Sunday, January 13, 2008

JAN 2008 Celebs &Commems


Commemorations and celebrations of people around the world in January: Happy New Year Candlemas Sankaranti Imbolc Yom-e-Ashura Brigid's Day Vasant Panchami Martin Luther King's B/D Tu B'Shevat Nirvana Day Holocaust Commemoration Muharram Commemoration Mahatma Gandhi' 60th Death Commemoration Glossary of Festivals. - We invite articles in 150 Words to describe these events. Please send to

This compilation is derived from different sources. You are invited to audit, spell check, correct, enhance and add a festival that I am not aware of.

Click for images:

1/10/08 -

Islamic new year begins – Hijri year 1429 - It is a lunar calendar with 354 days in it with varying days in a month from 28 thru 30 days. Each consecutive Julian calendar, deduct 11 days for Islamic Calendar. The calendar began when Prophet Muhammad made a decision to migrate from Mecca to another city called Medinah. Hijra, Hijri is roughly translated as migratioin.


Yom-e-Ashura - Islamic holy day observed on the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram. Shi'ite Muslims regard it as a major festival marking the martydom of the Prophet's grandson, Hussein. Hussein's martyrdom is widely interpreted by Shi'a as a symbol of the struggle against injustice, tyranny, and oppression.


Makara Sankranti
Makara Sankranti - In Hindu belief, a person dying on this auspicious day directly goes to the heaven. Bhishma, an elder in the epic of Mahabharata, is said to have waited for this day to breathe his last. It is also on this day every twelve years the Great Kumbh-Mela is held at Prayag.


Vasanta Panchami
Vasanta Panchami Vasant Panchami is a Hindu festival celebrating Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, and art. It is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the Indian month Magh (January-February),

1/21/08 -

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday
Birthday Celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on" John F. Kennedy.FEW HAVE HAD AS MUCH IMPACT upon the American consciousness as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A Baptist minister and passionate fighter for civil rights through non-violent action, he was the closest this country has come to producing a leader with the moral stature of Mohandas Gandhi.

Tu B'Shevat
Tu B'Shevat Judaism has several different "new years." Tu B'Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is a holiday also known as the New Year for Trees.

1/26/08 - Holocaust
On this Holocaust remembrance day residents of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex come together as humans of all affiliations to learn to understand the suffering of the people around the world, to develop an open mind and an open heart towards each other in the process of healing and repairing the world.


Gandhi's anniversary
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – 60th Death Anniversary. He is my mentor and at times, The United Nations General Assembly has decided to declare October 2 - the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi—as ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ in recognition of his role in promoting the message of peace around the world.


Yom e Ashura

Islamic holy day observed on the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram. Shi'ite Muslims regard it as a major festival marking the martyrdom of the Prophet's grandson, Hussein.

Ashura has been a day of fasting for Sunni Muslims since the days of the early Muslim community. It marks two historical events: the day Nuh (Noah) left the Ark, and the day that Musa (Moses) was saved from the Egyptians by Allah.

The Day of Ashura transliteration: ‘Ashura’, Ashura, Ashura, and other spellings) is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram but not the Islamic month.

This day (Ashura) was an ancient Judaic feast day of celebration and atonement. Now it is well-known because of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (AD 680). Furthermore Sunni Muslims believe that Moses fasted on that day to express gratitude to God for liberation of Israelites from Egypt. According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Muhammad fasted on this day and asked other people to fast.[1][2]

The word ashura means simply tenth in Arabic; hence the name of the remembrance, literally translated, means "the tenth day". Islamic scholars, however, give various explanations as to why it is thus called.

Hussein's martyrdom is widely interpreted by Shi'a as a symbol of the struggle against injustice, tyranny, and oppression. [3] Shi'as believe the Battle of Karbala was between the forces of good and evil. Imam Hussain represented good while Yazid represented evil. Shi'as also believe the Battle of Karbala was fought to keep the Muslim religion untainted of any corruptions and they believed the path that Yazid was directing Islam was definitely for his own personal greed.

Hussein's martyrdom is widely interpreted by Shi'a as a symbol of the struggle against injustice, tyranny, and oppression. [3] Shi'as believe the Battle of Karbala was between the forces of good and evil. Imam Hussain represented good while Yazid represented evil. Shi'as also believe the Battle of Karbala was fought to keep the Muslim religion untainted of any corruptions and they believed the path that Yazid was directing Islam was definitely for his own personal greed.


