Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum


Unfortunately a country like India, which got independence through a non-violent revolution, is bathing in violence and bloodshed even after 67 years of independence.  Over eight hundred million people are silent spectators to the violence and the killings spreading like a wild fire at the instance of a thousand people scattered here and there.  What a pity!


Mob violence and killings have become such a routine that such incidents are now reported by media in a very casual manner.  Political killings are no doubt a menace to the hard won freedom of this country.  The apostle of peace and non-violence and the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi himself was the first victim for such political killing.  It was within a year of winning independence through a non-violent revolution.  Thereafter in 1984 Mrs.Indira Gandhi fell victim to the bullets of her own security guards.  Then Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a bomb blast while going to address an election meeting near Madras.  This could happen even after elaborate security arrangements for his public meeting and also his own personal safety.  Where are we upto?


Mr.Sham Lal correctly said (Times of India dt: 25-5-’91):

It is moronic to dismiss every terrorist act as a failure of the security system.  It is more a failure of the political system – and that too, on two counts.  First, it has not been able to prevent the growth of terrorist organizations and secondly, it has been unable to isolate them politically.


I am reminded here the following resolution passed by AICC on 16-11-1947 when Mahatma Gandhi was alive and continued to be a guiding force for the Congress and the country:


The All India Congress Committee has noted with regret that there is a growing desire on the part of some organizations to build up private armies.  Any such development is dangerous for the safety of the state and for the growth of corporate life in the nation.  The State alone should have its defence forces or police or home guards or recognized armed volunteer force.  The activities of Muslim National Guards, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Akali volunteers and such other organizations, in so far as they represent an endeavour to bring into being private armies, must be regarded as a menace to the hard-won freedom of the country.  The AICC therefore appeals to all these organizations to discontinue such activities and the Central and Provincial Government to take necessary steps in this behalf.


After passing such a resolution no sincere effort was made in this direction.  Otherwise the present situation could have been avoided.  Now-a-days not only organizations but individual political leaders too have their own private armies.  How can there be peace in this country?


Our country’s leadership in particular and the people in general, have totally forgotten Mahatma Gandhi and the principles of truth, love and non-violence.  The present order in the country is

  1. Politics without principles,
  2. Wealth without work,
  3. pleasure without conscience,
  4. commerce without morality,
  5. knowledge without character,
  6. science without humanity, and
  7. worship without sacrifice,

which were considered great sins by Mahatma Gandhi.  Who cares for all these now?


The growing violence in the country can be conquered only through the methods of Gandhiji as majority would agree.  Sometime back there were appeals to Gandhians to help in this task.  Is there a Gandhian?  There was only one Gandhian and that was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and he was assassinated on 30th January 1948.  Will he resurrect from his grave in Rajghat to help us in this task?  There were occasions even people disturbed peace in Rajghat Gandhi Samadhi also.


A long time  back H.Y.Sharada Prasad wrote:


Our Gandhians, who have become a closed shop, seem to be concerned more with problems like decentralization and opposition to big irrigation projects.  Not that decentralization and conservation are unimportant.  But it does not help if the abler Gandhians turn themselves into social scientists and seminar stars rather than social activists.


Perhaps by “Gandhians” H.Y.Sharada Prasad meant those khadi-clad men and women living on Gandhi’s name through organizations like Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Sarva Seva Sangh, etc.  Can they really be called Gandhians?  In this connection, it is worth noting the following words of Mahatma Gandhi:


Let no one say that he is a follower of Gandhi.  It is enough that I should be my own follower.  I know what an inadequate follower I am of myself, for I cannot live up to the convictions I stand for.


How many so called Gandhians can claim to be living up to their own convictions?  How many of our present day leaders are really honest at least to admit that they are unable to live up to own convictions?


As Louis Fischer wrote:

India has impoverished itself  by exporting its finest treasures.  It gave birth to Buddha.  Now hundreds of millions follow him outside India and only a handful inside.  India’s earth and air nurtured Gandhiji.  How many Gandhians can be counted in his native country?  How much influence do those Gandhians exercise?  Is Gandhiji to become the lost Mahatma?  Is the prophet to be without honour in his homeland?


