Editorial: The Personality to Which We Called “Mahatma”

ABSTRACT

“As human begins, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world- that is the myth of the atomic age- as in being able to remake ourselves.”-Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhiji has always been considered as greatest freedom fighter that has followed the way of non violence in order to set India free from the chains of slavery from British rule. Mahatma Gandhiji has played a pivotal role in the independence of India by being the prominent figure of political scenes in India. At that critical stage of Indian history when there has been mass violation by the British Empire in India, Mahatma Gandhiji stood up against that rule and aimed to set India free from the chains of slavery. The war for independence was not to achieve political supremacy but it was aimed to have social and economic development of India which British government was not doing. Mahatma Gandhiji approach to set India free from the British government was unique as it was totally based upon the notions of Non Violence i.e. non injury. It was not only India who got freedom from the British rule but South Africa also got freedom with the efforts of Mahatma Gandhiji. It was the innumerable efforts of Mahatma Gandhiji that India got freedom from British government and it was their hard work and their principles that Mahatma Gandhiji has been referred as “Father of the Nation”. But in the 21st century it seems that nobody has emerged out to become like Gandhiji. Everyone remember them on the day of Independence but the next day everyone forgets the principles of Gandhiji. We all are aware what is happening all around the world – there has been mass violation, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption that is still in existence. What is happening in India? Does anybody knows, well we all are aware what is going “poor are becoming more poor and rich are becoming more rich”, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption and the increased crime rate. Whether India has got freedom in the real sense? Well India has got freedom from the British government but India is still struggling to get freedom from poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and corruption. In our 70 years of independence does anybody have found why we are still tied in the chains of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and corruption? Perhaps nobody has followed the principles of Mahatma Gandhiji.

INTRODUCTION

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

Dr. Francis Neilson referred Gandhiji as- A Diogenes in action, a Francis in Humility, a Socrates in wisdom, Gandhiji reveals to the world the utter paltriness of the methods of statesman who relies upon force to gain his end. In this way, spiritual integrity triumph over the physical opposition of the forces of States.[1]  The study of such personality is very important in today’s contemporary world in many aspects. Gandhiji personality indeed has different facets which has extended various aspects of human life and human rights. The secret of the success of Mahatma Gandhiji life was that he had given equal importance to his spiritual and material life. The power of material life was the soul force of mahatma Gandhiji principles. It was the ideals and principles based on human rights that have been followed by Gandhiji made Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi a “Mahatma”. Albert Einstein described Mahatma Gandhiji as “Greatest Man of our Times”.[2]  The early personality of Mahatma Gandhiji revealed that he was very shy and this can be observed from his autobiography.

“I used to be very shy and avoided all company. My books and my lessons were my sole companions. To him at school at the stroke of the hour and to run back home as soon as the school is closed that was my daily habit. I literally ran back because I could not bear to talk to anybody. 1 was even afraid lest anyone should poke fun at me”‘.[3]

 Gandhiji always believed in the transformation of society and this can only be achieved by individual personality which is capable of doing continue work which is assigned to it. Gandhiji made the society a big laboratory where he does experiments in order to transform the society. To quote Mahatma Gandhiji own words

“I shall work for India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their own country in whose making they have an, effective voice, an India in which there shall be no rich class and no poor class of people, an India in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony. This is the India of my dream”.[4]

 

