Healing through Service


I had a made a personal commitment not to share comments about some of the major life events that I have had to endure. When I first started to write about my weekend with The Mankind Project and our few hours of service at The Midnight Mission, I realized it was an important part of the story. More importantly I thought it would help others dealing with their own hardship. I have turned some really tough corners lately, and I believe I am in a place in which I can share in a way that is positive and healthy. So here goes….

Turning some tough corners

For the past few years my personal life has been going through some great challenges. I was working full time while earning an MBA (completed in 2009), losing my home in Orange County and my marriage was ending. For most of the year I have been feeling like a failure. Failed my family, failed God, failed my wife, failed my grandfather (why him is another story)….failed myself. I was always an incredibly optimistic person, but I had become overwhelmed with trying to fight off the sense of despair.  I think it made me very awkward in many ways.  My confidence had been broke, and I couldn’t shake off the sense of shame, embarrassment and uncertainty.  If it wasn’t for some of my closest friends I would have made it through this very dark time in my life. I’m blessed to have amazing friends and family.

One of these close friends suggested that I attend a weekend retreat put on by The Mankind Project. The weekend was called New Warrior Training, and it was the weirdest weekend of my life. Like any organization, this one had its critics. All I can say is that it was a very positive weekend for me. More on the weekend some other time, but here is a quick explanation.

Even with all of the progress women have made in the world, socially Men occupy most of the positions of power: socially, economically, politically. This has been true for years now. The problem is that men are damaged, wounded. Our wounds have gone untreated and are hemorrhaging. These wounded men are then making decisions about war, society, the economy, and home mortgages. The goal of The Mankind Project is to target men and begin to help them heal and behave as men of integrity.

I have been through many programs that forced me to look at many parts of who I am and the man I am capable of being. All of them have been great life changing experiences. This weekend was important, not because it was some how different from the rest, rather it was timely given the greater context of my life.

The New Warrior Training was a pretty intense weekend. During one of the designed exercises, I was forced to confront some feelings I have had as an 8 year old child. Nobody prompted me to do so, this was an area of my life that surfaced for me as a result. Most of these feelings are around my parents turbulent marriage. There was one moment in particular as a child in which I felt particularly responsible. In reality I wasn’t responsible, but I still felt like my parents problems were my fault. That some how, it was my responsibility to fix my family. I think I still feel this way…albeit I am coming to terms with the fact that this is an unrealistic expectation for me to have. I carried this into to my own marriage and when it did not work…I blamed myself. Like I said, I have already gone through many programs to help me address my childhood. The conclusion I am coming to is that I will not be able to make closure. This will be a life long process and a life long journey for me. It may even be something i continue to deal with at various stages of my life. Since the end of the weekend I have been trying to process much of what I have learning. Its obvious to me that I am changing, but I want to make sure I change for the better. Regardless of my childhood, and regardless at my first marriage, I still believe in the institution of marriage. I still hope to be a great husband and an even better father.

Another great part of the NWT weekend was watching other men grow and change as well. One in particular carpooled with me to our weekend retreat in Arrowhead. He was facing many of his own life challenges and was hoping and optimistic that he was going to change. One particular challenge was his ability to relate to other men and have meaningful and deep friendships with them. So when he reached out to me during the holidays to see if I wanted to do some volunteer work, I was very proud of him.

I love the holidays. This year I decided that it would be best for me to “party” less and commit more of my time to public service. I was struggling to find a good opportunity for a one off volunteer day. So when my MKP brother called, I jumped at the chance to volunteer. This was the same brother I mentioned earlier, so I was not only happy for the volunteer opportunity but really proud of the leadership role he was taking.

The Service

I am not sharing my experience for recognition. Also please, note that I am not a very pious individual. In a way, I did this for my own self gain. Because I needed to deal with something in my own life. I do, however, hope to make volunteer work a regular part of my life. Not because I want to or have to. Just because I should.

