spread of Gandhism at a global level? Is it evident that the world is changing towards the visions of Gandhi and Vinoba? Is it an evidence that egoism, competition, profit and exploitation, consumerism and capitalism are reaching the default of their unsustainable model of development? Is it an evidence of the fact that human consciousness has expanded and cannot anymore accept the unacceptable?
Indian culture has a very important role in this historical time of change and can easily lead the present global revolution by dusting the writings of the Mahatma, about the India and the world of his dreams, about Gram Swaraj, about simple living and human values. This would offer to the hungry youths of the world food for their thinking, and to energize their nonviolent actions.
The governments of all nations are facing the vertical downfall of the people support and confidence, the financial crisis of refinancing their debts, the instability of the ‘aristocratic’ system, the economic recession and the rise of the poverty levels… Only few months ago it was impossible to imagine the bankruptcy of a national state, but now, mid of July 2011, while I am writing, the USA and European states are on the edge… Politicians are discussing, cutting expenses and services, rising taxes and changing rules according to the need of the system to survive, but the people that are filling the streets demonstrating their indignation, these people see no future and are hungry for positive viable alternative ways to organize their survival after the death of the system.
Since 1999 we, as ‘Gandhi In Action Europe’, elaborated a project for Europe translating the ‘Gandhian’ concept of “GramSwaraj” in “self-governing European community” federated in the Union of European Communities… The idea was tested in a local community, Valsesia, in the western Italian Alps, and proved to be easily understood by all sort of local residents and we are now making it available to the innumerable movements in Europe.
Is it evidence that the time has come for the paradigm Gramswaraj-Jai Jagat?
Riccardo Gramegna is a renowned Gandhian and a life coach based in Italy. He continues to engage with the Youth and Professionals in Europe , spreading the ideas of Gandhi and Vinoba. He is also keenly associated with The Arachneed as our distinguished adviser.
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