Tuesday, February 14, 2012

John Dear on Douglass' new book on Gandhi

Jim Douglass new book, Gandhi and the Unspeakable


Jim Douglass is one of the world's great teachers, theologians and practitioners of Christian nonviolence. I regularly return for inspiration to his classic works The Nonviolent Cross, Resistance and Contemplation and Lightning East to West, which have been recently republished by wipfandstock.com. Based at Mary's House Catholic Worker in Birmingham, Ala., Jim spent the last two decades completing his groundbreaking work, JFK and the Unspeakable, which detailed the forces which aligned to kill President John F. Kennedy in order to stop his work for peace and disarmament.

Douglass has planned other books on the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy. In the process, he began to study the widespread conspiracy to kill Mahatma Gandhi and the latent support for his assassination within the new Indian state. That study has resulted in another powerful book, Gandhi and the Unspeakable: His Final Experiment With Truth, a shocking exposé and inspiring meditation published this week by Orbis Books. I urge all those interested in Gandhi and nonviolence to read this profound work.

As we all know, Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fundamentalist on Jan. 30, 1948, as he walked to his public evening prayer service. Since the previous summer, more than a million people had been killed in the civil war between Hindus and Muslims as Pakistan split off from the new India. Right-wing Hindu extremists such as the assassin were enraged by Gandhi's nonviolent campaign to reconcile Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi spent his last months walking, campaigning, praying and fasting for an end to the violence, and at the time of his death, was planning to go to Pakistan on a mission of peace.

Just as Douglass investigated the reasons why JFK was assassinated by myriad forces, including members of the U.S. government, he explores the reasons why Gandhi was killed and why the Indian state might have benefited from his death. Douglass' journey took him to the Library of Congress, where he read the sole "Printed Record of Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case, Vols. 1-8," the court record that once belonged to Nathuram Godse, Gandhi's assassin. Douglass used this massive material and other original sources to explore Gandhi's mythic struggle of nonviolence against the forces of what Thomas Merton called "the Unspeakable."


Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home