We offer our humble Tributes
to GandhiBapu,i.e. Mahatma Gandhiji:
Albert Einstein had said about Gandhiji: "The future generations
would not believe that a man like him had ever walked on the earth."
Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Gandhiji?s guru, had said about him
in 1912: "A purer, a nobler, a braver and a more exalted spirit has
never moved on this earth. He is a man who may well be described as a
man among men, a hero among heroes, a patriot among patriots and we may
well say that in him Indian humanity at the present time has readily reached
its high watermark."
Rabindranath Tagore, while paying him a tribute,
had said: "Here was living truth at last and not only quotations
from books. For this reason the Mahatma, the name given to him by the
people of India, is his real name. Who else has felt like him that all
Indians are his own flesh and blood? When love came to the door of India,
that door was opened wide. At Gandhi?s call India blossomed forth
to new greatness, just as once before, when the Buddha proclaimed the
truth of fellow-felling and compassion among all living creatures."
Dr S.Radhakrishnan proclaimed about Gandhiji:
"He has nothing to hide and so is fearless. He looks everyone in
the face. His step is firm, his body upright, and his words are direct
What Plato had said long ago is applicable for
Gandhiji. He had said, "There always are in the world a few inspired
men whose acquaintance is beyond price."
Such was the man Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - a man considered
one of the great sages. He was held as another Buddha, another Jesus,
Indians called him the ?Father of the Nation?. They showered
their love, respect and devotion on him in an unprecedented measure. They
thronged his way to have a glimpse of him, to hear one world from his
lips. They applied on their foreheads the dust on the path he had trodden.
For them, he was almost an incarnation of God, who had come to break the
chains of their slavery. The whole world bowed to him in reverence. Even
his opponents held him in great respect.
His Unlimited Greatness
Mohandas Gandhi was not a great scholar, nor was he a
great warrior. He was not born with exceptional faculties. Neither was
he a good orator, nor a great writer. He did not claim anything exclusively
divine in him. He did not claim being a prophet or having superhuman powers.
He considered himself an average man with average abilities. Born in a
middle class Bania family in an obscure princely State in a corner of
India, he was a mediocre student, shy and nervous. He could not muster
courage to speak in public. His first attempt at legal practice miserably
But he was a humble seeker to Truth. He was a man with
exceptional sincerity, honesty and truthfulness. For him, understanding
meant action. Once any principle appealed to him, he immediately began
to translate that in practice. He did not flinch from taking risks and
did not mind confessing mistakes. No opposition, scorn or ridicule could
affect him. Truth was his sole guiding star. He was ever-growing; hence
he was often found inconsistent. He was not concernedwith appearing to
be consistent. He preferred to be consistent only with the light within.He
sacrificed his all and identified himself with the poorest of the poor.
He dressed like them, lived like them. In the oppressed and the depressed
people, he saw God. For him, they too were sparks of the divine light.
They might not have anything else, but they too had a soul. For Gandhiji,
soul-force was the source of the greatest power. He strove to awaken the
soul-force within himself and within his fellowmen. He was convinced that
the potentialities of the soul-force have no limit. He himself was a living
example of this conviction. That is why this tiny and fragile man could
mobilise the masses and defeat the mighty British empire. His eleven vows,
his technique of Satyagraha, his constructive programme - all were meant
to awaken and strengthen the soul-force.
He awakened and aroused a nation from semi-consciousness.
It was a Herculean task. For India was not a united country, it was a
sub-continent. It was a society divided in different classes, castes and
races, in people with different languages, religions and cultures. It
was a society where almost half of the population, women, was behind purdah
or confined to the four walls of houses, where one-fourth of the population,
the depressed classes, was living marginalised life, Where many did not
have a single full meal every day. Gandhiji made the oppressed sections
wake up and break their chains. He mobilised the people and united them
to work for the cause of Swaraj, which gave them a sense of belonging,
a sense of purpose. Gandhiji wanted to win Swaraj (Independence) for the
masses. For him, Swaraj did not mean replacement of White masters by brown
masters. Swaraj meant self-rule by all. He said: Real Swaraj will come,
not by the acquisition of the authority by a few, but by the acquisition
of the capacity by all to resist authority when it is abused. He worked
to develop such a capacity. Development of such a capacity involved transformation
of the individual.
Transformation of the individual and transformation of
the society - they were not separate, unrelated things for Gandhiji. Revolutionary
social philosophies had concentrated on changing the society. On the other
hand, spiritual seekers had concentrated on the inner change. Gandhiji
not only bridged the gap between these extremes, he fused them together.
Gandhiji was thus both a saint and a social revolutionary.
For Gandhiji, unity of life was great truth. His principle
of non-violence stemmed from this conviction. Non-violence was not a matter
of policy for him; it was a matter of faith. He applied the doctrine to
all the departments of individual and social life and in so doing revolutionized
the doctrine, made it dynamic and creative. He believed that a true civilization
could be built on the basis of such non-violence only.
He rejected the modern civilization. For him, it was
a disease and a curse. This civilization leads to violence, conflicts,
corruption, injustices, exploitation, oppression, mistrust and a process
of dehumanisation. It has led the world to a deep crisis.The earth?s
resources are being cornered by a handful of people without any concern
for others and for the coming generations. The conventional energy sources
are getting depleted. Forests are being destroyed. Air, water, soil-everything
has been polluted. We are living under the shadow of nuclear war and environmental
disasters. Thinking men the world over are looking to Gandhiji to find
a way out of this crisis and to build an alternative model of sustainable
development. Gandhiji knew that the earth has enough to satisfy everybody's
need but not anybody?s greed. He had called for the replacement of
greed with love.
Gandhiji is, therefore, now a source of inspiration and
a reference book for all those fighting against racial discrimination,
oppression, domination, wars, nuclear energy, environmental degradation,
lack of freedom and human rights; for all those who are fighting for a
better world, a better quality of life.
Gandhiji is, therefore, no longer an individual. He is
a symbol of all that is the best and the most enduring in the human tradition.
And he is also a symbol of the alternatives in all areas of life-agriculture,
industry, technology, education, health, economy, political organisation
etc. He is a man of the future - a future that has to be shaped if the
human race has to survive and progress on the path of evolution.