Long before the British decided to come to India, the country was rich in traditions and possessed a culture one would envy. But, under the British, the face of the country changed… forever. Ancient traditions and cultures were discarded. India seemed set to be transformed into another England. Perhaps things would have been drastically different had Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – a man, who perhaps can be called the most remarkable component of the history of this Nation – had not stood firm in the face. Of the mighty and seemingly invincible British Empire.
His contribution is almost always assessed in terms of the Freedom Struggle, which saw him lead form the front. One wonders, as to what force was it that drove the man to challenge the mighty Brits through his own self-made theories (he sure would have been quite kicked, seeing how successful the results were) was it the values of truthfulness, integrity, peace, equality and simplicity that were instilled in him?
He was just a common man – well… at least, he claimed to be one. Came across a couple of quotes while reading about him…
“I claim to be no more than an average man with less than average ability. Nor can I claim any special merit for such non-violence or continence as I have been able to reach with laborious research. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith. Work without faith is like an attempt to reach the bottom of a bottomless pit.”
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough in me to confess my errors and to retrace my steps. I own that I have an immovable faith in God and His goodness and in-consumable passion for truth and love. But, is that not what every person has latent in him?”
It is quite a contradiction that such pretentiously modest words come from a man who was-as I understand him to be-rigid and unshakeable towards what he believed was right, towards his coveted goals.
Modesty aside, the credit for a free India belongs to him more than anyone else. It was he who aroused the nation on the strength of non-violence, virtues and wisdom, and employed them into action and the results are there for all to see.
The more I read about him the more enchanted I get. Being just a common man… a question keeps hovering over my head… What would it have been like… to be ‘Mahatma Gandhi’?