October 2, 2007 9:35 AM   Subscribe

On June 15th, 2007, the UN unanimously adopted a resolution declaring October 2 to be the "International Day of Non-Violence." October 2 is also Gandhi Jayanti, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi,a national holiday in India in honor of the man called the "Father of the Nation". Previously on Mefi, Gandhi's heirs - five champions of non violence and Everything you wanted to know about Gandhi.

As an aside, Mahatma Gandhi and the ruling Gandhi family of India are neither related nor from the same caste or community. This little known fact causes much confusion outside of India - Indira Gandhi, nee Nehru - was a Kashmiri Pandit, and married a Parsi gentleman called Feroze Gandhi. MK Gandhi was from the state of Gujurat and belonged to bania or vysa caste.
posted by infini (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
October 2nd is also National Custodial Workers day.
posted by smackfu at 9:51 AM on October 2, 2007

Maybe next year.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:53 AM on October 2, 2007

I wish I had known this when I woke up. Otherwise, I wouldn't have punched that cab driver in the head on my way to work. Note to self: set reminders for October 1.
posted by psmealey at 9:59 AM on October 2, 2007

Hey, who says the UN is ineffectual?
posted by billysumday at 10:05 AM on October 2, 2007

It's also my mom's birthday! That's right, mom, the internet knows your birthday now! Get ready to be identity thefted like they warned you on the Sixty Minutes!

It's also Potato Day for anyone who uses the French Republican Calendar! Bon Journee de Pomme de Terres, you Gallic weirdos!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:07 AM on October 2, 2007

As an aside, Mahatma Gandhi and the ruling Gandhi family of India are neither related nor from the same caste or community.

I was under the impression that last names actually gave hints to caste. Was I lied to?
posted by smackfu at 10:11 AM on October 2, 2007

Interesting, according to Wikipedia, Indira Gandhi's father was close to Mahatma, but she met her husband Feroze Gandhi, At Oxford University in England. Her birth name was Nehru.
posted by delmoi at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2007

no, last names actually give more than hints, they often designate caste except in those communities that don't have last names. But in this case, its one of those where they may have shared a similar last name for any number of reasons - gandhi isn't as common as Patel for example - same caste, same state, however Parsi's when they moved out of Persia thousands of years ago migrated to Gujurat - same state. I'm guessing here that this surname then may have some other origin i.e. location based or something. And Feroze's last name was original spelt Gandhy which I think his wife changed to echo Gandhi after she became more active in politics.
posted by infini at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2007

Nice post, thanks infini. It's sad looking back at the "Five champions of nonviolence" post considering what has happened to Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi since then.
posted by homunculus at 11:15 AM on October 2, 2007

*looks at piles of loaded weapons*

*looks at calender*

Aww, Damnit. I wanna wreak revenge on all those have wronged me now! How can I keep the fires of hate stoked for another twelve hours?

This sucks.
posted by quin at 11:18 AM on October 2, 2007

I thought "ahimsa" was a Jain thing?
posted by Meatbomb at 12:08 PM on October 2, 2007

Wonderful post infini, thank you.

Just watched the movie, Gandhi, again last night and found it profoundly inspiring, particularly uplifting in these times. "He was the pioneer of Satyagraha—the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence—which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world."

When he was a lawyer in South Africa, he stood up to the racist monsters there by burning his identity pass and they branded him a terrorist.

A pictorial collection about Gandhi.

Interesting the story of Gandhi's black sheep son, Harilal Gandhi.

Ahimsa, Sanskrit for nonviolence, has an interesting history.

Gandhi's grandchildren: Rajmohan Gandhi, visiting professor at the University of Illinois, Ramchandra Gandhi, who died a couple of months ago, philosopher and professor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, governor of West Bengal.
posted by nickyskye at 12:16 PM on October 2, 2007

IT's also known as "sleep naked with teenagers then clean out the latrines" day for thsoe paying close attention.

