What Has She Done?

Source: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media/nobelprize.org

Source: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media/nobelprize.org

So what has she done?

That pesky Malala.

What has she accomplished to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, you are asking? Especially, since she said she didn’t deserve it.

Here is what she has accomplished what I or any of you could not have.

Despite being a little girl, she stood up to a very clear and present threat from the Taliban, which actually jeopardized her very existence.

In case anyone had any doubts, the Taliban actually ended up shooting her in the head and it’s a fucking miracle she’s even breathing.

They still vow to go after her.

She just had to speak out an innocuous little thing to get all this attention that she just wanted to go to school. Yes, that’s all what it has been about.

But it snowballed into something gigantic thanks to the ignorance of her haters.

You think it’s all obvious? No, it’s not.

But she won the prize also because she was important enough for an activist to address the United Nations Youth Assembly. She has also been active for causes such as speaking for the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haraam and addressing the concerns of Syrian children refugees.

She is not just a local figure anymore, but a global figure.

What really matters is  that the world sees her as a global ambassador for education, for girls especially.

Now why girls? You know, why be a sexist? But you have to be, because in her culture, people do go out of their way to target women like her. To deprive them of education.

Now when does it prick the most that she has won yet another prize valued by the West? Well, when you constantly apologize for the Taliban, Islamism and obscurantist misogynistic forces.

But it probably happened for a plain reason that Malala has become a Gandhi like figure to the West. Right up there with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, and even Gandhi was not awarded this prize, thanks to his shocking Holocaust satyagraha statements.

And this is precisely why Malala is important to the world now, even if she is of no consequence to the social conservatives and Islamist nationalist conspiracy theorists in Pakistan.

So don’t be surprised if you find completely irrelevant babbling complaining why Edhi not receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is such a disaster (as if they cared about that too) and sharing articles making ridiculous comparisons with a random girl testifying against drone strikes backed by an American congressman.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Source: Daily Telegraph

Which reminds me that part of why Malala is condemned is because she is backed by Western powers. Hell, even President Obama met her with his entire family. He never did that for the Pakistani Prime Minister. That’s really fucked up.

She even had the courage to criticize him to his face about the drone strikes of the Nobel Peace Prize recipient President.

But that’s how powerful Malala has become.

Maybe she has sold her soul to the devil.

I never really had tremendous respect for the Nobel Peace Prize anyway, because I had read somewhere that only a devil would put a prize on peace. Maybe George Bernard Shaw’s statement, not too sure.

But  I was greatly impressed when I saw the likes of President Carter, President Sadaat and Prime Minister Begin winning one for the Camp David Accord of 1979, and when I saw Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat receiving it.

You know, bitter adversaries working hard to attain some peace. Back then, I really found this shit inspiring. That part I still admire though.

But overall, the idea has been pretty empty and meaningless. You know what they say, hey, that’s the award that President Obama got for who knows what. And oh, even Henry Kissinger received it.

Must be something evil for sure.

I know this one, like all of them, is highly political. But who gives a fuck. Somebody said something nice about Pakistan.

But if I ever was delighted for a Nobel Peace Prize, for the first and most probably the last time, it is for Malala Yousafzai.

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Donate to the Malala Fund please. 
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Celebrating Gandhi’s Day of Non-Violence

Source: featurepics.com

I am often ridiculed, actively or passively, by sane people from all walks and dimensions of life, the realistic, the materialistic, the god-fearing ones, the godless ones, the believers, the skeptics, the patriots, the traitors, the scientists, the witch-doctors, the zealots, the nihilists, the politicos, the sophisticos, the councils of war and the councils of peace, for admiring Gandhi. Almost all of them either consider Gandhi evil or an idiot. I would still admire him if he were one or both of the two.

These two things have been pretty fashionable ever since the man had lived and died on the planet, that is, admiring Gandhi and hating Gandhi. The greatest thing about this phenomenon is that it is not confined to any particular nation, religion or race. If you think otherwise, you have probably missed a lot of things.

Don’t be impressed by the fact that the Republic of India admires and follows Gandhi just because she has his portrait on her banknotes. They are anything but his followers. I don’t blame them. No one is. At least not a state. Besides, they would not be able to run the kind of state that they want if they ever were to follow him. Maybe there are Gandhi’s followers in India, I cannot say for sure of course, but what I know of is that they do not matter. They surely don’t matter elsewhere.

