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Why We Need Another Gandhi ?
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Why We Need Another Gandhi ?

Yesterday was October the 2nd. It might not be a red letter day here in the United States, but the day is celebrated as the "Non-Violence day" in India. It is the birthday of India's Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Now, very little do common people in USA, people like you and me, know about Gandhi, except for the fact that he was a great leader and fought the British for India's independence. Some people would also recall that Martin Luther King, one of the greatest leaders of Civil Rights Movement of The United States was an ardent follower of his principles. Other than this, very little about this great leader is known.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the state of Gujrat, in the western part of India, on October 2nd, 1869. He studied law in Oxford and Cambridge and later went to South Africa to practice. South Africa was then a British colony and apartheid, (a practice of discrimination based on the color of the skin) was rampant.

There were some draconian laws that were being applied on the dark colored natives and other indigenous population of South Africa by a minority colonial Government. Gandhi understood, that unless some serious opposition takes place, these laws and rules would continue to oppress people. He decided to take up the cause of the natives and other indigenous people of South Africa and fight against these laws.

After 25 long years of hardened struggle with the British, some of these illogical and brutal laws were taken back by the Colonial Government and Gandhi returned to India, in the summer of 1915, to find the country of his birth in almost the same situation as South Africa. Then began Gandhi's long struggle to fight the British in India, by which he ultimately achieved India's independence from the 200 year British rule, in August, 1947.

The above mentioned information can be found anywhere on the internet because it is so well known. What I want to point out in this article is why, after almost , 50 years, Gandhi's teachings remain important and has everlasting value.

One of the most important lesson Gandhi taught was never to suffer oppression quietly.

If an oppressor suffered quietly, then he/she would be as guilty as the person oppressing him/her. If some injustice is being done, on however small a scale, and if you think it is unjust and not right, you should always oppose.

When he went to South Africa, it was not his land of birth, it was not where he had gone for further studies, he had just gone there, because of a professional commitment. Yet when, he saw people were being oppressed unjustly, he did raise his voice. He always said to his disciples, "whenever you oppose, and when you do not find anyone else supporting you, keep faith on yourself, support will come, sooner or later".

He staunchly believed that today if you do not oppose unjust acts being done on another, some day, none will oppose when the same acts are being done to you. This is something that, all of us, need to note down. In today's world, where injustice, crime and violence is rampant, if no one opposes, then every single person suffers.

Gandhi also held the view, that no individual or country or people, can be oppressed, unless the oppressed agrees to the oppression. In a more simple language, he believed, that since each individual had the natural right or power to protest, oppression could only take place if the oppressed person was not exercising this natural right of protesting against his oppression. We have witnessed very recently, some of the home-grown movement against dictators in the Middle East. The Arab Spring as the movement came to be known, showed how ordinary people, rose up in rebellion against the oppressive rule of dictators and country heads. Thus, what Gandhi had said ages now, remains true till this day.

Another vitally important lesson Gandhi taught was of non-violence and following the path of truth and justice

Non-violence, according to Gandhi was the most potent weapon against injustices of all sorts. Gandhi, time and again, told his followers, the difference between non-violence and cowardice. Non-violence meant opposing without acts of violence. Cowardice was to accept the fact that one was being oppressed and do nothing about it. Gandhi continually said to his followers, that if he were to choose between violence and cowardice, he would choose violence.

Gandhi's idea of non-violence came from his belief in following the path of truth. He always felt that non-violence and truth were intimately connected. There was already too much violence in the world. He said, "an eye for an eye, would make the whole world go blind". If everyone engaged in violence, then the world would come to a bitter end.

There was a story from his childhood, that he constantly told his followers.

The story went thus:

There was a road which Gandhi and his friends used regularly to go to school. One day, some older boys from the area, told them to stop using the road or pay a fine for using the road. At first they didn't pay any attention to the guys and used the road as before. The older guys got very angry at this insolence and thought of teaching them a lesson. They attacked Gandhi and his friends and beat them up violently. All his friends, except one, started using another road to school, from the next day. This was a far longer road and took much more time. There was one, lone guy, who kept using that same road. He was regularly beaten up by the older guys for using the road. One day Gandhi decided to accompany this other friend and as they were returning, the older boy's gang, spotted them, and started beating them up. To his astonishment, Gandhi noticed that his friend got beaten up, and fell down on the road. After sometime, when the older boys got tired of beating them up, he stood up, collected his bag, and made his way home. Gandhi was utterly surprised. He asked his friend why didn't he retaliate. His friend told him that he was retaliating, by throwing his courage in their face. Despite regular beatings, the boy had not given up on using the road. Some days later, the older boys got tired of their abuse, and beatings as they weren't having any effect, and decided to leave the boy alone. The boy proudly kept using the road.

This was Gandhi's first lesson in non-violence and bravery. The boy was not a coward. He kept using the same road, despite the beatings and abuse of the older boys. He did not fight back, because he knew his strength would not match those of his attackers, but he continued to show defiance quietly and stubbornly. The older boys, had no other option but to leave him alone.

Gandhi always maintained that the path of non-violence was the toughest and only the toughest of the souls would be able to walk on it. But he assured, that if a person did walk on the path of truth and non-violence, victory would definitely be his.

In today's world, thus, where there is so much discrimination, so much violence, so much injustice, we need to go back to the simpler ways of Gandhi and try following his two most vital teachings.

One is never to surrender to oppression, injustice and discrimination, and the other to keep opposing, stubbornly and non-violently. Soon we would find lots of other people joining us in our lone battle, as that boy found Gandhi to accompany him on the road.


Street Talk

love your article...wow...thanks for writing it......k

Reply
  about 9 years ago

thank you for reading it... :)...

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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