An Essay And Article On Relevance Of Gandhiji Thoughts
The thought, philosophy and the message of Gandhi are very much relevant to-day. We must say they alone constitute the only positive factor which can save the modem civilization which is heading for a disaster .We witness a sure and certain dilution of higher values of life in the scheme of our lives. Permanent values of service before self, sacrifice before hoarding and concern for others are fast dwindling and their place is being taken by selfishness, greed, opportunism, deceit, cunning and falsehood. Gross materialism is eating into the vitals of society and a certain agnostic attitude is in evidence almost everywhere. Even family ties are being broken; love is losing ground to hatred, distrust and suspicion. The present civilization is growing more and more mechanized and materialized and the old innocence- born of simplicity stands at bay.
All human values are being sacrificed at the. altar of Mammon. All this has given birth to conflicts and confrontations and has led to the erosion of the noble standards of tolerance and fellow-feeling. To complete this grim picture has come the unending race for armaments. Destructive weapons of war are waiting in the nuclear arsenals of the super- powers to be delivered one day on the innocent humanity. They menace the very existence of mankind. Efforts for bringing about disarmament have never succeeded; on the contrary, they have always led to further and more and more armament. The dropping of two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the total devastation of these cities thereby should serve a constant reminder to everybody that a nuclear war whenever fought would bring about the extinction of mankind.
Gandhiji fought For Equality
No doubt mankind has been struggling since times of yore to find solutions to the problems humanity is faced with. But the remedies have been far worse than the disease. The fact is that we have been tinkering with the branches and ignoring the roots. In fact, we have allowed ourselves, almost always, to adopt an ostrich attitude to problems. All the systems of laws, contracts, treaties and alliances have failed to bring about human harmony and peace. The efforts being made at present too will certainly founder on the rocks of failure because there is no sincerity nor a sense of purpose behind them. Where shall we go then? What will the present civilization festered with the negative factors detailed above lead to? Certainly not to peace, amity and happiness. In such a climate Gandhism alone provides a ray of hope.
The values and principles, ideals and precepts which Gandhi stood for, propagated and preached, can give a right direction to humanity to reach a destination of perpetual peace both internal and external. In this connection it needs to be stressed that what Gandhi stood for was not simply an exercise in idealistic, impracticable thinking. Gandhi preached what he practiced and said that what he practiced was capable of being practiced by everyone if only one cared to practise his precepts. Gandhiji’s experiments with truth had convinced him beyond doubt that truth always triumphs and the only right path is the path of truth. Truth may be suppressed by adverse forces, but it can never be put down. In Gandhiji’s own life occasions came when it appeared that falsehood and tyranny based on it would triumph, but to his great bliss, the tables were turned and truth ultimately became victorious.
The deliverance of humanity today lies through the pursuit of the path of truth. Gandhi identified Truth with God. He had an unshakable faith in God whom he described as an unseen power that exists. Faith in God and pursuit of truth can save humanity from disaster. Closely allied to his conceptions of God and truth is his faith in non-violence. Non-violence in fact is the sheet anchor of Gandhi’s philosophy. Non-violence is very much related to truth. Violence is untruth, for it offends against the unity of life and the path of violence is always fraught with serious dangers. Peace in the world can be established if we follow the path of non-violence. Violence for violence’s sake win create a vicious circle from which we cannot get out save at the cost of the extinction of humanity. Gandhiji would reply violence with non- violent resistance. In Satyagrah principle Gandhiji has bequeathed to us a weapon of unfailing power for the solution of individual and social problems.
Gandhiji was a non-violent fighter. He waged war against the adversary by undergoing suffering and sacrifice. He would aim at the change of heart of the adversary. His non-violent warfare had no room for fear and bitterness. On the other hand, it generated goodwill and friendship between the warring parties. By means of non-violence Gandhiji won independence for the country. He created a precedent for other subject nations to win freedom by non-violent means. Gandhiji faith in religion and morality was deep. By religion he did not mean the observance of rituals and religious ceremony. His religion was synonymous with morality. He preached the path of religion not only for individuals but also for nations, not only in individual life but also in politics. He introduced religion into politics and in this way spiritualized politics. He never agreed with those who said that religion bad nothing to do with politics.
For Gandhiji, politics bereft of religion are a death trap that kills the soul. So much tyranny and blood-shed that politics has witnessed from time immemorial have drawn strength from the separation of religion from politics. “Activities that draw no sustenance from the spiritual nature of man, but derive all their energy and motive power from the non-spiritual side of man’s composition, are bound after running their allotted course, to end in disaster and ruin”. He repudiated the stand of those to whom the end justifies the means. If the means are immoral they have the tendency to infect the end. If we have good end in view our means to achieve that end must be moral too. There is just an inviolable connection between the end and the means as between the seed and the tree. As the means so the end. If the nations of the world have good end in view, if they want to ameliorate the lot of their people, save democracy and establish peace in the world, they would have to go in for the pursuit of moral or good means for that purpose.