I do not want to indulge myself into admiring Gandhi blindly. As Gandhi himself despised blind faith in anything. You must question your faith, he said. Doubting him and his apparently insane beliefs, probably he was responsible for many deaths, probably he was not at all. But then again, you can say that about most of the notable personalities in history responsible for creating and starting new religions, new political or apolitical movements, new ideas, philosophies and revolutions. But what I know about it is that I cannot do what he did. I can never do what he did, neither I think anyone else can.  It was superhuman to show what he showed.

It is one thing talking about it and another actually doing it. I am talking about actively practicing non-violence and leading by example. Try doing that, and it is not just that you should claim to be a Satyagraha guru by not killing even a fly, but establishing a coherence of your beliefs and your opinions about the world with the concept. Try doing that. It is not easy, believe me. We all know that Gandhi did not do that overnight. He never could have attained it effortlessly. He was not a Prophet from the Bible. He was a Prophet from the ruthless world that we know of. This is why it is so difficult to follow Gandhi. I have said it before and I will say it again, in some other way.

Now why would someone hate Gandhi, you would ask. People like violence. People actually love violence. Not everyone, but a lot of people. They have to. If they hate violence, they love it being used on those who resort to it. It is not really a pathetic generalization, though it could be taken to be one, but it tells you of an unavoidable fact. Perhaps that is how the fittest survive. This is exactly why people think twice before becoming Gandhi’s followers, which they never become in the end. Of course, Gandhi would have had a lot of temptation on the cross himself. He himself would have wanted to smack the people to death who wanted to smack him to death, but he didn’t. It does not matter if he was planning to do it. He didn’t do it and that is all what history cares about.

So while I cannot possibly be Gandhi’s follower no matter how peaceful and non-violent I may pretend to be, I can always be his admirer. Actually most people are his admirers. However,  even his admirers are horrified by the man. This is why I consider it necessary to at least acknowledge what the man did. This much he deserves. He could not have possibly driven the British out of his native land. But he surely showed the world, what others could not. Practicing non-violence. That is greater than creating any number of countries. There have been many others, but none with an impact as he had on the world.

However, it was a little impact. Nobody, not even history, remembers someone who had nothing to do with wars, who disapproved of them and who would want to keep a good distance from them. Greater impact than him was of the Manhattan Project, his admirer Albert Einstein’s letter about it to President Roosevelt, and of all people, of Fuehrer of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. The greatest than all of them combined perhaps, the impact of the Bomb. Some admirers would say that if Gandhi were the Christ of the age, Hitler was the Anti-Christ. But that is not really correct.

The Anti-Christ has always been here. It is you and I.

It is violence.

We celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence today, as declared by the United Nations in honor of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on his birthday.

But we really don’t.

Celebrating this day is as hard as following him.

The Difficulty of Gandhi’s Philosophy

Photo: Margaret Bourke-White

Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha or “Firmness in Truth”, which is a fancy name for letting the world know about the atrocities targeted at you by boldly enduring them (although it has a much deeper meaning), has been widely criticized for its insanity. However, as insane and cruel (although this is not the right word to mention here, but this is how its results are perceived) this concept may appear, you cannot claim that it doesn’t work.

Violence and vengeance are so tempting. As a matter of fact, whenever an act of violence is inflicted upon you, vengeance is the first thing on your mind. Societies around the world, East and West alike, take pride in vengeance and it is seen as a symbol of might and strength, while abstinence from it is seen as a sign of weakness. Probably, that is why Satyagraha has been widely rejected as practiced by Gandhi, but not completely.

Now to get to the point why talking about it is even required. Believe it or not, the concept in theory is as relevant today as it has ever been and will always be. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it has been used prominently in history. The concept could play a vital role in forming public opinion, the impact of which is enhanced in the modern times of advanced communication, at least as compared to the period during which Gandhi was alive.

However, whatever plays a great role in forming positive public opinion can equally be vital in the formation of negative public opinion. This is a vital aspect to Satyagraha ignoring which completely destroys its utility. Utility, I say, because the pragmatic world needs a practical use for something. Obviously for Gandhi it was the way of living, more like worship, but not everyone can be expected to be as devoted to this unorthodox concept, which may appear bizarre to many.

In order to practice Satyagraha and in order to use it for what it is meant for, it is indispensable to remain consistent. Once you take this path, you will lose all that you have achieved if you divert from it, or in other words, if you resort to violence. And that is the greatest difficulty of Gandhi’s Philosophy, so much so that even the most ardent of his followers, which are becoming an extinct breed of people, find it a hard pill to swallow. Let us examine the practical Satyagraha just for the sake of understanding this post and having some fun.

