THE BLOG

Why Mahatma Gandhi Matters Today

29/09/2016 11:02 AM IST | Updated 02/10/2016 9:24 AM IST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A whole book can be written on how Gandhiji's ideas are relevant today. He was a visionary and possessed a very powerful mind. His ideas continue to be as relevant to the issues and problems of India today as they were back in his time. I will touch on the area of intolerance which is dividing our society and tearing into our social fabric and show how Gandhiji's teachings can help us. Gandhiji was a compromiser par excellence. He would always consider the other party's point of view and come up with solutions acceptable to all concerned. This quality was evident in his legal as well as political work.

Gandhiji was a compromiser par excellence. He would always consider the other party's point of view and come up with solutions acceptable to all concerned.

Now, the ability to compromise comes only when we are very tolerant to the points of view other than oneself or the majority. For this, the individual must have at heart the greater good rather than just being proven right. The Mahatma was fearless and this made him secure in his intentions and actions. He never lost sight of the greater long-term good and didn't let his personal ego come in the way. He appealed to warring parties to keep in sight a higher purpose and achieved great success. Since he practiced what he preached, his message had a great effect and achieved the desired results.

Today, we see an environment of intolerance and social tension, something which is spurred by political actions such bans and so on in an attempt to pander to certain groups. This is an outcome of fear in the ruling politicians that if they do not do so they will not be elected. They do not seem to realize that if they work sincerely for the betterment of their constituencies they will not only be re-elected but win by better margins.

Fear comes from insecurity and is an outcome of a brain which cannot resolve issues after taking into account all eventualities. This inability to evaluate all outcomes transcends caste, creed or economic situations. Thus, whether they are rich or poor, most people suffer from insecurities—the poor worry about how to make money and the rich fret about how to grow and retain their assets. It is the removal of these insecurities by a powerful brain that can rid us of fear. Yoga helps in developing such a brain through meditation and focus on a single thought for a long time—called Sanyam by Patanjali.

Another way to get rid of fear is to be thankful for whatever we have and count our blessings. If we do that continuously then it gives us a sense of contentment and happiness since our burdens and insecurities are reduced by the thought that somebody will be there to help us and everything will be OK. This also builds the ability to sublimate the greed impulse.

I also feel that the fear of missing out and the insecurity of what will happen in the future is what produces greed and in turn corruption and corrupt politicians. These corrupt politicians then become egotistical and intolerant and hijack the agenda of India's democracy for their selfish reasons.

This Gandhi Jayanti, let us remember and put in practice the teachings of Gandhiji so that we become a tolerant and happy society.

Gandhiji practiced both these things in his life—regular and daily meditations and a deep belief in God to whom he was grateful for everything that he achieved. This helped him in becoming completely fearless.

Devoid of fear he was able to chart new paths in tolerance, taking everybody's opinion and carrying all the people together to give us independence.

So on this Gandhi Jayanti let us remember and put in practice the teachings of Gandhiji so that we become a tolerant and happy society.

More On This Topic