Makara Sankranti

This holy day marks the commencement of the Sun's northern course in the Heavens, known as the Uttaraayana patha. This turn in the Sun's course takes place at the point of time when it enters the sign of Makara or Capricorn. Interestingly, this is the only festival in Hindu calendar that follows a solar calendar and is celebrated on the fourteenth of January every year (all other Hindu festivals are computed using the lunar calendar).

Wishing Happy Sankranti to neighbors and visitors

Sankranti is termed as Pongal in Tamilnadu, and is celebrated with a popular dish with the same name. Kolams (Rangoli) and prayers constitute the celebration of the festival. People buy new clothes, ornaments, sugarcane and sweet candy for the festival. The farmers worship their harvested crops and share with friends and relatives. Women and young girls wear new clothes, wear golden and silver ornaments, volunteer different flowers and visit their relatives and friends.

In different parts of India, the Sankranti is celebrated very differently. On the Western parts, the emphasis is on exchanging Til-Gul which is a specialty of Konkani/Marathi women. It is sugar coated seeds and nuts of different colors prepared by the housewives. In some other parts, exchange a mixture of teel, jaggery, fried gram, groundnuts (peanuts) which is called "Ellu Bella.". Along with sweets, flowers, bangles, dry fruits, sugarcane, sugar cadies are also exchanged. In the old Mysore region, people decorate their houses and cattle. They also worship their crop and cattle. As part of the celebration they sing and dance, and look forward for flowering of the trees and singing of birds.

In Hindu belief, a person dying on this auspicious day directly goes to the heaven. Bhishma, an elder in the epic of Mahabharata, is said to have waited for this day to breathe his last. It is also on this day every twelve years the Great Kumbh-Mela is held at Prayag.


Tu B'Shevat

Tu B'Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is a holiday also known as the New Year for Trees. The word "Tu" is not really a word; it is the number 15 in Hebrew, as if you were to call the Fourth of July "Iv July" (IV being 4 in Roman numerals). See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about using letters as numbers and why the number 15 is written this way.

As I mentioned in Rosh Hashanah, Judaism has several different "new years." This is not as strange a concept as it sounds at first blush; in America, we have the calendar year (January-December), the school year (September-June), and many businesses have fiscal years. It's basically the same idea with the various Jewish new years.

Tu B'Shevat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. See Lev. 19:23-25, which states that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year's fruit is for G-d, and after that, you can eat the fruit. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B'Shevat, so if you planted a tree on Shevat 14, it begins its second year the next day, but if you plant a tree two days later, on Shevat 16, it does not reach its second year until the next Tu B'Shevat.

Tu B'Shevat is not mentioned in the Torah. I have found only one reference to it in the Mishnah, and the only thing said there is that it is the new year for trees, and there is a dispute as to the proper date for the holiday (Beit Shammai said the proper day was the first of Shevat; Beit Hillel said the proper day was the 15th of Shevat. As usual, we follow Beit Hillel. For more on Hillel and Shammai, see Sages and Scholars).

There are few customs or observances related to this holiday. One custom is to eat a new fruit on this day. Some people plant trees on this day. A lot of Jewish children go around collecting money for trees for Israel at this time of year. That's about all there is to it.

List of Dates
Tu B'Shevat will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:

Jewish Year 5768: sunset January 21, 2008 - nightfall January 22, 2008


Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami is a Hindu festival celebrating Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, and art. It is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the Indian month Magh (January-February), the first day of spring. During this festival children are taught their first words; brahmins are fed; ancestor worship (Pitri-Tarpan) is performed; the god of love, Kamadeva, is worshipped; and most educational institutions organise special prayer for Saraswati. The color yellow also plays an important role in this festival, in that people usually wear yellow garments, Saraswati is worshipped dressed in yellow, and yellow sweetmeats are consumed within the families.


Birthday Celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’

"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on" John F. Kennedy.

FEW HAVE HAD AS MUCH IMPACT upon the American consciousness as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A Baptist minister and passionate fighter for civil rights through non-violent action, he was the closest this country has come to producing a leader with the moral stature of Mohandas Gandhi. When King was assassinated in 1968, citizens in many major cities reacted violently --- while others held vigils and peaceful gatherings. And Americans, black and white, wondered what would happen to his dream.

