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Gandhi - the conscience keeper
Gandhi awakened the inner conscience of contemporary and future generations, because he practised his values sincerely and conscientiously. Conscience of a Rational Self is evolved with a great consideration of whole mankind and particularly the poorest of all. Gandhi gave a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. : Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.21 This will lead to the balanced use of natural resources.
We cannot and we need not stop progress of Science. But if we want Science to progress further, it must have a guide. Science is amoral, neither moral nor immoral, so it requires values. Russel admits, “Science by itself cannot supply us with an ethic. It can show us how to achieve a given end, and it may show us that some ends cannot be achieved. But among ends that can be achieved, our choice must be decided by other than purely scientific considerations.”22. Progress without purpose makes demon out of man. The direction should be clear and it should be the welfare of humanity. Therefore, Science must be wedded to non-violence if it is to lead to the welfare of all and Science wedded to violence shall result in the annihilation of mankind.
Gandhi tried to develop all-inclusive and universal culture through Truth and Non-violence. His idea of culture was based on tolerance and activism. Therefore, he said, “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”
Abid Hussain remarks, “He lived his ideas and chose to become his truth. It was also a part journey of self discovery and also unending experiments with truth. Even in his failures Gandhi remained great and grew in stature. He further writes, “Gandhi will always be remembered as one who made his life a lesson for all ages to come.”
Hermann Kallenbach describes:
“On the morning on which he had to go to meet General Smuts at Pretoria for a very important interview I found him (be) rating me generally for something that/had omitted to do... That was the tyranny of his affection but that affection is my proudest possession.”26 When Gandhi was alive, the leaders influenced by the teachings of “Gandhi” used to think in the other corner of the country as what that old man will think about their actions. RamManohar Lohiya writes that when he used to smoke, he was conscious of Gandhi’s attitude about smoking.
The true Gandhians think in the same manner even today. Shri. Vipin Parikh writes in his letter to Gandhi published in ‘Shashvat Gandhi’ that I see you everywhere even when a woman walks on the road with pride, Harijans sitting in the bus or train with us in clean clothes, in simplicity, integrity etc. Even a piece of pencil is lost, I cannot sit silently and try to search it because of Gandhi’s influence.
In this connection, the film ‘Maine Gandhi ko nahi mara’ where the guest keeps a cup of tea on the news paper where Gandhi is pictured, disturbs the Gandhian professor. Even the film’‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ influences the spectators and people tried to develop ‘Gandhigiri’ in their life i.e stick to the truth at any cost.
The religious Guru Shri. Dalai Lama observes the influence of Gandhi till now, “To my mind two further things standout. One is the impression everybody received on absolute and rigorous integrity. His honesty, truth and lack of selfish personal ambition struck everyone he met, and many like me who simply heard about him. It is fact that whenever a popular personality himself shares in the suffering of others, he creates a strong impact on many people.”
During his visit to India in October 2010, President Barack Obama observes that he has always found inspiration in the life of Gandhiji and in his lesson to be the change we seek in the world. He reiterates that his message of peace, tolerance and love continue to inspire the world. More than sixty years of his passing his light continues to inspire the world.
If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.
Gandhi himself is not keeping silence. He has said, “I am not going to keep quiet even after I die”. Gandhi influences people and will influence in future.
- Dr. Geeta Mehta
Article originally published on www.gandhitopia.org