Gandhi at Zilker Park
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.
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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.
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