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guarranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

City plans events to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
12:00 AM CST on Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Local and national activities commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth will be held on and in the days surrounding his birthday.

Dr. King was born Jan. 15, 1929, and died April 4, 1968. The nation's most recognized civil-rights icon would have turned 79 this year. Many schools, churches and organizations will hold events to honor him. The city's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center will sponsor weekend activities on Jan. 18 and 19. Jan. 21 is the national holiday.

Community-sponsored events include the following:

• 7 p.m. Sunday, Dallas-area ministers and their congregations will gather at Saintsville Church of God in Christ, 2200 S. Marsalis Ave., to honor Dr. King. Bishop J. Neaul Haynes is Saintsville's pastor. The Rev. Lelious Johnson, senior pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, will speak. Mr. Johnson is the new president of the Oak Cliff Baptist Ministers Union, succeeding the Rev. Nathan Sargent, pastor of Faithful Missionary Baptist Church.

• 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dallas school district students and educators will join the public in a celebration at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church, 5710 E. R.L. Thornton Freeway. St. Luke senior pastor Tyrone Gordon will speak.

City-sponsored activities include the following:

• 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will host the kickoff of activities in the seniors wing of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center at 2901 Pennsylvania Ave. Dr. King was a member of the fraternity. Dr. Karry Wesley, senior pastor of Antioch Fellowship Baptist Church in Oak Cliff, will speak. After Dr. Wesley's remarks, program participants and the public will march to the front of the King Center complex for a candlelight ceremony at the statue of Dr. King.

• 10 a.m. Jan. 19, the city-sponsored King parade will feature diverse groups, dignitaries and other people representing Dr. King's emphasis on multiracial unity. The parade will begin at Dallas City Hall Plaza at the corner of Young and Ervay streets, proceed south down Ervay to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, head east on MLK – passing in front of the King center – and end inside Fair Park.

• 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins will speak at the annual King awards banquet at the Adam's Mark Hotel, 400 N. Olive St. downtown. Individuals and businesses will be awarded for community service. Tickets are $65. Call 214-670-8438 or 214-670-8418.

Other community-sponsored events include:

• 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, the 25th annual Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert, sponsored by The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, is scheduled at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2501 Flora St. downtown. Tickets are $10, $15 and $25. Roz Ryan and Karen Clark Sheard will be guest soloists. The concert honors Dr. King, his late daughter Yolanda King and the late Jerry Mitchell, a concert choir organist.

• 10 a.m. Jan. 21, the 22nd annual King parade, sponsored by Elite News, will begin at Forest Avenue and Lamar Street, move east along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and end at Robert B. Cullum Boulevard at Fair Park. An Elite News King festival, featuring entertainment, vendors, health screenings and children's activities, is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. in the Fair Park Automobile Building. For more information, call 214-372-6500.

ABOUT TOWN: A forum to discuss wide-ranging issues concerning ex-offenders, whom forum organizers prefer to call "formerly incarcerated persons," has been postponed indefinitely. The "Coming Home, Coming Up – Incentives for Inclusion" forum had been set for today and Thursday at the Adam's Mark Hotel downtown. For questions about a new date, call Gwen Broadnax at 214-875-2325 or e-mail gbroad

• The deadline to nominate inductees to the Hall of Fame that honors living and dead black educators from the Dallas area has been extended from Saturday to Jan. 19. Nomination forms are available at The Dallas Post Tribune, 2726 S. Beckley Ave., and the African American Museum at Fair Park, where the Hall of Fame is housed. For more information, call 214-339-0375 or 214-330-0626.


"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on" John F. Kennedy.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Alternate name(s):
Mahatma Gandhi

Date of birth:
October 2, 1869(1869-10-02)

Place of birth:
Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British India

Date of death:
January 30, 1948 (aged 78)

Place of death:
New Delhi, India

Indian independence movement

Major organizations:
Indian National Congress

UN Declares Mahatma Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary As “International Non-Violence Day”
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi In India is officially accorded the honour of Father of the Nation and October 2, his birthday, is commemorated each year as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday. On 15 June 2007, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution declaring October 2 to be the "International Day of Non-Violence."[2][3]

As a British-educated lawyer, Gandhi first employed his ideas of peaceful civil disobedience in the Indian community's struggle for civil rights in South Africa. Upon his return to India, he organized poor farmers and labourers to protest against oppressive taxation and widespread discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for the alleviation of poverty, for the liberation of women, for brotherhood amongst differing religions and ethnicities, for an end to untouchability and caste discrimination, and for the economic self-sufficiency of the nation, but above all for Swaraj—the independence of India from foreign domination.