Since 1914, The Midnight Mission has been located on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. The organization is dedicated to helping those on Skid Row by offering them food, shelter, recovery services and employment services. Here is where we did our service. I was also able to recruit my close friend Ash, who had introduced me to MKP in the first place. He too was looking for service activity for New Years. Along with 8 other men, we fed men, women and children for New Year’s Eve. It was honor for me to do so. What was ironic is that I felt like I needed to feed the homeless more than they needed me.

I was fighting the flu at that time, and fortunately I was already taking antibiotics, so I knew I was not contagious. The last thing I wanted to do was to get someone with no home and no medical coverage the flu. When we arrived at the mission, I elected to take the activity that did not put me in direct contact with food.

The facility itself is impressive, clean, organized, and well cared for. I have to be honest, I did feel a sense of anxiety while driving down skid row. I left my car in the secured parking garage provided by The Mission and took the elevator up to meet the other men. It was great to see them. There were some men I knew from my weekend while the others attended MKP during other years. One of the men brought his teenage son to also volunteer.  On the menu was pasta, snow peas, beans, toast, greek yogurt, and grape juice. All the food was placed on a single serving tray that our customers would line up and come and pick up. They sat down ate their food and left. In a period of two hours we were able to feed 691 people. I have no benchmark to know if that is a good number or bad. To be honest, I was hoping for a bigger number. However, many keep telling me that its pretty good.

I know the big question in your mind: What were the homeless people like? Well, you need to experience this yourself, so I’m not going to tell you. I will tell you this; I was shocked, scared, and happy to see many of the people we serviced. They came from all sorts of backgrounds. Its not my job to judge them, only to help. I stand by the fact that I needed them more than they needed me. I didn’t do much but feed and then clean up after them. More importantly, I only helped them for one meal. Their struggles continue.

My conclusion from the whole experience? Not really sure yet. I just know that I am product of what I did and that my goal is to continue to work with people throughout the year. Indeed, I have seen so much pain in my life. However, so have others, and while I am able and have the resources to do so; I should.

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You think you know technology?


Do you really think you understand how and why technology has evolved during the past century? I am confident the video below will help you understand.

The following video is another video that celebrates the achievements of IBM. I especially like these clips because they demonstrate IBM’s contribution to meaningful events in society. The clips focus on the real IBM’ers that were a part of each one of the projects. Over the past 100 year IBM’ers have changed the world we live in today. Here are some of the events that are highlighted tin the 30 minute video “They Were There…..”

1953: Policy Letter #4
1958: Project SABRE
1964: IBM System 360
1969: The Apollo Program
1974: UPC (Universal Product Code)
1981: The Personal Computer
2005: The Genographic Project

Little India


flag-india-us-1_T3tRy_16298Some time ago, I wrote an essay for a Sociology course at UCLA.  It was a part of my senior thesis, and I am excited to share some of it now.  I have done my best to update some of the data.  Enjoy!

New York has Jackson Heights, Chicago has Devon Street, and Los Angeles has Pioneer Boulevard.  “Little India” towns seem to be popping up all over the United States.  This is due to the increase of the South Asian population and the demand of their material culture such as mehndi, cuisine, jewelry, movies, music and clothing.  Ethnic enclaves like “Little India” often emerge as a result of the demand of the growing immigrants from a particular country.  It also seems that non-South Asians are flocking to these little towns in surprising numbers.  They are opening Dhaba’s (small restaurants), sari boutiques, jewelry shops, and grocery stores.  This is not to say that the only entrepreneurship that South Asians are involved in are as small business owners, but rather this is the best way to show how a niche is created for business opportunities when communities migrate to a new country.  I have often wondered as to why and how such places have become popular and what are the resulting obstacles that a growing ethnic minority will face.  Focusing on “Little India” along Pioneer Boulevard in the City of Artesia many questions arise.  Yet before the questions are presented to you, there is a great deal of background to cover.

The City of Artesia was a farming area as a portion of Rancho Los Coyotes Spanish land grant.  The city was founded in 1875 and during the 1920’s was converted into dairy lands.  Soon the city not only became a place for milk but a place for real estate.  By the 1950’s land prices plummeted and farmers moved out.  The remaining farmers wanted to avoid this forced migration by becoming incorporated to nearby Dairy Valley in which later became the City of Cerritos, but their attempts were unsuccessful and even they had to move out.  Officially incorporated on May 19, 1959 the City of Artesia had a measurable area in square miles of 2 had approximately 9,500 residents.  During the 1970’s the city began absorbing a large numbers of Portuguese and was struggling with a very meager tax base.  During the 1980’s many other ethnic groups migrated from South Asia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines1.

When I originally did my research in 199 the city had a population of 15, 464 people which breaks down to 40% Latino, 42% white, 15% Asian and 3% in the other category.  With an operating budget of about $12 million the city struggled to maintain its infrastructure.  The median household income is at about $36, 383.  There are 279 stores in Artesia and they generate $161 million in annual sales1.

Selected Statistics from the 2002 Economic Census
2002 Economic Sectors

2002 NAICS sector

Number of
establishments

Sales,
shipments,
receipts

($1,000)

Annual
payroll

($1,000)

Number of
employees

31-33 Manufacturing

29

196,381

22,990

620

more »
42 Wholesale trade

38

D

D

b

more »
44-45 Retail trade

104

170,301

21,647

840

more »
51 Information

5

N

1,229

33

more »
53 Real estate & rental & leasing

34

19,181

4,633

152

more »
54 Professional, scientific, & technical services

36

11,618

3,945

194

more »
56 Administrative & support & waste management & remediation service

24

12,442

4,368

193

more »
61 Educational services

7

2,541

952

60

more »
62 Health care & social assistance

65

49,396

18,856

827

more »
71 Arts, entertainment, & recreation

2

D

D

a

more »
72 Accommodation & food services

67

38,048

9,813

789

more »
81 Other services (except public administration)

47

15,167

3,818

153

more »

As more and more professional South Asians began to move to nearby Cerritos there began the first demand on South Asian goods.  Many believe that “Little India” first began back in 1971 when Balkishan Lahoti (who lived in Cerritos) began selling spices and food out of a garage in Artesia2.  He has now opened up a business in the City of Bellflower, but many other South Asians have come and set up shops along Pioneer Boulevard.  In 1999 there was close to 120 (out of the 279 total Artesia businesses) South Asian businesses along the strip and still growing.  Since then several new complexes have been built perpendicular to the strip, which should have added another 20 shops.  The rate at which the strip is growing is astounding and its popularity is even more so.  Thus, has lead to one of the issues that have seemed to arise due to the growth.  Glenn Seade, a non-South Asian business owner complained that “The parking hassles have led to a 20% drop in business at Martell’s Cleaners near 186th…these were good customers who plainly came up to us and said, ‘ we cannot fight the parking.'” They feel that the city has approved to many building permits to business along the strip and has thus caused the shortage of available parking.  Martell’s has since move out to another location.  According to an LA Times article, City Manager Paul J. Philips said he believes “…the retailers are exaggerating the area’s parking problems…the city approved a out 10 business permits in Little India last year, but most of the applicants were seeking to replace businesses that had moved2”.  Here we can begin to understand why the issue of parking becomes very complex.  Other ethnic groups that migrated to Artesia, such as the Portuguese, were the first to open their businesses.  Now, they are slowly moving away because Pioneer Boulevard no longer holds any lucrative prospects.  They are struggling to find other means of making ends meet.  The other aspect of this is that many of the non-South Asian business owners live in Artesia, but the South Asian businesspersons live in the more upscale Cerritos area.

South Asians have created a market in the area that will cater to particular customers looking for particular goods.  So the businesses that were once along the strip are no longer making money.  They have seen lower foot traffic and thus a decrease in sales.  The people that come are looking for goods and services related to the South Asian community.  Although many residents welcome the businesses due the incredible amount of tax revenues they generate for the city, there is a sense of animosity.  Ramesh Mahajan, former president of the Little India Chamber of Commerce feels that the City Council treats the business owners in Little India are “…not one of them…” and is very biased.  Mahajan feels that the city “…would have been a ghetto if Indians didn’t open businesses there2”.  Several of the shopping complexes have parking lots that offer very limited parking, but if you cannot park there then your best bet is parallel parking along the street.  Street parking is limited two hours.  The Chamber of Commerce would like to make diagonal parking available as opposed to the parallel parking.  The city is not very excited about this idea and has suggested a parking structure be built and customers be bussed into to the area.  But Rakesh Kapoor, a travel agent, feels this is a bad idea because “…people buy jewelry and large sacks of rice and four, and they are not going to want to walk long distances to their cars”2.  So the debate continues, but both sides are attempting to find an agreeable solution.  The problem cannot be helped.  There is a demand in the area for the shops and the shops attract people come here from all over Southern California.  These demands are not limited to just food, clothing and jewelry, rather it has found other ways of bringing in other businesses that would cater to the South Asian community.

