Today marks the beginning of a year-long celebration to commemorate the 150th birthday of the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, popularly known as Gandhi Ji or Bapu. With the strength of his character and his non-violent ways of protesting, Gandhi was able to oust the British government from India, granting us the freedom that we had been fighting for since ages.
Gandhiji’s thoughts were not merely regarding driving out the British government. His ideas of building idea which was secular, democratic, equal, and self-sufficient are relevant even today. We are trying hard to reach all those ideas mentioned by him, however, the methods and ways to achieve them have changed drastically over time, making them difficult to achieve.
For example, all his life Bapu preached and practised non-violence. Looking at the current state of affairs, Bapu would be so disappointed in us as he would see violence in everything, from our words to social conduct and our relationship to nature. Our intolerance is out of control.
Gandhiji was a far-sighted leader. He used to think and write about the future – physical, economical and political future of India. In fact, despite living in an ashram, Gandhiji was always in touch with the outside world. Actually, it is us that view him as only a spiritual icon, in reality, Gandhi has had a full political life. He had the ability to make millions move without a single step.
Today, Khadi is among one of the most prevalent thoughts of Gandhi, that is being popularised significantly. Gandhi used Khadi as a weapon to gain independence from both the British and industrialization. For him, Khadi was the property of the people, not just employment or the public. Khadi for him meant a seed of a cotton tree, which many people harvest together. The variety of cotton that the British brought to the fields of India was spun in the machines of Lancashire itself. Therefore, Khadi was also related to employment generation. Khadi was brought in to create localization and not globalization. The cotton variety chosen by Gandhi was also native. It consumed less water and was insect resistant. The weather of the country suited to this variety of cotton. These favourable conditions would provide respite to the farmers, who would not have to commit suicide for fear of high investment value and crop failure. However, all this would be possible only when we work according to this model. This is why Gandhi is still relevant today.
Both capitalism and communism have failed to find solutions to unemployment and environmental hazards. Smith’s world is leading us to mechanization, in the hope that increased productivity will lead to employment and skill development. Marx’s world is still stuck in formal industries and trade unions. They do not understand that today the world of employment is dominated by a variety of entrepreneurs. His model of development is not much different from his ideological opponents, whom he hates. When it comes to the environment, both models will lead the world to the fatal culmination of climate change due to their respective development methods and it has begun.
In order to solve the real problems that the country and the world is facing today, there is a need to revive Gandhiji. More leaders are required who can mould Gandhi’s ideas according to the needs of today’s world.