On Change we can Believe in

Just got done watching Barack Obama debate Hillary Clinton at the University of Texas in Austin. Now, Some of my friends attended the debate, and I cannot wait to speak to them as soon as I'm done here.

So I was speaking of Gandhi's Favorite from Gandhi My Father (2007) in my last post. And speaking of the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections and the Mahatma Gandhi, here is an interesting thought if there ever was one. Who would Gandhi endorse? From barackobamafans.com. Don't you agree?

And before I publish this here, please note that these words might well be mine (:P), and you do not have to agree with everything expressed therein. The endorsement contained in it is very deliberate. Take it from a former [entirely voluntary, I swear] lobbyist for higher education to Congress who is a proud Gandhian.

Who would the Mahatma Gandhi endorse?

What the world needs today is change. A change in attitudes toward people of a global society. A philosophical change, when it comes to treating people on individual merit, not on presumptions of race, ethnicity, or religion. A cultural change, when it comes to managing people and their intellectual capacity.

I am a strong believer in the message delivered by the Mahatma Gandhi. What I know we respect the Mahatma most for is that he was a true champion of Ahimsa (non-violence). See, I believe that the pursuit of non-violence is the only means through which we can achieve long-term peace the world over. I am told by many that I am naive. Yet, I hold on to that belief.

As children, we were taught that trust and respect are the foundations of every relationship. Non-violence is then, in my humble opinion, the approach that offers the global community the best chance to earn this mutual trust and respect -- across geographic boundaries, religious ideologies, cultural biases, and ethnic preferences.

Gandhi invested his life in promoting non-violence, and helped steer to independence through his efforts what is today the world's largest democracy. To separate him from any discussion on non-violence would be unfair. And to separate a discussion on non-violence and its relevance to the world, from within the spectrum of the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, would also be unfair. We the American people need a leader to look up to. To believe in. To trust. To speak the truth.

Amid all the campaign journalism and political punditry that justifiably earn the spotlight across global media, I ask myself: Who would the Mahatma Gandhi endorse if faced with the challenge of supporting one of the remaining three candidates in the race? John McCain, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama?

One would assume this is a difficult question to answer. As a Gandhian, I know not to take it lightly. Yet, the answer could not be more black and white than it is this election year.

Seriously...who would Gandhi endorse?

One who dares to talk of shunning war? Of negotiating first? Of doing something to provide a glimmer of hope for those of us who believe that non-violence needs to be accepted at an alarming pace by those at the upper echelons of any country's leadership, lest we aim to lose sight of the bigger picture and the dangers of entering another, dare I say the word, 'war'?


That candidate would be Barack Obama. At least he gives non-violence a chance.


theBollywoodFan said...

And just days after this article is written, here is Barack Obama being quoted in the Times of India as being a fan of the Mahatma. Too cool. From this link:

-----Story begins-----

WASHINGTON: Barack Obama, Democratic front-runner for the US presidential nomination, sees Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration and has a portrait of the apostle of peace in his office to remind him that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

"In my life, I have always looked to Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration, because he embodies the kind of transformational change that can be made when ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things," he wrote in a yet to be published article in a newspaper.

"That is why his portrait hangs in my Senate office; to remind me that real results will not just come from Washington, they will come from the people," he said in the article, excerpts of which were provided in a write-up on Friday.

That is why, he said, "I am proud to have the longstanding support of so many Indian Americans in all aspects of my campaign for party nomination for the post of the President, as well as the endorsements of leading elected Indian American lawmakers."

-----Story ends-----

Namrata said...

Well said!!! Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence is eternal. It is refreshing to see Barack endorse the message. Love the connection though. Well done whoever wrote it.

salek said...

Another reason why Mahatma Gandhi may have supported Barack Obama...


...and what all South Asians should know about Sen. Obama's personal experiences…


I personally feel it's great how Sen. Obama has such a global outlook and his unique perspective will prove to be an invaluable resource in addressing some of the world's most challenging problems. His cultural awareness is what has endeared him to millions around the world from Germany to Kenya to Japan and now India as well.

theBollywoodFan said...

Completely agree with your statements, Salek. If 2004 wasn't black and white enough between the two candidates (it was, really), this one must be...