"We must be the change we wish to see in the world!"
What do these words and the delicious Indian drink of chopped ripe mango, yogurt, honey and cardamon have to do with Gandhi? Well, I first heard these words from Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mohandas Gandhi in Memphis, Tennessee at an Indian restaurant. My friend Kay MacKenzie introduced me to this great man. Kay had worked with him at the M K Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence which is dedicated to the peace process on this terribly divided planet.
Could it be that I personally make a difference in this world? The answer is definitely yes! However, yes, I can make a positive difference; and, yes, I can also make a negative difference. Even in the minutest ways. As the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions!" Under the link above, many years ago when Arun was but a child, his grandfather made him go back to retrieve a pencil stub that Arun had thrown away out of anger thinking it was too small. Gandhi admonished Arun by helping him realize that what Arun thought to be a small insignificant action was actually detrimental to the planet by wasting precious resources; and secondly insulting to other students by depriving them of this precious resource. Gandhi said this was violence against humanity. Arun then understood, "That was the first time I realized that the little things we do every day - over consumption, judging people - are a form of passive violence."
I do not know if Dr. Martin Luther King ever enjoyed a glass of mango lassi, but I do know he drank deeply of the knowledge and wisdom of Mohandas Gandhi. As you know, Gandhi first practiced his non-violent movement in South Africa where he gave up his law practice and devoted his life to peaceful change. He brought this philosophy and approach to India where it took hold. This greatly inspired Reverend King and his "I Have a Dream" movement. One of Dr. King's most penetrating insights is reflected in the following profound quote, " Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary." This begs the question, does philanthropy serve to alleviate poverty and the ills of the world or does poverty and its myriad ills serve to perpetuate philanthropy?
Yei Kaalu would like to reinvent the archaic boundaries of charity and economic development by creating a form of self contained philanthropy i.e., we give to ourselves by developing our own economic source-base from which to draw capital and resources. We would like to create cause-specific enterprises devoted to targeting and eliminating localized "Human Condition" thinking and processes that no longer require co-dependent charity. Charity now becomes an investment in humanity that is aligned with the Doughnut Economic model (see March 4th blog). Hence, we co-create opportunities and processes for mutual growth, knowledge and love within a nurturing environment.
I am reminded, the poet W. H. Auden said something that has always inspired me. He wrote, "We must love one another or die!" I think this powerful poignant statement to be very timely and self evident.