Ideas and Principles of Gandhiji

  1. Political Philosophy of Gandhiji– Gandhiji had strong influence over politics and this is the reason that Gandhiji always believed that politics is a medium which can transform the society. Gandhiji always believed that life is whole thing. Life cannot be separated into water tight compartments like social, economic and political. According to him they are the part of same thing and life and are inseparable. He always says that “politics bereft of religion is absolute dirt and ever to be shunned”.[5] The political idea of Mahatma Gandhiji is always based upon to have “Rama Rajya”[6]. By this term Gandhiji wanted to have kingdom of God which may ensures equal rights to all human beings.
  2. Concept of Swaraj-Gandhiji political ideas was based upon the moral principles which he always followed in order to achieve freedom from British Empire. In politics Gandhiji used the term “Swaraj”. To him this term means the political independence by which India can transform into better nation. Thus by word Swaraj he meant the government of India with the consent of people and the government which is always be ruled by people of India.
  3. Concept of Democracy– the above idea of Mahatma Gandhiji was based on the concept of Democracy- a government by the people for the people and of the people. According to Mahatma Gandhiji democracy means the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economical and spiritual sources for the various sections of people in the service of common good for all.[7] He described democracy as the finest sources of political power. In the true democracy like India, according to Gandhiji “The unit is the village”. He pointed out that the true democracy cannot be worked at twenty men sitting at the centre. It has to be worked from the people of every village whether small or large.[8]
  4. Concept of Satyagraha– Gandhiji considered that that every man is mixture of good and evil. The nature of evilness is innate and is present in every human being. But Gandhiji points out that the moment the man awakens to the spirit within him he cannot be violent.[9] When one becomes non- violent the body of that human being is transformed into spirit. Satyagraha in the opinion of Mahatma Gandhiji means the relentless pursuit of truthful means by non violent ends. It is the “vindication of truth, not by any kind of infliction of the suffering on the opponents on one’s own self.[10] Thus Gandhiji considered it as penance Thapsaya for Truth or it means the holding of truth. The ultimate and most potent weapon of Satyagraha is fasting. Gandhiji call it as one of the fieriest weapon to achieve your goals. According to Gandhiji, fasting generates a silent unseen force. In violence there is nothing visible. Mahatma Gandhiji points out that “Non violence when it becomes active travel with extra ordinary velocity and then it becomes a miracle.[11]
  5. Truth– to Mahatma Gandhiji Truth and God are synonymous and he always tried to see God in the form of Truth. He always says “the great power is not by Allah not by the name of Khuda or by the God but it is always by the name of Truth”. If there is uniformity in the voice and practice of a person then the thought of that person is the evident voice of Truth. Everyone should follow the inner voice. The significance in that case is that the inner voice says different things. This is so because different people have different level of thought and mental level. Due to different in thought and different mental level of human beings, different inner voices are formed. True love originates from true morality. True morality comes when the six enemies are absent. The six enemies are lust, hatred, greed, error, pride and injustice.[12] When all these get away truth can be realised.
  6. Non Violence– There has been close connection between the two words i.e. non violence and ahimsa. To Gandhiji Non violence is the mean to attain the truth and ends means are convertible terms. The whole philosophy of Mahatma Gandhiji has been based upon the two words that are the truth and Non Violence. Non violence is to be observed in thoughts and deed of the person. Gandhiji points out that “Non violence” is not the performance of any person but it is the finest art that reflects from the heart and not through the brain of the human beings. The acceptance of Non violence is complete surrender before the God. When one becomes a humble servant of god, it is the duty of that person to serve the humanity. Gandhiji always believes in the notion that “I am not endeavouring to see god through service of humanity for I know that God is in heaven, nor down”.[13]
  7. Gandhiji Concept of Universal Religion- Gandhiji believed that there should be one religion and the roots of that religion must be fundamental and moreover it must have the concept of religious harmony. Gandhiji says that a religion is like a tree, as a tree has one trunk but have many branches similarly there must be one religion. By religion he meant not a conventional type of religion but it must be idealistic and must be based on the fundamental qualities of religion. According to him a religion is moral trust of an individual towards to a particular community. The goal or the main aim of person’s life is to conqueror over evil in him and reach the optimum goodness; therefore these various religions are different parts or road to the same goal.
  8. Tolerance- Gandhiji points that all human beings must have the same and equal rights for their dignity in the particular society and the society which cannot affords or provides the basic rights to the human being is having no worth importance in the Universe. According to Mahatma Gandhiji faith is a personal matter and is based on the ability and his experience. To him all human beings also must possess the character of having tolerance in all fields. One who does not have tolerance in his or her character is unable to achieve the objectives of his or her life. So everyone must have tolerance in order to succeed in his life.
  9. Education – for every particular society, Gandhiji considered education to be the one of the most important essential element. According to Mahatma Gandhiji Education is “Like a reel which draws best out of oneself”[14]. Drawing best out of individual is the main objective of education. Therefore education is the mean of drawing out divinity in man. Education is the only mean by which a person can thought to have reformation. A person without education is like body without oxygen. Similar a person cannot survive in particular society without education. Education does not reform the society but it also brings reformation in the thought process of individual. This is the reason why Mahatma Gandhiji always aimed to have better education in society.

