Mahatma Gandhi’s core values

GS 4 Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators.

Introduction

         Gandhi was a thinker, writer, public intellectual, political activist, political theorist and, above all, a philosopher who invented a new philosophical way of life.

Background

  • As a philosopher, he undoubtedly deserves to be ranked alongside the Buddha and Socrates.
  • The freedom which we enjoy today is the result of the toil and countless sacrifices made by thousands of sons and daughters of this great nation.
  • In committing themselves to this mission with spirit and grit, they rose above all other social divisions and barriers.
  • This fact serves as a reminder to us that for centuries, India has been a repository of wisdom, anchored in the conviction of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The whole world is one family).”
  • With resilience and resolve, Gandhian philosophy carried forward the torch of our great nation’s guiding philosophy,
    • which has been the underlying message of the Rig Vedic verse,
    • Ekam sat, viprah bahudha vadanti (Truth is one, but the sages call it by many names)”.

Gandhian Ideology:

  • Truth And Non-violence
    • God is the ultimate truth and morality is its basis.
    • Non-violence is related to love, the highest law of humankind.
  • Sathyagraha:Securing rights by personal suffering and not inflicting injury on others.
  • Sarvodaya:”Universal Uplift” or “Progress of All”.
  • Swaraj:Self-rule, Self Restraint could be equated with moksha or Salvation.
  • Trusteeship: Law of non possession, converting the privileged classes into trustees, equitable distribution of wealth.
  • Swadeshi: Acting within and from one’s own community,  both politically and economically.

Simpleness springs Peace:

  • Abstracted from his reading of the Gita, and what he labelled as the Golden Rule, is the following:
    • “All acts that are incapable of being performed without attachment are taboo.”
      • This golden rule saves mankind from many a pitfall.
      • According to this interpretation murder, lying, dissoluteness and the like must be regarded as sinful and therefore taboo.
      • Man’s life then becomes simple, and from that simpleness springs peace.
  • Intolerance & Violence are two sides of the same coin.
  • Mahatma Gandhi successfully weaponized Truth, Satyagraha, and Peace during India’s struggle for independence.
  • These ideals inspired great men across the world, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
    • Their lives stand as a testament to their indomitable will and the courage to practice the ideals.
  • Therefore, the youth of India must draw inspiration and learn how to tackle intolerance & violence peacefully.
  • That is why Gandhi claimed: “Thinking along these lines, I have felt that in trying to enforce in one’s life the central teaching of the Gita, one is bound to follow Truth and Ahimsa. When there is no desire for fruit, there is no temptation for untruth or himsa.”

Gandhian Ideology even valid during Pandemic times:

  • Gandhi’s emphasis on khadi and village industries during the freedom struggle has special relevance today.
    • A Bharat that is Atma Nirbhar or self-reliant is the Bharat of Bapu’s dreams.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a number of valuable lessons, foremost among them being atmanirbharta, which became synonymous with self-esteem.
  • We saw for ourselves, how industrialists, technologists, innovators, scientists and researchers rose to the occasion with missionary zeal during the lockdown,
    • manufacturing thousands of products from ventilators to PPE kits, from medicines to vaccines to finished products in a variety of areas.
  • It is clear that marked by a transformed mindset, the Atmanirbhar campaign has set India firmly on the path of development and national pride.
  • As Mahatma Gandhi aptly remarked:
    • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
  • With ingenuity and innovation, the nation’s youth should chart the course of India’s development, lending impetus to the concept of vocal for local.

Gandhi’s thinking is much more relevant today:

  • The ideals of truth and nonviolence, which underpin the whole philosophy, are relevant to all humankind, and considered as universal by the Gandhians.
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings are relevant today, when people are trying to find solutions to the rampant greed, widespread violence, and runaway consumptive style of living.
  • The Gandhian technique of mobilising people has been successfully employed by many oppressed societies around the world under the leadership of people like
    • Martin Luther King in the United States,
    • Nelson Mandela in South Africa,
    • Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar,
  • Gandhi’s concept of basic education includes holding of creative activities like
    • cleaning surroundings,
    • spreading communal unity,
    • health education programme,
    • addiction relief programme etc.
      • which can instil national, social, spiritual and cultural values among children.
  • Planning should be made at the grass root level in which villages, individuals, and families would play a dominant role.
    • In the decentralized planning the subject matter of economic planning would be man and his development.
    • Resources would be conserved by avoiding wastage.
  • Martyrs’ Day is an occasion to remind us of the fact that thousands of brave soldiers, some prominent, many obscure, had walked on the thorny path of resistance fighting for India’s freedom in the epic struggle spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • While recollecting their immeasurable contribution, and paying homage to their memory, it is our duty to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain.
  • Their austerity, forbearance, asceticism, spirituality and self-effacing spirit of sacrifice should serve as a fountainhead of inspiration to all of us.

Conclusion:

             We have a big war going on today between world peace and world war, between the force of mind and force of materialism, between democracy and totalitarianism.
             It is precisely to fight these big wars that the Gandhian philosophy needed in contemporary times.

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