Gandhian Philosophy in Daily Life

In a recent conversation with Dr. Arun Gandhi, he provided a deeper understanding of non-violence: non-violence is not only the absence of anger and physical violence but passive violence, the kind of violence where we don’t use any physical force, yet hurt people directly and/or indirectly. It may be better described by actions like being judgemental, looking down on people, using up more resources than you need, name-calling, discrimination, exploitation, and hate.

While these examples of passive violence are all things that we do not necesarily associate with ourselves, I wonder how much of it is ingrained in our society, our media and even our interactions with each other. After the Indaba dinner on June 29, I find myself walking through the streets of New York City with a heightened consciousness, noting all my transgressions in passive violence with a mental slap on the wrist. (It’s an interesting exercise.)

In translating the conversation into the philanthropic arena, what lens do we bring into our philanthropic work? And how might we use Gandhian philosophy of non-violence in creating the right kind of relationship with all the stakeholders in our initiatives?

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~ by Maryann Fernandez on June 30, 2009.

One Response to “Gandhian Philosophy in Daily Life”

  1. How wonderful! What a great clarification on non-violence. (Though metaphorically slapping oneself on the wrist is still a form of violence – let us no even be violent in our minds or with ourselves.)

    I think considering this in the realm of philanthropy involves moving from a place of compassion (I feel for your state which I judge to be less than mine and therefore want to help you with) to a place of empathy (you are me and I am also you, together we can share our resources to build something better for us and all. I can share money, time, meaning, and purpose, what would you like to offer?)

    Does that make sense?

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