The Gandhi Foundation Multifaith Celebration 2014

The Gandhi Foundation’s Multifaith Celebration took place on Thursday 30th January 2014 at the House of Lords, London

Dr Rex Andrews gave a lecture on Gandhi related aspects of his new book “God in a Nutshell“. Our President, Lord Parekh, hosted and Chaired the event with Q&A with a multifaith audience.

Thank you to all who attended

Mark Hoda addressing The Gandhi Foundation Multifaith Celebration 2012

Mark Hoda addressing The Gandhi Foundation Multifaith Celebration 2012

Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi

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The death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 has moved people all over the world. The outpouring of grief is similar to the one when Mahatma Gandhi died. It is one of those inexplicable quirks of history that both these giants who shaped the modern world started their long march for justice in South Africa. As a young man looking for a better future Gandhi could have found any of the many countries of South and East Africa that he could have settled in as did many Indians in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. But it seems some divine force brought Gandhi to South Africa which at the time epitomized the oppression of a people in their own country in the form of apartheid. It is in South Africa that Gandhi started a struggle against injustice and his experiences there were of immense importance in his strategy to confront the British Raj in India. Gandhiʼs nascent movement for justice in South Africa inspired and galvanized a whole generation of South African freedom fighters like Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Desmond Tutu and many others. After Gandhi departed for India he left his son Manilal back in South Africa to continue the struggle. Manilal was present at a crucial meeting of the ANC in 1949, where he pressed the party to unconditionally adopt nonviolence but with little success. The attitude of the party toward the Gandhian ideal of nonviolence was in subsequent years best summarized by Desmond Tutu. He said: “Gandhi was to influence greatly Martin Luther King Jr., the leading light in the American Civil Rights Movement, as well as the South African National Congress of Nelson Mandela. So many, many people expected our country to go up in flames, enveloped by a catastrophe, a racial bloodbath. It never happened. It never happened because in the struggle against an evil of injustice, ultimately it did not take recourse to violence, and because you and so many others in the international community supported the struggle.” Nelson Mandela wrote a wonderful article for the 3rd January 2000 issue of TIME magazine. The issue celebrated People of the Century. Mandela wrote about one of his teachers: Gandhi. His story was called The Sacred Warrior and shows some of the ways Gandhi influenced him. This is what he wrote: Gandhi dared to exhort nonviolence in a time when the violence of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had exploded on us; he exhorted morality when science, technology and the capitalist order had made it redundant; he replaced self-interest with group interest without minimizing the importance of self. India is Gandhi’s country of birth; South Africa his country of adoption. He was both an Indian and a South African citizen. Both countries contributed to his intellectual and moral genius, and he shaped the liberation movements in both colonial theatres. He was the archetypal anticolonial revolutionary. His strategy of noncooperation, his assertion that we can be dominated only if we cooperate with our dominators and his nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements internationally and in our century. Both Gandhi and I suffered colonial oppression and both of us mobilized our respective peoples against governments that violated our freedoms. The Gandhian influence dominated freedom struggles on the African continent right up to the 1960s because of the power it generated and the unity it forged amongst the apparently powerless. Nonviolence was the official stance of all major African coalitions, and the South African ANC remained implacably opposed to violence for most of its existence. Gandhi remained committed to nonviolence; I followed the Gandhian strategy for as long as I could but then there came a point in our struggle when the brute force of the oppressor could no longer be countered through passive resistance alone. We founded Unkhonto we Sizwe and added a military dimension to our struggle. Even then we chose sabotage because it did not involve the loss of life and it offered the best hope for future race relations. Militant action became part of the African agenda officially supported by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) following my address to the Pan-African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa (PAFMECA) in 1962, in which I stated, “Force is the only language the imperialists can hear, and no country became free without some sort of violence.” Gandhi himself never ruled out violence absolutely and unreservedly. He conceded the necessity of arms in certain situations. He said, “Where choice is set between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I prefer to use arms in defense of honour rather than remain the vile witness of dishonour …” Violence and nonviolence are not mutually exclusive; it is the predominance of the one or the other that labels a struggle.

