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The Gandhi factor for young India

What makes the Mahatma’s legacy so wonderful is that young people in this fast-paced world continue to be inspired by him.

education Updated: Oct 01, 2013 13:24 IST
Ayesha Banerjee

Gandhi lived an exemplary life, say Delhi’s college students. When asked to cite a quality for which she admires him, Radhika Jhalani of Hindu College says “his tenacity.” Walking on a path of truth and self-sufficiency is one of the most arduous tasks for a human being and to keep on doing it is practically impossible. Jhalani says she’s amazed at “What a truly great soul he was. Despite hurdles, that man kept on going.”

Devika Sharma of JNU is inspired by Gandhiji’s ‘acts’ of ‘Sarvodaya’ (The welfare of all), his positive, viable and genuine approach, his reflections on cherishing life and his never-say-die die spirit.

Ummang Sharma Bajpai Of Hindu finds Gandhi’s will power and determination extremely inspiring. “Irrespective of whether I would agree to all of his methods and ideas or not, it’s fascinating how determined he was, even in the face of adversity – he would never budge from his commitment to the cause or lose his moral ground.”

Jasmine Bhalla, also of Hindu College is an admirer of his resilience and dignity. He was a man who rose above all the negativity and faced adversaries with a calm dignity. A true patriot who readily gave up everything to save his country is incredibly inspiring,” she says.

Richa Goel, 18, of Kalindi College says she learnt a lot from Gandhi’s childhood. “I have read that as a child he spoke many lies but later on realised his mistake. I have learnt to speak the truth no matter how difficult the situation is,” she reveals. Undeniably, says Narula, his non-violent resistance is what evokes patriotism and fans the flames of passion for a cause, she says.

The young students have all sorts of requests for Gandhi. Jhalani says she would teach him to “awaken us to the voice of our conscience, to help us to listen to our inner selves and to follow it. I believe any person can be the epitome of righteousness if he/she listens to his/her inner self. If we all begin to respect ourselves, if we all begin to learn how to be self-reliant then all the evils of the world would automatically clear away.”

Sharma would request him to teach the youth the lessons of honesty, how to practise compassion, live in harmony and the act of forgiving everyone, since the youth today is “so violent, aggressive and intolerable.” Gandhi will be asked to lead the satyagraha again and let the people know that the change they wish for must come from within. He also has to teach people that fighting against the odds is difficult but not impossible,” she adds.

Where safety issues go, Narula and Goel feel Gandhi would have been able to tackle all problems. “Being a woman I would request Gandhi to please change the mentality of boys. You made our country independent but still women are being critised and do not feel safe,” Goel adds. Narula seconds that. “I would have asked him to lead the country to the right path, as he did decades ago. For India, I would request him to filter the nation’s polity of its inherent flaws by deploying his weapons of truth and non-violence,” she adds. Bhalla would ask him to stir up the sense of patriotism in today’s youth “which seems to be lost somewhere. I would ask him to remind us all that we have the power to change the nation if we try and not let the sacrifices of our brave freedom-fighters go to waste,” she adds.

Bajpai says,“If Gandhi were alive, I would ask him to explain to us the importance of conscious public participation.”