Gandhi famously led Indians in the disobedience of the salt tax on the 400 kilometre (248 miles) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and in an open call for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years on numerous occasions in both South Africa and India.
Gandhi practised and advocated non-violence and truth, even in the most extreme situations. A student of Hindu philosophy, he lived simply, organizing an ashram that was self-sufficient in its needs. Making his own clothes—the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl woven with a charkha—he lived on a simple vegetarian diet. He used rigorous fasts, for long periods, for both self-purification and protest.

The United Nations General Assembly has decided to declare October 2 - the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi—as ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ in recognition of his role in promoting the message of peace around the world.

The move to get the international community to pay tribute to Gandhi’s ideology was a follow-up to the Satyagraha conference organised by the Congress early this year and a subsequent campaign launched by the government. Speaking at the conference, titled ‘Peace, Non-Violence and Empowerment — Gandhian Philosophy in the 21st Century’, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had called for steps to get the Mahatma’s birthday marked as the International Day of Non-Violence.

The resolution to respect the apostle of humanity and peace, has been moved in the UN General Assembly by India and co-sponsored by 120 of total 191 members. The resolution expected to be passed on Friday, reaffirms the universal relevance of non-violence, the gospel taught by Gandhi through out his life and followed by many leaders world over to win the heart of the enemy.

Almost all major players of the world like the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and countries from subcontinent like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bhutan are among those co-sponsoring it. More countries are likely to join in sponsoring it by the time the Assembly considers it.

The resolution stresses the need for non-violence, tolerance, full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, democracy, development, mutual understanding and respect for diversity as reinforcements for peace and growth of mankind.

Great leaders such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela achieved immortal success following the Gandhian method of truth and non-violence where everything was perceived impossible by many.

If interested in more what and who Gandhi was, here is a nice document presented by UNESCO - Commemorating 125th Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (.pdf)

Birth name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, AKA 'Gandhiji'.

Country: India.

Cause: Civil rights for Indian immigrants in South Africa and liberation of India from British colonial rule.

Background: British occupation of India begins at the start of the 17th Century, with the 'Raj' reaching its zenith at the end of the 19th Century. Indian opposition to colonial rule gains focus in the early 20th Century as the nation unites to expel the British. More background.

Mini biography: Born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, the capital of a small principality in what is today the State of Gujarat in western India. His father is the prime minister of the principality. His mother is a deeply religious Hindu. The entire family follows a branch of Hinduism that advocates nonviolence and tolerance between religious groups.

1883 - At the age of 13 he marries Kasturba. He has been formally betrothed to two other girls before his engagement to Kasturba but both have died.

1888 - Gandhi sails to England to study law at University College, London.

1891 - He is admitted to the British bar but returns to India and starts a practice as a barrister in the Bombay High Court.

1893 - He is employed by an Indian firm with interests in South Africa to act as legal adviser in its office in Durban, beginning a 20-year residence in South Africa.

Indian workers had been brought to South Africa in the mid-19th Century to labour on the sugar estates. Many had stayed on to form a small but closely-knit community. Gandhi is appalled by the treatment they receive in the racist society of South Africa and begins a campaign for their civil rights. He advocates a policy of passive resistance to, and noncooperation with, the South African authorities.

1906 - Gandhi begins a passive resistance campaign against laws prohibiting black South Africans, "coloureds" and Indians from travelling without a pass. He leads Indians in demonstrations and organises stop-work protests that win the support of thousands of people.

1914 - The South Africa Government, under pressure from the governments of Britain and India, accepts a reform package negotiated by Gandhi and the South African statesman General Jan Christian Smuts.

1915 - Gandhi returns to India. He quickly becomes involved in the home rule movement.

1916 - Gandhi meets Jawaharlal Nehru for the first time at the annual meeting of the Indian National Congress Party in Lucknow.

