by Rajen Barua| |
Looking at the present state of affairs in India, the birthplace of Gandhi, one would probably surmise that Gandhism, whatever the term may mean, cannot have any relevance in modern times. Gandhi is called the Father of the Nation who, single handedly stood up against the mighty British Empire, without any arms, and brought her independence. However, today, just after 60 years of his assassination, Gandhi is remembered in India mostly on his birthday which is celebrated as a national holiday rather as a ritual.India is not following any of Gandhi's teachings which are mostly confined to text books. As a military super power in Asia, India is definitely not following the teachings of Ahimsa (non violence) in dealing with its neighbors, be it Pakistan, Bangladesh (East Pakistan) or China; nor it is practicing non violence in dealings with its numerous insurgencies be it in Kashmir, Punjab, central India or in the North Eastern states of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland or Mizoram. Since independence, the country has witnessed many violent communal riots in this multi communal country.Two of countries prime ministers, two more Gandhis, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi (not related to Mahatma Gandhi) were assassinated by countrymen in broad daylights. Gandhi's message of 'swabalambi', self sufficiency with home spun 'khadi' cloth is not used even as a social slogan. Statistics show that the country is definitely not following 'sarvodaya', a broad Gandhian term meaning 'universal upliftment' or 'progress of all' reaching the masses and the downtrodden. India today has the unique distinction of having the richest man in the world while at the same time about 30 per cent of its population lives in poverty. To say the least, Gandhism is under severe test in India.From the above, it would however be wrong to premise that Gandhism is dead in the world. Like Buddhism, which is mostly prevalent outside the...