It is time again to salute our freedom fighters who, on this day, 65 years ago, gave us freedom. Let us bow our heads in their memory and pledge to shape India into a country of their dreams.
Let us also take this occasion to pay our tribute to the greatest of them, Mahatama Gandhi. What makes this freedom and our indebtedness to Gandhi more commendable is his glorious concept of ‘Swaraj’ which, for him, was not merely replacing British rule with Indian rule, but with ‘self-rule’.
Gandhi sought to clarify that the complex concept of Swaraj has its roots in self-rule which is the rule of the self by the self, i.e, it is the rule of the mind over itself and passions (greed and aggression). It is the process of removing the internal obstacles to freedom, such that when achieved it is nothing other than spiritual freedom.
Having a strong influence of the Bhagavad-Gita on his life, Gandhi regarded ‘Sthitha-Projana’ to be the model of self-rule. Moreover, self-rule being a self-achieved state of affair would have its practical result possible only with the practice of certain virtues that Gandhi draws from Patanjali — non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity and greedlessness. To this, Gandhi added six more virtues — Swadeshi, removal of untouchability, bodily labour, control of palate, fearlessness and respect for all religions.
In a way, it is the inner journey that Gandhi always wanted from his countrymen. And it is this deeper self-knowledge (of removing internal obstacles) that constitutes the very ‘being’ of a man for it enables one to pursue Artha and Kama within the bounds of Dharma.
So, this Independence Day, let us all take a vow of going through an inner journey and analysing our own selves.