Several community organizations have found home in Little India.  For example the South Asian Network (SAN) operates along the strip.  They hold seminars on health; immigration and even offer language classes.  Several immigration attorneys have their offices along the strip and help to serve South Asians wishing to gain citizenship.  State Bank of India has come to Pioneer to meet banking needs and offers more hegemony to the area.  FIA (Federation of India Association) has even brought India’s Independence Day Celebrations to Artesia.  Originally they were held near USC, but now they feel that Artesia has become an icon for the South Asian community.  The local businesses had booths at the festival, which in turn added to their business and popularity of Little India within the South Asian community.  Now rather than go to shops in Anaheim, Diamond Bar or Buena Park, most South Asians come to the Artesia shops.  The geographic location has developed a reputation for being the heart of the South Asian Community in Southern California.

In some years there has been a parade along the strip, well sort of.  People gathered along the street with umbrellas and lawn chairs expecting elaborately decorated floats dedicated to India’s Independence Day, but the spectators have often been disappointed.  The parade consisted of a few cars and some people sitting in them and waiving.  At the Little India Chamber of Commerce meeting on June 3, 1998 they discussed the parade.  Many of the business owners were embarrassed, and criticized the parade organizers.  They are now planning to hire professional float makers and plan to escalate the amount of time and money to develop an annual Independence Day Parade along Pioneer Boulevard.  This plan has yet to be realized.

The name “Little India” has yet to be made official.  The Little India Chamber of Commerce would like a sign of the 405 and 91 freeways to direct drivers to the area.  The Chamber, along with many other businesses feels that such a sign would increase their business.  However, the city feels otherwise.  They believe that since Artesia residents consist mainly of Latinos, it would be misleading the public.  Such a sign would not be representative of the city’s demography.  City Manager Paul Philips and the council “…felt that if they recognized one group they should recognized them all, and that’s just not realistic”3. Yet the businesses on the strip perceive things differently.  They are would not mind if the sign included other ethnic groups, they just want to direct potential customers into the area.  They feel that there are other reasons why.  On of the owners of Books and Bits felt that the city is “…a little biased to this community…” and would like to see the situation improved.  Although she is Iranian and not South Asian, she believes that the city is having a difficult time with such issues because of their slight prejudice with the South Asian community.  Although “…it’s a very, very critical part of our local economy, “ says Paul Philips but the city still has a hard time with the issues3.

Combined with the parking issue one cannot help but to think about the issues in the other low-income communities.  For example, the case of Korean shop owners in African-American neighborhoods.  It is important to clarify now that what is happening in Artesia if very unique and is not the same as Korean shop owners in the inner city.  This is because of the fact that the South Asian businesses and literally transforming the city physically and cutlturally.  They have not only become a part of the economics of the area but they have become a large part of the social and cultural aspects as well.  This is because many of the owners live within a ten-mile radius.  Particularly in the neighboring City of Cerritos, South Asian business owners are involved in the community and politics.  This means that they are constantly using public facilities, contributing to other businesses and their children are attending the local schools.  South Asians have become a large part of the social and economic aspects of the area.  Although they do not live in Artesia, the residents are considered “a part of the neighborhood.”

