In Piazza Cavour public garden, right in the middle of what was known in the past as the “noble quarter”, stands Mahatma Gandhi’s bust (1869-1948), donated to the city by the Indian ambassador Rajiv Dogra and inaugurated on April 18th 2008.
“There is no way to peace, peace is the way”
– M. Gandhi
Gandhi is seen up to present days as one of the fathers of modern India, the one who led it to independence through ahimsa, nonviolence.
As a young lawyer, true to his religious belief demanding ahimsa to be practiced to all living beings, and intolerant of all sorts of injustice, he searched for a struggle method both radical in asserting rights and justice, and nonviolent nevertheless. He found it in Satyagraha -‘force of truth’-, a new word he coined on September 11th 1906.
After several campaigns of his, including the salt march (1930-31), and struggles and years in jail, finally India attained independence in 1947, though not the one that Gandhi had been longing for, due to the bloody feuds between Hindus and Muslims, which resulted into the country’s partition into two states (India and Pakistan), and the following year, to the very murder of Gandhi by a radical Hindu blaming him for his overly tolerance of Muslims.
Nonviolence becomes through Gandhi a mass struggle of a whole people for the first time and will be successfully used several times thereafter: by the Afro-Americans’ civil rights movement led by M. L. King, by the Polish rallied in Solidarność, by Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, by the resistance movement in the Philippines, and many other movements not yet on the pages of history books. A few such success stories have been documented in the video collection ‘A force more powerful’, carried out by S. York and M. Zimmermann in the late ’90s.
Nonviolence is the credible alternative to violent revolutions, so often defeated, and a precise method of conflict resolution as well; as a matter of fact suggesting a nonviolent conflict transformation to a worldwide political agenda, so far unfortunately resorting always to military means alone, with disastrous outcomes.
Gandhi believed that politics and economics should aim at ensuring a worthy life to all, through swadeshi – ‘self-reliance’; he foreran current debate on environmental and social sustainability, by questioning the myth of infinite growth.
The Torino Film Festival, in collaboration with the Sereno Regis Study Center, awards every year since 2011 a special prize, ‘Gli occhiali di Gandhi’ – Gandhi’s eyeglasses – to nonviolent cinema production