If we look around the world today, it seems like peace has become a long dream for some people in their countries. Air Strikes, religious wars, terror strikes and bomb blasts- all of these makes us want to remember a man who taught us the lessons of non-violence and peace, for the world to follow.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who is known as Mahatma Gandhi or also fondly as “Bapu” was one of the most prominent faces of the freedom struggle in India. A master strategist, he formulated several unique ways to unite Indians for the cause against British rule. Sunil Khilnani, the professor of Politics and Director of King’s College London India Institute remarked “Steve Jobs should have learnt from Gandhi about how to build a perfect brand of oneself.”
A mass leader, he had such a great following that on one single call, the whole nation used to unite and walk behind him, following his lead. Be it during the Champaran movement, Kheda Satyagraha or Quit India movement, Gandhi made sure that the entire country was with him. So powerful was his message of non-violence that even today he is followed by powerful leaders like Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. So phenomenal was his contribution to our freedom that no political party has critiqued him any sense ever since we gained independence, unlike other freedom fighters like Jawaharlal Nehru and Bhagat Singh, who too, found themselves in various debates of political battles.
With the education system in India battling today to create skilled professionals and our society and parents in a frenzy to create the next generation of engineers and doctors, we should revisit what views Gandhi had on education. His views focused on the fact that education should never be a means to achieve status, position or earn money, rather it should be the means to bring freedom to individuals. He focused on an education that aimed at holistic development of mind and body.
As the incumbent government rolls out the national educational policy 2016, holistic development of a human, discouraging rote learning, and inculcating compassion for others are just few pages that it can pick up from Gandhi’s life to shape the future generation. A simple look at our newspaper says why we need to remember the story of Gandhi. As cases of road rage, Dalit atrocities and religious intolerance covers major media space today, we should learn from the man who served leprosy patients at his time.
The idea of Gandhi is not an all well story. Often Gandhi and his works are taught in such a way in schools across our country that he is portrayed as a saint. The way Gandhi overshadows the freedom struggle over other leaders in Indian School textbooks is something not many people approve of. He is also criticized for not being able to stop the partition of India and Pakistan. A lot of people today joke the concept of ‘if you are slapped by your enemy on one cheek, show your other cheek’ which drew its inspiration from Gandhi’s message of winning your enemy with love rather than war. Today he has been reduced to a mere symbol of freedom struggle for the masses and the government through its huge advertisements on his birthday every year. He is also criticised by some people for promoting racism and the practice of caste system in India and South Africa.
As we all observe the 147th birth anniversary of one of the greatest human beings on the planet, we shouldn’t forget this philosopher who gave the mighty British Empire a tough fight with his weapons of Satyagraha and non-violence. With growing tensions in the South Asian neighborhood, unrest in Middle East countries and tussles within the major superpowers, we don’t know about what is going to happen in the near future. Even in this uncertainty, we are very certain that Gandhi is an idea which is not going to die any time soon in this century, and we hope that it never does.
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