Saturday, October 01, 2011

Gandhi Birthday 2011 - Gandhi the soldier of peace

He did what he preached and preached only what he does

October 2nd 2011 is the 142nd birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and this year marks the 63rd. anniversary of his death. Gandhi is one of the greatest personalities of recent times and he can be considered the saint of non-violence who lived among the masses and who did what he preached and preached only what he did.

This was interestingly illustrated by the following incident of the in his life.

One day a mother came to Gandhi with her little boy for help. She asked Gandhi, “Please, Bapu, will you tell my little boy to stop eating sugar. He simply eats too much sugar and will not stop.” Gandhi told the mother to leave and come back with the boy in three days.

The mother returned with her son and said to Gandhi, “We have come back as you asked.” Gandhi turned to the boy and said, “Young boy, stop eating sweets. They are not good for you.”

The mother then asked Gandhi, “Bapu, why didn’t you tell my son that when we first came to see you? Why did you ask us to leave and come back in three days? I don’t understand.”

Gandhi said to the woman, “I asked you to return with the boy in three days, because three days ago, I, too, was eating sweets. I could not ask him to stop eating sweets so long as I had not stopped eating sweets.”

This is one the virtues that is badly lacking in us especially our political and religious leaders who do not do what they preach neither do they preach only what they do. Even parents and teachers seem to be failing to live up to the expectations of their children and students respectively. This is the most common cause of the decline in moral values in our society.

Gandhi may be best remembered for his role in his country’s independence but to many around the world he means much more than just a freedom fighter because he fought without anger and hate and without violence and weapons. By his peaceful and non-violent struggles those who were unjust he won the hearts of many including those against whom he fought. By doing so he became the conscience in the hearts of many till today.

 His form of fight was indeed unique but surprising it succeeded. Many who adopted his ways of fight later also similarly succeeded and it is interesting to realize that in our small ways we too can likewise succeed in dealing with people in our society if only we adopt his ways.

Mahatma Gandhi refused to submit to unjust laws, spoke and acted strongly against racism and stood firmly to defend truth and justice whenever and wherever they were breached. He was not a ruler of vast lands nor was he man of great power and wealth but was one who had great will and courage to do the right at all times.

On this 142nd birthday of this great man, I would like to share something that was so dear to him – peace.

This is what he had to say of peace, “If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have the struggle, we won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.”

He struggled for peace, a peace that was so badly lacking in his own country and the world. He called himself a soldier of peace not war and this is his fervent prayer for that peace in the world among people of diverse origins and believes.