Celebrating Gandhi

Today, 2nd of October, is Gandhi’s birthday. It’s also celebrated as a national holiday in India, and since 2007, the UN has decided that it is the International Day of Non-Violence.

Though I’ve always known of Gandhi, and admired him from a “distance”, I haven’t really known much about him. Sure, I’d watched the movie (twice even, I think), but it was in school, and the movie is long, and, a bit old. (I’m not so good with the long, older movies, I tend to lose focus). So I decided to take this opportunity, to learn a bit more about Gandhi, and to share it with you guys!

Mohandas Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma meaning “Great Soul”, was born on the 2nd of October 1869. He was shot and died on the 30th of January 1948, at the age of 78 years. He was a firm believer of mass civil disobedience, total non-violence and non-cooperation. Through these means, he helped India achieve her freedom from the British Empire and Gandhi is therefore seen as the “Father” of India and its people. Gandhi was also a strict vegetarian, and fasted for extended periods of time both as means to purify himself and as social protest.
Probably one of the best known quotes from Gandhi, is, when he was asked what he thought of Western Civilization, he answered: “I think it would be a good idea.”
Gandhi search for truth (Satya) his whole life, and summarized his beliefs first as “God is Truth”, then later in life as “Truth is God”.
I think Gandhi was a great philosopher and he practiced what he preached! Some of the greatest quotes we have from him relates to non-violence – which is something I believe in, although I’m not certain it is always realistic:
  • “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always.”
  • “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” (How true! Especially relevant today, when so many atrocities are done precisely in the name of liberty and democracy!)
  • “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
  • “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”
Gandhi was born a Hindu, and continued to be a Hindu for the rest of his life, though his view on religion did change throughout his life. When he was asked later in life, if he was Hindu, he replied: “Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.” I do think his open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance of all religions and people of all religions is something we could all learn from:
  • “As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side.”
  • “The sayings of Muhammad are a treasure of wisdom, not only for Muslims but for all of mankind.”
  • “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
  • “God has no religion.”
And to end with, some very inspirational quotes:
  • “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
  • “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

1 Comment

  1. SS

    If you want to watch richard attenborough’s “GANGHI”..you must not miss to watch the court scene…where MK gandhi enters the court room…. it is thrillling to watch the response of british judge , lawyers and…..

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