The religion of Hinduism has seen several attacks from across the frontiers with Muslim invasions starting off in the 7thCentury. We have survived the onslaughts on our culture, forcible conversions of our temples, because of our inherent strength and beliefs and not because of our militancy. The Sikh Panth was formed out of Hindus, to save the country against marauders, Khalsa being the militant wing. Guru Tegh Bahadur was put to the sword by Aurangzeb because he resisted conversion. On the whole we have been patient, resilient and tolerant of other beliefs.
That is how inspite of centuries of foreign rule, our civilization has survived. And today, the world and its developed nations are becoming more and more aware of the peace, tranquility and piety of our beliefs. The Hare Krishna sect, the Osho movement and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi have several of their Ashrams abroad. Sai Baba in India has millions of followers all over the world. Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, King Ashoka, Guru Nanak, Ramkrishna Param Hans, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, all have been propounders of peace, morality and the Vedic way of life. The Bhakti movement was the belief of high principled and religious persons like Ramanuj, Jaidev, Kabir and Chaitanya and has its followers even till today. The beliefs of Swami Vivekananda were reflected in his speech at Chicago. At the Parliament of Religious on September 11, 1893 he declared “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth”.
The assimilation of several beliefs, constant evolution and knowledge gathered over centuries, is today the crux of our civilization and this was the culture in which Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi was born. He rose like the Phoenix to lead our nation movement for independence and was a staunch follower of the doctrines of Gita. He quoted Swami Vivekananda’s speech from the hold book “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths, which in the end lead to Me”. A man of high principles, he lived and died for them, without the thought of earning riches for himself or his family. He has been criticized for several of his policies and there were stalwarts like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal, Subhash Chandra Bose, Rash Behari Bose and others who differed from him in the path of achieving independence.
But the fact remains that, inspite of severe differences in opinion, he was always a respected leader for his integrity and unimpeachable morality. He spent the major part of his life in practicing his beliefs and on occasions alienated even his wife in the service of the downtrodden but there was no deviation from his principles. Today when the common citizen is totally disillusioned with the leaders, when the common citizen is totally disillusioned with the leaders, when brazen acts of self indulgence and corruption rules the roost and the reaction of the media is being totally ignored, we need once again a leader of his stature and principles. One who could set standards for the pygmies, who are our leaders of today, to follow.
One, whose very presence and fear of his scathing remarks would make these ordinary mortals to cringe with fear of a public backlash and shie away from corruption. The biggest weapon of the Mahatma was hunger strike and he forced himself into several of them, when he found others deviating from principles. Even the British rulers were afraid of this passive weapon which drew worldwide attention and reaction, whenever he was forced to go in for this potent move. The country has faced severe upheavals in the last two decades, self interest and propagation has been the basic principle of national leaders.
The interest of the country has been kept on the backburner and within the short period that a person like V.P Singh became Prime Minister of India, he created the blackest part of Indian history pushing back whatever good the Mahatma had done over half a century. He implemented the Mandal Commission recommendations which had destined to gather dust in the archives. Other former Prime Minister had believed in the efficacy of our society and reservation for scheduled castes had been initially restricted for a decade after independence.
Vishwa Nath Pratap Singh, became Prime Minister in 1989 after the 9thGeneral Electrons. He was the cause of a spilt in Janta Dal in 1990 and lost the vote of confidence. Ignoring the principles of democracy and the public outcry, he forced the implementation of recommendations for Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes within this short period of one year. Mahatma Gandhi’s Atma must have been weeing at the deliberate manipulations of so-called leader against the wishes of the majority. This resulted in a huge divided between different castes of the Hindu religion, raking up feelings which had long ago undergone a transformation. If there was to be an implementation of backward progression, it should have been on economic principles. The presence of the Mahatma would definitely have been a deterrent even to such thoughts.
The idea of persons of the caliber and integrity of V.P. Singh or Chandra Shekhar becoming Prime Minister was earlier too far fetched. Today we have worst. We have tainted Chief Ministers and Prime Ministers who would beat criminals hands down. Their only purpose in presenting themselves for electrons was to get some favour for their followers and taking advantage of becoming an MLA or MP to mint money for themselves.
Unfortunately for the State and the country, they managed to become Chief Ministers. What was the result of this misfortune. Total loot of State resources, induction of criminals in ministries, the law and order machinery suppressed to a state of subjugation and the state and country being dragged into negativity. These are where our nation misses the presence of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the ‘father of the nation’ and in spite of all degradation, our society and the country would have dragged these scoundrels to where they truly belong. Instead of allowing them the facility of elite guards for protection, air conditioned residences for them and even their animals, nepotism galore and protection to criminals, they would have been boycotted and cornered into submission.
Our cultural background of five thousand years has been reduced to a garbage heap today or why else is our nation in this questionable status today. Culture sustains a nation but it is we who should behave like responsible nationals to sustain our culture. It is our duty to oppose the trend of pseudo-secularism being state.
It is our appeasement policy of these states majority that has created. A near state of disintegration and militancy. It would have been crushed in any other state of the country. The glory of our nation, achieved under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi, who showed the teaming millions their path of duty is fast losing its glimmer. No other individual in the would could stake their claim to such a huge following in men, women, young and old.
All because he taught us dignity. Where is that dignity today when he is no more? He taught us to be above corruption, law abiding and responsible and we have thrown all that he taught, to the winds. It is our fault that we have not been able to eradicate illiteracy. This is why our nation is known as a nation of beggars who breed like animals.
It is our moral responsibility to teach others who need our guidance, at least in our neighborhood. We should voluntarily assist NGOs in social and national service. There should be a national movement for education and population control on the lines of our independence movement. This is the need for today. To rise above petty issues and resist corruption at all leaves. To learn discipline and teach other the same. Only then can our nation progress, when we have a principled and disciplined task force and for that we need persons to set examples before the masses and what better example than our ‘Father of the Nation’.
Let us pray that we can recognize the several Mahatmas amongst us even today, honour them and give them the lead, to take our nation from the cultural morass, political corruption, total indiscipline and darkness to light.