1917 - The British Parliament announces that Indians will be allowed greater participation in the colonial administration and that self-governing institutions will be gradually developed.

1919 - The promise of self-governing institutions is realised with the passing of the Government of India Act by the British Parliament. The Act introduces a dual administration in which both elected Indian legislators and appointed British officials share power, although the British retain control of critical portfolios like finance, taxation and law and order.

However, the goodwill created by the move is undermined in March by the passing of the Rowlatt Acts. These acts empower the Indian authorities to suppress sedition by censoring the press, detaining political activists without trial and arresting suspects without a warrant.

Gandhi describes the Rowlatt Acts as "instruments of oppression" and begins a campaign of resistance or 'Satyagraha' (the devotion to truth or truth force) against them and British rule.

"Satyagraha differs from passive resistance as the North Pole from the South," he says. "The latter has been conceived as a weapon for the weak and does not exclude the use of physical force or violence for the purpose of gaining one's end, whereas the former has been conceived as a weapon of the strongest and excludes the use of violence in any shape or form."

The Satyagraha movement spreads through India, gaining millions of followers, though Gandhi pulls back when violence breaks out and martial law is declared.

On 13 April the movement comes to a temporary halt when British troops fire at point-blank range into a crowd of 10,000 unarmed and unsuspecting Indians gathered at Amritsar in the Punjab to celebrate a Hindu festival. A total of 1,650 rounds are fired, killing 379 and wounding 1,137.

1920 - Gandhi proclaims an organised campaign of noncooperation. He urges Indians to boycott British institutions and products, to resign from public office, to withdraw their children from government schools, to refuse to pay taxes, and to forsake British titles and honours.

Gandhi is arrested, but the British are soon forced to release him. He refashions the Congress Party from an elite organisation into an effective political instrument with widespread grassroots support.

As well as Satyagraha, Gandhi advocates 'Swaraj' (self-rule), particularly in the economic sphere. He encourages the revival of cottage industries and begins to use a spinning wheel as a symbol for the return to the simple life and the renewal of domestic industry.

He also advocates 'Ahimsa' (nonviolence) and Hindu-Muslim unity. He leads his movement by example, rejecting earthly possessions and living an ascetic life of prayer, fasting and meditation. Indians begin to call him Mahatma, or 'Great Soul'.

1921 - The Congress Party gives Gandhi complete executive authority. However, after a series of violent confrontations between Indian demonstrators and the British authorities, he ends the campaign of civil disobedience.

1922 - In March Gandhi is arrested by the British and tried on a charge of conspiring to overthrow the government. He pleads guilty and is sentenced to six years imprisonment.

1924 - Gandhi is released from prison in January after an operation for appendicitis. His remaining jail sentence is unconditionally remitted.

1925 - He withdraws from politics to set up an ashram (commune), establish a newspaper, and work to help the rural poor and the members of the 'Untouchable' caste.

1927 - The British set up a commission to recommend further constitutional steps towards greater self-rule but fail to appoint an Indian to the panel. In response, the Congress boycotts the commission throughout India and drafts its own constitution demanding full independence by 1930.

1930 - Gandhi proclaims a new campaign of civil disobedience and calls upon the Indian population to refuse to pay taxes, particularly the tax on salt. The campaign centres on a 400 km march to the sea between 12 March and 6 April.

Thousands follow Gandhi as he walks south from his commune at Ahmedabad (the capital of Gujarat) to Dandi (near Surat on the Gulf of Cambay). When they arrive they illegally make salt by evaporating seawater.

"Let the government then, to carry on its rules, use guns against us, send us to prison, hang us," Gandhi says during the march. "But how many can be given such punishment? Try and calculate how much time it will take of Britishers to hang 300 million of persons."

On 5 May Gandhi is arrested. He is held at Yerovila Jail in Poona for the rest of the year. About 30,000 other members of the independence movement are also held in jail.

Gandhi is named 'Time' magazine's man of the year for 1930.

1931 - Gandhi is released from prison on 26 January. He accepts a truce with the British, calls off the civil disobedience campaign and travels to London to attend a 'Round Table Conference' on the future of India.

On his return to India he finds that the situation has deteriorated. Hopes that calm will prevail following the negotiations between the Indians and the British are dashed when Gandhi and Nehru are again arrested and imprisoned.

