Monday, 20 January 2014

Be the Change you want to see in others (Gandhi)

- By Varun Pathak (Student of

One of the most famous inspirational Quotes stated by our Father of the nation ‘Mahatma Gandhi’.

Though which he wants to convey that if you want to changes the world then first change yourself & set an example for other to follow; for him ideas and ideals had no value if they were not translated into action. According to him as a man changes himself, so does the attitude of the world change towards him & we need not wait to see what others do. Gandhi showed India and the World the path of truth and non-violence. He believed that it was truth alone that prevailed in the end & has proved this by following the path of Satyagraha”Adherence to Truth” & Ahimsa “Non-Violence” which has not only a source of inspiration for the Indians Freedom struggle but this also influenced important leader outside India like Martin Luther King& JamesLawson for the Civil rights movement in America, Nelson Mandela and Stevephen Biko for the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa & Aung San Suu Kyi for democracy Rights in Burma. Even Martin Luther King stated that “Christ gives us the Goal & Mahatma Gandhi Gives the Tactics”. Also Albert Einstein stated that he is a “Role model for generation to come”. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared Gandhi's birthday 2 October as "the International Day of Nonviolence.

Gandhiji is an outstanding personality who has left behind the legacy of greatness, moral values, and sublime ideals which we can trace back through his journey starting from South Africa in which he has been able to defeat Britishers not with Sword or Guns but by means of strange & utterly new weapon of Satyagraha “Adherence to Truth” & Ahimsa “Non-Violence”. Gandhiji stated that “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.” & he did the same by offering the ambulance corps service on voluntarily basis during “Boer”&“Zulu” war even when he knew that English people are ill-treating Indians in South Africa. Because according to him this is the only way through which heart of the opponent can be win. After the war is over thenewspapers in England praised the services rendered by the Indians & it is believe that relations between the Indians and the Europeans had become more cordial. Moreover inspired from Ruskin Book “Unto this Last” he has also established Phoenix & Tolstoy farm on the lines of this book where people who were different in nationality, religion, and color lived together like one family. He continued his struggle for the rights of the Indians in South Africa where he finally succeeded in his effort when the “Indian Relief Bill” is passed & signed by the Governor. And his work laid the inspirational foundation for others to follow the path of Non-Violence in the coming Anti-Apartheid movements in South Africa.Nelson Mandela considered Gandhi as his teacher &considers him as a Both Indian & South African Citizen the way his ideology influenced them.

Similarly in India also he successfully led Champaran Satyagraha (1917), Ahmedabad Mill worker Satyagraha (1918) by keeping fast &Kheda Satyagraha(1918) & thus set an example for others to follow on similar lines & became the undisputed leader for the Indian freedom struggle. And he has been on the fore front of the Indian freedom struggle either for the social welfare of the masses or for the freedom struggle through his various movements Like Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience or Quit India movement through Dandi March or keeping fast. He undertook 17 fast during the Indian freedom struggle movement & his longest fast is for 21 days undertaken in 1924 & 1943 for Hindu Muslim unity & to stop communal riots.

Gandhiji Contribution is not only remained within the ambit for the Freedom struggle of India but he has done his best for the removal of Untouchability, Communal Harmony, Education& for the empowerment of women. During the national movement, Mahatma Gandhi made the eradication of un-touchability one of his goals. He had once said that the way ‘Untouchability’ was spreading in the Hindu Society, it was against both the man and the God. He went and stayed with them in their colonies, shared meals and performed all the tasks of cleaning along with them. In his ashram, all his followers tried to follow his thinking. Public dinners were organized in which people expressed their feelings against the practice of untouchability by eating with people of different communities. Thus, many people rejected this practice and the rigidity of caste rules was given up for the betterment of all. And he has also started 21 days fast for the improvement of Harijan’s.

Gandhiji believed that India’s salvation depends on the enlightenment of her women and he said that “There is no occasion for women to consider themselves subordinate or inferior to men.”For the fight against foreign domination women’s come up & participated in rallies to Gandhi’s call for civil disobedience. They entered the public domain along with men, and offered satyagraha. Even illiterate tribal women from the forests joined the freedom movement. It has been said that this time frame can be considered as a landmark for the start of women’s empowerment where they come outside their homes & participated in the struggle along with the men.

