GANDHI IN ACTION network

the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

HOW AND WHERE DID I FIRST LEARN NONVIOLENCE -IN- ACTION IN MY LIFE ?

It was the month of June 1984, and I was at the University town of North California, named Arceta. Its name was Humbold State University. The program here, was organised by my young friend and a scholar Ben Sasway, who was the Coordinator of my program in North California. I must say a sentence more about Ben. It was he how was the first Draft- Resister after the Vietnam War, in United States. There were about 100 students and faculty members attending the meeting in the hall. The subject was Gandhi. When the meeting ended there were row of questions. One of the questions was raised by a faculty member as to what is my educational background ? And my answer was, I am an unskilled agriculture worker. There was a commotion. And the honorable faculty member again stood and asked me, if I really meant it. I also replied that I did mean it. Then there was more suspense. Everybody was curios to know what did I mean by the term, unskilled agricultur worker?


I had to narrate. I have to tell them an incident that happened in 1957-58 while I was staying with a Sikh farmer family in a small village of Punjab, the name of the village was Hakumatpur,which was at a distence of about 30 kilometeres from District Hoshiarpur. It was the month of June, the hotest month of the Summer, and the time was about 2 pm, the hotest time of the day.The place was the wheat-crop fields, which were converted into Pird, {Sspecially made circular ground to process the sepration of wheat from the Chalf. I just finished going around the Falle, a very simple machine made out of thorney bushes and rapped over bamboo-grass, in a rectengular shape which has to be pulled in a circular by a pair of Bulls. This hard work had to be done in the hotest hours of the day so that locks of the wheat stems were easely broken. Hoter the wheat locks, quicker they broke and seprate the wheat from the chaf. Outside temperature must be about 45 C.


When I released the bulls and allowed them to go to the shade and rest, as I had to turnover the locks with a Tangli, to make the hidden locks to come to the top in order to expose it to more heat. I was busy in my work, I did not see the bulls as they were at my back. To my utter surprise, when I completed the full circle in fifteen minuits, and came toward the bulls, I saw them standing there and looking towards me with utmost patience. I could read into their eyes that they were waiting for me to come. This scene made me move. I was practically in tears. This was the first lesson of non-violence in action that I can never forget in my life and that is why I consider my basic-qualification as an unskilled agriculture worker.


And I can say humbly that if all the paper- degrees that I have earned in my life, are put on the one side of the scale and what I learned in my that three years of life of a agricultur-labourer {1957-60}, the degrees side of the scale will blow in the air.

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