April 19NextPrevious   

“Gandhi, soccer legend.”–Daily Metta

“With satya and ahimsa, you can bring the world to your feet.”

-–Gandhi (Young India, 3-10-1920, p. 3)

 Gandhi and the dream team.

If Gandhi had a favorite sport, it would have been soccer, hands down (pun intended, both here and in the quote, thank you). And I am not just making it up. Imagine my delight when I came across an amazingly well-researched article from FIFA itself that Gandhi loved the sport the world outside of the United States calls football. Early in his public career, so we are talking early 20th century (he’s in South Africa at this time), he started a football club, well, actually, three of them; in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban.

Imagine, Gandhi starts a soccer club. What will he call it? Just guess. The Passive Resisters. Seriously.

Why did he do this? For the fun of it?  Remember, he’s always practical–it was for many reasons. First of all, he realized that football was the sport of “the poor” and thus a means for recruitment to the cause. Secondly, he used public matches to raise funds for families of political prisoners while also distributing leaflets about the harmful effects of racial segregation. Moreover, he liked the team-work element in soccer and felt it was a good form of personal training for learning skills of nonviolent cooperation. Even more exciting, though: at half-time, he would inspire his teams with talks about the principles of nonviolence. Is this the dreamiest soccer club in history or what? Could you imagine the Passive Resisters today, offering satyagraha against things like forced evictions of the poor to fill a new stadium for the World Cup? You better believe it.

 

Experiment in Nonviolence

Think of a creative way, like Gandhi did, to raise funds and awareness for a cause you believe in, such as nonviolence.



The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 info@mettacenter.org