April 2012 - Compassionate Communication, International Gandhi Research Center, Book Club Discussion Review

International Festival of Houston

The Annual Houston International Festival is upon us once again. This year's host country will be Argentina.

MGL will be hosting a booth this year in the Kids Zone on the other side from where we usually are. Once again we are in need of some dedicated volunteers who can assist in manning the booth the weekend of April 28-29th. If you are interested, please contact Manish Wani at manishoto@yahoo.com.

Compassionate Communication

Compassionate Communication with Kathleen Macferran

Communicating to Connect (Free Introduction) - Thursday, May 3rd - 6:30 pm - 9:15pm
Communicating what's important to you in a way others really "get" isn't always easy, is it? Would you like to:

  • Understand why and where communication breaks down
  • Translate judgments and blame of self and
  • Gain skills for self-connection in order to make sound decisions?

The process featuring empathy and honesty, respected in over 40 countries, is known as Compassionate or Nonviolent Communicationsm (www.cnvc.org). Join us to see if this is a fit for you. Everyone welcome!

Living Deeply in Connection - Friday, May 4th - 9:30 am - 5:30pm (Lunch included)
For those already integrating Compassionate Communication (NVC) who want to:

  • Deepen alignment with their values and hopes
  • Bring more presence to each interaction
  • Dialogue with power and with care simultaneously

The Strength of Connection - Saturday, May 5th - 9:30 am - 5:30pm (Lunch included) - Sunday, May 6th - 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm
During this two day workshop we will explore and practice new tools to:

  • Transform potential conflict into connecting dialogue
  • Learn where to go after "NO"
  • Motivate children without punishment and reward
  • Repair ruptures in relationships
  • Create more self-care and balance in our lives
  • More fully live the love we feel

Venue: St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 5501 Main St, Houston TX
Tuition: Friday workshop - $125, Sat/Sun Workshop - $165
Registration: Online at www.houstonnvc.org
Fore more information, contact Bren Hardt at bbhardt@gmail.com or 713.303.3403

World's Biggest International Gandhi Research Center to Humanity

President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, on 25th March, 2012. Speaking at a gathering after inaugurating the Foundation, President Patil said she was happy that memorabilia and writings of the father of the nation would be housed in this institute in her hometown.

GRF has so far collected from authentic sources 7350 books, 4090 periodicals viz. Harijan, Navjeevan and Young India etc., 4019 photographs, 75 films, 148 audio of Gandhiji's speeches, philately items from 114 countries etc. We have over 1,75,000 pages of scanned documents relating to/from the collection of Gandhiji, Vinoba Bhave, Mahadev Desai and historian Dharampal.

For more information log onto: http://www.mkgandhi.org/newannou/gandhiresearchfoundation.htm

Book Club Discussion Review

We had a wonderful discussion amongst 12 people at Texas Southern Museum on Sunday, March 18th - Part 2, Chapter 9 - More Hardships.

Mahatama Gandhi is in his early 20s in South Africa as a barrister representing Dada Abdullah's company.He has been in South Africa for less than a week and has already suffered social injustice by being thrown off the train despite having a first class ticket. He has resolved in his mind he will stand up against the social injustice instead of considering other selfish alternatives.

After the train incident, he must travel by stage-coach from Charlestown to Johannesburg. At the train station, he is informed that his ticket is cancelled. Passengers had to be accommodated inside the coach, but as I was regarded as a 'coolie' and looked a stranger, it would be proper, thought the 'leader', as the white man in charge of the coach was called, not to seat me with the white passengers.

I knew it was sheer injustice and insult, but I thought it better to pocket it. I could not have forced myself inside, and if I had raised a protest, the coach would have gone off without me. This would have meant the loss of another day, and Heaven knows what would have happened the next day. So, much as I fretted within myself, I prudently sat next to the coachman. So once again, Gandhiji is considering all his options and decides to compromise rather than fight, revealing his unique ability to know when not to compromise and when to compromise. A conjecture as to why he decides not to compromise may be due to his recent train incident. The idea may be not to fight each and every injustice, but choose your battles carefully. The problem arises when we choose not to fight any time. In a way that is good that makes the world more non-violent but putting up with injustices for a long time ultimately leads to revolution, a much more violent outcome.

As fate would have it, the leader of the stagecoach pushed Gandhiji too far. Sami, you sit on this (a dirty sack-cloth), I want to sit near the driver. The insult was more than I could bear. In fear and trembling I said to him, 'It was you who seated me here, though I should have been accommodated inside. I put up with the insult. Now that you want to sit outside and smoke, you would have me sit at your feet. I will not do so, but I am prepared to sit inside.' There are several aspects to be considered here. Here is vintage Gandhi at that tender age standing up for his rights and also offering solution to the resolution of the conflict - but I am prepared to sit inside. The statement he made was not made in rage but in a balanced and reasoned way. His ability to control his anger is admirable.

At this point, the "leader" started to beat up Gandhiji. He was strong and I was weak. Some of the passengers were moved to pity and exclaimed - This is the beauty of Non-Violence. The stench of the violence is so bad that it is just a matter of time before either the perpetrator of the violence or even this witnessing the violence cannot put up with the stench. Great example, is Civil Rights movement in USA when dogs were thrown at black demonstrators that aroused sympathy in white majority for their just cause.

I sat speechless and prayed to God to help me. - Another powerful tool for the one who wants to live a spiritual life - Prayer. It is awesome not only as tool but also to make a person fearless because he has entrusted himself to the wishes of the almighty. Once again, the outcome may not be the same for everyone. For everyone going to school and colleges is outcome the same for everyone? Also, we are reminded this comes from his childhood days when his nurse Rambha, an illiterate woman who taught him how not to be fearful of darkness by chanting ( In Gujarati it is called Jaap) the name of God Ram. In this case the prayer is for a very selfish purpose, self preservation.

He ultimately makes it to Standerton with a huge sigh of relief. I told them all that I had gone through. They were very sorry to hear and comforted me by relating to me their own bitter experiences. Again, the social injustices Gandhiji suffers is not unique as many have gone through the same. What makes Gandhiji's outcome different? At this point, he writes a letter to the management of the coach company narrating everything that had happened. In the book, he specifically points out, I had of course, no intention of proceeding against the man who had assaulted me... Gandhiji is not concerned of revenge or punishment of the perpetrators, but he is seeking moral justice, the truth. The chapter concludes with Gandhiji strategically gaining a first class ticket for the train from Sanderton to Johannesberg. He convinced the station master to issue him a first class ticket. I took my seat in a first class compartment and the train started. The guard was angry to find me there, and signalled to me with his finger to go to the third class. I showed him my first class ticket. 'That doesn't matter, remove to the first class.' As luck/fate would have it, there was only one English passenger in the compartment, and he did not object to Gandhiji being in first class. This man had no idea that he was helping a young man who would one day challenge the entire British empire.

Gandhi Study Circle

Please join us for our Book Club:

Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012

Time: 12:00 pm - Vegetarian Lunch, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Venue: Arya Samaj, 14375 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX

Gandhi Library Monthly Meeting

Please join us for our Monthly Meeting:

Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012

Time: 1:30 - 2:30 pm
Venue: Arya Samaj, 14375 Schiller Rd., Houston, TX

Special Guest - Mr. Atul Kothari will be at the meeting!

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