N.S.Venkataraman for BeyondHeadlines
2nd October is the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi the great son of India, an apostle of non violence and the conscience keeper of the world. It is around 63 years now since Mahatma Gandhi passed away but his thoughts and philosophy have withstood the test of time and continues to remain as inspiration to the world community.
When Mahatma Gandhi passed away, Einstein said that the future generation would find it difficult to believe that there was a man like Gandhi who could have lived in this world. Now, the younger generation realize how truthful were the words of Einstein. Youth of today who have not seen Gandhiji are left wondering as to how a person could have been so truthful and honest.
The sad fact is that today’s India has failed to live up to his expectations.
One of the cardinal principles of Mahatma Gandhi, apart from several other great ideas, was that prohibition should be enforced strictly and people should not take liquor. Apart from dehumanizing the man, the liquor habit uproots the families in the lower income group with the earning member frittering away his resources in the liquor shop and driving the poor families into despair. On the other hand today, several state governments in India are trying to boost the liquor sale to increase the revenue.
Mahatma Gandhi laid great stress on personal honesty and probity not only in public life but also in personal life. Unfortunately, in India political and administrative and personal corruption is widely prevalent and India is now considered as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It is hard to believe that a country which has adopted Mahatma Gandhi as the father of the nation could deteriorate to this extent.
Mahatma Gandhi undertook fast seventeen times in his life as a method of self purification, self punishment and as part of his efforts to restore probity, eliminate violence and religious fanaticism. Today, fasting has become a pastime for many people in India with someone fasting in the name of fighting corruption, someone else fasting demanding wage rise and someone else even fasting for separate state etc. and all such activities are carried out with political and ulterior motives. Fasting has become the most misused terminology in India today, which is a great injustice being done to the Gandhian philosophy.
What is most tragic is that the democratic form of governance in India which is a highly desirable form of governance, has enabled many dishonest people and criminal elements to get into parliament and legislative assemblies and become ministers on some occasions. Thus law breakers who should be in jail have become the laws makers in quite a few cases. The concerned country men who understand the gravity of the situation remains as mere spectators without revolting. In such scenario, the bribe culture appears to be becoming be all and end all of life for an average Indian citizen.
Now, let us visualize as to how Mahatma Gandhi would have reacted to the present conditions in India , if he were alive.
Gandhiji would have sacrificed his personal comforts and fought for the cause of probity relentlessly. Above all, he would have been fully honest even in fighting against the corrupt forces and would have used his tool of satyagraha with great elegance and impact on the society.
He would have fought for the battle for the truth in the minds and hearts of citizens and would have done his level best to reform the mindset of the individuals , so that fight against corruption becomes part and parcel of every man’s day today life.
(N.S.Venkataraman is a Chemical Engineer from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu and Director of Nandini Consultancy Centre. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org)