Nelson Mandela was indeed a great soul as even though his people suffered so much under the apartheid regime and he himself spent 27 years in jail in conditions that could destroy most people, he was able to forgive the oppressors and establish a rainbow nation of peace and harmony. It is the small and often many insignificant episodes in the lives of great souls that separates them from the rest and here is one such moving incident in the life of Nelson Mandela. In around June 1961 Mandela spent some time in a farm at Liliesleaf in Rivonia a suburb of Johannesburg. His then wife Winnie brought him an old rifle for target practice. One day he shot a sparrow with it and was mortified when the five year old son of a friend rounded on him saying: “Why did you kill that bird? Its mother will be sad”. Mandela said, “My mood immediately shifted from one of pride to shame. I felt this small boy had far greater humanity than I did.” It was an odd sensation for a man who was the leader of a nascent guerilla army. That regret he felt at his action and his willingness to learn from a five year old is the making of a great man. It is a matter of great pride for Indians that Mahatma Gandhi has had such a enormous impact on so many people all over the world. Mahatma Gandhi was able to articulate the glorious heritage of India which had been stifled by invading armies for around a thousand years. Newly independent India also played an active role in bringing freedom to other numerous colonized countries.

Nitin Mehta
8th December 2013
 
 

New Book – M.K.Gandhi, Attorney at Law: The Man before the Mahatma By Charles DiSalvo

9780520280151_DiSalvoThe new book, M.K. Gandhi, Attorney at Law: The Man before the Mahatma, is the first Gandhi biography of its kind. The author, Charles DiSalvo, uses previously unearthed archival materials to illuminate Gandhi’s unsuccessful court battles to defend Indian rights, his turn to civil disobedience, and his transformation from a shy youth into the confident public person who would lead India to freedom.

 - University of California Press

Here is a link to a feature about the author and what compelled him to write the book: http://law.wvu.edu/disalvo-feature

 

A World of Limited Resources – The Gandhi Foundation Summer Gathering 2013 by Natasha Lewis

The Abbey, in the little village of Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, was again the setting for this year’s Gathering, a week of attempting to live in the style of one of Gandhi’s ashrams whilst allowing a space for discussion into applying his principles to issues faced in the modern world. The building itself is a perfect facilitator for this event, providing several cosy sitting rooms, a kitchen and dining room dating to the 13th century, and a large Great Hall which has windows that open out into the main garden. The grounds give ample space for camping and sports including badminton, as well as a large kitchen garden which provides much of the delicious food for the week! The surrounding countryside also provides several beautiful walks along the river Thames.

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The Gandhi Foundation Summer Gathering 2013

Although some rooms are available in the Abbey itself, most Gatherers stay in the guest house annexe, which has the advantage of 20th rather than 13th century plumbing and heating! The braver amongst us, mostly families, camped and this year a camper van was also used for accommodation. Thirty Seven people attended over the first weekend, with people coming and going over the next week.

The premise of Gandhi’s ashram means that a great communal spirit is built up throughout the week, with teams taking turns to help prepare meals and keep communal spaces clean. The kitchen is usually the focal point, where children’s (and adult’s!) baking and craft takes place, as well as some of the most interesting discussions about the year’s theme.

After a help-yourself breakfast, the morning session begins with a brief meditation and sharing of information, then continues into the main discussion topic for the day. There is normally a short introductory presentation followed by discussion in small groups and then feedback. This leads into Shramdana, meaning ‘sharing of one’s time, thought and energy for the welfare of all’ in accordance with the way Gandhi’s ashrams were run. Lunch is eaten and, after a digestion break, craft activities begin later in the afternoon. It was Gandhi’s belief that time should be spent on useful tasks, and this period is used to follow his guidance. Crafts available this year were varied, including collage making, art using dried flowers, crochet and watercolour painting. One particularly interesting activity was spinning thread from a sheep’s fleece: we set up a production line including carding the wool, using the spinning wheel to turn the wool into thread and winding the finished wool into balls (and untangling it!). The spinning wheel was a bit trickier to use than I expected and unfortunately my wool alternated between being much too thick and snapping because it was too thin! After supper Gatherers are invited to contribute to the evening’s entertainment which included animal noises, poetry readings, slideshows and circle dancing. Then meditation and time for sleep before it all begins again in the morning!

