Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 11: The Day Non Violence Was Born

I spent September 11 at the Third Annual Wine Country Ukulele Festival in St. Helena, California, carpooling the 30 mile trip with a pal from Sebtown Ukesters.

If there's a musical instrument that makes people smile, it's gotta be the uke, a four-string guitar with a happy disposition and an ego proportional to its size.

I wish I were the person my uke thinks I am.

  Music Guy Mike meets Mr. Kindergarten

Everyone at the festival seemed to have a good time. There were uke players from as far away as Italy! My pal and I met Ralph Shaw, a uke celeb from Canada, Music Guy Mike from Hawaii..

When we returned to Sebastopol we were surprised to see the American flags along Main Street that the Boy Scouts put up on holidays. I had been having so much fun, I had forgotten what day it was. Depressing memories of nine years ago began to crowd my mind.

I'd like to offer Mindful Heart readers happy information about September 11.

It was on this day in 1906 that Gandhi first applied his ideas about non violent struggle at a meeting of Indian Nationals in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you've seen the movie, Gandhi, you may remember the early scene in a large meeting hall in South Africa. Angry Indians talk about killing their white oppressors. Gandhi calms everyone by declaring that while he is willing to die in the cause of human rights, he is not willing to kill.

So it was that on September 11, 1906 Gandhi discovered the power of non violent resistance. He discovered a powerful force for good. He spent the rest of his life developing and using this idea.

May we rediscover its power and apply it to our world today and for the rest of our lives!

Today, this guy would play the ukulele!

Here's the Wiki paragraph about this day:

In 1906, the Transvaal government promulgated a new Act compelling registration of the colony's Indian population. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi adopted his still evolving methodology of satyagraha (devotion to the truth), or non-violent protest, for the first time, calling on his fellow Indians to defy the new law and suffer the punishments for doing so, rather than resist through violent means. The community adopted this plan, leading to a seven-year struggle in which thousands of Indians were jailed (including Gandhi), flogged, or even shot, for striking, refusing to register, burning their registration cards or engaging in other forms of non-violent resistance. While the government was successful in repressing the Indian protesters, the public outcry stemming from the harsh methods employed by the South African government in the face of peaceful Indian protesters finally forced South African General Jan Christiaan Smuts to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi. Gandhi's ideas took shape and the concept of satyagraha matured during this struggle.

At Wikipedia you can find more about Gandhi.

And more about the Uke festival: Wine Country Ukulele Festival.

And as for that day nine years ago, I offer for your consideration this poem written by my poet friend, Jim Wilson: Untitled


The Pollinatrix said...

Nice revisioning of the significance of September 11. And I agree - I can totally see Gandhi playing the uke!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Polli. Thanks. September 11, 1906 has a lot more significance to me and its what I choose to think about in regard to that day.

cece said...

Thank you for posting about Satyagraha. I discovered the Sept 11 date in regards to Gandhi a while back looking for some healing that could come with this day, vs the thoughts of violence.

All week leading up to 911 we focused our blog on non-violence and peace making...coping with hatred and finding its antidote...being the truth.

Glad you had fun at the Uke festival!


Dan Gurney said...

We had a fantastic celebration of peace in our town on September 12. Maybe I'll post about it soon.

Thanks, Cece for leaving a comment.


Lori ann said...

I like the thought of Ghandi playing the ukulele.

And I also like the thought of all the good that came out of SA's troubled past.

Toyin O. said...

I can also see Gandhi playing ukulele. sounds like you had fun at Festival.

Dan Gurney said...

Lori Ann, thanks for leaving a comment and pointing out the good that came out of South Africa's past. Indeed a lot has! May the same be said of all the world's trouble spots someday.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Toyin, thanks for stopping by MH. Yes, I had a lot of fun. I'll go again next year.

Reya Mellicker said...

What a fabulously inspiring post! Do you know John of Robert Frost's Banjo? He did a series of posts showing all kinds of people playing the uke - even folks like Marilyn Monroe. Excellent!!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Reya, thanks! I haven't seen John's uke posts; I'll have to check them out. The uke is a people's instrument. Have you checked out the Kala Bass?