(A muse on the relevance of the life and words of Mahatma Gandhi as an ode to his birthday):
Life runs in fleeted foot. No time to pause and stare. Life goes in a buzz, a year full of activity packed in an infinitesimal second!
In such times, where do we remember a man who’d have turned 138, had he been alive, leave alone his principles?
Zoom forward. An old lady on the bus, struggling to manage her luggage. A girl gets up and gives her a seat- Compassion
India refuses to send troops for Iraq war- Ahimsa
India supports community services and is a front-runner in the UN and was recommended for permanent membership in the UN’s General Assembly- Peace and non-violence.
The country rising in unison to help the tsunami victims- Unity and brotherhood Isn’t this any indication?
Years may have passed since the mahatma walked the face of the earth, but his treasured ideals and principles still hold fort. Life’s testing times have hardly created an impact on Indians and left them as the same bonded lot as Gandhiji moulded them to be. In fact it is only right to declare that his ideals have their greatest relevance in today’s times!
People all over the world are bonded by that spirit of togetherness and sense of belonging called patriotism. It is no different in India and what cemented this was Gandhiji’s undying devotion towards our motherland. Every kid knows Gandhiji and has grown up listening to tales extolling his spirit of patriotism and commitment to the cause of Independence. From childhood, there is born, an inherent seed of love towards the motherland that magnetically attracts Indians all over the world. In times of trouble and times of joy, Indians unite at the face of all!
Even today, in a world were crime and gory fill the front pages of newspapers, India still seems to be deep-rooted in culture, heritage and tradition. Globe-trotters feel incomplete without an ‘Indian Travel experience’. The smells and sounds of our soil entice one and all and makes them feel a sense of divinity and calm, found no where else. This sense of warmth and universal acknowledgement is possible today due to the path The Mahatma showed us!
Every Indian still follows a simple lifestyle and believes in koottukudumbam, kolam and karvachauth. Equipped with hard work and intelligence, Indian brains are sought after everywhere. And wherever they go, there seems to be an undying love and patriotism for the home country. A good indicator of the relevance of Gandhiji’s “Simple living and high thinking” policy.
The word ‘India’ effuses myriad images of celebration, warmth, food, colours, family, friends, truth, gaiety, peace, daal-chaval, rasam, kheth aur kapda, epics, devotion, gods and idols, manuscripts, love, Taj Mahal, Bollywood, chaats, IT etc. It is a confluence of both tradition and modernity. A rare blend of that which etches deep, our identity and that which helps us surge ahead.
Individuality, self-sufficiency and independence were two things close to Gandhiji’s heart. Present trends indicate the best time when both these are at their prime! At no other time in Indian history have people been independent and multi-faceted as today. Students balance education and part-time jobs with ease. The youth stand on their own feet, not relying on anyone for support; at the same time not losing out on values and their respect for elders.
Gandhiji forever believed that there’s no better teacher than life itself, in his stint as a paternal figure in his school in Johannesburg. He maintained that no kid can be forced to study but should find the inclination to do so on his own. Education nowadays is going the play-way method and is practical oriented. Studies show that more students enroll for studies with every passing year and education is reaching the masses. Kids today find it a joyous experience to attend school and college. Not only this, they are being moulded into individuals with character through moral education and value based training. Environmental consciousness, personality development, intra-personal skills, community and society oriented awareness are all inculcated into young minds in what has turned out to be a wholesome education.
Women empowerment was one of Gandhiji’s main goals. Today women are fore-runners in about every field. None can deny the fact that Women these days can handle pressure, work and assignments with about the same ease as men. Household chores don’t bog them down. Late hours of tedious work doesn’t tire them out. From where Gandhiji left his work on Women emancipation, NGO’s and other individuals have picked reins and contributed. Today Indian women have international presence whether you think space or sport! A Kiran Bedi and Arundhathi Roy are not only inspiring figures but also have international popularity. Women are constantly getting benefits from both the Government and people for further improvement and the day shall not be far off when women and men gain equal footage in day-to-day life.
His dreams of creating a global India- a country which encompasses technical and intellectual advancements and maintains its identity is blooming true by the day. He envisaged an India which scales heights in every known field. Today, be it IT or architecture, medicine or research, India is constantly upgrading its skills and equipping itself to start its trek uphill.
Gandhiji has not only been a person inspiring generations of Indians but also has been that thread unifying the fabric called India. Then, he stood up to fight for independence. Now, he infuses the spirit of oneness in every Indian. Both then and now, this great man’s words and wishes shall sound and burn with the same effervescence as it always will. 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.
“Lives of great men all remind us and departing, leave behind, footprints on the sands of time. Footprints that perhaps another, sailing over life’s main, a forlorn and shipwreck’d brother, seeing, shall take heart again”