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Gandhi as Change Maker


Some youth are crusaders for to save the planet from destruction:


I’d like to stop the apocalypse and save the world; we are the new generation and it’s up to us. Miriam, 16, f, Israel


If you want to save mankind from self-destruction, then rise and wake up before you are all grown up and think like corrupt grown-ups too! You are responsible and only you can fix the wrongs of your society. Rise and revolt! Rise and fight against wars, fight against corruption, fight against the fight for power and fight for whole mankind! Plan and execute. Get up and do something because just planning and procrastinating is not enough. Start from your own house, then your neighborhood, then your city and so on. Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan


Some young people feel helpless and don’t know what to do. Gemma Cassells, UK, 22, reports,


Most young people feel under-utilized, disengaged and disillusioned. We need the kind of leadership that gets people in touch with their deepest contribution, which cultivates courage in them to challenge, reframe and bring their intuitive wisdom to enrich decisions.


Sometimes I’m in a position where I feel useless. I dislike how our society has become so superficial and materialistic. People seem less and less satisfied. Stephanie, 16, f, Quebec


I’d like to more easily accept circumstances in the world and understand that ultimately no one is going to change it. How the naive live the most blissful lives and how the more of a realist I am, the harder it is for me to deal with reality. No one is going to stop poverty, famine, violence, prejudices, and death. I want to be more okay with that. Dave, 17, m, Minnesota

It’s not OK for humans to suffer and die before their time. I challenge you to think of individuals who you know who’ve made a difference in your life, in addition to the ones we study in history like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Betty Friedan, and Rachel Carson. We can add aware entertainers who take a stand like Bono, Angelina Jolie, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Gandhi provides us an example for how one leader can create major change.


I want to meet Mahatma Gandhi and ask a question. I would like to ask what gives him the strength to still fight social issues through out his life, when he sees so many pressure towards him? What makes him after all that happened still believe and still want to fight everything? Melinda, 20, f, Indonesia


Gandhi is one of the heroes of the 20th century who combined political liberation and spirituality. He said, “Though I cannot claim to be a Christian in the sectarian sense, the example of Jesus’ suffering is a factor in the composition of my undying faith in non-violence which rules all my actions, worldly and temporal.” His principles of soul-force and non-violent political change liberated India from British colonial rule and inspired non-violent heroes like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Martin Luther King in the US, Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, and the Dalai Lama in Tibet and India–more examples of individuals who changed the course of history.

Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth explained, “My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth.” He realized the basis of the search for truth is ahimsa, non-violence. He wrote, “It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself,” for we are all children of the same Creator. “To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being but with him the whole world.” Gandhi believed that “God could be realized only through service,” in his case to Indian liberation in South Africa and latter from the British in India. He believed in “the infinite possibilities of universal love.”

Reporter Louis Fischer asked Gandhi’s friend Mahadev Desai about the source of Gandhi’s hold on people. Was it his passion? Desai felt it was and said the root of the passion was “the sublimation of all the passions that flesh is heir to,” including sex and personal ambition. “Gandhi is under his own complete control. That generates tremendous energy and passion.”

Gandhi liberated India through non-violent means–by persisting patiently and not giving up. He made every effort to be fair and to talk with his opponents. He also threatened their money flow by boycotting their goods or leading workers to strike. He is often shown spinning cotton, part of a boycott of British textiles. He led a march to the sea to get salt to protest British tax on salt, shown in the film Gandhi (1982). He developed a philosophy that motivates and inspires people. Gandhi said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

We can do something about wrong doing, like letting people know about it. Letters to the editor are one of the most frequently read part of the newspaper. Several Pakistani students and I wrote to my legislators and to newspapers in my area about secret use of US troops and mercenaries in Pakistan, despite official denials.[i] One of them emailed me about the letters getting printed, “Hey, that’s amazing!!! Loved it!! Together, we can definitely change the world. Thank you so much! BEST, Hassan.” Also, we can start an Internet site, see http://www.globalyouthspeakout.ning.com or Facebook. We can do volunteer work.

Some youth are focused on their own goals and don’t take time to be informed.


I want youth to change the system, everything starting from government to education. If the youth stand up against corruption, then government system can be changed. If the youth stand up against harmful social values (like inequality between genders) then communities can be changed. And if the youth stand up against their corrupt and poor school system, then educational system can be changed. The only problem is that Youth are scattered and confused as well as “TOO BUSY” to even try. All they need is an opportunity and a uniting point! My belief is that only Youth can do this once they wake up and UNITE.

Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan


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