Gandhiji’s Relevance in the 21st Century

Why I feel Gandhi ji’s Ideologies are highly relevant in today’s world.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is a name whom no one can ever forget for all he did to get India its freedom from the British colonialism. He echoed the dreams of the colonized Indian nation. Just like a desired father who takes every responsibility of his children, Gandhi bore the hope of the millions of Indians who were bowed under the weights of years of slavery.  He was a man who could speak to the crowd with his virtue and befriend with the king while not lose touch with the common man.

Gandhi’s ideologies are not just for politics or economies or societies but for the way of living. His philosophy can be incorporated at every stage of life in every century and that’s what his relevance is all about. Many people will see Gandhi as a freedom fighter but he was much more than that. His staunch belief in non violence was his power to win every battle. It takes a lot of courage to face the lathi (police stick) when you are empty handed. We are living in a world where there are such high rates of crimes and the only way to counterattack all the evils can be fought with non violence because non violence does not give birth to the feelings of hatred and revenge.

Gandhi was a man ahead of his times. He foresaw many of the problems which we are facing today. In 1927 he wrote “a time is coming when those who are in the mad rush today of multiplying their want will retrace their steps and say, what we have done?”

If we look closely we would know that much of our contemporary problems are due to unnecessary development. Due to industrialization and high technology are creating ample amount of waste which we don’t know what to do with. We also don’t know what to do with the huge stack of nuclear weapons that the world powers have. Only a part of these nuclear weapons are enough to destroy the entire world more than once. If a part of this money would have been spent for social welfare agendas then world would have been a better place to leave in. Since we live in a capitalist world we only believe in accumulating more and more which force us to create market demand for every possible goods and services. Gandhi could foresee this and thus he wrote in Hind Swaraj (1980) that the modern civilization is a few days’ wonder and then it will sink into its own weight.

When Gandhi was preaching Swaraj he didn’t only meant self rule but also to become independent from the British way of living. Today after so many decades of India’s independence we see how much West driven our life and the entire system of Government are. British left India physically but mentally we are still slaves of British in our way of thinking and working. The white collar jobs have been replaced and given to the browns and nothing else changed. Gandhi never supported the Westminster form of Government for it divides the society into two – rules and the ruled. This form of Government gives the power into the hands of a few whereas in case of a decentralized form of Government power is shared among many which help to reduce corruption and advocates for better governance.

Gandhi strongly believed in secularism and had to give up his life for being a secular at heart. Today’s world has a different meaning of secularism. For now secularism has become just to respect one’s own religious which is a paradox to what Gandhi had preached all his life. Gandhi has lived for poor. He believed that God lived in poor but the increasing number of poor and their sad living condition shows how Gandhi’s ideologies are falling today. Gandhi could feel that the cities would always remain unstable as they are man made and not natural. Whereas Gandhi believed that villages where mostly of the population resides are natural and are far more sustainable. In order to have a sustainable livelihood villages have to developed and utilized efficiently. Gandhi believed that even politics has to be dealt with moral values which we can’t see in today’s politics. Politics has become a bad word now. Politics doesn’t mean service for the public anymore but to be powerful.

Gandhi’s ideologies are very much needed to be practiced in the current world of growing inequalities between the rich and the poor. The world which is a witness to so much of terrorism, torture toward the females and children needs to be under control and only Gandhian philosophy of living can achieve that. Although many people would praise Gandhism but they would deny practicing them in real life as they would say that Gandhism is not realistic. Gandhi has become a figure of history. Everyone believes that his ideologies were just great to fly away the British but that’s not just what Gandhi meant to do. He wanted to make people realize the value of truth, non-violence and Swaraj (as per Gandhi’s understandings) and implement them in their way of living. The day Gandhi’s ideas of Sarvodaya, Swaraj, truth and non violence would take off the world would be the best place to reside.

For the people who believe that Gandhi was against science and technology I would like to say that he was not against technological advancement but was a pro people and protective of the environment personality. He thought no matter how much we develop in terms of technology we should attain sustainable ways of livelihood and if technology hampers sustainable living then it makes no sense to develop our technology.

Gandhi’s ideologies are only remaining in the pages of books which need to be fleshed out in front of the present world because I strongly believe that Gandhism is the instrument to make the world a better place.