The topic for this year’s Gathering was “A World of Limited Resources: Inspirations and Challenges in Sharing the Planet” which attracted many external speakers as well as new participants. This meant that there was often a talk in the afternoon in addition to the morning session. The first of these was given by an architect, Sandra Piesik, who is running a project reviewing renewable resources as construction materials, involving over 120 scientists and professionals. Her talk mainly focussed on developing architecture using palm leaves in the United Arab Emirates, and her efforts to rescue indigenous technology from the extinction imposed by the advent of globalisation and modern building practices. She highlighted the fact that concrete is not always the most suitable building material in every environment on Earth, and that there is a huge untapped source of building materials from the palm leaves from plants used for date production, which are currently wasted in the UAE.

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The theme of the first morning session (Sunday) was Sarvodaya. This is a term coined by Gandhi to mean ‘universal uplift’ or ‘progress of all’ and was a fundamental principle of his political philosophy. We discussed some of Gandhi’s other main principles: Swaraj, self-rule;  Swadeshi, self-sufficiency; and Satyagraha, “truth force”, Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance strategy.

Monday’s theme was resource depletion: examining the effects of diminishing stocks of non-renewable gas, oil, coal and minerals on the world. We discussed particular industries’ impacts on the earth and its people, and possible substitutes.

Tuesday focussed on climate change and population from a biological perspective, as the talk was given by an ecologist. Human culture has gradually evolved from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle through small scale agriculture to the globalised economy we see today. However, this has occurred in a period of relatively stable climatic conditions for the past 5000 years, which has lulled us into a sense of false security. We were divided into three groups and attempted to answer three questions. The question for my group was: What attributes from our hunter gatherer and agricultural ancestors should we cultivate and which should we reject? We were also asked to talk about steps we could take to reduce our energy usage both on a personal and national/global scale. 
Ruth gave a presentation originally aimed at actuaries to show that in the economic world it is vital to take into account risks of climate change and resource depletion.

The World Economic System was Wednesday’s subject. Alan Sloan presented us with a thought-provoking presentation on a potential new economic system based on ecological footprints. Conventional money is not directly related to the material world, and he suggested that if the new currency were based on the resources available from the earth then this would help to solve the resource depletion crises we are currently facing, as well as relieving poverty in the developing world.

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Four participants gave presentations on four ‘prophets’ on Thursday. John Muir was an American naturalist whose activism helped to preserve national parks such as Sequoia National Park and the Yosemite Valley. Ishpriya is a Catholic nun who founded the International Satsang Organisation. The Reverend Horace Dammers was the founder of the Lifestyle Movement. Frances Moore Lappé is the author of the bestseller Diet for a Small Planet, which advocated a plant-based diet as being much more conducive to food security.

On Friday we welcomed another guest speaker, a representative of Traidcraft. He gave a presentation on the organisation and their efforts to ensure that workers are paid a fair price for their products.

On the last evening we held a party, which was a sort of variety show with everyone offering their best party pieces. We had old home videos, games, singing, jokes, poetry, a small flute recital and some improvised circle dancing. The evening ended with a small tribute to the victims of the atom bomb in 1945, as it was Nagasaki Day. We went out into the garden and floated tea lights in little paper boats in a large baking tray filled with water, as incense smoke floated up into the night sky. It was a lovely way to end the week, which has been one of the most thought-provoking I have attended.

Gandhi and War by George Paxton

Gandhi and War

Gandhi in the Boer War

By George Paxton

Professor Anthony Parel in his Gandhi Foundation Annual Lecture 2011, Pax Gandhiana (which can be read by clicking the link at the end of this article), asks to what extent Gandhi’s nonviolence is compatible with the coercion which any state inevitably exercises. He claims that “coercion based on consent is compatible with Gandhian nonviolence”. But when coercion takes the form of physical violence, especially the extreme violence employed by armies, is that really compatible with Gandhian ethics?

Gandhi spoke and wrote a great deal as the approximately 100 volumes of his Collected Works illustrates. But he was no political philosopher, rather a man of action so his recorded words are strongly linked to the specific circumstances of the time and place they were uttered. It is relatively easy to find quotations which express contradictory positions.

