SONEPAT, India -- ISIS' manslaughter in Paris has placed on Muslims across the world the agonizing task of self-definition and self-explanation. It has placed Muslims in India in the doubly agonizing predicament of fearing a local backlash for what ISIS does as part of its global agenda. I do not believe intolerance will prevail in India. The people here are not stupid. But they live in a trapezium of wildly swinging emotions. And there, belligerents want to have their macabre fun, get their bloodied thrills.
I believe its because being openly spiritual is The Last Great Social Taboo, judged as shameful, embarrassing or stupid in our technocratic, über-rationalist culture. Why do we continue to allow our friends, communities, workplaces and ecological systems to suffer when self-love, brother-love and planet-love can transform all suffering in its path?
Mahatma Gandhi led India to independence from British rule using non-violent civil disobedience. In addition, he has inspired civil rights movements in Africa, the African diaspora and across the world. He appeared until recently to be as close to a secular saint as anyone the 20th century has produced.
The only candidates in the 2016 race who might embrace these ideas are Bernie Sanders for the Democrats, and Jill Stein with the Greens. To help incubate a new politics of peace, though, a think tank co-founded by intellectuals Michael Lerner and Cornel West called the "Network for Spiritual Progressives" (NSP) has some good ideas.