UN celebrates 2nd October as International Day of Non-Violence, and in this regard, the whole World is about to celebrate the Birth Anniversary of the most admired political and spiritual personalities of the twentieth century named Mahatma or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi.
Due to his stature, he is venerated and admired by the greatest personalities of the world i.e. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Su Kyi, Einstein and also contemporary leaders like Barack Obama consider Gandhi as an inspiration.
He is a source of inspiration and spread the message of equal rights for their people, human life and human rights. His principle of global peace, harmony, respect for all beliefs and respect diversity.
He practised the principle of Satyagraha which comes from the Sanskrit word Satya (truth) and Agraha (holding firmly to, or adherence or insistence) or “holding fast to the truth”. He dedicated his life to discovering truth or Satya, his message was “God is truth. The way to truth lies through ahimsa (non-violence)”.
He believed Satyagraha as a means of self-control and an effective mean used as a social force against oppressors.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong,”He stated.
He used three forms of Satyagraha i.e. non-cooperation, civil disobedience and fasting during the freedom struggle in India. This article gives glimpses of Gandhi’ vision and principles that have inspired millions.
Principles that Inspire
Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. His basic principles that changed the lives of countless people were truth, non-violence, Satyagraha, morality and religion, and Sarvodaya (rise or welfare of all).
Gandhi applied the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience in the freedom movement in India against British domination and showed resistance against the oppressor and injustice, with his method of non-cooperation and peaceful means in both countries i.e. South Africa and India.
His principles of non-violence include affection, sympathy, mercy, tolerance, forgiving, mutual aid and constructive programme. His message to resist injustice was through non-cooperation. Due to his contribution, Gandhi is honoured in India as the father of the nation. He inspired many on the principles of truth and non-violence (Ahimsa). His personality reflects many facets of Patience, perseverance, principled, peace lover and pious golden rules.
Simplicity or inheriting a simple way of way was preached by Gandhi, he renounced the western lifestyle and advocated the use of homespun cloth (khadi), and adopted the practice of weaving own clothes from a threat he spun on charkha which was the principle of Swadeshi movement. He wore dhoti which is a sign of simplicity and believe in self-sufficiency.
Further, he promoted fasting as a means of exerting mental control over base desires; practised strict vegetarianism and abstaining from alcoholic drinks and tobacco. His views on sanitation, decentralization of power, women empowerment, education for all and equality for all are followed by countless people.
Priority to Human Rights
Gandhi fought for the rights of women and the untouchables. He was against poverty, rights of workers and believed in self-reliance based on cottage industry. He condemns politics based on religion as he believed in the equality of all religions.
“True knowledge of religion breaks down the barriers between faith and faith”.
The priority was given to individual dignity and rights, a supporter of dignity of every human being irrespective of person’ religion, economic status or caste. He considers untouchability as a major social evil.
He was a great social reformer and raised his voice against social evils through this speeches and writing, as he edited three journals i.e. Indian Opinion, Young India and Harijan. He had a vision of his writings. His writing reflects his stand for truth, his wrath against injustice, and his defender of self-respect.
He strongly denounced child marriage and detested the dowry system. His humanism means the devolution to the human welfare and benefit of the human race which he believed to be the service of God and humanity. He was a man of substance and had a vision of farsightedness. He said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”.
Despite some criticism of his principles and vision from different corners, millions still admire him as one of the greatest world leaders of the last century. His multifaceted principles reflect his vision to be an ardent admirer of human rights. His principles are of utmost importance not just in the last century but also in the contemporary era.
In the current scenario, Gandhi words suits appropriately “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”, so “peaceful coexistence, economic independence, respect for women, child-centred education and basic education for everyone, universal brotherhood” are the principles that is the cradle of humanity for better tomorrow.
I shall sum up with Gandhi inspirational two quotations “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” and “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.
Author: Dr Sakul Kundra, A.HOD Department of Social Science, College of Humanities and Education, Fiji National University.