How to use this site   About Us   Submissions   Feedback   Donate   Links   

Assemblies.org.uk - School Assemblies for every season for everyone

Decorative image - Secondary

Email Twitter Facebook

-
X
-

Gandhi

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools

Aims

To explore Gandhi’s peaceful approach to eradicating inequality.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and two readers.

  • Have available an image of Gandhi and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y7zxt5oc

  • You may wish to find out more about Gandhi. Further information is available at: www.mkgandhi.org

  • Optional: you may wish to have available a map or pictures of India. If you have a copy of the film Gandhi, you may wish to play a short clip from it, in which case you will also need the means to do so.

  • Optional: you may wish to play some traditional Indian music at the end of the assembly, in which case you will also need the means to do so.

Assembly

Show the image of Gandhi. Reader 1 should be standing beside it. Reader 2 should stand a distance away – for example, on the other side of the leader.

Reader 1:
 ‘So long as my faith burns bright, as I hope it will even if I stand alone, I shall be alive in the grave and what is more, speaking from it.’

Reader 2: ‘Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving towards a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore Gandhi at our own risk.’

Leader: Two statements from two men: Gandhi and Martin Luther King. What do these men have in common?

They both believed in non-violence, using peaceful means, not force, to bring about change. However, they both met violent deaths. They both believed that their actions were worth dying for, but neither of them set out to die. They are both remembered as inspirational figures today – in Gandhis case, nearly 70 years after his death.

Today, we are going to focus solely on Gandhi. He is one of the most famous Indian figures in the world and is seen as one of the greatest gurus. If you were to visit the official Gandhi website, you would find that it has had millions of hits. Why?

Lets think about it like this. Have you ever been really, really hungry? Would you be prepared to go really hungry in order to protect someone elses rights? Would you be happy to get into trouble on someone elses behalf? Would you think it was worth going to prison more than once for what you believe in? If your answer is No, what would you think of someone who was prepared to do all those things?

Reader 1: Sounds a bit stupid to me! Whats the point?

Reader 2: Well, Id like to be like that, but Im not sure Id actually manage to do it when it came to it.

Leader: Whether it’s from curiosity or admiration, people are often fascinated by those who make a big impact.

In the first part of the twentieth century, there were plenty of causes to act on. Gandhi, like Martin Luther King years later, fought against apartheid (he had worked in South Africa as a lawyer and experienced it first-hand). In India, there was discrimination related to the caste system, and Gandhi championed the rights of a group called the untouchables – the lowest caste – by going on hunger strike.

When we think of Gandhi, we think of non-violence, the sacred cows that wander unharmed in the streets of India, a general belief in the sanctity of life and a prayerful attitude to the world around us, a recognition that we do not need to have many material things to live well. However, Gandhi is also a reminder that grinding oppression, rivalry, war and unfairness are still with us today.

India is a long way away, and Gandhi died nearly 70 years ago. Does his life really have any relevance to us today? 

Yes. We live in a global village. India is about nine hours away by plane. Lets listen again to the words of Martin Luther King.

Reader 2: ‘Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving towards a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore Gandhi at our own risk.’

Time for reflection

The Indian tradition of prayer involves the use of meditation and quietness.

Ask the students to be quiet for a short time (gauge for yourself how long this can be) and reflect on the world that Gandhi wanted to see. During this time, read the following quotations from Gandhi at intervals.

- Live simply, that others may simply live.
- If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.

End either with a piece of traditional Indian music or by repeating the quote from Martin Luther King for a third time.

Publication date: February 2018   (Vol.20 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
Print this page