152 Years ago on 2nd October 1869 an ordinary man with extraordinary ideas was born named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Porbandar, Gujarat. The path from being Mohandas to a Mahatma, was the result of his path breaking ideas and his subtle actions. He left an indelible legacy of his footprints through the sands of time that still persists today.On the occasion of his 152nd Birth anniversary, while recalling his immeasurable contribution, we will talk about Gandhi’s Immortal Legacy. An Indian leader during the most crucial times of Indian History, Gandhi’s ideas are still alive amongst many of us.
His inheritance is a gift to us, in fact, it is a profound fountain of inspiration. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly pointed out, that Gandhian principles are the moral compass today as the world is in the grips of growing challenges of climate change, corruption and terrorism.
Gandhi Ji favoured collective will of people. His profound morals and the ideology of constantly bridging the gap of socioeconomic inequalities, are relevant more than ever to this day.
While reflecting on the quality of our polity and governance, it is important to recall his vision of governance. Expressed in the interesting geometrical metaphors of squares and circles, the conception of Swaraj.
Noted in his journal Harijan on January 2,1937, he writes and explainshis concept of Swaraj:
“My conception is Swaraj is that of a square, let there be no mistake. Two corners are political independence and economic independence respectively. There are other two corners. One is moral and social, and the other corner is dharma, i.e. religion in the highest form. Including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity etc. But Swaraj is superior of them all. This square of Swaraj, will be out of shape if any one of these corners are untrue.”
These four corners of the Swaraj square are still relevant in our contemporary world today. Even when taken in context as they were when Gandhi Ji thought of them.
Development is people-centric
Another one of his idea that is still alive is the need to make development a people-centric process.Gandhi Ji’s beliefs of governance had people as the main factors of change.
Decentralisation was an article of faith for him. As he hypothesized, “Independence comes from the bottom, and should begin from there as well. Every village should be panchayat or republic having full powers and resources.
Life can not function like a pyramid where the apex is sustained and supported by its bottom. Instead life is an oceanic circle whose centre will always be the individual.” This was the Gandhian ideology of a bottom-up approach, inclusive, facilitative and sustainable development.
An integral part of his vision of the oceanic circle of development was Gram Swaraj, where the collective strength is derived from the core.
Today, while India is under the leadership of PM Modi,Gandhiji’s vision of gram swaraj holds greater relevance.
India is seeking to bridge the rural-urban divide through empowerment of villages with a sustainable and holistic growth model. This includes mediations in education, infrastructure,health care, hygiene and sanitation, as envisioned and dreamed by Gandhi.
The annihilation of social evils like untouchability. Promotion of communal harmony and sanitationwere central to Gandhian thought, which, he expressed, was even more important than political independence.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Launched in 2014, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is probably the greatest tributes paid to him, in letter and spirit, in the memory of Gandhi Ji. His emphasis on cleanliness is next to Godliness is the initiative of this movement. Now this people’s movementis in resonance with the Gandhian ideal.
Seven Deadly Sins
According to Gandhi Ji, the following seven deadly sins should be avoided:
- wealth without work
- pleasure without conscience
- knowledge without character
- commerce (business) without morality (ethics)
- science without humanity
- religion without sacrifice
- politics without principle
These elements moral compass are presented by Gandhi Ji to the humanity. These stepping stones of decorated ethical behaviour are ever so essential for a harmonious society.
As our nation makes its path towards economic strength and inclusive development, it will make the fruits of Swaraj, available for everyone. Gandhi ji’s words are a useful reminder to fathom out if we are moving in the correct direction.
The words of Martin Luther King Jr on the relevance of Gandhi will be pertinent to state right now. He said: “If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable, he was inevitable. Gandhi was wholly inspired by the vision of humanity evolving towards world peace. He lived, thought, and acted such. We can ignore him at our own risk, but we cannot deny him.”