Constructive Program

Less well known than his many nonviolent action campaigns, which were part of the 30-year nonviolent strategy he masterminded to liberate India, Gandhi spent many years of his life traveling around India teaching his constructive program.

This is because an effective nonviolent campaign, which also requires the defense of gains that have been won previously, ultimately requires the reconstruction of the personal, social, economic, ecological and political life of each individual. In essence, this requires two things – both of which are essential for the creation of a nonviolent society – and the strategic plan should identify how they are to be achieved:

(i) for the individual, it requires increasing ‘power from within’ through the development of personal identity, self-reliance and fearlessness (all of which might require some, or even considerable, emotional healing): see ‘Putting Feelings First’. To understand how adults might treat children to achieve this outcome and eliminate the need for future healing, see the articles ‘My Promise to Children’, ‘Do We Want School or Education?’ and ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.

(ii) for the community, it requires the creation of new social processes and structures which foster political participation, cultural diversity, economic self-reliance and ecological resilience.

For Gandhi, nonviolent struggle had to be both empowering and liberating for each individual and local community or any political gains for national society were shallow and of little meaning.

Hence, while your struggle might focus on simpler elements of this simultaneous individual, community and nation building, you will get a clear sense of what is necessary from ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’ which explains how you might undertake the two tasks nominated above while also tackling the ecological (including climate) crisis.

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