1932 - In September, while still in jail, Gandhi begins a "fast unto death" to improve the status of the Untouchable caste. The fast ends after six days when the British Government accepts a settlement agreement between the Untouchables and higher caste Indians.

1933 - In April Gandhi fasts for 21 days to again focus attention on the plight of the Untouchables. He is released from jail during this fast but rearrested with his wife and 30 followers on 31 July after commencing a new "individual" civil disobedience campaign and sentenced to a year in jail.

1934 - Gandhi formally resigns from politics and is replaced as leader of the Congress by Jawaharlal Nehru.

1935 - Limited self-rule is achieved when the British Parliament passes the Government of India Act (1935). The Act gives Indian provinces a system of democratic, autonomous government. However, it is only implemented after Gandhi gives his approval.

1937 - In February, after elections under the Government of India Act bring the Congress to power in seven of 11 provinces, the party is faced with a dilemma. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the leader of the defeated Muslim League, asks for the formation of coalition Congress-Muslim League governments in some of the provinces. His request is denied.

The subsequent clash between the Congress and the Muslim League hardens into a conflict between Hindus and Muslims that will ultimately lead to the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan.

During the year Gandhi is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is selected as a candidate for the shortlist but does not win the award. Further unsuccessful nominations follow in 1938, 1939, 1947 and 1948.

1939 - Gandhi again returns to active political life, beginning a fast to support the federation of Indian principalities with the rest of country. The colonial government intervenes and Gandhi's demands are granted.

When the Second World War breaks out in September Britain unilaterally declares India's participation on the side of the Allies. In response the Congress withdraws from government and decides it will not to support the British war effort unless India is granted complete and immediate independence. The Muslim League, however, supports the British during the war.

1940 - In March the Congress gives Gandhi full power to determine policy and direct programs. Meanwhile, the Muslim League adopts the 'Pakistan Resolution' calling for areas with a Muslim majority in India's northwest and northeast to be partitioned from the Hindu core.

1941 - On 30 December Gandhi asks the Congress Working Committee to relieve him of its leadership. Despite stepping down he continues to run the party from behind the scenes.

1942 - With Japanese forces reaching the eastern borders of India, the British attempt to negotiate with the Indians. However, Gandhi will accept nothing less than independence and calls on the British to leave India.

When the Congress Party passes its 'Quit India' resolution in Bombay on 8 August the entire Congress Working Committee, including Gandhi and Nehru, is arrested and imprisoned.

Also during 1942 Gandhi officially designates Nehru as his political heir.

1943 - On 10 February Gandhi begins a 21-day fast to win his freedom. The British are unmoved and refuse to release him from custody.

1944 - In February Gandhi's wife dies. Gandhi is allowed to attend her cremation but is then returned to prison. On 6 May he is released for good because of failing health.

Meanwhile, the British Government agrees to independence for India on condition that the two contending nationalist groups, the Muslim League and the Congress Party, resolve their differences. In September Gandhi discusses the possibility of partition with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the head of the Muslim League. The talks fail to resolve the issue.

1946 - Nehru, with Gandhi's blessing, is invited by the British to form an interim government to organise the transition to independence. Fearing it will be excluded from power, the Muslim League declares 16 August 'Direct Action Day'. When communal rioting breaks out in the north, partition comes to be seen as a valid alternative to the possibility of civil war.

1947 - On 3 June British Prime Minister Clement Attlee introduces a bill to the House of Commons calling for the independence and partition of the British Indian Empire into the separate nations of India and Pakistan. On 14 July the House of Commons passes the India Independence Act. Under the Act Pakistan is further divided into east and west wings on either side of India.

On 14 August Pakistan is declared to be independent. India formally attains its sovereignty at midnight on the same day. Amid the celebrations Nehru delivers a famous speech on India's "tryst with destiny", but the initial jubilation is soon tempered by violence.

Sectarian riots erupt as Muslims in India flee to Pakistan while Hindus in the Pakistan flee the opposite way. As many as two million die in north India, at least 12 million become refugees, and a limited war over the incorporation of Kashmir into India breaks out between the two nation states. Gandhi pleas for peace, using fasts to shame rioting mobs into order.

"If the peace is broken again I will come back and undertake a fast unto the death and die if necessary," he warns.

