“I believe in absolute oneness of God and, therefore, also of humanity. What though we have many bodies? We have but one soul. The rays of the sun are many through refraction. But they have the same source. I cannot therefore detach myself from the wickedest soul (nor may I be denied identity with the most virtuous).” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – India’s one of the founding fathers and architect of India’s non-violent freedom movement – once wrote. When I read this in the Reader’s Digest magazine, I was dumb for some moments. How can a person capture the ideas of the other (mine in this case!) so perfectly well without knowing or meeting her and that too more than sixty years ago? I felt my thoughts are stolen and molded into these words by him because I cannot even attempt to express my ideas so precisely well but then I realized that the person to write these words has not stolen my thoughts but it is HIS and only his greatness that he wrote them.

When the name Gandhi penetrates my ears, I feel empowered, strengthened and at the same time grateful to him. But not everyone, at least not in India, feels like me when they hear the name. The scenario here in India is that majority of the younger generation thinks poor of Gandhi (the reason being worthless rhetoric they have heard over times from the so-called patriotic groups prevalent in India) and I see no aberration in this as we Indians have very poor record of recognizing our own great talents; most of us do not value what we had or what we have and Gandhi is that example who is being forgotten, from the youngers’ mind for his great contributions to this nation, in India. But let me attempt to inform them that he was not only the great man who lived in India but he was also the great man who lived in this world.

Today’s generation is smarter and I have no doubt in that but what I doubt is that they have incomplete knowledge of their past and they consider only that half-knowledge before making any comment or any decision. The youngers today are taking many breakthrough approaches towards the problems they are facing to solve or mitigate. The concept of Swachcha Bharat (Clean India) is growing today in India but how many of us know that this was exactly what suggested by Gandhi. I am not mentioning here exactly what he suggested but he was the great lover of cleanliness. He used to keep his things clean. The young blood today is doing that only without knowing that one great man lived in India who suggested this over sixty years ago or if they know, they don’t want to acknowledge due to some petty benefit they would get doing this.

Gandhi taught India self-reliance, secularism, today’s ‘Make in India’ and much more. But we are neglecting that he told us once what we consider today to be true. Today we understand the importance of self-reliance and started considering it as one of the most important direction in which we have to work. It’s the great thing if we become self-reliant persons as it is more easy and comfortable to do our works at our own rather than depending on other persons for them to be completed. So important is the secularism. If we want to be at par with the countries we admire than secularism has the highest weightage above all things that need to be considered. Without the base of secularism, we won’t be competent in this highly globalized world. The government rolled out the term Make In India a year back which is the great initiative and that also is no different from the principle of Gandhi: Swadeshi. So what we see today is that the Gandhian principles are rolled out once again but this time not by Gandhi and also by restructuring them. One most fundamental Gandhian principle is non-violance but that is not being implemented in India, the situation is instead opposite. But let us talk only about the principles we follow, the Gandhian ones.

So what I suggest is to reconsider Gandhi in this modern world in his absolute terms and what we will find is that he was not any less important than who we admire today. Gandhi deserves credit though he doesn’t demand and he never demanded. We need to recreate Gandhi in India, in this world, in every one of us. Just by neglecting him, we won’t get anything. What principles he walked on are all inevitable to the concept of ‘one-peaceful-prosperous-world’. I understand it to be a difficult task but we have started doing that. We may also finish that difficult task without acknowledging Gandhi, but the world thus created will lack only in one thing: Gandhi – the man who lived for the nation, who lived for us. How great it would be if we say, “See, I am walking on the Gandhian principles”! It will do immense help to understand Gandhi in its true way, if we try.

Published by NIKUNJ GAJERA