02 Oct 2022  |   06:16am IST

Waiting for the Mahatma of 21st century

Today, the world celebrates Gandhi Jayanti to mark the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, lovingly addressed as Bapu even to this day. This year is the 153rd birth anniversary of the Father of Independent India.

Bapu gave the world the mantra of achieving the unimaginable through non-violent means and thus, the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, announced October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence. However, the present global scenario is far from the message the Mahatma preached and lived. 

While countries are at war to establish supremacy over the other, using all the military might it holds, it is equally true of the violent environment that extremists within the country are pushing for to ensure that a community wishes to enforce its ideas of social behaviour on the other. 

However, beyond this literal binary of violence versus non-violence, the Mahatma stood by the basic principles of life and livelihood. He stood for discourse, dialogue and debate which enabled a democratic process to flourish. No wonder, India did not fall prey to the then contemporary allurement of a section of the society to become a religious majoritarian country at the time of the partition.

While letting Pakistan become a reality, Mahatma, as the founding father of the Independent India, ensured that the country stepped into the realm of being a multi-religious and multi-cultural democracy. 

Nevertheless, in the 75 years of post independence, in India there have been numerous efforts to either ignite the flames of religious animosity or divide the country into ‘us and they’. But the founding principles and the Constitution of India, has ensured that the country doesn’t go the path of division, despite the divisive politics in the last couple of decades. 

The hostility from the groups wanting a majoritarian society led to the assassination of the beloved leader. And yet till this day, those divisive forces live on and the assassin of the Father of the Nation, celebrated without any remorse. 

Non-violent civil disobedience was the hallmark of the Gandhian philosophy of opposing the powers of the day. The most famous amongst them, the 24-day Dandi March, from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi. Another significance of this march is that it opposed the monopoly of the British over salt. 

In comparison, after 92 years, the country is witnessing accumulation of wealth in a few hands and the larger population is following a path economic backwardness. The country is watching the making of oligarchs, with the power centres holding on to the reigns with the economic support of a selected few. 

On one hand the country’s unemployment and under-employment rate is steadily growing, on the other hand it is a handful of financial power houses that are watching their monetary sun only rise and are assured that it will not set, at least soon.

In the purview of letting the hostility and divisive ambitions float in the larger masses of the population creating a constant social unrest and simultaneously, ensuring accumulation of wealth in the hands of the friends of power corridors, the objective is clear   a playing field without an opposition.

Thus, India awaits the Mohandas Karamchand of the 21st century who would be able to resist the making of the oligarchs as well as stand up to the accumulation of power in a democracy.

In words of the Mahatma, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”


Iddhar Udhar