Restricting ourselves to the issue of war, there were three occasions up to 1914 when Gandhi participated in war in some manner. The first was the Boer War (in 1899 and 1900), the second was a Zulu rebellion (1906), and the third was when he was in London in 1914. However in all three instances his participation amounted to raising ambulance units of Indians which I would see as very different from actual combat, although Gandhi did not personally make that distinction. The sole occasion when he did contribute to the armed forces was when in 1918 he tried to recruit Indians to fight on the British side. Without going into the reasons he gave for this, many of his friends and colleagues severely criticised him for this action which ran counter to his long standing advocacy of nonviolent action. Whatever the reasons in this instance (he gave several), the following decades saw him take an increasingly strong stance against war.

As Parel points out Gandhi spoke in favour of armed defence on occasion. But I believe that this can be explained by his recognition that most Indians (or people in general) were and are not pacifists like himself and therefore they have a right, or even sometimes a duty, to serve in the armed forces if their country is attacked or threatened. In his speech to the Second Round Table Conference in 1931, which Parel quotes from, he was representing Congress which in general held a much more conventional position than Gandhi himself. Military defence was however considered by Gandhi to be very much an inferior ethical position. He did not change his position of opposition to violence and war after the Second World War, he had for long held this position. Admittedly, confusion could arise because he held these two positions which many people would see as contradictory, i.e. absolute opposition to war as the ideal which he always advocated, and support for the right to have military defence for those less advanced in their understanding.

To illustrate Gandhi’s long held position on armed force here are some quotations:

Under Swaraj of my dream there is no necessity for arms at all.
Young India 17/11/1921

I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest causes.
Young India 11/12/1924

I do justify entire nonviolence, and consider it possible in relation between man and man and nations and nations; but it is not “a resignation from all real fighting against wickedness”. On the contrary, the nonviolence of my conception is a more active and more real fighting against wickedness than retaliation whose very nature is to increase wickedness.
Young India 8/10/1925

Referring to ambulance work in South Africa:

My repugnance to war was as strong then as it is today; and I could not then have, and would not have, shouldered a rifle.
Young India 5/11/1925

But the light within me is steady and clear. There is no escape for any of us save through Truth and nonviolence. I know that war is wrong, is an unmitigated evil. I know too that it has to go. I firmly believe that freedom won through bloodshed or fraud is no freedom. Would that all the acts alleged against me were found to be wholly indefensible rather than that by any act nonviolence was held to be compromised or that I was ever thought to be in favour of violence or untruth in any shape or form.
Young India 13/9/1928

I would not yield to anyone in my detestation of war.
Young India 7/2/1929

In Switzerland after the Round Table Conference:

Q. How could a disarmed neutral country allow other nations to be destroyed? But for our army which was waiting ready at our frontier during the last war we should have been ruined. A. At the risk of being considered a visionary or a fool I must answer this question in the only manner I know. It would be cowardly of a neutral country to allow an army to devastate a neighbouring country. But there are two ways in common between soldiers of war and soldiers of nonviolence, and if I had been a citizen of Switzerland and a President of the Federal State, what I would have done would be to refuse passage to the invading army by refusing all supplies. Secondly, by enacting a Thermopylae in Switzerland, you would have presented a living wall of men and women and children, and inviting the invaders to walk over your corpses.
Young India 31/12/1931

In the 1930s Gandhi advised several governments and their citizens to resist aggression by nonviolent means. This included Abyssinians, Czechoslovaks, Chinese, Jews in Germany, Poles, Norwegians, French, Britons, as well as Indians.

The following is typical:

I shall take up the Abyssinian question first. I can answer it only in terms of active, resistant nonviolence. Now nonviolence is the activist force on earth, and it is my conviction that it never fails. But if the Abyssinians had adopted the attitude of nonviolence of the strong, i.e. the nonviolence which breaks to pieces but never bends, Mussolini would have had no interest in Abyssinia. Thus if they had simply said: ‘You are welcome to reduce us to dust or ashes, but you will not find one Abyssinian ready to cooperate with you’, what could Mussolini have done? He did not want a desert. Mussolini wanted submission and not defiance, and if he had met with the quiet, dignified and nonviolent defiance that I have described, he would certainly have been obliged to retire. Of course it is open to anyone to say that human nature has not been known to rise to such heights. But if we have made unexpected progress in physical sciences, why may we do less in the science of the soul?

