An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Struggle for Thanksgiving and Strength to Overcome!

I was reading Tony Robbin’s book Unlimited Power (btw, if you do not have it, please buy!). Personally I really like this book because it has always provided me some great input at crucial times.

I happened to read this story which was motivating and humbling at the same time! Its about how one woman was able to get ThanksGiving to be a holiday in the US despite lack of political will. Her only goal was to institute this holiday so it will lead to National unity. The lady’s name was Sara Joseph Hale.

Many people think – incorrectly – that Thanksgiving holiday has been a tradition since the Pilgrims first gave thanks in October 1621. Actually, there was no regular or consistent celebrations/observance of the ritual of Thanksgiving in the colonies for next 155 years. Despite the War of Independence that brought victory and created a country – still this never became a tradition. The 3rd Thanksgiving was observed after the Constitution was drafted and when President George Washington declared Nov 26, 1789 as a day of National Thanksgiving, this still did not take roots.

It was in 1827 that Sarah Hale – mother of five became motivated to get it started. What did she do? She became a professional writer and as an editor of a magazine that had a circulation of 150,000 she started her campaign. She wrote on women’s issues and ran campaigns for women’s colleges, free public playgrounds, and day nurseries.

She was also the one who wrote – “Mary has a little lamb” – the famous nursery rhyme.

She would write letters to Presidents and Senators and publish recipes for Thanksgiving dinners etc. In October of 1863, after the Civil War, she wrote a letter to Secy of State William Seward who showed it to Abraham Lincoln, who felt that the concept of National Unity was just right for that time!! Four days later, President Lincoln issued a proclamationsetting the last Thursday in November 1853 as a national Thanksgiving day. From then on it became a regular observance.

Now, this story has many implications. One of the most important is that Power of Persuasion and a clear objective in life that is backed by Passion can overcome and achieve anything!

There is a debate that is ongoing at Intentblog.com on one post that Rahul Pandita has written. The debate is on how to deal with the frustrations of the politicians who can compromise the future of a country and how does one – as an individual – react? Through gun or pen?

I believe that both are necessary at times. But the passion for the change outdoes most of the challenges. A Passion like Sarah’s!!

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