October 2, 2006

The man who would be Mahatma...

He was born on 2nd October 1869 at Porbandar in India. He was a shy child, an average student and avoided all company. At an early age of thirteen he fell victim to the Indian practice of Child marriage and was married to Kasturba, a marriage that lasted till the end. After completing his matriculation, he moved to England where he completed his studies in law. In England he was exposed to a different culture and as would be natural for a young man he tried to fit in before he realized that its important to follow what one believes in than what he is told to believe in. India either wasn’t ready for him or he was not ready for the role India wanted him to play, and South Africa called. It was in South Africa that he started using Truth, Non- violence and Satyagraha as weapons to fight against the discriminatory policies of the British Government. When he finally came to India, he was prepared and the political situation in India was explosive and a man like him was the need of the hour. He finally managed to get India the much-needed independence without the use of any weapons.

The man was no other than Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi, popularly known as “Bapu” (Father) or Mahatma (Great soul).

Towards the end of his life, he was severely criticized for some of his political decisions and eventually, he was assassinated by one Nathu Ram Godse, who shot him in the chest. It was not what he did that made him a Mahatma; it was how he did it. His life in his own words was a series of experiments with truth. He developed his ideas on almost everything, relating to every aspect of life and then practiced what he preached. As his experiments proceeded, his life became more austere.

What he did and how he did it can be found in any good book or any good website. But it is not enough to just read it. Today, India, and the world, need to understand what was behind his philosophy.

He was not strictly a product of only Indian culture. He got a chance to travel on three continents and he used his travels well and tried to incorporate the good practices wherever he could find them.

He did not give anything new to the world. In his own words:

“ I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.”

Each of us has to think for him or herself and discover truth and use it to make our lives better. For in these modern times our lives have become a complicated where most people would not blink an eyelid if a little lying would help them in any way. Before we look at the short-term gains, we should look further and look at the long-term losses.

More than anything else the lesson learned from the Mahatma’s life is to stop waiting and act on what our heart tells us is right. It is a happy coincidence that this year 2nd October coincides with the Hindu Festival of Dusshera that represents the victory of truth over falsehood.

Happy Dusshera to all!!!


Anonymous said...

An excellent post.

I hope you receive this comment - this is my fourth attempt - having problems with blogger :[


Jayashree Bhat said...

That was a good article... I guess lage raho munnabhai has got quite a few people remembering his principles...

rodricks said...

I appreciate the blog..... atleast we haven't forgotten Mahatma still

lilfeathers2000 said...

Its Click and comment Monday.
have a Blessed Week

stev said...

gandhi i believe left an impact on the world & personally have him in the ranks of mother theresa and the like

> More than anything else the lesson learned from the Mahatma’s life is to stop waiting and act on what our heart tells us is right.
That line strikes a chord in me somehow.

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