Why Gandhi is still relevant
If we can boast of two truly global Indian personalities in every sense of the term, then Buddha and Gandhi will definitely come to our mind. Though separated in history by more than two millennia, both these names were remembered recently in the month of April. Buddha on the Buddha Purnima day and Gandhi at the end of the centennial celebration of his unique experiment of Satyagraha in Champaran, Bihar. It was their advocacy for nonviolence that was the strongest connecting thread between the two. As we find the two Koreas and India and China talk to one another today, we realize the significance of the ideology of Non-violence. Even though it may be a little too early to jump to conclusion on the basis of the recent dialogue between these two pairs of hostile neighbours, what is crucial is the realization that solution to the problems of this world can only come through peace and non-violence. Buddhism as a religion continues to appeal to the millions across the globe. Nevertheless, Gandhi’s non-violence also has a very large number of admirers worldwide. As futility of wars is slowly becoming obvious to more and more people, non-violence and peace increasingly become desirable objectives of the world. Not that the wars may cease to exist any day soon, but an aversion for violence is certainly on the rise. It is in this light that Gandhi needs to be remembered. Perhaps evaluated too. If he is still relevant? Well even as detractors of Gandhi have, of late, become increasingly vocal, there are not many who are buying their arguments that appear more and more hollow as reason seems to replace hatred and violence. Surely, the world is not suddenly going to change. But it is certainly evolving for better, the desperate acts of violence reflecting only the frustrations of the dwindling tribe crowd who realize they are in minority. This is not to suggest that a utopia is round the corner. However, what gives hope is the definite change in the global outlook that growth and development cannot come with war and violence. It is at this juncture that a Gandhi is needed. May be a Gandhi needs to be invented. To give direction, to lead the masses and to convince those on the lunatic fringe that whatever they are doing or intending to do is bound to fail. It is only with Gandhi’s courage and conviction that someone can prove this. Gandhi’s greatest quality was not his philosophy, but his belief in his philosophy that it will bring the change that is desired. But he changed himself first. He always maintained that “be the change that you want to see in the world”. Talking about Gandhi is easy, writing about him is also easy but living and doing like Gandhi is what matters. Gandhi practiced what he preached. With unflinching faith on his ideology Gandhi did change the world. Well, there can still be many who may doubt about the value of Gandhi’s contribution to the world but Gandhi-is is definitely going to become a practical and desirable way of life. Many want to say that he was impractical, many dismiss him as irrelevant, but the fact remains that Gandhi was ahead of his times. Slowly the world is realizing this. Even if not in this Millennium, there is hope for the 22nd century. And certainly the world is going to survive, and so is humanity.
Pathak is a professor of management, writer, and an acclaimed public speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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