Of peace and non-violence: This book takes Gandhi's lessons to the classroom
As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi
stood against -- gains prominence with every passing day, a Gandhian scholar has
urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the
"The Gandhi Experiment" (Rupa/Rs 295/151 pages) has been authored by Margaret
Hepworth, a noted Gandhian scholar and peace educator. The book literally equips
teachers and parents with tools and strategies for peace-building. It is an apt
manual on teaching our teenagers to be global citizens by urging parents and
teachers to experiment with peace and non-violence.
Hepworth's drive and commitment for social justice have flourished through her
teaching of almost 30 years and has now culminated into her workshops for both
students and adults. Using this vast experience, the author combines concepts,
techniques and practices to create activities that engage, provide equity and
enable teenagers to make powerful and positive choices for a better tomorrow.
The book also deserves praise for its creative merit. While being a nonfiction
title, it carefully mixes imagination to suit the minds of young students and in
conveying, with utter subtlety, the many tools that teachers, parents and adults
can use to impart Gandhi's values to kids without boring them.
Consider the first chapter, for instance. It invites readers to an imagined
dinner party where 13 people have gathered. The task at hand is to deliberate on
how best to save the world. The discussion that follows is an eye-opener, with
suggestions and tools that seem familiar as well as out of the box. The best
part, however, is the fact that readers, as well as the people at the dinner
table, are not being told what to think. Rather, they are being invited to
This holds true for the rest of the book as well. The author does not see her
suggestions as the only means to reach the objective. Instead, she is urging
people to think and contemplate on imparting such lessons to young children in a
way that they deem fit.
But there are graver questions that the book sets out to answer. How are hate
and fear created and what are we doing to build trust across the world's
Hepworth argues that we have enough people trying to create hate and fear in our
societies. What we need to counter this phenomenon is an overwhelming desire
among the majority to create hope and love.
Hepworth, in her own words, is a "peace educator" and she insists that if this
term was as easily understood as an English or Science teacher, our world would
have been a much better place than what it is today.
"The Gandhi Experiment" teaches teenagers global citizenship, conflict
resolution, anger management, forgiveness and how to mould their thoughts for a
more positive future.
Reminding the adults, teachers and parents -- those who bear the responsibility
to shape the future generation -- that "education today is our society
tomorrow", Hepworth recommends the inclusion of peace lessons into our
TAGS: The Gandhi Experiment
, Mahatma Gandhi
, Margaret Hepworth