Mahatma Gandhi laid great emphasis on Hindu-Muslim unity. He supported the khilafat issue, Gandhiji felt unhappy at the British attitude towards turkey .To Gandhi Hindu-Muslim unity means unity not only between Hindu & Muslims but also between all those who believe India to be their home, no matter to what faith they belong . Even when India got Independence Instead of participating in the celebration of independence Gandhi Walked bare-footed from village to village in to restore peace and harmony in that area.Gandhi's most important fasts occurred after independence firstly he undertook fast for bringing peace to Calcutta following the bloody religious riots which swept the country after the winning of independence from the British, the second fast is for religious tolerance and understanding among the Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims.In the words of Lord Mountbatten". What fifty thousand welt- equipped soldiers could not do, the Mahatma has done-he has brought peace. He is a one-man boundary force'.

In today’s contemporary world also we can see the contributions made by many persons for the welfare of the society which have been a source of Inspiration for all of us, the way they have brought the changes by offering their service to the Society taking the example of Anand Kumar known for his Super-30 program in Bihar.the program selects 30 meritorious and talented candidates each year from economically backward sections of society and trains them for the entrance examination for Indian Institute of Technology& his this significant contribution has been praised not even in India but also by the United States President Barack Obama special envoy Rashad Hussain who termed it as the best Institute of the country.

Similarly remarkable example is set by Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty a philanthropist & a cardiac surgeon, his hospitals Narayana Health or Narayana Hrudayalaya have reduced costs by taking advantage of the economies of scale, this allows them to complete heart surgeries for a tenth of the cost in the United States. The main objective is to provide affordable health care facilities to the masses.The Wall Street Journal has given him the title of Henry Ford of heart surgery because it is the philosophy of the henry ford to use mass production techniques & specialization to reduce operational or manufacturing costs.For patients who could not even afford this, they helped arrange funds through the Narayana Hrudayalaya Trust's general corpus or by seeking external donations. Moreover he has also designed the world's cheapest comprehensive health insurance scheme “Yeshaswani” with the Government of Karnatakafor the poor farmers of the state, at Rs.10. It is very well-utilized in Karnataka with 4 million people covered.

There are many in this list which has given a path & vision for Public interest to others & one among such is ‘KapilaHingorani’ the first Indian lawyer that uses the tool of Public Interest Litigation in which she has filled a PIL on behalf of Prisoners that are still waiting for their trials & they already have been in jail more than the time the sentenced supposed to be impose & as a reaction 40,000 peoples from jail in India are set free & this gave rise to a revolution in Indian Legal system which now have been used by various peoples & NGO’s for the interest general Public, BecausePIL can be filed by anyone for general public interest rather than the aggrieved person because before 1980 only the aggrieved party could approach the courts for justice but now there have been instances when letters and telegrams addressed to the court have been taken up as PILs and heard. And PIL has been proven as the most instrumental tool for addressing & the protection of the Civil Rights of those individuals who could not seek protection for their rights & it has been successful in making official authorities accountable to NGO’s and general public.

Mother Teresa has said that “If each of us would only sweep our doorstep, the whole world would be clean” & this is true in every sense the initiatives has to be taken from our self instead of expecting from others. And there are some who have taken steps for the welfare of the society like Bindeshwar Pathak the founder of Sulabh International the largest Non-Profit organization in India with more than 50,000 volunteers which work to promote Human Rights, Environmental sanitation, waste management & Social Reforms through education. Mr. Pathak has founded sulabh in 1970 to eradicate manual scavenging & introduced the concept of ‘Sulabh Sauchalaya’ in the form of Pay & Use Public Toilets which is being used by 10 Million people with bath, Laundry & urinal facility with best practice of water management, & generation of Bio-Gas & Bio fertilizers from it, for which he has been awarded ‘Stockholm Water Prize’ & this organization has recognized & praised by Various United Nation agencies.

The seed of ‘Satyagraha’ & ‘Ahimsa’ that Gandhiji has sown many decades before has been a source of Inspiration for many social activist today also Like ‘Anna Hazare’ that we can see in the movements led by ‘Anna Hazare’ to promote rural development, increase government transparency & against corruption. He has also been given ‘Padam Bhushan’ award by Government of India for his contribution for development & structuring of ‘Relegan Siddhi’ village in his efforts in establishing this village as a model for others. On similar lines we can see the Contribution of ‘Arvind Kejriwal’ for his contribution to the enactment of the Right to Information Act, for which he has been also awarded ‘Ramon Magsaysay award’. Even Barack Obama has stated that his biggest inspiration came from Mahatma Gandhi – The message he shared with the World.

So to see the change in the world not only we have to bring changes in our self but also have to contribute actively for the welfare of the society through any positive means the values & ideas shared by Mahatma Gandhi, which we has been followed by various social activist for the welfare of the society because the future depends on what you do Today. It has been said by Edmund Burke that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evils is that Good men do nothing”.

1 comment: