Gandhi on the Nile

“Simhasan Khali Karo, Janta aati hai”
(Vacate the throne, the people are coming)
–Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’, Hindi poet

News has just come of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.

The people of Egypt have just raised a political monument that will rank alongside their mightiest stone and mortar wonders of antiquity. They have shown the world a model exercise of peaceful, determined, and dignified people-power.

Three hundred or more are said to have died in the struggle of the last eighteen days. All of them were protesters, not one a representative of the hated regime. They met assaults by horse and camel borne thugs with even more resolve, thousands more pouring into Tahrir Square in response.

Instead of the suicide bombers for which the region has become renowned, this movement began with a single suicide. Instead of firebombing a building full of people, it began with a man (in Tunisia) setting fire to himself. Instead of clamoring for loaves and fishes, they stood firm on freedom, demanding nothing short of the dictator’s exit. The npeople of Egypt have exploded something far bigger than an atom bomb — the myth that the Arab and .Islamic worlds are unsuited for satyagraha.

“Nonviolence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering. It does not mean meek submission to the will of the evildoer, but it means the pitting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honour, his religion, his soul and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall or regeneration”, wrote Gandhi. .

The Egyptian people have enacted a revolution that would have made Gandhi proud. But their victory is all their own. Many challenges lie ahead of them. But today the sun is shining. Gloriously.

NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN, an Egyptian for the day today, can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.


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/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

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