One of the last living disciples of Gandhi travels to Birmingham, Alabama to pay tribute to the work of nonviolence in this piece from Waging Nonviolence.
As I flew in from Illinois, the thunderstorms over Birmingham cleared long enough to let us land in good order. I had come to Alabama to attend a retreat featuring Narayan Desai, one of the last living disciples of Mohandas Gandhi, who made the trip there from India at the invitation of longtime activists and authors Shelley and Jim Douglass. Born in 1924 in Gandhi’s ashram, Desai has consistently undertaken Gandhian work for eight decades, and has recently published a 2,300-page biography of Gandhi. It was not only deeply moving to spend three days last week in the presence of this life-long Gandhian, but to do so in Birmingham, the site of one of the civil rights movement’s most iconic struggles.