Monday, January 30, 2017

Gandhi still matters


Mahatma Gandhi, whose death anniversary is commemorated today, is still relevant precisely because of the gulf between him and our contemporary leaders.  What sets Gandhi poles apart is the harmony or congruence that existed between his thought, word and deed.  He called that harmony ‘truth’.  He was a man of truth.  Since truth is not a fixed entity he experimented with it.  That is, he was constantly discovering truth.  His life was an ardent pursuit of truth.  He might have erred occasionally as any human being does however noble he or she may be.  But his pursuit was genuine.  He was genuine.

The absolute lack of masks is what makes Gandhi as relevant as any genuinely spiritual leader would be at any time, even centuries after his or her death.  It is those who put on different masks to suit various occasions that need to separate religion from politics, public life from private life.  “My life is my message,” Gandhi asserted boldly because he never needed any mask at any time, any place.

If Gandhi insisted on keeping India undivided, it is because he believed unconditionally in the essential unity of human beings in spite of the superficial differences such as religion or caste or language or whatever.  You can be a Hindu or a Muslim or atheist and still be a good human being living in harmony with other human beings.  For Gandhi, Independence actually meant that liberation from narrow selfish considerations such as religion-based love.

Independence is not just political liberation.  Independence is liberation of the soul (or consciousness for those who can’t accept the concept of soul) from parochialism, narrow nationalism, linguistic jingoism, or any such consideration which divides one section of the country against another.

Gandhi wept when Jawaharlal Nehru celebrated the fulfilment of India’s tryst with destiny because the nation stood pathetically divided into Hindus and Muslims who were killing one another especially in the borderlands.  Such Independence meant nothing to him. 

Those who could not grasp the magnanimous vision that the Mahatma taught were filled with hatred.  Religious hatred, the most pernicious evil in Gandhian vision.  They fired bullets into the Mahatma’s heart. 

Their spirit continued to flourish in the country and today that spirit has become more dominant than any other.  That is why Gandhi is ever more relevant today.  If only the peddlers of hatred sat down for a few weeks to study and understand what Gandhi stood for, our country would be a guiding beacon to the world.  

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18 comments:

  1. Gandhi, and his philosophy is much needed in today's world. Sadly, this simple, and straight-forward soul is the most misunderstood person.

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    1. People don't want to understand because they are interested not in truths but self-aggrandisement.

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  2. Gandhi is missed more than ever before

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  3. I grew learning Gandhi as an embodiment of truth. For the first time, at the age of 20, I was shocked to learn something as anti-Gandhi clubs. Many, including youngsters of today, believe that he was the reason behind the partition. It's disheartening to see how all his efforts and intention have gone futile. Perhaps it is the karma of this karma Bhoomi to misunderstand a great leader of truth, to get divided on the name of religion and continue the hatred for years. I sometimes feel Gandhi might not rest in peace untill India and Pakistan reunite or atleast stop being what they have been to each other since independence.

    Please enable the name, url format for comments. For WordPress Bloggers, it's much easier.

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    1. Gandhi bashing has its origin in hatred of certain sections of India's population. The godfathers of RSS were dyed in the wool haters. They contributed nothing to the freedom struggle except this hatred. Now their followers are gaining ascendancy in the country and hence strong anti-Gandhi sentiments.

      What motivated Mr Modi to declare Oct 2, Gandhi's birthday, as Swacchta diwas was nothing noble. On the contrary, he was demeaning Gandhi's greatness into mere swachhta brought about by a broom. Just as he sought to demean Christmas by declaring it as good governance day. When he replaced Gandhi with himself in the Khadi Industries calendars and diaries, he was testing the waters so that he could eventually drown Gandhi in those waters...

      I'll soon change the comments format. Thanks.

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  4. Gandhi was assassinated on 30th January 1948...but he remains in the heart of indians since generations....though there are systemic efforts to deface him from history..though Gandhi and his ideals are thrashed crushed and brualised day in and day out 24x7, 52 weeks a year....he continues to live in the hearts of the billion people of this great country and other peaceloving citizens across the globe...There are millions of Gandhians across the globe who continue to be great in their simplicity and simple living and pristine ideals....Destiny has great souls across the centuries to steer the country forward...like Emperor Ashoka, Buddha, Jain, Gandhi ...There will natural successors of their social DNA as and when the need arises..sprouting from its billion citizens.....

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    1. People like Gandhi don't die, really. His greatness will continue to inspire many people for ages to come.

      Louis Fischer, his biographer, compared him to Jesus and Buddha. Yes, he deserves the comparison.

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  5. Should we try ahimsa vis-a-vis Pakistan?

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    1. Gandhi said that if he were to choose between cowardice and violence, he would choose the latter. Gandhi really need be studied further?

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  6. Indu Ji, you appears to have misunderstood the concept of Ahimsa as propagated by Gandhi. Gandhi himself had asserted that if he had to choose between cowardice and violence, he would have chosen violence. Ahimsa is to be practiced in word and spirit and should be propagated with own example but it's not to be taken to the extremes. When it's impractical to go for it, one should not shy away from essential violence. That's the case with Pakistan's hostile activities towards India. All the same, we have practiced and still are practicing non-violence towards Pakistan also because we have never attacked from our side and have always maintained restraint to the extent possible. We still are interested in having good, cooperative and enmity-free relations with Pakistan. Hope, it answers your query. Ahimsa is to be practiced in general but not when you're on the battlefield facing the question of your own survival.

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    1. Oh, I noticed your response to Indu after posting mine. I must express my happiness on coming across one Indian who has understood the father of the nation.

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  7. I am in complete agreement with your thoughts Sir. He is all the more relevant today. His detractors have their own axes to grind. The present Indian premier wants to associate his name with Gandhi's name just because he wants to seek advantage of the brand value attached to Gandhi's name.

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    1. It worries me that Mr Modi is usurping the Mahatma using devious methods.

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  8. Sir, I have recommended you for Bloggers Recognition Award. The relevant link is as follows :
    https://jmathur.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/bloggers-recognition-award/

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  9. Gandhi matters but in today's world who cares - when leaders like the ones in power only show the mentality of the people who chose them - there is need for some serious education now

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    1. Who cares? So true. Gandhi is also a tool today in the hands of politicians.

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