Harijan 14/5/1938

A different situation faced the Jews as they were not a country but a minority in Germany. Their plight produced one of Gandhi’s most powerful statements:

But the German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history. The tyrants of old never went so mad as Hitler seems to have gone. And he is doing it with religious zeal. For, he is propounding a new religion of exclusive and militant nationalism in the name of which any inhumanity becomes an act of humanity to be rewarded here and hereafter. The crime of an obviously mad but intrepid youth is being visited upon his whole race with unbelievable ferocity. If ever there could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, a war against Germany, to prevent the wanton destruction of a whole race, would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war.

… Can the Jews resist this organised and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not to feel helpless or forlorn? I submit that there is.

… If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can.
 Harijan 26/11/1938

In 1940 Gandhi addressed the British:

I appeal for cessation of hostilities, not because you are too exhausted to fight but because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. You will never kill it by its indifferent adoption. Your soldiers are doing the same work of destruction as the Germans. The only difference is that perhaps yours are not as thorough as the Germans. If that be so, yours will soon acquire the same thoroughness as theirs, if not much greater. On no other condition can you win the war. In other words, you will have to be more ruthless than the Nazis. No cause, however just, can warrant the indiscriminate slaughter that is going on minute by minute. I suggest that a cause that demands the inhumanities that are being perpetrated today cannot be called just.
Harijan 6/7/1940

This was written as the Battle of Britain was about to commence yet how accurate the prediction of the war’s development proved to be. Of course what Gandhi advocated for other countries he advocated for the Indians although they had no government of their own:

I have written these lines for the European powers. But they are meant for ourselves. If my argument has gone home, is it not time for us to declare our changeless faith in nonviolence of the strong and say we do not seek to defend our liberty with the force of arms but we will defend it with the force of nonviolence?
Harijan 22/6/1940

The previous year after the war in Europe had begun he had written:

So far as I can read the [Congress] Working Committee’s mind after a fairly full discussion, the members think that Congressmen are unprepared for nonviolent defence against armed invasion. This is tragic. Surely the means adopted for driving an enemy from one’s house must, more or less, coincide with those to be adopted for keeping him out of the house. If anything, the latter process must be easier. The fact, however, is that our fight has not been one of nonviolent resistance of the strong. It has been one of passive resistance of the weak. … My position is, therefore, confined to myself alone. I have to find out whether I have any fellow-traveller along the lonely path. If I am in the minority of one, I must try to make converts. Whether one or many, I must declare my faith that it is better for India to discard violence altogether even for defending her borders. For India to enter into the race for armaments is to court suicide. With the loss of India to nonviolence the last hope of the world will be gone. I must live up to the creed I have professed for the last half a century, and hope to the last breath that India will make nonviolence her creed …
Harijan 14/10/1939

Nearly a year after WWII began Gandhi wrote:

The present war is the saturation point in violence. It spells to my mind also its doom. Daily I have testimony of the fact that Ahimsa was never before appreciated by mankind as it is today. All the testimony from the West that I continue to receive points in the same direction. The Congress has pledged itself to Ahimsa however limited. I invite the correspondent and doubters like him to shed their doubts and plunge confidently into the sacred sacrificial fire of Ahimsa.
Harijan 11/8/1940

A week later:

I believe all war to be wholly wrong.
Harijan 18/8/1940

He continued in this vein until he was arrested in August 1942 after the launch of the Quit India campaign and remained incarcerated until May 1944. After the war ended he wrote:

If the Government had not arrested me in 1942 I would have shown how to fight Japan by nonviolence.
Harijan 9/6/1946

A few months before his assassination this report appeared:

A friend had asked if the division of the army and the retention of British officers had Gandhiji’s approval. The friend should first ask whether Gandhiji approved of the army at all. As it was, the military expenditure in free India would probably be more, not less, than before. Gandhiji could never be a party to it. He viewed the military with apprehension. Could it be that India would also have to pass through the stage of military rule? For years they had said that they did not want any army. He stood by that statement even today, but the others did not.
Harijan 3/8/1947

At an interview at Scottish Church College:

One of the scientist members of the staff then asked Gandhiji what scientific men should do if they were now asked by the free Indian Government to engage in researches in furtherance of war and the atom bomb? Gandhiji promptly replied, “Scientists to be worth the name should resist such a State unto death”.
Harijan 24/8/1947

I suggest that we hear the true Gandhi in these quotations; certainly the Gandhi that I admire. How far India has travelled away from the path of Gandhi! Of course his message is for everyone irrespective of nationality.

