October 2 is Gandhi Jayanthi, the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation. His method of winning Independence for India was unique. He preached and practised non-violence and non-cooperation to achieve his goal. He campaigned to uplift the downtrodden, to ease poverty, expand woman’s rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability and more.
What Gandhi achieved in his life was a miracle. He lived in the hearts of millions of Indians and was respected by all. He laid great emphasis on banishing untouchability, promoting Hindu-Muslim unity, promoting literacy and in the development of a great nation —India. He moved the people with his sincerity and sacrifice. At his behest, they were ready to lay down their lives for the freedom of the country from foreign powers. His name lives on. Even after all these years, his principles, dedication and mission continue to inspire the country.
Anusha .A.S., IX, Kendriya Vidyalaya No.1 Ambala Cantonment, Haryana
The main reason why people are inspired by Gandhiji is his philosophy of non-violence. He used non-violence to free India from British. His manner of dressing shows us his unwillingness to use foreign products. He always told the people to do their work on their own without depending on others. He tried to eradicate the evil existing at that time — untouchability. These are the reasons why I am inspired by Gandhiji. Though he is not with us today, his great sayings and doings will go on inspiring many people.
Manasi Joshi, IX C, Johnson Grammar School (SSC), Habsiguda, Hyderabad.
Walk in the truth
Gandhiji known as the Father of the Nation and for students like me as Bapu, is the inspiration for millions of people not only during the freedom movement, but even today. He used tools like upavas, satyagraha, ahimsa and non- cooperation to achieve his goal. His most endearing qualities were his insistence to always tell the truth and his disciplined way of life.
Akarash S. V., IX, J. K. English Medium High School, Hubli, Karnataka
I believe the people of India were inspired to follow Gandhiji because he never claimed to be a God or a super human. He admitted his mistakes and never blamed anyone. He was just another simple Indian, and his methods could be easily understood by both the educated and the poor. His humility and depth of understanding in the simplest of actions has made him the “Mahatma”.
DEVIKA JAYADEVAN, X, Amrita Vidyalayam, Pathanamthitta, Kerala
Gandhiji has shown us how to live by setting an example. He was an ordinary man with an extraordinary will to live his life according to the principles of truth and nonviolence. What he preached he first practised.
Abhisek Verma, IX, Kendriya Vidhalaya No-1, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
People followed Mahatma Gandhi and respected him because:
- He led a simple life
- He was kind to others
- He always spoke the truth
- He fought the British and gave us freedom
Aadityakrishna V, III A, St. Michael's Academy, Adyar, Chennai
Gandhiji believed in non-violence and peace. He was a freedom fighter but differed from other freedom fighters because of his determination. He never gave up and he never lost hope, even when his struggle met with failure. He didn't let go of his belief in non-violence.
Juman Ahmed, VIII B, Benchmarks International School, Manjeri, Malappuram, Kerala
Showing by doing
Mahatma Gandhi's life itself is a textbook. He never asked anyone to do anything, but showed everyone how to do it. He is also a true role model for the new generation since he was himself an ideal example for everything he spoke and taught. He inspires because his life still shows the most beautiful picture of love, peace, honesty and truth.
Harisree.K.Bhaji, XII, Mount Carmel Vidyaniketan, Kottayam, Kerala
Gandhiji's truthfullness inspires us the most. He was human like us, but he tried to overcome his weaknesses and succeeded in it. Liberating the country was his true desire and not for any other motive or self interest. Unlike today's politicians, he didn't have dual personality. He didn't crave publicity. People who came in contact with him felt his positive energy.
Shailaja Nagi, V, N.K.Bagrodia Public School, Sector-4 Dwarka, Delhi
The person who freed our nation without even a thought of violence is our Mahatama Gandhi. He was an intellectual and turned negative things to positive. I am inspired by his sense of sacrifice. He experienced joy in giving and uplifting the masses.
KIRTI ROHIL, IX A, Air Force Golden Jubilee Institute,Subroto Park,New Delhi
Simple and peace-loving
Gandhiji led a simple life. He helped people in need without expecting anything in return. He played a significant role fighting against the British rule and making India an independent nation. He encouraged the people of India to fight for freedom and bring peace and harmony to the nation. Gandhiji himself was a peace-loving human being and detested any kind of violence. He did not believe in wars and conflicts as solutions. It is these qualities that Gandhiji exhibited that inspired people to follow him.
