Personal Thought: Gandhiji's aim was to help the poor
By KG Shrivastav
Once Mahatma Gandhiji was on a tour of a village. There he saw a woman wearing a dirty saree. Bapu enquired from her: Why your saree is so dirty; why don't you wash it? Her reply: I cannot wash it because I have only one saree to wear.
Hearing this reply, tears came in the eyes of Gandhiji. Immediately the thought came to him that there may be many people who do not have sufficient clothes to wear. He decided to use one `dhoti'.
Here it will be worthwhile to mention that thinking of Gandhiji about simple living was not inspired only from his high philosophy of life but also after seeing extreme poverty in the country.
Though after Independence, poverty in the country has reduced, even then millions of people continue to live below the poverty line in the country.
Several of our leaders generally talk of being distressed due to the pitiable condition of millions of people in the country and appeal to the masses to follow the principles of Mahatma Gandhi but they themselves have amassed huge property and live luxurious lives.
Leaders of people should not lead a luxurious life, said Gandhiji. In an article he wrote: We should refuse to have what the millions cannot. This ability to refuse will not descend upon ourselves all of a sudden. The first thing is to cultivate the mental attitude that will not have possessions or facilities denied to millions and the next immediate thing is to rearrange our lives as fast as possible in accordance with that mentality.
The above thinking of Gandhiji about living was too high which is not possible for all to follow. But, it does not mean that millions of people who are struggling for their basic needs may be overlooked. However, this is happening. Every year crores of rupees are incurred on decoration of bungalows of President, Prime Minister, Governors, Chief Ministers, Ministers and IAS officers, and providing a host of facilities to them. We, while doing this forget that even today there are millions of people who do not have good houses to live.
Similarly, increasing expenditure on salaries, allowances and various facilities to the members of parliament and legislative assemblies is not justified. The MPs and MLAs should realize that the people who voted them to power are themselves bereft of many facilities.
Here it may not be out of place to mention that many facilities which Gandhiji desired could have been provided to him but he refrained from them. His great thought was: `We should not rest or be content with meals so long as there is even an able-bodied man or woman without work or food.'
True homage to the Mahatma on his anniversaries would be to follow the principles laid down by him and not simply restricting to flowers and a `Namaste'.