Sorry, gotta drop these facts in any discussion about Gandhi. Also:

Gandhi's letters to Hitler and some
discussion thereof.
posted by absalom at 12:32 PM on October 2, 2007

Ah, I spent Gandhiji's birthday in his ashram in Kausani, in the Himalayan foothills, northern UP, one year. The kids who were studying there put on a special cultural performance, for the entire audience of us two random westerners who happened to have been passing through.

Upon signing in for the accommodation, in addition to the usual paperwork, we had to make an undertaking to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, meat, fish, eggs & sex for the duration of our stay.

Unfortunately, the omelettes from the stall in town were too much of a temptation.

I imagine Gandhiji would have been spinning in his grave.*

(*metaphorically speaking)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:00 PM on October 2, 2007

thanks absalom, I like this quote of his...
"Jesus was a Jew. He was the finest flower of Judaism. You can see that from the four stories of the four apostles. They had untutored minds. They told the truth about Jesus. Paul was not a Jew, he was a Greek, he had an oratorical mind, a dialectical mind, and he distorted Jesus. Jesus possessed a great force, the love force, but Christianity became disfigured when it went to the West. It became the religion of kings.”
posted by MNDZ at 2:08 PM on October 2, 2007

Absalom--your link to "Gandhi's letters to Hitler" goes to Gandhi discussion Hitler, and "the Jewish Question" but not to his actual letters.
posted by yoink at 2:10 PM on October 2, 2007

And obviously, thanks infini
posted by MNDZ at 2:10 PM on October 2, 2007

Nifty post.
I’m going to beat the shit out of anyone not practicing non-violence today.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:47 PM on October 2, 2007

It's also Potato Day for anyone who uses the French Republican Calendar!

Yay! As Mama used to say, if we all ate lots of potatoes, there'd be way more non-violence. However, Potato Day is useless without BaconSalt.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:01 PM on October 2, 2007


So, a man who devoted his life to pacifism and loving everyone, even those who beat or murdered people, tried to turn Hitler from the dark side with love and forgiveness. SHOCKING!

I'm not saying that the man was perfect. His early views on black Africans, at least, were not exactly complimentary, and maybe he had some issues with sexuality. But I'll take a flawed pacifist saint anyday.
posted by papakwanz at 8:04 PM on October 2, 2007

he was also largely responsible for the partition, and the wholesale killings & displacement of millions that followed, and the continual niggling fighting between India & Pakistan that has followed ever since, because he was so damned obstinate that his nice brahmin protege, Nehru, should have power over a united India, and was unwilling to accommodate Jinnah.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:51 PM on October 2, 2007

Global Hypocrisy on Burma
Of all the countries around the world the most shameful position is held by India, once the land of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi but now run by politicians with morals that would make a snake-oil salesman squirm. India likes to claim at every opportunity that it is ‘the world’s largest democracy’ but what it tells no one, but everyone can see, is that its understanding of democracy is also of the ‘lowest quality’.

Why else would the Indian government for instance send its Minister for Petroleum Murali Deora to sign a gas exploration deal with the military junta in late September just as it was plotting the wanton murder of its own citizens. In recent years India, among other sweet deals, has also been helping the Burmese military with arms and training- as if their bullets were not hitting their people accurately enough.
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on October 3, 2007

Yes, I have a problem with the beatification of individuals of any stripe. A "flawed saint?" That's even more of a contradiction than "honest politician"!

But, if you think I'm just a mindless iconoclast who loves flinging shit at the world's cleanest, as your reaction leads me to believe, I guess I should clarify. The point is that we shouldn't LOOK for saints - we should look for people. If we look at the Ghandis and Dr. Kings of the world as heroic, flawless champions, then we not only deny their basic humanity, but also implying that. . . well, what hope do you and *I* have? I mean, how can *I* change the world - I'm no Gandhi. I'm no Dr. King. I'm just one person.

But, no, instead, any mention of anything other than the Ben Kingsley version of Gandhi the Saint makes people ANGRY. Any mention of a Great Man's flaws must be seen as an attack on the Great Man himself.

Pish. Aw.
posted by absalom at 11:45 AM on October 3, 2007

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