Today the ideas of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi seem to be appreciated more abroad than in his own country that considers him to be the “father of the nation”. However, its rulers have abandoned his principles and pay lip service to him by placing wreaths on his memorial in Delhi every year on October 2.
They do little to make the youth aware of his message of nonviolence and peaceful coexistence.Gandhi, like Leo Tolstoy, was a votary of truth. His autobiography was titled My Experiments With the Truth. He faithfully recorded his flaws and failings, including the sins of the flesh. Even though India’s national motto is Satyameva Jayate (truth alone triumphs), in our daily dealings we are hardly truthful. Taxpayers do not declare their actual income in their tax returns; legislators file false affidavits on the expenditure incurred in contesting elections. No wonder there is a parallel economy financed by “black” money.
What is the state of the nation today? Everybody wants to become wealthy without honesty and hard work. Money is amassed through wrong means like bribery and corruption. India has acquired ignominy the world over as a country of mega scams. Indians have also become notorious as people without conscience. Rapes are reported daily in the media. Delhi has earned the dubious distinction of the world’s “rape capital” rather than the capital of the world’s largest democracy.
Our educational institutions are “manufacturing” scientists and technocrats who completely lack humanity. There is no component of the humanities in the curriculum. As a result, they become robots rather than balanced human beings. Similarly, our educational system focuses solely on acquiring information and knowledge rather than building character. Consequently, the country is facing a crisis of character in every walk of life. There is no element of ethics in business in India. The chief motive is profit; cheating adulteration, fake goods – sab chalta hai (anything goes). The greed of businessmen knows no bounds; for them the end justifies the means.
Gandhi was an epitome of principled politics. Numerous examples can be cited from his long political career to illustrate this. Where is politics driving this nation today? Principles are dispensed with as a matter of course to acquire political power and then to use it for personal gain. No political party is clean in this matter. It has become almost impossible to pursue principled politics in the prevailing conditions where more than one-third of the country’s parliamentarians and state legislators have a criminal record.
The panacea to stem the rot is to return to the principles of honesty, simplicity, morality and truthfulness that Gandhi espoused,which would also be the best way to commemorate his birth anniversary.
(Views expressed are the the writers personal)