2. Present students
with reading materials or have them find their own via Internet searches.
Assign readings and responses. Time: varies according to readings
Activity 1: Group
Break down the concepts from Dr. Jeyapragasam’s handout and
divide students into groups, each assigned to one section. Have each
group find examples of people (local, national, international) who
exemplify given principles and examples of violations. Ask students
to recommend alternative actions for violations. Suggested time: One
period for construction of responses; one to two periods (depending
upon class size) for presentation of material.
Activity 2: Large Group-Small
Group/ Critical Thinking
Large group— 15-20 minutes: Have
students list forms of violence at various levels; extend beyond the
obvious to underlying forms of violence that students may not initially
think of (beyond torture, murder or child abuse to pollution, fear,
anger, arrogance, theft, apartheid, jealousy, computer hacking, etc).
Small group— 20-25 minutes: suggest ways to combat each practice.
List the relief work needed in and around you at the micro and macro
levels. Suggest ways to enhance love and empathy levels. Group debriefing:
20-35 minutes (depending on class size).
Activity 3: Activism
Have students identify need for change
in your school, community, state or the nation. Have them choose to
either develop a plan for a non-violent demonstration promoting change
or volunteer in an organization that works toward social change. For
this activity, devote one class period to identification of need and
preparation of action plan. Have students implement activities outside
of class, allowing 1-2 weeks. As a writing component, have students
reflect upon their experiences. Allow one class period for oral presentations
of the reflections.
Activity 4: Activism
Ask students to define activism and reflect
on the question “what can activism accomplish? ” (10-15
minutes) In a large group discussion ask students to identify activists
in the community, state, nation, etc. (10-15 minutes). Have students
research present-day peace activists answering the following questions
and preparing presentation materials:
1. Who are they and what progress have
2. How do their activities reflect Gandhian principles?
3. In what ways are the concerns and strategies of US activists similar
to and/or different from those in other countries?
4. How could these activists improve their practices?
Have students present their findings to the class w/charts, pictures,
and oral presentations (50-100 minutes, depending on class size).
Grade based on thoroughness of research, quality of visual aids, and
accuracy of information.
Activity 5: Writing one’s
own Experiment with Truth
Have students brainstorm and write about
ways to incorporate nonviolent principles into their own lives using
Dr. Jeyapragasam’s chart as a guide. For example, to remove
violent practices (addiction, discrimination, physical or emotional
abuse of siblings or parents), to prevent violent practices from taking
hold (religious fundamentalism consumerism), to nourish existing non-violent
practices (enriching compassion, volunteerism), to welcome and adopt
any new non-violent practice (simplicity, repent for past mistakes)
etc. (20-30 minutes). Suggest that students use their brainstorming
to create poetry, prose, song lyrics, narrative essays, dramatic skits,
sculpture, collages, murals, etc— Ask for polished pieces for
presentation or publication.
Activity 6: Research
Divide students into groups to explore
various aspects of Gandhian thought: Self-reliance and the Khadi movement/salt
march; Gandhi’s philosophy on basic education; Gandhi’s
philosophy on villages (how to build a village to make it democratic);
religious and caste harmony. After researching have students demonstrate
knowledge in a creative format: (for example, create their own village
or make thread from cotton while explaining significance).
Resources and Recommended Readings:
- Mahatma Gandhi: An Experiment in Truth (full text or excerpts)
- Collected Works, Mahatma Gandhi
- Mahatma Gandhi’s Inaugural Address to the All India National
Education Conference in Wardha held Oct 22 and 23, 1937
- Various Internet Resources: have students do Gandhi searches—plenty
of resources available.
- Packet Handout: Key Concepts of Gandhian Philosophy
- Gandhi (director Richard Attenborough; starring Ben Kingsley)
- India Defying the Crown (available through the Center for
South Asia, UW-Madison)
Cross References to other themes:
- Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience
- Articles on Peace Rallying prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Nobel Peace Prize winners/ Gandhi-King Awards for Non-Violence
- Gender: 2002 Acceptance Speech by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi
Standards hit in these lessons
A. Reading and Literature Content Standard
Students in Wisconsin will read and respond
to a wide range of writing to build an understanding of written materials,
of themselves and of others.
12.1 Use effective reading strategies to achieve their purposes in
12.2 Read, interpret, critically analyze literature.
12.3 Read and discuss literary and nonliterary texts in order to understand
12.4 Read to acquire information.
B. Writing Content Standard
Students in Wisconsin will write clearly
and effectively to share information and knowledge, to influence and
persuade, to create and entertain.
12.1 Create or produce writing to communicate with different audiences
for a variety of purposes.
12.2 Plan, revise, edit, and publish clear and effective writing.
C. Oral Language
Students in Wisconsin will listen to understand
and will speak clearly and effectively for diverse purposes.
12.1 Prepare and deliver oral presentations appropriate to specific
purposes and audiences
12.2 Listen to, discuss, and comprehend oral communication
12.3 Participate effectively in discussion
E. Media and Technology
Students will use media and technology
critically and creatively to obtain, organize, prepare and share information;
to influence and persuade; to entertain and be entertained
12.1 Use computers to acquire, organize, analyze, and communicate
12.2 Make informed judgments about media and products
F. Research and Inquiry
Students in Wisconsin will locate, use,
and communicate information from a variety of print and nonprint resources.
12.1 Conduct research and inquiry on self-selected or assigned topics,
issues, or problems and use an appropriate form to communicate their
Key Concepts of
Dr. S. Jeyapragasam
Love: of self, God, nature, fellow humans; love as
compassion, warmth, kindness, friendship, empathy, fraternity, altruism,
service, mercy, help, sharing, trusteeship, non-possession; love as
healing, patience, tolerance, reconciliation, forgiving, repentance,
sacrifice, mutual aid, solidarity.
Nonviolent action: in lifestyle, economics, politics,
society, defense policy, institutions and organizations, education
and communication, child upbringing, approaches to crime and punishment,
direct action for peace w/justice, peaceful resolution of conflicts,
constructive work to build up a nonviolent world order, relief and
rehabilitation work; removing structural (indirect) violence.
Non-killing: disarmament, preventing accidents and calamities,
non-injury in both human and non-human contexts.
Nonviolent Ethics and values: spiritual and ethical
religion; joy with conscience, reasoning and responsibility; human-centered,
eco-friendly, holistic, ethical and sustainable science and technology,
economics, politics, society; human rights and responsibilities; purity
of means and ends; welfare of all and welfare of last first.
Truth: Truthfulness, honesty, transparency, accountability,
expanding conscience, awareness and responsibility; justice with compassion;
taking responsibility for past mistakes, errors, sins; repentance
and apology; avoidance of repetition of mistakes, freedom from ignorance,
errors, mistakes, sins; pluralism; understanding of the multiplicity
of truth; humility and respect for others’ truths; holding on
to relative truth but continuing quest for further truth; attempting
to arrive at a consensus on key issues; quest for truth; testing truth