Mahatma, apstle of peace
Mahatma you don’t know
Much has been written and said about Mahatma Gandhi. He has been restored to his rightful place through movies, and by heroes in our midst today like Nelson Mandela. The strife-torn world needs a Mahatma who could, by his peaceful action, known as satyagraha cajole and get what he desired from his reluctant foes including the colonial power.
What would Mahatma Gandhi do to win over hardcore terrorists like Osama bin Laden? How would he resolve the Iran crisis? More relevant to the Indian angle, would the apostle of violence be a silent spectator when his country exploded the atomic device and became a nuclear power? Questions, more questions. Perhaps a sÃ©ance session where the great soul could be summoned may provide the answer. Do the great souls heed the call of lesser souls?
While he lived he was the epitome of “walk the talk” leadership. He was honest to the core, punctual to the second, had his ears to the ground, was totally unpretentious, and as leaders go was meek. He made himself accessible to all. He gave others the right to disagree with him .He lived for an ideal, and died a defeated man.
Two of his cherished ideals were trampled upon during his lifetime. One was united India and the other was power politics. He desired that the Congress party had outlived its purpose and should be dismantled.
One or two examples, the less publicized ones, may help us during the stressful times. My friend’s father who later retired as captain in the Indian army had met the Mahatma during his student days. He desired to have an autograph. Mahatma desired something in return. That he take a vow that he would wear khadi clothes and not mill made clothes. The captain in the making was honest. He said he would not promise something he may not lie up to. The parting of ways was cordial.
Dr M.Visvesvaraya, the engineer-statesman of Mysore state, was Mahatma Gandhi’s equal where rectitude and punctuality and love of country were concerned. Mahatma was resting in a nearby hill resort and motored down to Bangalore to meet the great man. Dr MV was never seen without his three-piece suit and he would not also meet people without an appointment. No exception was made and Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was given an appointment later in the day. Mahatma motored back to his cottage I the hills which was 60km away and returned in time for the meeting.
He would insist on chastity and would not readily agree to marriage proposals between his followers. When he did, he would impose a condition, that they live apart for a few months . If the feelings were genuine even then, the marriage would take place with his blessings
Much is made of his experiments with celibacy. His objective was different. He was an experimenter in many fields and he wanted to ascertain the limits of self-restraint. Since truth was his passion, he would share the knowledge with others.
He would stand corrected, when proved wrong. And many of the wrongs that assail us today are born of obduracy. The unwillingness of the powerful to change their ways when proved wrong.
Finally, Mahatma was the need of the hour. Nature threw up such a personage, perhaps the Armageddon many foresee could be avoided if everyone desires and works for peace universal with the same zest that Gandhi did.
Published: 2007-12-19 About the author or the publisher
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