Today is Gandhi’s 69th death anniversary. I want to side track a little bit and write about him. My post will be a little India-centric.
Wow, its been a while since he died, or rather killed. Lately, India has been lucky; a visionary and inspirational leader has taken leadership of the country paving the path to great potential ahead of us. However, today is the day to reflect on India’s roots, about its history and origin and so I shall introspect about Gandhi, my second favorite international figure through time.
Unlike most nations, India is lucky; it is born from one man’s vision of a non-violent nation. Despite the bloodshed of religious violence marking India’s transition to violence, that one man’s word quickly prevailed in allowing a peaceful birth of India and Pakistan. India took its first step into the future, the non-violent way, providing an intriguing and unique case study for generations to come.
Many visionaries are born lucky: with a gifted mind or great wealth in one form or another. But, what makes Gandhi so precious is his averageness. He was simply average: not bright, nor gifted with wealth and opportunity. Yes, he was the son of a Prime Minister of a small province, and he got lucky to be pushed to study in UK, but he was a pauper by all standards and he had to work for everything.
Gandhi’s humble beginnings in thought and intellect is what makes his journey through our 20th century so beautiful. Out of meager beginnings, he rises out to become one of the iconic, monumental and turning points of human potential. Gandhi’s willingness to experiment, question and stand up to conventional thought was acquired. He was persistent in pushing his boundaries, challenge his every thought and grow out of his shortcomings. And, out came humanity’s diamond, out of his self-effort.
His biography titled, ‘Stories of my experiments with truth’ says it all. Given a limited set of skills and resources by nature, he has used his self-effort to be the best possible. He has successfully advocated and advanced critical human values of equality & non-violence, encouraged the importance of self-reliance of rural communities, focused on the empowerment of the individual, cleanliness, self-governance, need I go on? His ideas were way ahead of his time. He was not interested in leading a generation of followers on his philosophy. He wanted to live it and show the world it can be done.
If Gandhi was alive today, he would have hated what we do in his name. He never wanted to be glorified, nor turned into a symbol. He wanted his words heard through how he lived. He wanted each of us to question, learn and grow fearlessly, to help one another and be self-reliant. He wanted India to grow out of its spiritual stagnation and work towards its betterment. Unfortunately, history took an acrid turn after his forced departure. His name was given to a family which used his name to rule India for majority of the time since Independence. Though his image lies in all corners of the country: from the wallets, police stations, government offices to street signs, his words were not translated into our life style. Youth waste away their life through vices bought with paper baring his very image. India will benefit a lot more if they spent a little time learning his message, than the energy spent in superficial attempts at patriotism, let alone the eternal wastage of time through other means.
Gandhi is not gone. He lives through us, his vision of self-empowered nations remains through every single one of us. He gifted Indians a nation built on very sacred values and has shown the rest of the world an example. It is high time our youth stop dwelling in chatter, see through the cloud and start working together for a better future; as Gandhi has envisioned for us.
Thank you Gandhi for your story. You have shown me that anything is achievable by humans, that a brave, fearless heart with a single-minded vision of the best can allow us to march through this misty desert and build a paradise for generations to come. You are forever in my heart, and I only hope that I will be my best and put my efforts on continually advancing my self-growth, while working towards empowering the weak.
And, I am happy your vision continues through the Art of Living foundation, a beacon for all youth to work for the best, nothing less.