Abhinav Roy, IX D, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ballygunge, Kolkata
Gandhiji practised simplicity. He was fearless in speaking the truth and he practised non-violent methods to put across his point of view. These principles were first practised by him in his day-to-day life before he asked others to follow them. He gave value to the lives of untouchables, naming them children of God. His nature of feeling the pain of his brethren and fasting for their cause shows his empathy towards human beings.
V. Chaitanya, V-C, Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.
Brave and confident
I am inspired by Gandhi as he was a brave and confident person who followed the path of non-violence (ahimsa). He sacrificed his life for the sake of the country. He was a great leader and is my favourite hero. He showed me simple living and high thinking.
Natasha Valluri, V A, Johnson Grammar School(ICSE), Warasiguda
From the villages
Mahatma Gandhiji had a large following of people from the villages because he said “Graamraajya hi Raamraajya”. It means that if villages live in prosperity with adequate agriculture and irrigation, the village would flourish as if god himself was ruling the village. He meant that the growth of cities and towns depended on the growth of the villages. He believed in “Graamraajya”. So, he told them that this would be the root of India's glorious independence.
T.S.Mahima, VIII A, S.B.O.A.School and Junior College, Chennai
Love for peace
Many people struggled for Indian independence and many people lost their lives during the freedom movement. But, when we talk about Indian Independence, Gandhiji's name comes to our mind first and he is regarded as the “Father of our nation”. What is the reason for this? Gandhiji's simplicity and love towards others made him closer to the common man. At all stages during the freedom movement, he preached and practised only Ahimsa or non-violence.
R. Shalini, VI, Rangarao Lions Matriculation School, Watrap, Virudhunagar District, Tamil Nadu
According to me what inspired people to follow Gandhiji is his courage and confidence. He never hesitated to be on the path of truth and needed no one to support him. He knew for certain that he was doing the right thing. When we do the right we need not have any fear.
Madeeha Azam, IX, Neo Rosary School, Tolichowki, Hyderabad.
Devotion to work
Gandhiji, affectionately called Bapu, was determined and dedicated towards his work. Satayagraha, the Dandi March, the Non-Cooperation Movement and other kinds of major steps which he took are evidence of his “determination”. He was also dedicated and considered all work to be important.
Achyut Chaturvedi, IX D, Cathedral Senior Secondary School, Lucknow
It was Gandhiji's simple way of living and his strong, determined character that influenced millions of people to rally in support. His concepts of Satyagraha and Ahimsa sparked interest and enthusiasm in many Indians. He inspired patriotism in every single Indian.
Shweta Kallapur, VIII, The East-West School, Basavanagudi, Bangalore.
Gandhiji never told people to follow him or regard himself as a leader. He never intended to lead but he chose to follow. He followed the truth and what brought happiness to his people. His simplicity, self confidence, truthfulness and empathetic nature made people admire him. He became a leader not because of the false promises he gave to the people like today's politicians but because of the belief nurtured by the people in his deeds.
P. M. Shanmathy,VIII, Disha A Life School, Pollachi, Tamil Nadu
In the right path
Seek the truth and it will set you free. This was the principle of Gandhiji. The reason why people followed him is because each and every action of his was rational and beneficial to the common man.Today not only we, Indians, but the whole world try to follow his philosophy.
ABHISHEK RAJ, X, Sainik School, Tilaiya, Koderma district, Jharkhand
Author : Justice C.S. Dharmadhikari
Special Feature-2 on Gandhi Jayanti
Mahatama Gandhi summed up his philosophy of life with the words, “My Life is my Message”. His multifarious and dynamic personality was based on truth and nothing but the truth. Non – violence was another intrinsic element of this philosophy.
At the All India Congress Committee meeting in Bombay on 8th August, 1942, that is, on the eve of Quit India Movement, Mahatma Gandhi declared, “I want to live full span of my life and according to me, the full span of life is 125 years. By that time, India will not only be free but the whole world will be free.
Today, I do not believe that Englishmen are free, I do not believe that Americans are free. They are free to do what? To hold other part of humanity in bondage? Are they fighting for their liberty? I am not arrogant. I am not a proud man. I know the distinction between pride, arrogance, insolence and so on. But what I am saying is, I believe, in the voice of God. It is the fundamental truth that I am telling you.”
