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Remembering Gandhi In Times Of Rising Right Wing Extremism

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By Soumya Raj:

He was a frail man, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. But as his life progressed, his conviction in his beliefs brought an entire country under one umbrella, a country which was previously divided on territorial, historical, political and sentimental aspects. Today is Gandhi’s 144th birthday, and the set of ideals he passed on to us through his actions and lifestyle is still with us, even though he is not. The portrayal of Gandhi’s existence is so colossal, and larger than life to be believed, how can a man dressed in a simple hand-woven loincloth, walking around with a stick, has managed to hold the world by a leash even beyond his death.

gandhi

When I visited the Gandhi Ashram at Gandhinagar last year, the enormity of his being struck me. The ashram is still preserved with Mahatma’s items of daily use, his charkha, his glasses, his khadaus, and his utensils. Before I went there, he was just a man whose contribution to the country was magnanimous, who was a historically revered figure, who propagated non-violence and passive aggression, whose face was on our currency notes. There is a wall in the Ashram where letters from people are scanned and printed in flex, and the addresses written on the envelopes are bizarre, one for example being, “Gandhi ji jahan ho wahan.” Albert Einstein had made a very prophetic statement on Gandhi. “Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a man as this ever in flesh and blood, walked upon this earth.” I wonder how much better our country would have been, had he been alive today.

Gandhi’s principles live on but majorly in text and extempore, quoted as promises by the front runners of India. His idea of economic sovereignty, socio-economic sufficiency, and decentralization of industries are but forgotten, and the falling rate of rupee-to-dollar, or the resurgent poverty in our country is a mark of that. He struggled for equality his whole life. Equality among races, as in South Africa, equality among classes, as in Champaran’s indigo farmers, equality among castes, as in Dalits and the “untouchables”, equality among Hindu-Muslims, as the national situation was during our independence, and was unfortunately assassinated by a right-wing-extremist, Nathuram Godse at point blank, for his radical ideas.

How relevant is Gandhi today, after his death? Till what extent do we implement his philosophies today, as a mark of our respect for the father of our nation? The recent Muzaffarnagar riots, or the recent unpopular ordinance which gives a chance to the convicted lawmakers, are examples of blatant disregard for his ideologies of truth, transparency, non-violence and his hatred for terrorism. He wanted a diverse country like ours to be united and integrated, we came forth with the 29th state. He wanted moral regeneration, we gave the world one of the worst rape cases witnessed in decades.

Mahatma exists in thin air for us now. It is a shame to see what a dire state our country with much potential is in. Gandhi’s ideologies are, one could say, the prophetic solution to whatever is going wrong with India right now. The man had a vision which not many could foresee at that time, but right now, we feel its relevance. India could’ve turned out to be much, much better and progressive, had we chosen to inculcate even half of what he gave us. For a man who dedicated his life for our freedom (even the fact that Youth Ki Awaaz exists right now, is a mark of this freedom he worked for), just one day to celebrate or remember him is not enough.

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  1. H

    mind blowing article 🙂

    1. Soumya Raj

      Thank you so much 🙂

    2. sai kiran sharma (@wolf1711)

      Another Right-wing nationalims bashing article? Seriously? these are my quick points:
      1. India existed as one nation under Mauryan Rule before the mughals, Gandhis or Brits. Gandhi could embellish his secular ideas because Hinduism’s secular nature.
      2. It was because of the mutiny of 25 Lakh Indian soldiers in the British-Indian armed forces after the Kohima war between British Indian Army and Indian National Army. Gandhi’s quit India movement was lost by then. Gandhi was looking for Dominion status.
      3. Had he not died in 1948, India would have been divided into 5 nations.
      4. It was Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel who led the unification of India from the front. Gandhi was ready to give Hyderabad state and independent status. i.e. Hyderabad= Parts of Southern Maharashtra, So called AP, Karnataka, Chattisgarh. Gandhi was selfish because he wanted to become a living saint or living demi-god.

      I think most of the pro-gandhi anti-Right wing Hindu nationalist articles are poorly researched or the authors deliberately ignore the facts.

  2. Raj

    Youthkiawaaz.com would not have existed if we had aimed for “economic sovereignty, socio-economic sufficiency, and decentralization of industries” . We would still be stuck in the License Quota raj and you would need 100 permits just to open such a site, not to mention a 100 more to use foreign technology. Please check on whose servers YKA is hosted and on whose IT technologies this is built on. None of them are swadeshi. They are all the product of private initiative and free trade. They did not come from Govt. bureaucrats or politicians, but from free citizens hoping to express their desires and to earn a profit.

    We must give up these socialist ideas and embrace free-market capitalism in order to prosper.

    1. Soumya Raj

      “from free citizens hoping to express their desires and to earn a profit.”..

      Right when you made this a part of statement you supported me. Who gave you the right to expression? Who gave you the fundamental human right of freedom to articulate whatever you feel like? The freedom fighters could’ve given up their struggle and just accepted the colonialist form of governance.. and India, that was already sliding downwards could’ve turned into ruins. What the piece was aiming at, what the basic sense of expression, the set human rights, the set of fundamental duties that guide every citizen of a free and democratic India, which, even if you can be so ignorant to disagree with, can’t be ignored, had a huge contribution of Mahatma.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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