Thursday, 26 January 2017

Mahatma: An Apostle of Non-violence

From the Champaran Satyagrah in Bihar,1917 to the day (i.e., 30 January, 1948 ) he fell to the assassin’s bullet, he steadfastly remained committed to the very idea of dharma : truth, justice and freedom. He always remained in speech and action, humble but firm, soft-spoken but determined, loving but objective. Gurudeva Rabindranath was prophetic when he called Gandhiji “ Mahatma “,the epithet that got tagged to  his surname for ever. That’s why his legacy is still relevant in the present atmosphere of violence, intolerance and chicanery.

Is Gandhi Still Relevant?

It seems ironical that such a solemn occasion would most likely to be politicized.The question is often asked: Is Mahatma Gandhi still relevant? The answer is: a resounding Yes! He is relevant today, perhaps more than what he was when he returned to India from South Africa in the early 1915. He had come home practically after more than two decades and half. He sailed to England in 1888 as a lad of nineteen to study law in the Inner Temple. He returned from South Africa with a formidable reputation of being a sustained and committed political campaigner for the Indian’s rights.

The Articles of Gandhi’s  Faith

  Gandhiji’s political movements in India were the result of moral lessons he had learned in England and South Africa. In England he was very conscientious student of law. The three-year (1888-91) stay there was his baptism by fire. He remembered the promises he had made to his mother at the time of his departure. The celibacy,vegetarianism?? Can we delete this word, thrift, commitment as a student became the article of his faith. As a law student, for example, he would never employ short cuts for moral reasons.

A Saviour who had to Struggle Hard for his own Survival

But when he set up his practice in India, he failed miserably. This was a big disappointment for him as well as for his extended family. So he accepted the offer to represent as a lawyer the firm, Dada,Abdulla and Co. in South Africa. For him, it was more an escape than an opportunity to be grabbed. He had an extremely sad and humiliating experience within a few days of his arrival in South Africa.

A Clandestine Claim on Congress’ Gandhi?

The Congress and other so-called secular parties have always  “ castigated” BJP for its supposed inheritance of the militant  and divisive  Hindutva philosophy that resulted in his assassination in 1948. BJP would always rebut it by exploding this myth “ unjustly “ created by the Congress Party using the official propaganda machinery at its command. The Congress Party, on the other hand, may blame once again the government for blatantly misusing the name of the father of the nation for its narrow political gains.

The Bitter Night at Pietermaritzburg

People say that the short journey from Durban to Pretoria in South Africa was for the Mahatma not only highly dramatic but also catalystic and transformative. During the journey, as we all know, the Piertermaritzburg incident happened. The bitter night in the shivering winter he had to spend at the small railway station at Pietermaritzburg transformed him into a man of indomitable courage and conviction. Now he would stand up to any authority, no matter how ruthless and insensitive it was, to ensure justice and dignity as if the iron had entered into his soul. Of course, his trial and tribulation there is now the part of common folklore.

The Dimension of his Being

  The religiosity was an essential dimension of his being. Conscious as he was of the noble traditions of all faiths including Christianity and Islam, he always showed what he had inherited from his Moth Bania family of Gujarat, the influence of powerful “Vaishnavism” with strong dose of Jainism. His whole attitude to life showed what he had learned from the Shrimad Bhagawatgita : “ aparigraha “(non-possession)  and “"samabhava” (equality ).

                                              ----Sailendra Misra 


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