Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi Today

A whole book can be written on how Gandhiji’s ideas are relevant today. He was a visionary and possessed a very powerful mind and hence thought deeply and wrote on basic human issues and problems facing India in those times. Some of those issues, especially on all-inclusive growth, are as relevant today as were in his time.

I will therefore touch on the area of intolerance which is dividing our society and tearing our social fabric and show how Gandhiji’s teachings can help us.

Gandhiji was a compromiser par excellence. He would always consider other party’s point of view and come up with solutions acceptable to all parties. Both in his legal and political work he brought different parties together for resolution of their problems.

Ability to compromise comes only when one is very tolerant to other’s point of view and do not impose unilaterally his or majority’s point of view. This ability comes to an individual when he is internally secure and is also secure in the knowledge that the compromise solution leads towards general good of all the people.

Gandhiji who was fearless and hence a very secure human being always had the general good of all Indians in his mind whenever he offered solutions to knotty problems. Devoid of any personal ego issues and always looking for long-term solutions, he appealed to warring parties to keep in sight the higher purpose of life and achieved great success. Since he practiced what he preached, his message had a great effect on Indians and achieved the desired results.

Endowed with a powerful brain and with deep knowledge of Indian problems Gandhiji knew that his solutions are suitable for India. Yet he never foisted his solutions on Congress or people but created a consensus. Most of the times people accepted his solutions. This is the hallmark of a great leader. 

Today we see all around us intolerance and catering to special interest groups which is resulting in bans on various things and creation of social tensions. This is an outcome of fear in the ruling politicians that if they do not do so they will not be elected in the next election. They do not realize that if they keep on working for the general good of their constituency and carry most of the people with them, they will be elected easily and with much bigger margins. When such an appeal touches the goodness in people’s heart they always react favorably. 

Fear comes from insecurity and is an outcome of a brain which cannot resolve the issues after considering all eventualities. This inability to evaluate all outcomes transcends caste, creed, or economic situations. Thus most of the people, no matter whether they are rich, or poor suffer from insecurities – for poor it is the insecurity of their future and for rich on how to increase their wealth, their resources and power, and how to keep it safe. It is the removal of these insecurities by a powerful brain that can rid us of fear. Yoga helps in developing such a brain through meditation by focusing on a single thought for a long time (called Sanyam by Patanjali). Another way to get rid of fear is to be thankful for whatever we have and count our blessings. If we do that continuously then it gives us a sense of contentment and happiness since our burdens and insecurities are reduced by the thought that somebody will be there to help us, and everything will be O.K. This also has the ability to sublimate the greed impulse.

I also feel that the fear of missing out and the insecurity of what will happen in future produces greed and in turn corruption and corrupt politicians. These corrupt politicians then become egotistical and intolerant and hijack the agenda of India’s democracy for their selfish ends. They do not understand that they are playing with fire and once it is ignited, they themselves will not know how to extinguish it. The negative forces always tend to go out of control and most of the time the creators of these forces themselves get sacrificed to them. 

Hence, we should always refrain from unleashing these forces. World history is full of examples of such events. All wars started in a small way and then spiraled out of control, unleashing terror and destruction which had far reaching consequences for mankind.

Gandhiji practiced restraint about these things in his life – his regular and daily meditations and his deep belief in God and higher forces to whom he was grateful for everything that he achieved. This helped him to become completely fearless and very secure. 

Devoid of fear he was able to chart new paths in tolerance, taking everybody’s opinion and carrying all the people with him for giving us independence and making this nation better. One of the great lessons of democracy is that it allows every person, no matter how big or small he is, to vent his anger in a democratic manner. Bottling it up by force leads to disastrous results. Gandhiji showed that all differences of opinion could be resolved by discussions and by focusing on general good of people. So, on this solemn Gandhi Jayanti day let us remember and put in practice the teachings of Gandhiji so that we become a tolerant and happy society. This will help in making a better India.


More by :  Dr. Anil Rajvanshi

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