“I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills”.
– M.K GANDHI
I write this article in spirit of humility to talk about one of the greatest figures of history and his relevance in today’s world, whose experiments with truth began in our country. Years may have passed since the Mahatma walked the face of the earth, but his treasured ideals and principles still hold fort. According to me Mahatma Gandhi has become all the way more pertinent in the 21st century. It is not an easy task to consider the relevance of Gandhian prescriptions and strategy for the contemporary world. But if one accepts the teaching that Satyagraha made Mahatma Gandhi and not the reverse, and that it would outlive him, the Gandhian model offers norms and techniques for our age.
The world knows greatness in many forms. There are the great who celebrated military victories, the great who have deepened the knowledge of the physical universe, the great who helped us understand the human mind and the great who by their inventions transformed the way we live. Mahatma Gandhi stands in a category of his own. His generalship lay not in making war but in waging peace. Gandhi demonstrated to a World, weary with wars and continuing destruction that adherence to Truth and Non-violence is not meant for individuals alone but can be applied in global affairs too.
Today’s world, it is often argued, is dramatically different and while Mahatma Gandhi is certainly worthy of continued admiration and awe, it would be naive and unrealistic to expect his methods to be effective today. I totally disagree with this statement. I am glad to say that an increasing number of young people in India and elsewhere are today turning to him(Mahatma Gandhi) to seek solutions to contemporary concerns through individual and collective action. The question to ask is not whether Mahatma Gandhi is relevant or not, the real issue is whether we have the courage and strength of mind to follow on his footsteps, whether we are prepared to live our lives by what he preached and most importantly practiced.
Mahatma Gandhi bequeathed to us three guiding principles: Ahimsa (or non- violence ), Satyagraha (or the force born of truth and non-violence) and Sarvodaya ( or upliftment of all). It is the values of these principles that we have to rediscover if we want to deal effectively with today’s challenges. His was a life that millions still admire and as every great man’s life, will always be so. His words shall have relevance as long as mankind and his love for his kin survive. It is my fervent hope that the world will embrace Gandhian truth and action and that you, my young friends reading this, will be among its torchbearers.
Thus the life and preaching of Mahatma Gandhi can give us what we all strive for throughout our lives “True sense of satisfaction and happiness”.