Bapu's birth-anniversary: India needs his ideals more than ever nowLast updated on Oct 02, 2018, 12:50 am
Whatever may be your opinion of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the man, there's no denying that the principles he promulgated and tried to live up to are bulletproof, timeless.
As we observe his 150th birth anniversary today, we look at how his ideals are more relevant now than ever and what they can teach a cross-section of Indians living in an increasingly volatile, polarized nation.
Non-violence most definitely, and tolerance
Mahatma Gandhi is a tall example of how effective non-violence and tolerance can be in successfully pushing an agenda.
There are essentially two ways to get things done:
1. Bapu's: Peaceful, time taking, inclusive
2. Bhagat Singh's: Self-sacrificial, quick, impactful
There might be other ways, but torching properties, vandalism and issuing death threats are not one of them.
Non-violence, yes, but also religious pluralism and equality
The two biggest threats plaguing modern India are religious intolerance and the deepening divide between the rich and the poor.
With the rise of communalism in politics and the government spending billions on erecting statues of erstwhile leaders, looking at governance Gandhi's way, by focusing on farmers, health and education, might give our decision-makers some semblance of priority and perspective.
Social media activists
Patience and the importance of field work
It takes years of perseverance, extensive research, hard work and gravitas to make an idea credible and transform it into a mass movement.
Today, when taking up a cause and making noise around it is just a click away, we're forgetting that to be impactful, movements need to go beyond social media.
Bapu's lifelong struggle is a timely reminder that revolutions don't happen overnight.
Wholehearted acceptance of those different from us
People with limited view of what should and shouldn't be are dangerous. It becomes hazardous when a bunch of them sits in the Parliament.
Some would argue, but there are evidences that Gandhi liked men. However, it never stopped him from becoming India's most revered leader. A person's sexual preference is no reflection of his merit. There's no better example of it than Gandhi.
Perseverance and the art of negotiation
The resolute spirit, unwavering faith and innumerable sacrifices of a country's people were behind India's struggle for independence, but Bapu was at the heart of the turmoil, leading from the front.
It was his indomitable grit, patience and the ability to negotiate tactfully that helped him in times most trying.
Believe. Wait your chance. Negotiate. It worked for Bapu. It'll work for you too.
Truth, simple living and accepting vulnerability
We live in a world of high rises, iPhones, processed food. A world where we need to fake a relative's death to get leaves for a weekend getaway. A world where we can talk politics and films endlessly but daren't show our insecurities.
A world where Gandhi's ideals of truth and simplicity feel impractical, obsolete. A world that needs them now more than ever.