But before that, it is important to explain that non-violence or Ahimsa is the fundamental requirement to Satyagraha, which is primarily why it is such a difficult concept.

Person A is Person B’s best friend. Person B happened to rape and kill Person A’s wife. This obviously put an end to their friendship. During the trial of the case, the court finds insufficient evidence that Person B is guilty. However, Person A is convinced that Person B committed the crime. Nevertheless, Person B is acquitted. Person A has a few choices to make now.

a) He could go and kill Person A in the good old fashioned way, especially if the death of Person B is the main aim of the court trial.

b) He could plead to a higher court to review the verdict hoping for the death sentence for Person B.

c) He could plead to a higher court to review the verdict and forgive Person A if the court’s verdict decrees a death sentence for Person’s B.

d) He could simply ignore the courts, no longer pursue criminal prosecution, be at peace with it and forgive Person A.

First of all, it is extremely difficult to think from the perspective of Person A who has suffered a traumatic loss. However, suppose that he is a person practicing Satyagraha, and to make things even more relevant to the point of the post, suppose that he is a person who holds a high public office with both Person A and B recognized widely in public and the case is followed vigorously by the media.

Now a word about the society these persons live in. They do not have to live in a society that believes in Satyagraha, let alone the thought of practicing it. However, let us suppose that it is a liberal society that considers rape and murder a grave crime, yet believes in the sanctity of life and generally disapproves of capital punishment even if it doesn’t mind it being used as punishment for such crimes.

Now such a society, or any society for that matter, will have sympathy for Person A. However, they would expect Person A not to resort to option A, which is taking the initiative of killing Person B, even if some of them may think that Person B deserves that. They would consider option B the right of Person A and if Person A is able to successfully pull off option C, it would do wonders for creating the right image of Person A. Whereas, option D may offer solace on a personal level, but would not have any use whatsoever in the given scenario.

However, there is another point to it. The puritan Gandhi followers, if any around at all, or at least those who are familiar with it in theory and that of Gandhi’s personality, could object that using Satyagraha for gaining public sympathy and popularity is against the very spirit of it and the concept must be practiced in itself without the thought of achieving such vile aims.

While that sounds correct, you must not forget that Gandhi advocated Satyagraha as a way of fighting tyranny, oppression and violence. It sounds like an insane and almost a suicidal strategy but it could work if practiced with devotion. Therefore, the idea of using Satyagraha for building a better public image is not wrong at all and as a matter of fact, Gandhi had been doing so himself all along.

However, the major, and perhaps the only difficulty and hurdle to the practice of this philosophy and way of living is the temptation to violence. The concept of Satyagraha seems almost contrary to the human nature, as humans have a violent instinct. The concept offers a peaceful and non-violent alternative to vengeance and further violence to resolve violent disputes, but in the end many would question if it is realistic.

It has its limitations, yes, but you can extract its essence for application if not use it the way Gandhi advocated and practiced it.

That’s how you would find it in history.

The Words of Mahatma Gandhi

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the past century, you can hardly find a person more charismatic and inspiring as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. His message of peace and humanity and his unfaltering devotion to firmness in truth (Satyagraha) and non-violence (Ahimsa) make him the most influential figures on a humanitarian level. Maybe not rated highly by the students of history as a politician, but anyone who reveres the sanctity of the truth and humanity, reveres Mahatma Gandhi as well.

His birthday, October 2, which is also the day of the publishing of this post, is celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. It was his message and education which inspired figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Many people often wonder why Gandhi was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe it was George Bernard Shaw who very aptly put that only a devil in the disguise of a man could come up with the idea of putting a prize for peace. How true! For souls like Gandhi, and in our times Abdus Sattar Edhi, no prize for peace is needed. In fact, it would be insulting to the work and mission of their lives. Peace is the prize itself. Let us not dishonor them by feeling sad that they did not receive an award for peace.

A few pearls of Wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi in this montage from the DVD of Gandhi (1982), one of my favorite movies, an epic biopic of Gandhi directed by Oscar winner Richard Attenborough, which could change your life.

For more Gandhi quotes, follow his Wikiquote page.

Albert Einstein offered his tribute to Gandhi in the following words.

“The generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked upon this Earth.”