“Education in itself is Human being which can reform the individual, his thought process and finally the society in which that individual resides”

 

 

MAHATMA – THE LAWYER

You give us a Lawyer; we gave you back The Mahatma”

These are the words of those people of South Africa which got its freedom because of the efforts of Mahatma Gandhiji. Just as India got freedom because of the efforts of Mahatma Gandhiji and many freedom fighters similarly South Africa got freedom from the British rule. Mahatma Gandhiji sailed to England in the year 1888 on 4th September to study law and become a barrister. He was called upon the bar on 10th June 1891 and was enrolled in the High court of England the very next day. Gandhiji returned back to India and started his practice in law first in the Bombay high court and then in the Rajkot. Sir Stafford Cripps remarked Gandhiji with the words “he was no simple a mystic; combined with his religious outlook was his lawyer trained mind quick and apt in reasoning moreover he was a formidable opponent in arguments.[15] Gandhiji went to South Africa in April 1893 in connection with the case of Sheth Tyeb Hazi Khan Mohammad. It was a case of business transaction arisen out of the promissory notes and partly on the specific performance to deliver the promissory notes. Gandhiji easily had won the case and the success of this case marked a new beginning of Mahatma Gandhiji into the field of law”. From 1893 to 1913 Gandhiji stayed in South Africa and has realized many functions of a lawyer. In his stay in South Africa Mahatma Gandhi had solved as many as 100 cases of promissory notes and emerged as a topmost lawyer in South Africa. “

Truth and Non violence was the first article of his faith and last article of his creed”[16]

Going through the meticulous habit of practice in law, Gandhiji evolved new concept such as Truth, fair, Duty.etc. In those 20 years Gandhiji emerged to earn the esteem of his colleagues as much as that of Magistrate and Judges who had come to respect him for clarity of thought and expression, legal acumen and intellectual vigour.[17] All the judges and magistrates were surprised by the way in which Gandhiji represent the case of his clients in the court room. The way of the presentation of his case was free from any heat of passion. It was the habit of Mahatma Gandhiji that he never hides the truth in the court room. In the presentation of case he likes to reveal the truth without any flaws. Truth was the only touchstone that Gandhiji used to judge his duty towards client and the court. According to Mahatma Gandhiji the greatest wrong that a lawyer could commit in the judicial process was to be a party towards “Miscarriage of Justice”.[18] Where there was a case which is concerned with poop people, Gandhiji used to take the case of those people free and never charge them at all. Gandhiji in the profession of law never intended to deceive his clients for the sake of money and it is because of the character of morality, truth, tolerance and honesty that Mahatma Gandhiji was considered to be one of the greatest lawyers in South Africa. Practicing as a lawyer however remained for Gandhiji a Subordinate occupation. A considerable part of his service in South Africa was devoted to do Public service which was almost a passion for Gandhiji. While his stay in South Africa Gandhiji was made to aware of the Practice of racial discrimination that was taking place in South Africa. Human beings are discriminating with the other human being just because he or she does not possess the same colour as of others. It was the outcome of this racial discrimination that the society of Human beings was divided into two communities. First was the community of White people who might be considering themselves the supreme personality just as the same as that of king and considered people who are black as their slaves. Such inhumanity was existing and moreover taking place in South Africa. In the year 1910, Gandhiji entirely abandoned the practice of law and henceforth devoted his entire time and energy to do public services. Gandhiji after abandoning his practice of law become the “Satyagrahi” who was engaged in breaking law rather than expounding or interpretating the law in the court rooms.

From here Gandhiji evolved to change his personality from lawyer to a new personality that is the “Satyagrahi”. This was the beginning of the new chapter in the life of Mahatma Gandhiji which he continued till his death. It was the face of Satyagrahi that made end to racial discrimination in South Africa, made South Africa to get free themselves from the rule of British Empire. Thus it was the field of law that made Gandhiji aware of the rights of Human beings which other Human beings were not aware. Gandhiji evolved to be different personality when he came back to India from South Africa.

