By Anita Thomas
On 30th January, India mourned the 63rd death anniversary of the father of its nation –Mahatma Gandhi. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a philosopher, visionary, a great lawyer, a great political leader and an initiator of new experiments. Armed with truth and non violence, he bent an almost two century old British rule in India and forced them to leave India in the hands of her own children.
Through non-violence Gandhi not only defeated the British but also showed the world a new path of peace and humanity as Martin Luther King (Jr.) has said, “If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. His life, thought and action are inspired by the vision of humanity evolving towards a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.”
In South Africa, Gandhi worked for the oppressed and the exploited people. It is in South Africa that he first initiated his experiments of ‘Satyagraha’. His ideology soon attracted the masses who loved and respected him. Many political and social leaders like Nelson Mandela and the former president of South Africa, Mr. De Klerk were influenced by Gandhi in adopting the path of reconciliation and forgiveness, which shows that Gandhi had not spent 21years in South Africa in vain.
One can give quite a few instances from almost all parts of the world to show how in different measures the Gandhian vision and approach is found to be an effective weapon in the hands of freedom fighters and social reformers. But with the advancement of technology and nuclear weaponry, every country is now competing to emerge as the supreme power, even if the power then achieved will be at the cost of thousands of innocent lives. Today violence rages between nation, cultures, cities, and homes and thus has become a part of our day to day life. The catastrophic modern military is posing a threat to the existence of mankind itself. The world has changed, terrorism and violence is spreading so widely and rapidly that it is become difficult to even control them and its termination seems to have become almost impractical. It is very important for people to understand that counter result of violence is always violence and it will give birth to hatred, anger, disrespect, bloodshed revenge, jealousy, murder, and above all constant fear.
Today, Gandhi’s ideas and teachings are needed to bring back the old India, free of war and malice. Gandhian ideas are not outdated to be forgotten. Instead the world should be reminded of the power that the word ‘non-violence’ itself has. There is still hope that one day peace, unity, harmony and most importantly humanity will again prevail in the world. Mahatma Gandhi has never died, he will always be alive through his teachings and ideology as he himself has said, “So long as my faith burns bright, as I hope it will, even if I stand alone I shall be alive in the grave and what more, speaking from it.”