Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated seventy years ago today. As is always the case when misguided, violent souls murder the innocent, the end they sought was not attained. The fledgling Indian government denounced and distanced itself from everything Gandhi’s assassins represented.
Inspired by the nonviolent teachings of Jainism and the life and words of Jesus, Gandhi had pled for peace between the more violent Hindu and Muslim nationalist factions, and striven to stand in the gap between them. This drove his assassins to try and remove his influence. But in taking his life, they did the opposite.
True martyrs die preserving life, never taking it.
And therein lies their power. For love is infinitely more powerful than hate. Gandhi’s own children pled for the commutation of his killers’ death sentences (the assassins were, nevertheless, executed the following year). Their nation, like mine, is a work in progress. Love does not reign uncontested anywhere on this troubled planet. But neither has its voice been silenced, as witnessed by those Gandhi inspired, including my own nation’s modern martyr, Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hope I will never have to face the death that Gandhi faced. But if the time comes when I am called to stand in the gap between the innocent and the hateful, may I find the courage to do so.
May we all.
“And I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap in the wall on behalf of the people…” ~Ezekiel 22:30
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” ~Matthew 5:9