For those of you who didn’t know, Oct. 2 was the birthday of the widely known peaceful political activist Mohandas Gandhi. In celebration of his life, the Anthropology 210 course, Feast or Famine: The Ecology and Politics of Food, put together a dinner and discussion event on his birthday. In Beard Hall students and faculty guests were served food catered by Rasoi restaurant in Pawtucket. The traditional vegetarian Indian meal had various offerings including saag paneer, dal, naan bread, and a vegetable coconut curry.
After guests finished eating, members of the Feast or Famine class led the group in a discussion about Gandhi’s use of fasting as a tool for social change, and the practice of non-violent political activism. The discussion was connected to current events when the group considered whether it is possible to combat a powerful group such as ISIS with non-violent actions. While many people argued that it should be possible to avoid violence in such a scenario, one student also brought up the point that it takes time to create significant change – and in the mean time, these groups are committing unnecessary acts of violence.
The night was concluded with the thought that while Gandhi was able to create such significant change, he was still just one ordinary person, which means that all of us have the ability to create change in our own communities as well. Wheaton’s many service opportunities offered through the Chapel Basement enable all of us to begin this change if we have not already.
The event was in the spirit of President Hanno’s inauguration theme: changing lives, strengthening community. The students in the class presented a poster detailing their collaboration during the inauguration poster session.