Growing corruption at all levels, increasing violence throughout the country, political killings and the incidents that took place in Gandhi Samadhi, do indicate as to how Mahatma Gandhi is being dishonoured by this country day by day.


According to Louis Fischer:


Even those Indians who appreciate Gandhiji’s services to the cause of India’s national freedom and understand his philosophy delight in scoffing at his economics.  No one can deny, however, that he knew India.  He knew it with his eyes and ears, he knew it with his feet and skin, with his heart and his instincts.  India to him was its hundreds of thousands of villages, its hundreds of millions of villagers – 80 per cent or more of population.  They would be, he hoped, the primary concern of a liberated India.  But it is now generally conceded that the first and second five year plans subordinated agricultural development to industrial development.  This happened in Red China too and in Soviet Russia.  The glamour and glory of building the roof and façade turned officials’ heads.  They forgot the foundation – the village that produced food and fibre.  India’s economic growth, like China’s, like Russia’s, was thereby retarded.  People suffered.


How right Louis Fischer was when he wrote it two decades back?  Our people, especially rural and urban poor, continue to suffer and in their sufferings our political leadership thrives and rule over India.  We are free from the rule of British, but we are still ruled by their tactics of ‘divide and rule’.  It is a pity to be like that even after 67 years of independence.


How many of our present day leaders knew India as Mahatma Gandhi did?  The leadership prescribes medicines without proper diagnosis of the ills.  Therefore, their policies and programmes failed.  In the process of curing one illness, many ills are inflicted leading to continuous suffering for our people.  Our leadership, instead of improving their diagnostic skills for treating the ills of the country, tries to cover up their own failures by blaming each other.  How can such leaders be respected?


Now a days people go into politics more with personal ambitions and less for the service of their countrymen.  To get into politics, there is no need to know one’s own people and their problems.  There is no need for their any constructive work.  Experience in destructive work, muscle and money power, right connections at the top and manipulative politics are enough to take one to leadership.  Under the circumstances, if violence is the order of the day, nothing to be surprised.  Mahatma Gandhi did not come into politics like that. 


It is worth noting here as to what Arnold Joseph Toynbee wrote about Gandhiji’s coming into politics:

 “By the time when Gandhi went into politics, he had already become a successful practitioner of his chosen profession – the law – and his motive for deciding to go into politics was neither personal ambition nor the hope of retrieving a failure in one field of activity by entering another.  Gandhiji’s motive was personally disinterested.  Gandhiji’s objective was to raise the spiritual level of life in a spiritual slum – the slough of politics.  Gandhi waded into the slough, showed how the slough could be purified and remained personally uncontaminated by his immersion in it.  This gives the measure both of Gandhi’s own spiritual stature and of the magnitude of his service to mankind at a turning-point in human history.


We are now in another turning-point in human history.  Growing violence and killings in India and elsewhere in the world threaten the existence of humanity.  Somebody like Mahatma Gandhi will have to emerge to save not only India but the whole world from total destruction.  We badly need someone not to lead the country and the whole world into destruction, but someone who could lead us all into that heaven of freedom as described by Rabindranath Tagore in the following lines:

 “When the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action;

Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.


Who would not love to live in such a freedom, if same can be achieved?  It is time everyone worked hard for the same.  If we leave the matter in the hands of few politicians alone, we are bound to be disappointed.  All of us will have to struggle together against the evils of destruction.  Truth, love and non-violence shall be the only weapon used in this struggle.  Then only the success shall be ours.

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Comment by Balamurali Balaji on May 22, 2015 at 8:58
Very good article. I agree with most of the views expressed by the author and the quotes he carefully placed in support of them.

Gandhians and the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi are not dead these days as it continues to be the heart line of the sociopolitical activities. Just as politics spoiled with killings and other forms of violence, Society is being corrupted by immoral, obscene values. Of course, a Gandhi is needed always to keep a watch on these two.

Let the people of India understand this. Let us work towards bringing more people to accept this very fact.

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