Gandhi was the most normal of men. He was universal, such a man cannot be measured, weighed, or estimated. He is the measure of all things. Gandhi was not a philosopher, nor a politician. He was a humble seeker of truth. Truth unites, because it can be only one. You can cut a man’s head, but not his thoughts. Non – violence is the only other aspect of the sterling coin of truth. Non – violence is love, the very content of life.
In this principle of non–violence, Gandhi introduced technique of resistance to evil and untruth. His Satyagraha is inspired by boundless love and compassion. It is opposed to sin, not sinner, the evil, not evil doer. For him truth was God and in that sense he was man of God. Truth is not yours or mine. It is neither Western nor Eastern.
Gandhi’s prayer stands for invoking the inner strength of men for the good of one another, his spinning wheel for dignity of productive labour, and broomstick for abolition of social inequalities based on birth. He wanted freedom from rule of merchandise. He wanted rationality in productive system, which should be based on human rationality. He was not an orthodox economist. His plan was peace, security and progress for human race as a whole. He believed that the planning should be based on ‘Man Power’ rather than horse power. These issues are not restricted to India, but are global in nature. These principles are universal. He insisted on individual code of conduct. He introduced an entirely new dimension in technique of social transformation.
One cannot comprehend Satyagraha without connecting it with Constructive Work or the Ashram observances. Gandhi, the statesman and the fighter for freedom, could not have been like what he was, had he not been Gandhi, the social reformer, and Gandhi, the saint. It is the quest for truth in all its glory that creates Gandhi, the man.
Gandhi never pretended to be consistent with previously held views in his life. He readily abandoned his stands when he felt the need to do so. These “inconsistencies” often infuriated his antagonists, who felt that he was a “slippery” politician. I think his inconsistencies were more a reflection of an ever – growing personality to whom consistency was less important than being true to the inner voice of truth as understood at any given point of time.
Gandhi ji took up the ancient but powerful idea of Ahimsa or non – violence and made it familiar throughout the world, particularly in political and economic field. However, non – violence means more than the mere absence of violence. It is something more positive, more meaningful and dynamic and Gandhiji combined it with a sense of responsibility for the welfare of people. His great achievement was to demonstrate through his own example that non – violence can be implemented effectively not only in the political arena, but also in our day – to – day life. His whole life was his experiment with truth.
He knew that human dignity cannot be preserved on charity. Mutuality and well – being is the essence of life. It is therefore S+G that is “Science plus Gandhi”, which alone can save a planet earth. Gandhi was an apostle of peace and brotherhood. The modern nuclear weapons, not only pose a grave threat to world peace but will destroy mother earth. Apart from the ecological sustainable model of development preached by Gandhi, decentralistion of socio – economic power based on non – violence, and building up of people’s power, communal harmony based on people’s initiative, rather than the state power is the only alternative.
The 20th century was the most violent period in human history. More people have suffered and have been killed by organized violence than any other time before. The wars, the genocides, the weapons of mass destruction have created such an enormous mass misery and agony that it is difficult to find any trace of hope. Therefore, Gandhi’s teachings of non – violence are most relevant today. Now, though late, there is a realization that there is no other alternative. This is the reason why amidst report of increasing teenage violence across the United States, a bill have been introduced in New Jersey Assembly seeking to include Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings of non – violence in the school curriculum. On 12th May 2000, on Mother’s Day in New York, several thousand mothers resolved and demanded a ban on the manufacture of arms, and its use. Therefore, in my view the teachings of Gandhi are not only relevant but also the only alternative.
Some people seem to think that compassion or non-violence is just a passive emotional response, rather than a rational stimulus to action. They forget that Gandhi combined it with a sense of responsibility. He was not a mere onlooker but was an active participant. He first followed and then preached. He was a leader in real sense of the said term. Whenever there was a risk to life he was at the fore front and never had a desire for power or wealth. Sacrifice was key word of his life. He lived a simple need based life because he knew that needs have an end whereas greed is endless. Gandhiji knew that “In times to come people will not judge us by the creed we profess or label we wear or the slogans we shout, but by our work, industry, sacrifice, honesty and purity of character.” He also knew that man who wants freedom has to take tremendous risk. That was essence of his life, that is why he could say that “My Life is My Message”.
*Author, formerly the Acting Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, is currently the Chairman, Institute of Gandhian Studies, Wardha and Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon.