Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), a leader of the Indian independence movement, insisted on proving that his country was capable of independence; natural resources can be processed independently and remain sustainable. Seawater turns to salt. The spun cotton is diligently made into clothes. As a result, representatives of the British colonialists in India were confused; British monopoly on the two goods was disrupted. This is illustrated in Gandhi (1982) .
The spirit to be free from dependence is manifested in the biopic Gandhi (1982). Apart from the spirit of self-reliance and non-violence , the idea of saving production and consumption that is imitated in this film is something beautiful.
For more than two hours, we will get used to seeing Gandhi spinning thread with his traditional tools. To the point, he got the comment, ” You’re the only man I know who makes his own clothes ,” a piece of dialogue from Margareth, a foreign journalist, when interviewing Gandhi.
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There is an explicit scene: small resistance is real, namely when Ghandi leads the long march ; rejection of the ban on collecting and making British salt. In the film, it is said that at first the action led by Ghandi only included hundreds of people, then the number grew to thousands. They go to the beach with confidence. Finally, salt was successfully produced and then sold cheaply. No monopoly.
Victory against and joy do not last long. A strict ban was then imposed by the UK. Instead of following the rules, some people still insist on making salt. The British army enforced it without mercy, but the “bloody bodies” still freed themselves from retaliation. This scene smacks of humanity—slowly making the British soldiers realize themselves.
The issues that appear in this film are very relevant—perhaps forever. In Indonesia, there is Mama Aleta—an environmentalist who opposes the construction of a marble quarry with a non-violent approach. He and the people of Mollo, South Timor Tengan Regency, NTT took action to weave stone in the area to be used as a mine. With hard work and extraordinary sacrifices, Mama Aleta was able to repel industrialization that threatens the preservation of nature in NTT.
Of course there are many more figures who have struggled and are struggling against human greed in controlling natural resources. Their struggle will be sustainable even if they are confronted by unscrupulous people or government.
Simple is Sustainable.
Unfortunately, some humans feel that they can win and dominate nature. In fact, when nature is damaged, humans are also on the losing side and lose. Humans are part of that nature.
In the book Small That’s Beautiful (1973), F. Schumacher quotes Ghandi quite a lot, assessing the error in the modern economy, namely assuming that production affairs are finished. Materials from nature that are irreplaceable are considered as income; not capital. Thus, the use of natural resources is very wasteful, and there is no threshold so that there is no awareness of environmental sustainability. Then, there is jealousy between countries over the ownership of both irreplaceable and replaceable materials provided by generous nature.
Maybe what Gandhi, played by Ben Kingsley, did at that time was considered strange. When all nations are competing in upgrading production, the man who graduated from law seemed to be redefining the meaning of economics. Needs underlie production. If you can save, why should you squander? For example, the clothes he wears are the same clothes.
Schumacher critiques that modern economics is more concerned with the ends achieved than the means. Then, what is useless is considered good, what is useful is considered bad. What this film shows: Britain has a monopoly on the salt that is freely available in India.
Schumacher also considered that the act of imitating Western industrialization was wrong. In fact, according to him, Eastern countries have wisdom in preserving sustainability. Schumacher’s opinion seemed correct. Take, for example, Mama Aleta who describes the value in interpreting the sublime nature, “Nature is the human body, stones become bones, soil becomes flesh, and forests become skin, hair, and lungs”.
Still the contents in the book Little is Beautiful . In overcoming the nature of greed, envy, and hatred Gandhi has the answer: “We must realize that beside the body there is a soul, and that the soul is eternal, and consciousness is a living belief; in the end, non-violence is of no use to one who does not have a living belief in a merciful God.”
The film Gandhi (1982) was able to awaken oneself from the potential nature of greed and transgression. As for Mama Aleta’s story, it can be adapted to the big screen and like the Gandhi film , the story of her struggle can be widely accessed and nature is preserved forever.