Mahatma Gandhi An Icon for Generations

Mahatma Gandhi An Icon for Generations

Sandhya Sutodia (sutodia.sandhya@gmail.com) and Shiferaw A. (shiferaw@sazpromotion.com)
Aug. 2014

Three Basic Lessons of Life by Mahatma Gandhi!
‘Do not listen bad’, ‘Do not look any bad’ and ‘Do not say bad’ –are the messages imparted by the three monkeys of the great leader Mahatma Gandhi who is the symbol of peace, harmony and nation-building.

If the human race adheres to the above mentioned three DO NOTS laid down by Gandhiji, the society will move towards an egalitarian society. Only these three qualities can change the character of not only a person but the society as a whole. Early days of life is the learning stage and naturally if all these should be taught, that means Gandhiji should be taught among the youth of today, who is bothered with his own unique problems.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) made a difference not only with this country India, but also changed the face of this world. From Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King to Barack Obama, Gandhi has remained the role model for all leaders of the world. His contributions do not end in independence of India; rather his teachings have remained constant blessings for India after independence.
Gandhiji in Contemporary Period

However the impact of Mahatma Gandhi on the new generation is needless to say very trifling. If his picture was not imprinted on the currency, then the new generation might not be familiar with the name ‘Gandhiji’. The reason is very simple. It is fact that there is a noticeable change in the society that has overwhelmed the new generation. A ‘Disco-mad’ culture intoxicated with life-corroding materials is evolving. New generation do not listen story from their parent or grand-parent before going to bed but they go to bed when their online friend leave the terminal. Human being is by nature inclined towards materialistic world and human action is governed by two masters, pain and pleasure. Gandhian concept just stands between human being and materialistic world. Naturally the present generation does like Gandhian philosophy.
Therefore there is the challenge of popularising Gandhian thought among the new generation and students. Gandhian Philosophy may provide the students the social structure that provides role models and intellectual and emotional supports that is necessary for their success.
We read Hegel, Kant, Spinoza and other western philosophies, but do not read Gandhiji and Indian philosophies and thus could not know to what spectacular height and depth philosophy could go.

Gandhian thought too would change its form in the years to come and attain new dimensions. Much research has been conducted about Gandhiji in abroad but not in India. Ramakrishna became famous for Vivekananda and it happened for most of the famous jurists also. But we do not get any famous Gandhi-ite who can popularise Gandhian philosophy in the context of contemporary period. There is no doubt that Gandhian Philosophy is very much spiritual and stronger than any philosophy but it has not been re-emphasised in that way. That is the reason present generation is so much reluctant about Gandhiji. One may get an impression that the new generation is not interested in Gandhiji. Such stages do come after the life of great men. It has dawned upon many thinkers that the relevance of certain fundamentals of Gandhian thought would go on increasing with the passage of time.
Life of Gandhiji was an example in this regard, how to develop character through self-realisation!
Mahatma Gandhi spearheaded Non-Co-operation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement here and going forward may be the young students forget his lessons in their real life but they have to learn the lessons on Gandhi to emerge as winners in this rat race society.
The journey of Gandhi with Indian struggle for independence
From the Champaran struggle to Quit India movement, Bapu as Gandhi lovingly referred to even today, made his life a mission to liberate India from the hands of the British. In 1921, he took the Congress leadership, as the whole nation looked upon him to bring a change. The tactical Gandhi strategically made sure Hindus and Muslims come together through the Khilafat incident. Again, during the Chari Chaura incident, he listened to his inner soul, and called off the movement. The Dandi salt march in the year 1940 has remained as iconic event in Indian history. He was the one person, whose fasting created an uproar every time and the tense British were always on the heels. The 1942 Quit India movement marked a glorious chapter to the history of Indian freedom struggle, which was led by none other than Gandhi.

Rabindranath Tagore gave Gandhiji the title of mahatma. Gandhiji lived a simple life and he was a sadhaka or spiritual practitioner; certainly, he had spiritual aspirations. He was devoted to the truth. Tagore gave him the epithet of mahatma, not because he was calling him a great spiritual luminary, but because of his contribution to the making of the nation, because of his work among the people and his connection with the country.

Critique of Gandhi
All throughout his life, he faced vast opposition as well. The feasibility of non-violence has been question ever and ever again. He is still criticized for not making honest efforts to protect Shahid Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev during Gandhi-Irwin pact. Gandhi’s inability to stop the bifurcation of the country has remained a disappointment to many Indians. Foreign historians have labeled him as “the work of the Hindu propaganda machine” and Christian clergy with ulterior motives. Present day sociologists mark Gandhi as casteist for his unilateral approach towards harijans.
What others say about Gandhi!
“The Father of the Nation.” –Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
“A true votary of ahimsa therefore remains true to his faith if the spring of all his actions is compassion, if he shuns to the best of his ability the destruction of the tiniest creature, tries to save it…He will be constantly growing in self-restraint and compassion…” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world,” – Barak Hussain Obama.

The magnitude of the Father of the Nation can be summed:
“Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. She has the right to participate in the very minutest detail in the activities of man and she has an equal right of freedom and liberty with him. She is entitled to a supreme place in her own sphere of activity as man is in his.” (Gandhiji’s thoughts on women).

“When every hope is gone, ‘when helpers fail and comforts flee,’ I find that help arrives somehow, from I know not where. Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.”

Conclusion
The greatness of Gandhi is not his image on the rupee notes or his non-violence-rather his perseverance. Not with a gun or sword he fought the British on one hand and on other hand, he controlled the aggression of the extremists among the Indian rebels. He will always remain a ‘Mahatma’, the man who made his life a mission to spread peace and harmony all over.