Gandhi at Zilker Park

Austin American-Statesman - - OPINION -

Ma­hatma Gandhi is a world fig­ure, and hav­ing his statue any­where in the world would be ap­pro­pri­ate.

His prin­ci­ples and teach­ings of truth, non­vi­o­lence, sim­plic­ity and faith are valu­able gifts to the world. His tech­niques were used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Nel­son Man­dela and many world lead­ers. The pow­er­ful words of Gandhi — “We must be­come the change we want to see in the world” — are in­spi­ra­tion to all. His cam­paigns were aimed at free­dom, ed­u­ca­tion, eas­ing poverty, women’s rights and eth­nic unity. He be­lieved that power based on love is thou­sand times more ef­fec­tive and per­ma­nent than power de­rived from fear of pun­ish­ment.

A statue of him at Zilker Park will re­mind us of the great ideas he thought of and brought into re­al­ity. The great ideas are like seeds. We plant them in our minds; they will take root and grow into mighty trees.

MeenA s. vAd austin

I was filled with cha­grin by the con­tent of the letters op­pos­ing a statue of Gandhi in Zilker. Their rea­son­ing ranged from the pro­vin­cial — What did Gandhi ever do for Austin, any­way? — to the out­right ridicu­lous, as in say­ing that his meth­ods ac­tu­ally “pro­mote hate and dis­cord, not peace.”

Even a cur­sory knowl­edge of Gandhi’s life, meth­ods and the re­sults achieved re­veal that he rev­o­lu­tion­ized hu­man­ity’s ap­proach to con­flict in a way cal­cu­lated to fos­ter love and re­spect be­tween those on op­po­site sides in any dis­agree­ment.

This leads di­rectly to the an­swer about “what has he done for Austin?” — a great deal, as all of us in Austin ben­e­fit from any way which would show us a path out of the ex­treme vi­o­lence that char­ac­ter­izes much of the world to­day.

Let’s not be so pro­vin­cial and per­haps take a les­son from London, which has a mag­nif­i­cent statue of Abra­ham Lin­coln in Par­lia­ment Square.

toM Ker­sHAw austin

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