Currently on a visit to India, I stayed in Delhi for around a week at the beginning of the trip, acclimatising as best I could given the poor air quality that, sadly, is typical during the winter months. One day I went to visit the Gandhi Smriti Memorial Museum. Noticing it was just one month short of seventy years since Gandhi was assassinated, I fell to thinking about the past, about how much Gandhi, and great people like him – unheard of and well known – achieve in their life times, and what it means for the generations that follow. It struck me that my mother would have been a young woman at the time of Gandhi’s death, barely seventeen years of age.
I thought about what else was going on in the world in that period. Having been to Israel and Palestine several times in the last few years, the significance of what was happening there in early 1948 came to mind. It was just before the establishment of the state of Israel. The bitter fighting related to that led directly to widespread upheaval and destruction for the Palestinian people which is still being experienced by them today on a daily basis.
This line of thinking began to cultivate a gloomy mood, one where I found myself questioning the impact of all the good works being carried out the world over. However, after a while, I took a deep breath and looked around me at the beautiful grounds and all the people taking time out there on a sunny winter’s day. Experiencing the peace and respite the place offers, I began to feel inspired anew by the person who is commemorated there. Sitting very still, I reflected long and hard for some time. I left in a lighter mood, having written this poem, and feeling deep gratitude for every act committed yesterday and today, and for those that will be committed tomorrow, for the wellbeing of others.