How embarrassed the Father of the Nation would be if he was present in India today?
Mahatma Gandhi, ‘The Father of the Nation’ was not only a global leader who compelled the British crown to set India free but also a radical socio-economic reformer whose principles are still valid in this age. He discussed every issue that prevailed during pre-independence. Those issues still carry immense significance in “Modern India”. A number of these have still not been solved by the Indian Parliament.
The contemporary Indian society is complex in nature, perpetuated by different ideas and beliefs. Today, the land of numerous cultures and languages is filled with mutual distrust, jealousy, fear, suspicion, poverty, violence and intolerance. Cumulatively, these factors have led to situations detrimental to the Indian society and core values that the founding fathers hoped to instill in each one of us.
Gandhian Principles and How much Modern India cares about them?
Mahatma Gandhi’s basic principles are based on many ideologies or the paths he discovered throughout his life. Paths which were effective: Ahimsa (Non-violence), Satya (Truth), Gender Equality, Justice, Political Freedom and the most importantly ‘Self-Purification’.
No Indian can go through days without being reminded of Mahatma Gandhi. He stays afresh in our minds on currency notes, but his values have long been forgotten. Children today are hardly bothered about his thought and vision for independent India. Instead, parents instill a deep distrust for fellow citizens based on caste and religious beliefs.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if some drops are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”.
Gandhi on Non-violence
“Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and faith in man.”
Mahatma Gandhi was deeply religious and highly sensitive towards different religious sentiments and faiths. However, he was a fond believer of secularism and always culminated in “Servadharma Sambhav,” i.e. equal respect for all faiths and religions.
“Hate and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”
Gandhi always advocated having a peaceful dialogue which helps in forgetting past differences and intolerances. But the current scenario in India does not speak much but act on the voice to save religion, and cow slaughter (Gau Hatya), follow the caste system and develop a significant difference among different religions and within the same belief too.
How Gandhi would have reacted in Today’s India?
“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God and Non-violence is the means of realizing him”
If Gandhi would have been alive today, he would have happily and enthusiastically hugged his children. An India thirsty for each other’s blood and Indians killing their own brothers in the name of God and cow protection (Gau Raksha). The anger engraved deep inside the hearts of the Indians of different religious beliefs. An India where respect for every man’s belief is not given worth.
“Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.”
India has witnessed injustice, corrupt practices of the administration, police and politicians and the delaying justice by our Honourable Indian courts. As Mahatma Gandhi beautifully quoted “the first condition of non-violence is Justice all round”.
Gandhi on Women
“If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with Women.”
Mahatma Gandhi firmly believed that a woman is more fitted than a man to take bold action in non-violence. He vehemently opposed gender discrimination. Moreover, he even went on to oppose the practices sanctioned by Hindu Dharma Shastra such as female infanticide, illiteracy, child marriage, dowry, purdah, widowhood, Sati, polygamy, molestation, and prostitution.
But most of these issues are still relevant and show the impotency and inability of the Parliament in resolving them even after 70 years of independence. Long-awaited demand of 33% women reservation in Parliament has still not been fulfilled. Cases of molestation keep consistently rising. Prostitution and human trafficking are issues seldom discussed.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Rape has become a nationwide menace. Women’s education numbers are still embarrassingly low, which gives them little to no economic independence. Even in the 21st century, misogynist mindsets of chauvinist homes do not treat daughters and wives as equal.
Gandhi on Scavenging and Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan
“Everyone must be his own scavenger.”
Gandhi once said sanitation is more important than independence. He made cleanliness and sanitation an essential and integral part of the Gandhian ideology. Looking at the situation that prevails in the country today with regards to manual scavenging, Gandhi would be ashamed.
PM Modi’s Swachha Bharat Abhiyan was a worthy initiative to bring people of India into the ambit of responsibility. But how far is the Gandhian ideology followed if we are still compelling scavengers and rag pickers to do the menial jobs?
India doesn’t provide safety equipment needed during the cleaning of sewers. Manual Scavenging Act, 2013 bans all kinds of manual scavenging and if it is required, then a person doing it must have all the necessary equipment like an oxygen cylinder, gloves, boots, and a proper suit.
But a new way to bend the rule has been developed by many government and private institutions. In a very cleverly accomplished way, hired private contractors to keep these manual scavengers on roll who still do what the Supreme Court holds banished and are entitled to no benefits either.
Gandhi on simple living
Gandhi always emphasized on simple living and high thinking and always talked about sustainability, which in turn provide economic equality among the citizens.
“Economic equality of my conception does not mean that everyone will literally have the same amount. The real meaning of economic equality is to each according to his need.”
This idea is now somewhere blurred, and for many coming decades, it will remain the same. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing every moment. Poor today are not able to even earn two straight meals with ease. On the other hand, the rich waste it. The disparity is in utter stark contrast to what Gandhi envisioned for a Free India.
So, we need to ask ourselves, is this the future that the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi always wanted?