Postscript

These quotations are taken from the two volume Nonviolence in Peace and War published by Navajivan Publishing House in Ahmedabad, the first volume published in 1942 and the second in 1949. Navajivan (‘new life’) Trust was founded by Gandhi in 1929 to spread his ideas. It is a pity that this particular title has long been out of print.

Pax Gandhiana: Is Gandhian Nonviolence Compatible with the Coercive State? By Professor Anthony Parel

George Paxton is a Trustee of The Gandhi Foundation, an author and Editor of the Gandhi Way

Great Soul – further views about Joseph Lelyveld’s book on Gandhi

Gandhi and South Africa

A recent book by Joseph Lelyveld Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India was seen by some tabloid newspapers as suggesting Gandhi had latent sexual feelings towards his close friend Hermann Kallenbach. The controversy was used by the BJP Gujarat chief minster, Narendra Modi, to try to ban the book nationally. The article, in The Nation, explores the motives behind Modi’s attempts and also critiques the book itself. Read the full article by Martha C. Nussbaum:

Gandhi and South Africa by Martha C. Nussbaum, published in The Nation

Joseph Lelyveld book caused a stir even in the popular press in the UK when it was published and was banned in the state of Gujarat in India. Among the reviews, one by well-known historian Professor Andrew Roberts expressed a very negative view of Gandhi. Antony Copley of the Gandhi Foundation, and a historian himself, responded:

Antony Copley’s response to Professor Andrew Robert’s review

Liberating Choices – by Matthew Bain

Sheikh Amadou Bamba wall-painting, Senegal

How can we distinguish between fatal and liberating choices? That was the question posed by Sheikh Aly N’Daw, head of the International Sufi School. He was speaking at his book launch in Westminster, hosted by Ian Stewart MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of Islam group. Aly N’Daw is from the Mouride school of Sufism founded by the Senegalese saint Amadou Bamba (1850-1927) who emphasised service to others as the path to God. Sheikh Aly encourages his students to study the lives of great men and women who have bridged the gap between politics and spirituality, and have demonstrated how peace within leads to peace in the world.

Sheikh Aly asked us to consider the choice that Martin Luther King made when he decided not to opt for a comfortable lifestyle in Chicago, but to take his ministry to the Deep South and confront the spectre of racial discrimination. On the surface, it appears that Dr. King made a fatal choice, because his ministry ended with his assassination. However, in reality he made a liberating choice, because he could have suffered spiritual death by taking the easy option of remaining in Chicago, but instead his self-sacrifice contributed to the political and social liberation of millions of African-Americans.

Next we were asked to consider Muhammad Yunus, pioneer of micro-credit and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. A professor of economics, he became disillusioned with academic life and went to live with a group of peasants. Many people would consider this a fatal choice, at least professionally, but for Muhammad Yunus it was liberating because it showed him how small sums of money loaned on trust could yield massive results if targetted at the right people, particularly women. By 2008 the Grameen Bank had loaned US$7.8 billion to the poor.

Ian Stewart MP talked about his own difficult choice, to vote for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He explained that his motivation had been to help the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs, but now that hundreds of thousands of people had died as a result of the war, he could not be sure if he had been right. He described the whirl of conventional political life and how politicians, caught in the maelstrom, are on auto-pilot, without time or space to connect with the spiritual dimension of life. As he is not standing in the forthcoming general election, he expressed the hope that he would now have time to learn more about what Sufism describes as the ‘spiritual heart’.

The first two books in Sheikh Aly N’Daw’s series are ‘The Initiatory Way To Peace’ and ‘Liberation Therapy’. If you would like to buy any copies, please email: contact_uk@international-sufi-school.org

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