1948 - On 30 January Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi while on his way to his evening prayer meeting. His assassin is a Hindu extremist who opposes Gandhi's willingness to engage in dialogue with Muslims.

The same evening Nehru makes a radio address to the nation. "Gandhi has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere," he says. "The father of our nation is no more. No longer will we run to him for advice and solace. ... This is a terrible blow to millions and millions in this country. ...

"Our light has gone out, but the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. For a thousand years that light will be seen in this country and the world will see it. ... Oh, that this has happened to us! There was so much more to do."

Comment: Gandhi was the most inspirational leader of the first half of the 20th Century. His advocacy of civil disobedience and nonviolent mass protest as the most effective way of achieving social change has instructed freedom movements around the world, from Poland to the United States to Burma.

More information
Links are to external sites.

India - A Country Study (Library of Congress Country Studies Series)

M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

The Nobel Peace Prize - Articles: Mahatma Gandhi, The Missing Laureate

AsiaSource: Asia Biography - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

New York Times


Holocaust Commemoration A day to reflect upon Holocaust

Mike Ghouse

The Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are organizing the 2nd Annual Holocaust remembrance on Sunday, January 27th, 2007.

On this Holocaust remembrance day residents of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex come together as humans of all affiliations to learn to understand the suffering of the people around the world, to develop an open mind and an open heart towards each other in the process of healing and repairing the world.

Peace is caused by each one of us, just as atrocities are also initiated by individuals. It is our duty to cause peace, to initiate peace and to work for peace. Each one of us is responsible to create a better world for ourselves and for human kind. We have to work toward the belief that saving one life is like saving the whole of humanity.

In 2006 the United Nations proclaimed January 27th as a Holocaust remembrance day to commemorate the greatest atrocity the world had ever witnessed. In support of that, the Foundation for Pluralism organized an event on Thursday, January 26, 2006 to accommodate the Jewish Sabbath as January 27 fell on a Friday in 2006. Information on last year’s event can be found at

We should honor our divine instructions to mourn and honor the suffering of others. The focus of the program is Holocaust, while reflecting upon other atrocities and genocides that humans have inflicted upon other humans. It will be a day for all of us to reflect upon and promise ourselves "never again" and hope each one of us makes a personal commitment to oneself to speak out against these.

God is infinite compassionate and merciful, and has blessed each human spirit with a measure of that infinite mercy and compassion. Although God is immense and humans are minuscule, yet we are taught that God partakes in our very human and personal grief, at the misery we inflict on one another. Does God want us to embrace and honor those blessings, or to attack and revile one another for "wrongly" interpreting them?

God has created two dimensions of the world: Physical and Spiritual. He has taken care of the physical part by putting planets, stars, sun, moon, mountains, oceans on a certain trajectory and they are following it obediently for Millions of years. On the spiritual dimension, God gave us the responsibility to maintain that balance. A balanced World is where every human is on its own trajectory, in its own space safe and secure as each star is, yet operating in harmony.

God has given us the heart and mind to use it to create that balance within oneself and with others surrounding us. However, the safe path for humans is to follow*1, surrender*2, submit*3 (and other similar words in different traditions) and obey his instructions for a balanced life. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and balance emerges.

A Good deed is creating peace, security and balance for all his creation. That is doing good things to others to keep that balance in the universe. This is essence of all religions.

The healing and recovery God wants for Humanity can only occur when we each examine our own hearts, our own cultures and our own faith traditions to discern where seeds of prejudice, cruelty and even genocide remain hidden.

A new tradition is taking roots in Dallas. We are inviting Americans of all faiths, races and ethnicities to join together to reflect upon the persecutions and tragedies humans have endured, and bring about a change, however little we can. The least we can do is to join the people who are making a difference.

The U.N.’s Dangerous Agenda – read NewsMax’s special report – Click Here

Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
United Nations


Find excuses to greet other people and wish them well and simply enjoy the response and counter response.
Work on bringing humility and fight off every thought and action that gives you the idea that your race, faith, nation, culture, language or life style is superior to others.
Let not you words and actions flare up conflicts, but mitigate them.
Do your share of living for others, one hour a week will enrich you with joy.
Push yourselves to be prejudice free against people that you meet at every meeting, incident, TV shows, and work or news items that you come across.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.