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Thursday, 21 November 2013

लिहिते व्हा . .

"RELIVING GANDHI"

In last few years I came across many people and peer group who criticized Gandhiji for his AHINSHA, the method of struggle, to fight against the mighty British, for his political moves, which he took during the critical stages of national movement. Many also criticized and blamed him for partition. Some also joked on his 'Pancha and Dhoti' and some on his Salt Satyagraha. I too was convinced and influenced to some extent by this baseless, un-researched and prejudiced comments and analysis regarding Gandhi..
But later I came across few events. Barak Obama, the first African American president of the United States, has been an avid admirer of Mahatma Gandhi. Only recently he told a group of students he would like to have dinner with Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi's contribution and influence in the rise of Obama is being acknowledged too. "I surely believe without (Mahatma) Gandhi - without Gandhi in India - there would be no Barack Obama as president' of the United States," said Congressman John Lewis,  Obama  also hired a teacher for his daughters to explain and teach them about Gandhian principle and national movement. South African former prez Nelson Mandela and Mayanmar's opposition party leader Aung Sang Su Ki claiming Gandhi their ideal and Gandhian strategy as their political and social weapon. This all events forced me to review my thoughts, analysis and to study this man in depth. In this short course of my study, I came across many books and people like 'Freedom At Midnight', India After Gandhi', My Experiments With Truth' etc...and some great people who spoke about Gandhi like Albert Einsteine, Martin Luther King jr. and many others...
As I moved on and tried to analyse the facts, a very new, the hidden, the unknown, unspoken, misunderstood Gandhi came in front of me. I will try to throw light on some of his views and try to erase few prejudices which we have in our mind about him. To judge the stature of this man we need to compare him with someone. So let’s compare this man with ourselves at every stage as we go through this article...
After studying Gandhi in some depth I was shocked to hear people criticizing him for his Satyagraha and blaming that it was a cowardice way to fight. Some also said that he alone wanted to take the credits of this independence struggle. But it’s my duty to put up the facts and try to do away with this baseless arguments...When whole of the nation was awake at the midnight of 15th Aug 1947, this old man was not present to celebrate and rejoice the victory and taste its fruits but was far away in the villages of Bengal (Naukhali) calming down the flames of communal riots which was ripping this nation into two parts. This fact rose his stature infinite times in my heart. Who would have not liked to take the credits of this victory after being the cornerstone of such an unprecedented struggle in the history of the world but he did not. For him the unity of nation, the communal harmony was much more important...
Why AHINSA...???as many ask...To understand this concept, it’s important to know 1) The background of British and their nature of rule over India 2) Gandhiji's background and 3) the nature of Indian Masses.
British were the most developed nation both economically, militarily and politically as well. They had a democratic structure placed in their country and respected human and fundamental rights of the people. The British rule over India was semi democratic and semi autocratic.
Gandhi had completed his higher education from England therefore had knowledge about British laws and Fundamental rights. He also had the successful experience of African struggle against British where he used his technique of satygraha very successfully.
The Indian masses were poor and not strong enough technically to fight the British. Any violent effort to emancipate this country would have been struck down very easily by them through arms and they would have got the legitimate reasons to do so i.e. "violence" It was therefore very important to built a mass movement which could bring all the sections of people into this struggle and this could be achieved only through AHINSA.
He believed in the logic that large masses could be drawn into movements by expecting /sacrificing small amount of contribution rather than to expect small no of masses to contribute large things, even 'life'. Common people would have hesitated to join the violent movement and would not have been possible to give it the structure of mass movement. He also believed that to crush large masses was very difficult then to chop down the violent groups.
SATYAGRAHA -A COWARDIC WAY TO FIGHT...SATYAGRAHA means ''I defy your law as it is not just and am ready to bear its consequences, but i will stand by the truth.'' How many times we speak truth, and after doing so, how much courage do we have to bear its consequences, without reacting to it violently...? To judge the amount of courage needed to do so..."try it once...!" The SATYAGRAHA's was based on the concept that, man should be changed from within, by inflicting upon him the sense of guilt about his act, by satyagrha. It also shows to the offender that your act, against which the satyagraha is launched, is even worse than the violence which you are using to curb this satyagraha and we are ready to bear it, but not your law. It would led to permanent change in the attitude of man in contrast to violence which led to temporary change due to fear and has the strong tendency that the offender will bounce back with strong arms to curb the movement more inhumanly and with legitimate reasons...this is what happened with the 'revolutionary nationalist'.
More important is, lakhs of people adopted this technique on giving the call for satyagraha. There was really something special about this man...just give a thought...
Many crack jokes on his half-nakedness...which he continued even when he went to meet Queen of England...I found a very amazing reason behind this behaviour and understood his internal strength and commitment to his words...The story goes...Once a group of students went to meet Gandhiji. They had a long discussion with him. One of them asked Gandhiji- 'Bapu you ask every one of us to were khadi, but the problem is its too costly and we cannot afford it so what we should do...?' Bapu waited for a moment and replied...'If its too costly then wear less cloths...' and from that day he gave up his regular clothing and started to wear 'Pancha and Dhoti’. He emphasized on "KHADI "and "CHARKHA" because it provided employment to the Indian labour and protect the indigenous small scale industry from the western industry and its manufactured cloths which British were dumping in India and destroying the poor...Once the occasion came that Queen Of England invited Gandhiji to meet her...Many suggested Gandhiji that, at least for this time you wear a suit as you are going to meet the Queen of England.. Bapu straight away neglected and refused this advise and replied  ''let the Queen of England also come to know what conditions 'They' and 'Their Govt ' have inflicted upon Indians...''It reflects the moral strength and commitment of this man which makes me bow down to him...
While criticizing Gandhi people should also analyze that 'why people believed in him and gathered in lakhs even on his single call...? a big question which hovered me... Whenever Gandhi gave a call to nationwide movement people fell in line with him. Even in 1939 many leaders fell in line with Gandhiji...they rejected the decision to start the satyagraha without Gandhiji because they knew that national movement could be built with masses and masses would join only if Gandhi gives a call. I found the explanation for this in a conversation between Ram Manohar Lohiya and Gandhiji...R.M.Lohiya once asked Gandhiji that ''you are not good orator like us. Your english is not good, you are so monotonous, your speech is even not audible to many still people gather on your single call. Why this is so...?'' Gandhi replied -"I too don’t know the exact reason but it may be due to one thing which I feel-I never ask people to do things which I haven’t done myself before."The message which Gandhiji tries to give through this is "Be the Change You Want To See In The World" and the world will follow you...
Thus a new Gandhi emerged in front of me on this small research of mine...we have forgotten this man's contribution and principle's. Today we blindly without studying and analysing facts criticize this great man of such a stature...Albert Einstein has rightly said..."Future generation would not belive that such a man of blood and flesh ever existed on this earth..." Have we really reached this stage...??? I think and I hope we haven’t and will never reach that stage. Though Gandhiji is not present today but His thought is being propagated everywhere in the world through people like Nelson Mandela, Aung Sang Su Ki, Dalai Lama, Irom Sharmila (on satyagrha since 13 years), Anna Hazare etc... "If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk" -Martin Luther King jr. This is my small effort to erase some of the prejudices we have regarding this 'old fakir'
Shrenik Lodha, lodhashrenik99@gmail.com


(श्रेणिक पुण्याच्या बि. जे. मेडीकल कॉलेजचा विद्यार्थी आहे आणि निर्माण ५ चा शिबिरार्थी)

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