Reason #108: Gandhi Goosebumps
Posted by Nipun Mehta on Mar 28, 2009
Because CharityFocus has an unflinching commitment to its values, it attracts the attention, trust and respect of others in the same boat. Part of the perk for volunteering with CharityFocus is that we get to hang with some of those rock stars of service.
Last week, for example, Michael Nagler came over to my place for some tea. During a conversation, he recommended Raj Mohan Gandhi's biography of Gandhi. "I've probably read every Gandhi biography, so I wouldn't think I'd be recommending a 785 page publication of 2008, but this is really well done." Now, okay, book recommendations aren't a big deal, but who can say that they've read every single biography of Gandhi?!? And Michael isn't exaggerating, either -- Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley, founder of the first Peace and Conflict Studies program at major University more than 20 years ago, author of 16 books and many booklets, founding inspiration for Metta Center, recepient of major awards like the Bajaj Award joining the likes of Desmond Tutu and Johan Galtung. Michael gives one speaking engagement every week, but here we are sharing stories at our own private tea party. :)
At one point in our conversation, Michael narrated a story from Raj Mahon Gandhi's book about a time when Gandhi was addressing a group of people in Rajkot. Some bandbits come in and start beating the crowd ruthlessly. Naturally, the listeners respond non-violently in the spirit of Satyagraha, as their bloodied bodies are shuffled to the local hospitals. The group of bandits are still on the loose, when someone notices Gandhi on the stage. He's trembling uncontrollably. Soon, it's just Gandhi and the bandits. Gandhi, now with full composure, walks up to them and asks: "What can I do for you?" The leader of the gang is just floored by Gandhi's humility -- and surely his vibration. And as the story goes, the gang-leader had a remarkable transformation, sought forgiveness, and escorted Gandhi to safety from all the unsafe elements in the community that night.
It's the kind of story that sends goosebumps down the spine.
And there it is -- reason #108 for volunteering for CharityFocus: Gandhi goosebumps. :)
P.S. Here's a visual of me, Prof. Linda Hess, and Prof. Michael Nagler laughing at a non-gift-economy napkin that reads: "The gift that will never be regifted."