South Asian business that have come are not just a part of the economical and cultural part of the local area, but has become a tourist attraction for all of Southern California.  Sumita Batra, marketing manager for Ziba beauty center has attracted not only South Asians but also non-South Asians and has become responsible for the mehndi on Madonna’s hands.  Hollywood producer Ilene Staple, pop singer Gwen Stephanie and super model Naiombi Campbell have all come to visit and even more so added to the popularity.  Little India has gone from a man selling spices out of a garage to an economical and social powerhouse.  Its success is mainly due to efforts made in the last couple of years.  There is still a more progress and issues to arise and to be resolved. The strip is growing and business are doing well.  But the popularity with the American community may be a trend.  If that is true then the popularity could just be temporary and the economic boom the area is experiences could be temporary.  This means that South Asians are going to have to develop a discourse as to how the relationships with the non-South Asians will continue.  I do not believe that there is enough demand from the growing South Asian population to support the booming number of business in Artesia.  Thus, I would anticipate a market correction in the area.

1Cox, John. Community Profile/ArtesiaLos Angeles Times 20 December 1996: pg. B-2

2 Canalis, John. Success of ‘Little India’ Puts Parking at a Premium, Merchants Say.

Los Angeles Times 19 January 1995: pg. J-3

3 Hamilton, Denise India Inc. Los Angeles Times 20 July 1997: pg. D-1

Social Action


gandhiOne of the great results of mobilizing a community of any kind is its ability to take action towards a specific goal.  Most recently we saw it with the campaign to elect President Barak Obama.  However, social action has been a part of civilization for ages.  I have always been fascinated by India’s Independence movement.  It is not only rich in content about the social world, but rich in how a community can mobilize to take action.  Gandhi’s campaign not only inspired people into action, but it was a quest for something so much more than independence.  Our actions are reflection of who we are, and who we are is shaped by our actions.

When Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi died, his possessions consisted of two pieces of homespun cloth, one pair of spectacles and his pocket watch.  He came as close as possible to obtaining his goal of facing death as a zero.  It is commonly noted by many that this simple bald headed man single handedly pushed the British out of India. Gandhi brought down an empire, suspended the independence movement and ended civil war without owning any lands and holding any public office. Ahimsa and Satyagraha were more that just socio-political reform, rather, they were a way of life, they were his religion, and they were the quest for truth.  For Gandhi social reform and his spiritual beliefs were one in the same.  It was the intersection of the larger social world and an individual’s everyday living habits.

To Gandhi India was not just a place but an idea.  The idea being that the nation-state should be dedicated to the quest for Truth.  The every day norms, mores, daily rituals would be dedicated to the search for Truth.  Gandhi’s idea also was such that the quest would be interwoven with social action.  Taking action is very important.  I want to note here that Gandhi never advocated that people do nothing in the face of adversity.  Many misunderstand non-violence, with non-action.  Gandhi was very clear, that every society and every community must not only take action, but take action that was in the pursuit of Truth.  Action and Truth would work together rather than existing separately.  The society would not have the government, the individual, and religion existing as separate entities rather; the nation would be a place where the three would be constantly interacting in an intricate dialogue with each other.  For Gandhi, this idea would also dictate his personal life.  The quest for Truth not only takes place in the larger social schema but in the every day lives of all people.

