Mahatma Today

untitled-1.jpgWhen we tried to fight with arms, we failed, when we adopted non-violence, we won; I am a disciple of the Mahatma”- Lech Walesa

I was standing near Ground Zero trying to imagine that once there stood twin towers– the world’s tallest buildings once upon a time. But my attention was immediately turned towards an old woman who was crying out aloud cursing those who were responsible for this brutal attack, which is supposed to have killed more than 2000 people. A uniformed personnel stood nearby without any emotion on his face respecting her liberty to mourn her loss.I slowly walked towards World Financial Center realizing that in every corner of the world, in every culture, the feeling of losing a loved one is not different. Though my tour to New York was filled with the excitement of traveling alone for the first time in my life, for a moment I wish the earth beneath my feet could gulp me down. My heart was too heavy by the time I reached WFC. It was noon and people were moving around. As I sat down on a bench from where one could see the construction that is going on Ground Zero, an American sat beside me with a packet of food. He was having a job with American Express and had moved to New York post 9/11. I introduced myself as an Indian. His immediate reaction was, “Oh, great. You are from the land of the Mahatma. I am sure had he been alive these kind violence wouldn’t have taken place anywhere in the world.” The realization dawned in me that Father of my nation is a Saviour of the World. Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings are still relevant and the only panacea for this scourge of violence. Throughout the world more and more people realize that only Gandhiji’s teachings lead us to the path of redemption from this man-made catastrophe that keeps shaking the humanity every now and then. Millions around the globe diligently pursue Gandhian philosophy. Mahatma Gandhi has become synonymous with peace.But even when the world regards Gandhi as the greatest human being of all time, does his own country follow his teachings? Mahatma Gandhi is remembered on those special occasions when India celebrates its birthday or commemorates Gandhi’s birth and death anniversaries. Rest of the year is spent not only by forgetting his teachings but also by violating the principles of love, peace and truth for which Mahatma sacrificed his life. Unfortunately, Mahatma now belongs to the particular party of which he became a member to mobilize people to fight for their freedom through peaceful means. The question I always ask myself is, “Who is an Indian?” Logically, the answer would be “a natural born citizen of India”. But I doubt whether an individual born in this soil could be called a true Indian if he/she fails to realize that this soil is the gift of a man who brought together people from diverse ethno-religious groups under a non-violent umbrella to cherish the dream of Swaraj. For Mahatma, non-violence was not a passive form of resistance; on the other hand, it projected the indefatigable spirit of human fortitude.Violence is on rise in India, the country which once had the most vociferous supporter of non-violence is now bleeding from caste, class and religious clashes. Mahatma Gandhi not only liberated a nation from the colonial rule but liberated man from the curse of racism, communalism, gender bias etc. In the US, Martin Luther King followed the footprints of Gandhi to make the Civil Rights Movement a success. Lech Walesa followed the principles of Gandhi to free Poland.What do we Indians do? Are we reliving Gandhigiri only on the glamorous annals of Bollywood movies or are we in real spirits trying to revive his principles in the social and economic walks of our life?Annapoorna Karthika