The Thumb Print speaks to people from different walks of life on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals today
UTTAM SAIKIA, Wildlife activist
Yes, Gandhi is relevant today. We and our young generation should learn Gandhi and his ideology. Gandhi should be the icon of India.
ADITI CHOWDHURY, Academic
Very few people desire a world fraught with war, crime and terrorism. Gandhiji and his unique ideals will remain relevant as long as humanist societies espousing the cause of peace and harmony are relevant to mankind. In today’s intolerant and aggressive world, logistics may prove that his teachings are ineffective instruments in the hands of the timid. But Gandhiji himself believed non violent resistance to be the greatest force….more positive than electricity and more powerful than even ether.” This philosophy, as we have seen, worked brilliantly for the African-American Movement and against the mighty strong hold of Apartheid.
Time has proved to us again and again the necessity of peace. And that non violence alone can forge a bond between warring communities and create inter -cultural and inter- religious harmony. Gandhiji’s passionate advocacy of peace in striving for a saner and safer world makes complete sense in this context. Hence, with violence now threatening our everyday culture, India’s messiah of peace becomes more relevant than ever.
DURBA GHOSH, Senior Journalist, PTI
The relevance of a man whose simplicity coupled with profound philosophy had stunned the world and brought the mighty to their knees cannot be doubted in any way in any age, particularly against the backdrop of the prevailing scenario where intolerance, violence, greed and corruption governs the world.
Mahatma Gandhi had battled power, prejudice, injustice, violence, hate and superstitions beliefs with the simple strategies which had long lasting impact on not only the people of this country but also across the globe.
His doctrine of ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence is oft-quoted and has been the guiding principle of many peace leaders including Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. This is one philosophical practice that continues to influence and even when nations are engulfed in all-around darkness of violence and intolerance, it is the thought and practice of ‘Ahimsa’ that offers light at the end of the dark tunnel.
He had said, ”you must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty” and it is this belief that still hold goods as majority of the people still uphold good values and it is only a few who are out to destabilise and wreck the basic fabric of society.
He experimented with almost all aspects of living–be it self rule in politics, spirituality, health, rural self reliant economy and a sustainable development of the country in harmony with the resources available in the planet.
The Mahatma had rightly remarked that ”Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”. Thereby, all values and philosophy of living exhorted by him not only inspired in the era in which he lived but remains relevant in the present and will continue in the future too.
SRUTIMALA DUARA, Writer and Academic
Gandhi was always for non-violence. In today’s world of so much of violence we need to harp on how non-violence advocated by Gandhi proved to be so powerful in getting India her freedom. Brick for brick is no solution and it simply leads to hatred and destruction. Gandhi taught the value of truth and we all know how the eroding of this value has caused social degradation. Gandhi loved the ones down the social ladder calling them Harijans and today when there is still this issue of Dalits, we need to remember him and what he did. Compassion and love go a long way in bridging gaps. These values can never be ruled out as irrelevant and hence, to respond to your question whether Gandhi is relevant today, yes, he will always be relevant.
NABINA DAS, Poet
In post-liberalization India, one cannot write off Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This is not because of the liberal constructs such as “Father of the Nation” or even “Mahatma”, but because we need to bring in to our current discourse Gandhi’s biases and casteist beliefs. Other than just praise his unique protest method of Satyagraha to oust British colonialists, and thus more than just pay lip service on his birthday on Oct 2, our collective effort should be to understand how his world view was tailored to suit the majority sentiment, which still is the upper caste in India. In the process of decolonization, Gandhi induced a home-grown colonization handed down via the thousands-year old caste system. Sweeping and cleaning toilets is a symbolic act, radical no doubt for Gandhi’s times, but this doesn’t have to keep us in awe in the 21st century. Gandhi’s project of nonviolence — against the British colonialists — is known the world over today and in India of course now the current regime is appropriating this to foreground violence against Dalits, Muslims, women, and other marginalized. One must remember, ‘nonviolence’ cannot be a symbolic act all throughout. If since India’s independence, little has changed in the social reality, Gandhi’s symbolic nonviolence must be re-examined to address why we now have a resurgence of lynching, caste killings, gender oppressions, and moral policing, especially because it is the urban liberal elite that harp on ‘nonviolence’ as another top virtue. Keeping Gandhi in our mission of subverting the grasps of neo-colonization is important because, it’s still a long way we have to wean off from any “father” figure within the ambit of nation building which is fraught with more than just the grand narrative of an outsider enemy. Our fight is within, so let Gandhi be a way to discuss and re-strategize that fight.
AMINA AHMED, Academic, Psychiatric Nursing
Gandhi remains immortal. He will keep inspiring human generations with the ideas of non violence, forgiveness and spirituality. Looking at today’s atmosphere of hate all around us I always pray that our youths fall back on Gandhi.
RJ MANDY, Radio Jockey
I feel its relevant but not practised! Saddest part is that today the principles are somewhere lost in the history books.
With the coming of Digital age we barely find it being practised in any part of our life. But the truth is we can never deny its relevance.
For example, now we see digital barbarism happening all around the world. But do we notice, that the antidote we seek from these new social evils like Fake news, violence etc is nothing else but Principles of Gandhism in a contemporary form as a solution!
CH. URMILA, Social worker, citizen journalist and women’s rights activist
Mahatma Gandhi will always be relevant to me and leaders around the world. What we call now ‘ Walk the talk’ as a kind of leadership beyond lip service and that which involves actual alignment in thought and action, was what Gandhi believed in. He would not preach or advice till he could do it himself and in doing so be convinced that he was only advising what’s practical and doable.
I take inspiration from him and did a story on Gandhi’s vision for India and open defecation free way back in 2012.