Today In Fact, 25 September

The power of small groups in the promotion of democracy and citizen agency has a special resonance today because we mark the birth of one Indian and the death of two Africans and an American.

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was born in small Indian village today in 1916. A man of many skills, Deendayal developed a political philosophy of integral humanism which saw the village as the central unit for social, economic and political life. Seen by many as a politically rightwing philosophy, Deendayal’s ideas must be understood in the context of an India with over 200,000 villages.

The death today in 2005 of M.Scott Peck marked the end of a life promoting human discipline and community. Peck understood community building in four distinct phases: Pseudo-community; Chaos; Emptiness and finally; True community.

The death in 2011 of Kenyan environmentalist, Nobel Laureate and political activist, Wangari Maathai ended a life which saw her promote multi-party democracy in Kenya and establish the Green Belt Movement, a grass-roots movement that supports women in rural Kenya to plant indigenous trees and promote environmental sustainability.

The death today in 2012 of Bishop Patrick Kalilombe, a Catholic from Malawi marked the end of remarkable life. The good Bishop opposed President Banda’s regime by promoting the formation of small groups in the parishes of his Lilongwe Diocese. His opposition to Banda led to his exile and house arrest.

All four of these remarkable people promoted the power of small groups in local communities to work for the common good.

What small groups do you belong to?

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (serendipiday.blogspot.com)