AJI the ills we have inherited from the past, all the conflicts and confrontations we witness at present are due to our distortion of the higher principle of ‘good means leading to a good end’, to that of ‘the end justifies the means’. If only we could revert to the path shown by Gandhi, much of violence, hatred and tyranny could be put an end to. Hence there is much relevance of these Gandhian principles at the present time. Gandhiji preached simplicity of life. He was at one with Gautam, the Buddha that multiplication of desires leads to suffering. Our real good lies in the progressive reduction of wants. Cessation of desire leads to the cessation of suffering and hence to salvation. Gandhiji himself practiced utmost simplicity in life. True culture or civilization consists in the reduction of wants and leading a simple life. All the hurry and worry and mad rush for wealth will never give us peace. According to Gandhiji, simplicity of life leads to purity of life.
He gave the idea of bread labour which indeed is based on his notion of simplicity. According to this idea, man must earn his own bread by manual labour. This will be beneficial in two ways. First, it will generate a climate of equality between man and man; second, it will end exploitation of the manual workers by those who earn their living by intellectual labour. Let those who possess superior intellect use that intellect u for the welfare of the society rather than for exploitation. Manual labour will also exercise healthy influence on our capacity of intellectual exercise improving it and refining it. Gandhiji advocated decentralization, both political and economic. Gandhi’s faith in non-violence made him conscious of the violence inherent in centralization. Centralization leads to the suppression of initiative and enterprise. It blunts innovativeness and inventiveness.
It strengthens exploitative tendencies. The way out of the evils of centralization lies through decentralization which can liberate the inherent capacity and talent of a large mass of humanity both for the good of the individual and the good of the society. Gandhiji was in favor of the establishment of self-sufficient and autonomous panchayats. The problems of the villagers should be solved by the villagers themselves through the medium of an organization which they themselves help create. The central authority should play only a supportive and sustaining role. In the economic sphere too, Gandhiji was against centralized industry. He stressed the need for the improvement and establishment of cottage industries. Simple crafts of the villagers must be revived. Science should be employed to invent new tools and instruments which may eliminate the boredom.
This decentralized economy will be free from the problem of unemployment, exploitation of labour by capital and the dehumanization of humanity. Today, when we are painfully suffering from the evils of centralized industry, Gandhiji’s conception of decentralization provides a ray of hope. Hence, Gandhism in this sphere is not only relevant to-day but is the crying need of the hour if we have to prevent ourselves from sliding further into the abyss of the evils of centralization. Gandhiji’s unique contribution lies in his harmonizing and reconciling capitalism and socialism. His principle of trusteeship achieves this objective. Gandhiji did not believe in dispossessing the rich of their riches, nor would he distribute the hard-earned income of the rich among the poor, for that would promote idleness on the part of the poor.
He favored the excess wealth of the rich to be held in trust by the rich themselves for the betterment of the society. This idea of Gandhiji is very much relevant to-day for it is not possible either to establish pure socialism of the Marxian type or to ensure annihilation of capitalism. By his principle of trusteeship Gandhiji struck a mean between capitalism and socialism, advocating a structure which would promote the good points of both. Gandhiji’s ideas on nationalism and internationalism are very much valid and relevant to-day. In the world of to-day we cannot afford to be nationalist at the cost of internationalism. The nationalism of the nazist and fascist type is out of order to-day, nay; it is fraught with terrible dangers. What is necessary to-day is the adoption of an enlightened brand of nationalism. We should be nationalists so that we may do the duty of internationalism. In other words, our road to internationalism should be constructed through nationalism.
Gandhiji A freedom Fighter
Nehru wrote in his book ‘The Discovery of India’, “Gandhi was an intense nationalist; he was also, at the same time, a man who had a message not only for India, but for the world, and he ardently desired world-peace. His nationalism, therefore, had a certain world outlook and was entirely free from any aggressive intent.” Indeed there is need to establish a happy synthesis between nationalism and internationalism as Gandhi brought it about in the scheme of his ideas and practice. He wanted the freedom of India so that India could develop its resources for the good of the entire mankind. Thus, we find that Gandhi has much relevance today.
Rather we have to accept the fact that the propagation and practice of Gandhism alone may rid our present civilization of the so many blemishes and negative points which forebode to crush humanity and the sound values; it may survive on, under their steel heels. It is good that we have been able to enshrine a number of Gandhian principles and ideas in the Constitution of free India and must endeavor to see them installed on the rightful place. We should aim at material prosperity and equality so as to ‘wipe tears from every eye’ but should not imitate the foreign models. Communism of the Soviet type and Capitalism of the Western type, neither of them finds a congenial soil in India. Both in their extreme form are bad for India. India requires its own brand of communism and its own brand of capitalism, an order which may accord well with our national genius and our glorious past traditions. Gandhism provides the best answer. Gandhiji gave India a new beginning.
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