Mahatma Gandhi - Epitome of Change

Mahatma Gandhi’s life represents the change that he wants the world to be! He not only practiced before he preached, he was bold and brave in what he did and never swerved from truth. The entire personality of Gandhiji can never be captured in any one article. But this article tries to highlight some of his excellent traits.

Tagore on Gandhi - “Perhaps he will not succeed,” Tagore wrote of Gandhi. “Perhaps he will fail as the Buddha failed and as Christ failed to wean men from their iniquities, but he will always be remembered as one who made his life a lesson for all ages to come.” And by reason of that commitment he spent 2,089 days in Indian jails and 249 days in South African prisons. But he made of those prisons a temple, and by the sanctification of suffering for truth, India became free.

Gandhiji’s Strength: Professor Gilbert Murray of Oxford wrote in 1914 a tribute to Gandhi in Hibbert Journal: “Be careful in dealing with a man who cares nothing for sensual pleasures, nothing for comfort or praise or promotion, but is simply determined to do what he believes is right. He is a dangerous and uncomfortable enemy because his body which you can always conquer gives you so little purchase over his soul.”

Babu Rajendra Prasad on Gandhi - As per India's first President Rajendra Babu, there was hardly any aspect of life — political, social, religious, agrarian, labor, industrial, or other problem which did not come under Gandhiji's purview. His views appeared to be startlingly fresh, unhampered by tradition or prevalent customs.

Modern Civilization - According to Mahatma Gandhi, modern society has not understood what the term "civilization" means. He said "it is civilization only in name. A great English writer has written a book called 'Civilization - Its cause and cure (Edward Carpenter)'. Therein he called it a disease. To the reader who challenged Gandhi on this statement and asked "why do we not know this in general?”, Gandhi answers — “We rarely find people arguing against themselves. Those who are intoxicated by the modern civilization are not likely to write against it.... The people of Europe live in better built houses than hundred year ago. This is considered an emblem of civilization..they wear variety of clothing, they carry with them revolvers containing five or more chambers, they have machines to plough their lands... anybody writes and prints anything he likes and poisons people's minds....they fly in air and travel in trains at the rate of 400 or more miles per is possible to take away the lives of thousands of people by one man working behind a gun on a hill....This is civilization.....Formerly men worked in the open space only as much as they liked. Now thousands meet together and work in factories or mines. They condition is worst than beasts.....Formerly people had 2-3 meals consisting of homemade bread and vegetables. Now they require something to eat every 2-3 hours. What more need I say? ...If anyone speaks to the contrary, know that he is ignorant...This civilization takes note neither of morality nor of religion. It votaries calmly state that their business is not to teach religion. Some even consider it to be a superstitious growth. Others put on the cloak of religion and prate about morality...... immorality is often taught in the name of morality. This civilization is irreligious. And it has taken such a hold on the people in Europe that those who are in it appear to be half mad. They lack real physical strength or courage. They keep up their energy by intoxication. They can hardly be happy in solitude…”

Let us bow down to this modern sage who lived a life of sacrifice and service to mankind as his mantra; and showed to the world, that great people are great only because they are simple and humble. Let us salute the hero who worked tirelessly for the freedom of his country using Ahimsa and Satya as the weapons, and laid an example for leaders world over, like Martin Luther King Jr. in America, Nelson Mandela in Africa, and many others who worked in the struggle against human rights violation using peace and sacrifice as their weapons. Gandhiji is an example today to show that spirituality is not a weakness but a strength to the individual and to the society. Let us take a vow to practice spirituality — truth, non-violence, service, and sacrifice; for there lies the real happiness and lasting peace for oneself and for the world.