Thus these words are true-

You give us a Lawyer; we gave you back The Mahatma”

On 30th January 1948 when Gandhiji was going to have prayer in the Birla house a group of people surrounded the Gandhiji and a Hindu named Nathuram Godse stepped and bowed before Gandhiji and then rushed towards Gandhiji and shot Gandhiji with three shots and Gandhiji died.

CONCLUSION

A man is nothing but the product of his thoughts what he thinks he becomes”- Mahatma Gandhiji

It was the thought process and the ideology of Truth, Non Violence, Honesty, Tolerance, education and humanity that made Mohandas Karmchand Gandhi to be called as The “Mahatma Gandhiji the Father of our Nation”. Such a big personality or we can call him the messenger of the God who made India free from the chains of slavery of British Empire, who imbibe in us the character such as Honesty, humanity and truth.  But what is happening in India? Increased crime rate, corruption, inhumanity, terrorism and illiteracy this is all what is in India. Does India really got freedom in the real sense? India is striving hard to get freedom. If Gandhiji would be alive today would he feel happy looking to the progress of country where there is no sense of having honesty and humanity? There have been large violation of human rights and nobody of us is following the ideals and principles of Gandhiji. This is fact that we remember Gandhiji on these dates- 30th January, 15th August and 2nd October of each year and rest 362 days we don’t have time to know What Gandhiji was? Whole universe considered him Mahatma? Are we respecting such great personality or really we making fun of that big personality whom we called the “Mahatma”? We all human beings have become so selfish that we don’t have time to think what is happening in India. There have riots for religion. But nobody stands for this violation. Every one of us is busy in multiplying money but nobody has time to think about nation. Really we got freedom or we still striving to get freedom? Do we need a person like “Gandhiji”? Gandhiji once said that person is nothing but the product of his thoughts what he thinks he becomes. If we all starting to develop our thoughts like Mahatma Gandhiji we would have as many as million of Gandhiji. The thing which I liked the most in writing this article is the concept of Mahatma Gandhiji towards religion. Once Mahatma Gandhiji was asked that whether he is Hindu? Mahatma Gandhiji replied back with the words “Yes I am”. “I am also Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew”

A nation’s culture resides in the heart and soul of its people”- Mahatma Gandhiji

[1] S. Radhakrishnan : Mahatma Gandhi; Essays and Reflections on His Life and Work, George Allen & Unwin, London, (1949), p. 537

[2] P.C.Ghosh, Mahatma Gandhi as I saw him, S.Chand & Co., Delhi, 1968, p.VI.

[3] M. K.Gandhi, an Autobiography or the Story of my Experiments with Truth, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmadabad, 1989, p.5.

[4] N.A.Palkivala, ‘Relevance of Gandhi Today’, Gandhimarg, Vo1.6. April 1984, p. 13.

[5] Gandhi M.K. Harijan 30-03- 1934 p.55

[6] Amrit Bazar Patrika, Culcutta 2-08- 1934

[7] Anthony J Parel, Gandhi freedom and self Rule, Vistaar Publication, New Delhi,2000, p.80

[8] M. K.Gandhi, ‘Democracy and Trust: Harijan, 16, November 1947, p.409.

[9] Gandhi M.K. Harijan, 10-6- 1939. pp158 – 159

[10] Speeches and writing S of Mahatma Gandhi, G.A. Nateshan Madras, 1922. P. 50 1.

[11] Gandhi M.K. Young India I11 p.20

[12] .G.N. Dhawan, Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 136.

[13] Gandhi M.K. Young India, 16-4- 193 1.

[14] Gandhi M.K. Young India 11-08- 1920.

[15] D.G. Tendulker, Mahatma, The life of Mohandas Karam Chadn Gandhi I Govt, of India Publication 1961, p. 176.

[16]  .G.N. Dhawan, Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 136.

[17] S.R. Bakhi, Gandhi and his social thought. Criterion publication New Delhi 1986 pp. 175 – 176.

[18] .Gandhi M.K. an autobiography p.408

by Pranav Kaushal

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