Mahatma Gandhi: Ultimate Benchmark For Humanity – OpEd


On October 2, 2018, the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi commences. On his birthday India remembers this great man for all that he did for the country and the world and for providing leadership of great ethical and moral standards.

While Mahatma Gandhi had great achievements to his credit and have millions of admirers around the world, there is no dearth of critics.

He has been vehemently criticized by some people for some of his political decisions and what the critics term as excessive efforts to appease Muslims and keep Jinnah in good humour to prevent partition of India, despite of which Mahatma Gandhi could not prevent partition of India. Even in his life time, Mahatma Gandhi saw huge religious riots in India at the time of partition when thousands of Hindus and Muslims were massacred and he could not prevent this. This made many critics say that Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts to advocate non violence as a desirable concept has failed. Several writings of Mahatma Gandhi after India attained freedom reveal that Mahatma Gandhi was a sad and disappointed person at the turn of events and he ultimately became a victim of religious fanaticism.

All said and done, Mahatma Gandhi was a multi faceted personality who has expressed his thoughts on variety of issues and practiced his thoughts sincerely, setting himself as a role model for others.

After passing away of Mahatma Gandhi with several decades now gone by, what stands out clearly is the exemplary standards of probity that he maintained in private and public life with no difference in his inner thoughts and outer actions.

Mahatma Gandhi conclusively showed that it is possible to practice truth as a philosophy and way of life in full measure. With such highest level of commitment to truth , every action of Mahatma Gandhi reflected his glorious standards as an individual person.

With great commitment to the concept of truth, Mahatma Gandhi always said that means should justify the ends, which is possible only if one will have total adherence to truth and honesty in spirit and actions.

Today, all over the world, dishonesty and double talk seem to have become order of the day amongst political leaders at various levels as well as individual citizens in different walks of life. Most people seem to be gaining an impression that clever schemes and maneuvering practices are the essential needs to achieve material success and happiness in life, which often call for practices of deceit.

While Mahatma Gandhi and his way of life and philosophy are now admired all over the world , many seem to think that Mahatma Gandhi was a unique and out of ordinary person and his life style need to be admired but cannot be practiced. One often hears the remark that If one were to practice Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of truth and probity , it inevitably would call for sacrifice of comforts and growth prospects.

On Mahatma Gandhi’s 70th birthday, in a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the great German scientist and philosopher Albert Einstein, wrote . “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”

It seems to be extremely doubtful that at present and in future, whether the world citizens would, by and large, even attempt to reach the bench mark and standards in personal life and conduct that Mahatma Gandhi set for himself and showed for the world.

Nevertheless, humans have a benchmark and standard for life that Mahatma Gandhi’s life style created and for worthy individuals wherever they are in the world, it should be a desirable goal to reach.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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