I woke up today, on 2nd of October 2016, in an independent and resurgent India. The country has became something of a great value to the world, but perhaps nothing like as the “Mahatma” intended.
It was quite ironical, that I opened “Google News” as my usual habit at 6 a.m. in the morning, hoping that the page would be full of messages and quotes of the Mahatma, but to my utter amazement and dismay, Mahatma was nowhere to be seen. The first five headlines were:
- US gives snub to Pakistan on nuclear threat.
- More than 65000 crores of black money disclosed.
- China snubs India again, blocks move to ban Masood Azhar.
- In search of rebound, Donald Trump ramps up attack on Hillary Clinton.
- Cauvery water row: Karnataka misses Supreme Court deadline.
And it is the truth, which always remains self explanatory and evident, is that the world is nothing like the Mahatma wanted it to be.
Today, we should remember, if we summarize Mahatma’s teachings, they would come down to be truth and non-violence. The world needs and misses both these traits.
He also stressed on women empowerment. “To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?”
That’s what Mahatma believed. We are not anywhere near in granting women their due rights, as Mahatma wanted. Not just we Indians, but the whole world is a culprit (read Donald Trump comments on women). If we should have concern for women rights, condition of socially exploited sections is even more pathetic.
He wrote a full book ‘Harijan’ for the cause of social justice. Isn’t it shameful, even after so many laws and talks, manual scavenging still exists in India. Probably, government is a lesser culprit. Our society has failed both Mahatma and our weaker sections.
It’s high time that socially exploited sections themselves adhere to what Mahatma said in Harijan, “The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. Freedom and slavery are mental states. Therefore, the first thing to say to yourself: I shall no longer accept the role of a slave. I shall not obey orders as such but shall disobey them when they are in conflict with my conscience.” Weaker section has only been used as a vote bank politics tool. Both the condition of the exploited and the type of governance in India should change.
To prevent the situation in which the present India is, Mahatma had advised us to remain vary of seven social sins. These are – politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice. We commit these sins as a matter of common practice and habit.
Leave alone the citizenry, the administrators, apart from showcasing ‘The Mahatma’ portraits on their office walls and quoting Mahatma in press releases, never followed Mahatma.
Yes, Mahatma is a favorite and is quoted far and wide, in UN speeches, on Independence days, and in speeches of peace, liberty and fraternity, not just by Indians, but by the whole world. We, as Indian students, during our childhood, often learn Mahatma Gandhi’s quotes. some of them being:
- Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.
- The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
- I’m a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours.
- Selfishness is blind.
- Hate the sin and not the sinner.
- It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
- The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least.
I am an adult (only legally, perhaps less mentally) now, but I still remember these many. I used these quotes as a child to get good marks in my essay writings. I used them today, in a desperate attempt to make my article a good read. But I never practiced them, for they are too hard to remember at times, when they are needed to be applied practically. Probably, its a common trait in we Indians, “We only remember, when it suits us the best.”
But still, lets keep remembering Mahatma.