His belief comes from the Hindu teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita.  An important concept of the Gita is DharmaDharma is the playing field in which all living beings play out their destiny.  Through Dharma the individual makes any series of decisions that will determine the outcome of their soul in the eyes of Truth, or God.  The complex concept of Dharma also includes the individual’s duty, religion, law, and most importantly one’s life path.  The heuristic conception of Truth is the most important aspect of Gandhi.  He derives his understanding of Truth and Dharma through his thorough study of the Bhagavad-Gita, the story of the battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravs.  Although many literal interpretations exist of the Gita, I will take a more metaphorical interpretation.  The battle that took place was on the field of Dharma; it was a struggle for Truth.  The lessons of the Gita state that the outcome to one’s actions do not matter, rather, it is the means in which one follows the path to Truth that holds significance.  In the Gita when Arjuna is about to go into battle he decides to stop because he does wish to fight because he realizes that he would be killing members of his own family.  His chariot driver and friend, who happened to be the Lord Krishna, begins to give Arjuna guidance.  Krishna says that he did not exist, neither did neither Arjuna or all the kings they were fighting against.  He continues by stating that life and death really do not exist.  For the soul there is never birth and there is never death.  Life and death are just aspects of the physical world, but the soul is much larger and grander than the physical body.  The soul acquires and discards bodies the way a person would with clothing.  The lines of the Gita that must have truly impacted Gandhi is when Krishna states that as a person may discard their own garments so will the soul and a self-realized soul is not bewildered by these changes.  Therefore, if Arjuna kills these people their bodies will be discarded, but their souls will endure.  As a ksatriya it is Arjuna’s duty to be on the battlefield.  We all have to die some day and it is better to day as a seer of truth rather than one who runs from their duty. Gandhi also believed that Dharma, was also Truth because Truth could only be found through it and the means in which one searched for Truth is the most important aspect of obtaining Truth. Thus, Gandhi believed that India’s quest for Independence was the battlefield that he had to fight upon. Just like Arjuna had a duty to fight, Gandhi had a quest for justice and for Truth.  Through self-realization and the freedom movement of India would not only undergo its quest of institutional Independence, but its quest for Truth.  The important aspect of the quest was that India could have eventually gained independence without Gandhi, but the means at which it did would greatly define India’s future.

The means by which Gandhi would fight for reform and self-realization was Ahimsa, the Hindu word meaning without violence. More than social reform Gandhi thought of it as a way of life.  For example, Gandhi wished to become free from desires, such as sexual desires.  He wanted to overcome sexual desires that by controlling it, and this was a very difficult thing for anyone to do.  Not only did it affect his wife but it also affected his marriage.  Brahmacharia was one of the fundamental lifestyle changes that Gandhi underwent through his path of self-realization.  For Gandhi there was an intricate relationship between his experiments with brahmacharia and his development of the nation.  When one is able to control one’s sexual desires, then one will be able to think and see the world clearly and be a seer of truth.  This also means that the nation in Gandhi’s eyes would be stable because it has achieved control over its desires.

The Indian mores, norms, and material cultural have been greatly influenced by the people relationship with nature and the surrounding physical environment. The belief system is built on the premise that humanity is a part of Nature, as opposed to the ideology that Nature has been created so that humanity could manipulate and control it.  Being a product of a social system that was so strongly interacting with nature, Gandhi’s belief system was greatly influenced by his relationship with Nature.  Thus, Gandhi’s use of the Ashram was so that the search of justice was also part of the pursuit of Truth.  The Ashram allowed the people to interact with nature and live harmoniously so that they would become free from the temptations of material wealth, meat eating, and sexual desires.  Here Gandhi took the traditional way of life as taught by Hindu discourse and fused it into his contemporary life and time.  Here was where Gandhi ran his newspapers, took a stand on untouchability, spun cotton.  The Ashram was an experimental society, in which the very fabric of the social system was committed to finding Truth.  It was almost as if Gandhi founded his own country free from industrialization and modernity.  Gandhi used his beliefs to make reforms in the macro society as well as the micro. Here Gandhi would mold his vision on the Indian nation-state.

The British control of the Indian people forced Indians into abject poverty and despair.  It was the greed and selfishness of the Empire that had lead to the oppression of India.  Imperialism survived on the desire for more wealth and the lack of control in the desire for material wealth drove the Empire to control India, its people and the land.  One that adheres to greed does not see that such things are temporary.  Like when Krishna explains to Arjuna, that such things can easily be discarded but the soul endures, contaminating the soul with such desires the individual is distracting the soul’s natural wish which is to be a part of the force of Truth.  With this story of the Gita lies the framework for Gandhi’s conceptualization of apigraha-non possession.  Spinning was one of the ways that he was able to clothe himself without giving into the desire for possessions.  This is a perfect example of the dialectical nature of Gandhi’s relationship with the macro and the micro.  By using the charka to spin cotton and not wearing European suits, Gandhi was not supporting British economy. When the nation followed they not only protested the Empire’s nature of greed but also controlled their desires for material goods.  Thus, Gandhi’s actions would inspire great social and spiritual leaders of all people and all places in the years to follow.

