Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

America needs Gandhian principles now...

Whilst we here in America are now blessed with a President who is sound of mind, body, and spiritual practice, the every day American still needs to have a better understanding of Bapu's principles and ideals. The younger generations here cannot even relate to something as recent as the Vietnam War as other than a "historical moment", and most of them don't know who Gandhiji was, or have even heard his name. I would like to entertain ideas on school programs bringing the Mahatma to the attention of the young ones, whereby a school in America could "partner" the program with a school in India...I think this kind of engaged historial study would open the hearts and minds of the young ones here.

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Comment by Morgana Washington on March 30, 2009 at 18:57
Namaste Viddur:
I am with you in hoping that the vertical model America has been steaming along on for so many years can be reckoned with and changed. Only this past week, our Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, said so without any candy-coating. He came right out and stated that "The Market will not solve these problems, it caused these problems". Finally! Someone who could just spit it out and say it. Unfortunately, and I say this although I am now proud once again to say I am an American under Pres. Obama and his programs, most Americans probably thought Geithner was speaking in metaphors or something. They don't believe the Market system is the problem, and that only by doing away with this particular system, or at least doing away with its bad heart, can we turn things around. America is not a bad place, but it has run for too long on a dream that is unsustainable.
Comment by viduur on March 29, 2009 at 7:14
I have written a lot about 'American Religion' & 'American Ego' in my book "Hindulogy & America". It is unfortunate to see collective American Ego is playing havoc in American life these days, but it was inevitable. Root cause of Economic crisis lies in the "over development of America", which has become unsustainable now.

It is really unfortunate that Gandhi could not visit US in his lifetime. Had he done so then he would have definitely disapproved Adam Smith model of Capitalism & Economic growth. Gandhi may have provided many shocks to many American beliefs but I do not think America of 1950s would have ignored Gandhi or his prescriptions becoz Americans are definitely much more open to 'new& iinovative ideas' than people from rest of Globe.

Gandhi knew very well that only such kind of prosperity and economic growth is sustainable and OK, which is not conflict with the genetic & spiritual development of human beings. American policymodels have always opted for a 'Vertical' development model, which was exclusively based Economic prosperity ensured thru CAPITAL, while Gandhi opined that happiness, stability and prosperity can be achieved thru 'horrizontal' model of development powered by SPIRITUALITY. Unfortunately lovers of horrizotal model thought it can be driven thru the doctrines of Marxism, which was not true. In the 1990s, world witnessed the collapse of Communist Model, which erroneously created an impression that only the 'Vertical model of development driven by the engine of Capitalism' is viable. Now, with the collapse of "vertical model" or Capitalism, world is having a fresh look at Gandhian Philosophy, and one can hope to replace the 'greedy Capitalism' by 'genuine Spiritualism' as prescribed by Mahatama Gandhi.
Comment by Morgana Washington on March 23, 2009 at 19:14
BTW, I am enjoying our exchange very much. Namaste.
Comment by Morgana Washington on March 23, 2009 at 19:11
America is, in my opinion, in the throes of a crisis worse than the sum of its parts: that is: now is the time to recognize that CAPITAL is not a way of life. While commerce and industry will always play a part in modern living, especially in this country, capital will and can no longer be the kernel of what is called the American dream. When Pres. Obama said that now is the time for great change, I believe he was thinking in Gandhian terms, but the reality of just trying to keep the country afloat is taking its toll on the ideal he addressed. Many every-day type people here are trying very hard to make the "great change" in their own lives, and we shall see what occurs in the near future. But too many Americans have grown up with and live with CAPITAL as their TRUTH. By now, you would think that they'd have learned the lack of validity in this way of thinking. It has been too long that this country has had nothing to push it, as a whole nation, toward a collective truth. The other problem is that Americans are wildly stubborn and individualistic, and still live with an "us vs. them" mentality even within their own neighborhoods, never mind the rest of the world!! I wonder how Bapu would have handled this today....any ideas?
Comment by viduur on March 23, 2009 at 18:52
In 2002, when Bill Clinton was out of job then I made the following apeal thru Internet:

Clinton should have a new Avtar as American Gandhi.

There are so many Bill Gates & Warren Buffets in USA but still there is no trace of any Mini or tiny Gandhi in such a wonderful & versatile nation. American dream may remain unfulfilled if it continues to ignore Gandhi in spite of such a massive collapse of their economy. Gandhi felt materialistic growth should be in sync with spiritual development of human beings, otherwise it will result in such kind of imbalances & choas, as we are witnessing now-a-days across the Globe & particularly in America & Europe.
Comment by Morgana Washington on March 23, 2009 at 17:23
Namaste. Viddur:
I totally agree. I find it is even a struggle for me, personally every day, to try and live up to Bapu's ideals. Of course, I can't or I would be the next Gandhiji (lol). But I try...I no ,longer think of his philosophy as being simple "non-violent resistance" as I did in my youth, but as being "living the truth" or "living truth" each day. It is very difficult when faced with certain circumstances, and it is not for the faint of heart!!
Comment by viduur on March 23, 2009 at 4:21
Namaste Morgana,

I must agree that whole world should seek inspiration from Bapu's teachings based on all encompassing love & truth. It is sad when many a Gandhians limit the scope of Gandhi to just the "concepts of Non-violence". Gandhian philosophy and life can not be confined to just "non-violence" in my opinion.
Comment by Morgana Washington on March 22, 2009 at 22:07
Viduur:Yes, while it is true we needed it after 9/11, we have needed one since Mrtine Luther King Jr. was slain. But now, with the world the way it is, we need to join hands across the seas and link our children to one another through Bapu's teachings....would you agree? Namaste!

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