Essay Paper: Gandhian Principles

Gandhi's Relevance

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Syllabus: Essay Paper (History)

 

Relevance of Gandhian Principles in Today’s Time.

 

Gandhian principles or value system is something that stirred the entire India at one point of time. It ignited a revolution that took the whole of nation in its stride and lasted till we were able to force the Britishers to leave India. This value system gave the nation the principles of truth, non-violence, satyagraha which paved way to people’s heart. We are still awed by the uniqueness of Gandhiji’s principled approach. He endorsed simple living and high thinking

 

Gandhiji preached ‘truth’ or `satya’ which made us not to withstand a lie. He preached ‘Satyagraha’ and in fact rallied a desperate mass of people with him all over the country. This helped the British empire to think about leaving India. This methodology appealed to the conscience of mankind and was based on the assumption that peaceful protests are a very powerful tool.

If the question is asked whether Gandhian principles are relevant even today? The answer is yes, to some extent they are relevant and are followed not only in India but also by many leaders all over the world. In Indian context, principle of Satyagraha still holds good. Example is Jessica Lal’s case. Through peaceful protest in the form of candle march almost all over the country justice was delivered. Even India’s foreign policy is based on peaceful co-existence and it is reflected in not indulging in aggression first though India remains prepared as the security threats accumulate.

We must remember that Gandhiji was a strategist, a genius and he moulded his movement according to the situation. He could visualise the mood of the nation and strategically took each step in a well defined way. So our politicians can learn a lot about strategisation from Gandhiji.

 

So, there is need to understand that same set of principles are very much relevant. Just that they have to be moulded according to the present times and its requirements. 

Gandhiji’s views about sanitation or decentralisation of power or women empowerment or need for basic education for all, every view holds good and is followed presently. Make in India is nothing but self-sufficiency as emphasised by Gandhiji. Individuality and economic independence were two things very close to Gandhiji’s heart. Present trends indicate the best times when both these are at their prime.

Women empowerment was one of Gandhiji’s main goals. Today Indian women are forerunners in about every field. Today Indian women have international presence whether it is space or sports. Gandhiji’s dream of creating a global India, a country which encompasses technical and intellectual advancements and maintain its identity is blooming true day by day. Today be it IT, medicine or research, India is upgrading its skill to remain in limelight. Indian brains are sought after everywhere.

Gandhiji forever believed that there is no better teacher than life itself He maintained that no child can be forced to study but should find the inclination to do so, education today is based on these ideas only. Environmental consciousness, moral values, intra-personal skills, community and society oriented awareness are all inculcated in young minds through education.

Even outside India, Gandhian principles hold relevance and are followed by eminent leaders. The phenomenal success, Gandhiji registered in far away South-Africa fighting for human rights and civil liberties has great significance and later his teachings were adopted by Nelson Mandela, the great South African freedom fighter. Dr Martin Luther King was very much inspired by Gandhian principles.

There is great resonance of the historic salt march at Dandi with the courageous Montgomery Bus Boycott against racial segregation in United States. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese leader learnt from Gandhiji that for a doctrine of peace and reconciliation to be translated into practice, one absolute condition needed is fearlessness. Aung San followed this and it was the secret of her success amid all the darkness and loneliness against a brutal and hostile regime. Even present US President Barack Obama sees Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration. 

Gandhiji is alive and active in the modern world, his teaching followed by social and religious leaders, American human rights activist or Palestinian leader, Mubarak Awad who believes in non-violence. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist leader lays emphasis on Gandhian principles when he says, “I think we may fail in our attempt to do things, yet we may succeed in correct action when the action is authentically non-violent, based on understanding, based on love”.

 

Khadi – the heritage fabric, Khadi refers to hand-woven and hand spun cloth which became a symbol of swadeshi movement. The current generation understands ‘Make in India’ slogan but do they know Mahatma Gandhi gave the call to boycott foreign cloth during freedom struggle. As a symbol of protest Mahatma Gandhi started spinning it himself and encouraged others to do so. He further made the charkha (spinning wheel) the symbol of the Nationalist movement. Mahatma Gandhi collected large sums of money to create a grass-roots organisation to encourage handloom weaving. This was called ‘khaddar’ or ‘Khadi’ movement.

Who could have imagined that the humble khadi would become avant-garde and the choice of millennials today? Khadi is not just a cloth, it represents freedom, legacy, an emotion, an ideology. And designers have adopted it and have made it mainstream. Today we talk of threat from single-use plastic, to our carbon footprint and we all know the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters and there is a clarion call to slow down fashion. This is when khadi becomes important; it is one of the most environment-friendly fabrics. It would do us and the world good to include khadi in our wardrobe. Top designers are including khadi in their collection as a heritage fabric which is 100 percent sustainable. It sure is the fabric of tomorrow which we must adopt.

When you go to a dietician or nutritionist name one who doesn’t prescribe a diet that is frugal, natural but is power-packed? Being a naturalist, herbalist, and minimalist, Mahatma Gandhi experimented with his diet throughout his life. He preferred eating raw, opted for millets, the new superfood that we have recently re-discovered, believed in a plant-based diet, portion control, and minimum sugar. He took to fasting long back even before ‘intermittent fasting’ became a trend and practiced mindful eating. Before Fitbit and other fitness trackers told us that a person should at least walk 10,000 steps each day, Gandhiji walked 22,000 steps every day.

Mahatma Gandhi’s influence at the global level then his technique of mobilising people has been successfully employed by many oppressed societies around the world. Think of leaders like Martin Luther King in the United States and Nelson Mandela in South Africa who were leaders of the downtrodden masses and who in turn were influenced by Gandhiji. What an eloquent testimony they are to the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi.

 

We can say that most of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi hold relevance even in today’s world. The path shown or followed by Gandhiji at that time still remains a very valid one if somebody chooses to tread on it. In today’s scenario, ‘Eye for an Eye’ is no solution as it only aggravates the situation. Peaceful coexistence, economic independence, respect for women, child centred education and basic education for everyone, universal brotherhood-all these principles should serve as a beacon of light to guide humanity to a better world.

Gandhian ways and his ideals seem to be the only solution to overcome the present ever growing problem of terrorism which is leading the world to a doomsday.  Gandhiji was leader of the past runs into the present and marches towards the future.

 

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