Satya, which is derived, from the word Sat meaning to be, means Truth and agraha means force and together the words mean a force of Truth. “The word Satyagraha is often most loosely used and is made to cover veiled violence.  But, as the author of the word, I may be allowed to say that it excludes every form of violence, direct or indirect, veiled or unveiled, and whether in thought, word or deed.  “It is a breach of Satyagraha to wish ill to an opponent or to say a harsh word to him or of him with the intention of harming him…” and so if one obstains from violence in the very presence of violence then one is upon the path to Truth (Prabhu and Rao 167-168).   In fact, the true form of Ahimsa will arise when an individual has an opportunity to do the greatest damage and elects not to do so.  For example, when the British were at war Gandhi did not protest and he went as far as to create a medical regiment to support the British.  This is because any action taken against one’s opponent when they are weak is considered an act of violence.  Thus, if Gandhi acted against the British it would be violent because they were already weakened by war.  In the Great Salt March, Gandhi did not allow women to march because of Ahimsa.  The British would not retaliate if women were marching. That means the playing field on which Gandhi is fighting would not be equal and thus this would violate Ahimsa. The art of civil disobedience was not only obtaining justice, but also allowing the perpetrator of in-justice to understand the justice in the cause for which one is fighting.

“With Satya combined with Ahimsa, you can bring the world to your feet.  Satyagraha in its essence is nothing but the introduction of truth and gentleness in the political, i.e., the national, life…” of all people (Prabhu and Rao 167).  Gandhi believed that he alone would never obtain independence for India.  Through the combination of Ahimsa and Satyagraha, the British would see the wisdom in leaving India.  In essence they would have tasted Truth and they would see that British occupation of India was in fact wrong, immoral, un-just, and un-Truthful.  In turn this would change the very fabric of British society, because they would then reject the ways of imperialism.  It is important to note that Gandhi did not oppose the British people, but the British occupation.  He wanted British rule over India to end and when they left he wanted to see them off as friends.  The purpose of bringing Satyagraha and Ahimsa together was to change the lives of Indians politically and to change the lifestyles of all people

Gandhi wished to make many reforms within Indian society.  The status of women and untouchability were also on his agenda.  Again this was an important part of the quest for Truth.  How one lived within one’s given environment is the key to Truth.  There was no soul on the planet that Truth did not touch.  This shows that Gandhi was more than a freedom fighter.  He wanted to change the hearts of all people and to turn the world’s attention away from the industrialized world and towards Truth.  If oppression from the British was wrong, then oppression from one’s compatriots would also be wrong.  Gandhi was not fighting British people, but was fighting British society.  He did not want the same greed, and same quest for material wealth to permeate through India.  As stated in Hind Swaraj, Gandhi states that many Indians want, “…English rule without the Englishman.  You want the tiger’s nature, but not the tiger; that is to say, you would make India English.  And when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but Englistan.  This is not the Swaraj that I want” (Pg27).  Gandhi soon continues to criticize the society by stating that,

This civilization is irreligion, and it has taken such a hold on the people in Europe that those who are in it appear to be half mad.  They lack real physical strength or courage.  They keep up their energy by intoxication.  They can hardly be happy in solitude…this civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed (Pg33).

Swaraj was not about fighting the Empire; it was about changing one’s life and one’s perspective on the social world altogether.  The desires of the Empire could plague Indians as well.  Therefore, India would need to create a social system and society that resisted imperialistic desires.

Gandhi was a simple man with questions regarding God, spirituality, and the social world.  However, he found some of the answers through his social reform and self-realization.  His ideas were not immediately created but they evolved over time and with experience.  The field in which Gandhi found Truth was in the Indian freedom movement.  He offered not just freedom, but a way out from the madness that the civilized world has created. Gandhi’s quest was God, and no man can deny the fact that we all are on a quest for the Truth.  This quest has driven all people to define morality, human rights, and ethics.  Gandhi offered humanity with a way of life rather than just a political ideology.  Gandhi believed that what is accomplished in the nation can be accomplished in the home. The only force of change in this world is the force of Truth.