Lesson 2: Class of Nonviolence

“Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, try the following experiment: Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person you have ever seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be for any use to him or to her . . . Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away. ”    Mohandas Gandhi

Readings

2.1 Doctrine of the Sword by Mohandas Gandhi 2.2 Gandhi in the ‘Postmodern’ Age by Sanford Krolick and Betty Cannon 2.3 Family Satyagraha by Eknath Easwaren 2.4 Ahimsa by Eknath Easwaren 2.5 My Faith in Nonviolence by Mohandas Gandhi 2.6 Love by Mohandas Gandhi 2.7 A Pause From Violence by Colman McCarthy
[download all the Lesson Two readings as a PDF file]

Questions

  1. What do you think Gandhi would say or do if he showed up in the United States at this time?
  2. Gandhi believed that “poverty was the worst form of violence.” What do you think he meant?
  3. Why did Gandhi totally reject the notion of making anyone an “enemy”? Who was the “enemy” in Gandhi’s mind?
  4. Do you think the U.S. government in El Salvador mirrored the treatment of India by the British during Gandhi’s time? The book, “Salvador Witness” by Ann Carrigan, on the life and death of Jean Donovan, will help you answer this relevant question.
  5. Describe what Gandhi meant by ahimsa and satyagraha. Do these Gandhian doctrines jibe with his notion that it is better to resort to violence than cowardly retreat from nonviolently confronting unjust aggression?

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