Discussion

| January 12, 2016

Discussion Question 1(Maximum length: 150 words)

Listen to the following bhajan, entitled Vaishnava Jan To, another one of Gandhi’s favourites:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKAhRsqvZqo
Lyrics: A person of God is the one, who understands the pain of others. Such a person helps those in need, and does not boast about it.

This person is polite to all people and does not condemn or criticize anyone. He/She is pure in speech, deed and thought, glory to the

mother who gave birth to such a virtuous person. He is equanimous, has given up all desires and looks at other women as mothers. He

does not speak untruth and does not covet others’ wealth. Delusion and attachment can never pervade in her, her mind is firm in

detachment. She is ever engrossed in God’s name and meditation, and she embodies all holy places. Such a person has no greed and

deceit; and has overcome lust and anger. Narsi says: Seeing such a person gives liberation to the entire family lineage.
(Based on: Sacred Songs of India-Devotional Lyrics of Mystics (Vol II) by V.K.Subramanian)
What here might reflect in some way Gandhi’s religious thought?
DiscussionQuestion2 (Maximum length: 150 words)

When you think now of swaraj as a traditional, anti-modern way of life, what do you think of it? Are parts of swaraj compelling, or

faulty? Do you believe, for instance, that eliminating technology, industry, even professions such as law and medicine, is a compelling

idea? Please share something that you find appealing and/or problematic, and suggest why you feel the way that you do.
DiscussionQuestion3(Maximum length: 150 words)

In this lesson’s readings is an essay by Gene Sharp called “Gandhi on the Theory of Voluntary Servitude.” It claims that in Gandhi’s

view, independence has to come to a nation if its people will not submit to an oppressive government.
Is Gandhi right? What do you think of this view? Can you think of an illustration that shows it to be correct, or that shows it not to

be correct?
DiscussionQuestion4 (Maximum length: 150 words)

Please address one of the following:
Going back to our earlier question, could Gandhi’s sarvodaya realistically extend beyond an ashram? Do you think that it should?How

does sarvodayaseem essentially like satyagraha, and how does it differ? How would you compare the two?

DiscussionQuestion5 (Maximum length: 150 words)

Having read Gandhi’s autobiography and this week’s readings, reflect on the genre of autobiography: How does Gandhi’s autobiography

correspond to and/or differ from other autobiographies or memoirs that you have read? Or if this question is difficult to address, then

share something from this week’s readings that struck you or by which you were surprised about Gandhi’s writing.
DiscussionQuestion6(Maximum length: 150 words)

Having worked through this lesson and seen the videos of communal tension, can you think of (or have you ever witnessed) a situation of

tension between religious communities? If you have, please share what you know; if you have not, then try looking first for a story

from a news service such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (bbc.com) or Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (cbc.ca).
DiscussionQuestion7(Maximum length: 150 words)

Imagine for a moment that it is 1920 and you are in Gandhi’s position: a social reformer concerned for sarvodaya. Imagine also that you

are female. Do you think that a woman in this setting might have done differently than Gandhi? There is no one right or wrong answer

here; either way I would like to hear your reflections on this question.
DiscussionQuestion8(Maximum length: 150 words)

Given what we have learned, and from your own “take” and experience, what do you think of national divisions along religious lines?

Might they work, or do you think they would not? (Maximum length: 150 words; due the Sunday of week 10 by midnight).
DiscussionQuestion9(Maximum length: 150 words)

When you reflect on modern non-violent protests, do you sense anything that might depart from Gandhi’s principles? It might help to

look in print or online for material about a modern protest(s) to help in your reflection.
DiscussionQuestion10(Maximum length: 150 words)

Having learned and seen something of Gandhi as a young man, how do your impressions from the start of the lesson compare? What strikes

you personally as novel or revealing?

Category: Essay

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