What is the relevance of Gandhi's teachings?

Oftentimes in Hindusthan we hear people asserting Gandhi’s relevance in our day. The assumption of course is that Gandhi was successful in his times and “his descendents” seem to have forgotten his lessons – hence the growing and seemingly never-ending strife.

It’s difficult to say just how many Hindus still buy the “Gandhi” prescriptions but weariness and indifference toward dangers facing our society is visible. If people are looking up to present day “leadership” to set matters right; they seem to know they look in vain.

Gandhi has always been a useful drum to beat – even by those that have thrown his philosophy by the wayside. Even those that were the closest to him and his comrades-in-arms – who purportedly practiced what he preached – do not have anything to show by way of successes.

So why do people still speak of Gandhi’s relevance? Is it because he spoke of peace? Perhaps.

But should we not speak of his relevance because he brought peace and not simply spoke of it or practiced his non-violence?

I think any man who speaks of peace or peaceful methods should be tested on results. If the man fails to bring about peace then his methods have failed. His message must become irrelevant. This (becoming irrelevant) has never happened in Gandhi’s case although there are no successes to show to his credit; because of official propaganda shielding his massive failures and the general Hindu loss of hope in our current leadership. To make matters worse, there has been consistent propaganda against authentic Hindu leadership – past and present – that Hindu organizations have not been able to meet effectively. Not not been able to counter, but not been able to meet.

But why am I writing about all this now?

– Namaste

‘Mahatma’s teaching still relevant’

Paras K Jha / DNA

Gujarat Vidyapith, an institute for higher education founded by Mahatma Gandhi, upheld its tradition of organising its convocation ceremonies on October 18, also the institute’s foundation day. This year, however, it became a double delight as the occasion also fell between two auspicious days – Diwali and the New Year.

Lobsang Tenzin, popularly known as Samdhong Rinpoche – the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, was the chief guest at the convocation ceremony. Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith  Narayan Desai conferred degrees and diplomas, including 11 PhD, 55 MPhil, 205 masters degree, 180 bachelors and 33 post-graduate diploma, on 704 students. Besides, 48  awards in various categories were also given.

Addressing the students, Rinpoche said, “It is a great achievement for you all to experience the ‘simple living, high thinking’ of Mahatma Gandhi and also getting an opportunity to imbibe his values and principles. It is more significant than the textbook teaching provided in any other university.”

Talking about the four main threats to the mankind, Samdhong Rinpoche said, “Disparity and injustice, violence, depleting environment and religious intolerance are the issues which have the power to destroy the world. But, while the world is on the verge of destruction, we have no options but to follow the path shown by Gandhi and Buddha to save the world.”

“Once people would rather sarcastically remark that ‘Majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi hai’. But, the statement appears to be so accurate in today’s context. The world is looking forward to follow Gandhi’s principles, with lots of hope,” he said.

Declaring Gujarat Vidyapith’s moral support to the Tibet’s non-violent movement for freedom, chancellor Narayan Desai said, “The movement for Tibet’s freedom is the movement of body versus soul and materialism versus sacrifice. Gujarat Vidyapith extends its moral support to the Tibet’s movement for freedom.”

Addressing the students, he said, “Students of Gujarat Vidyapith will first have to achieve freedom from the slavery of degree and naukari (job). Vidyapith will also have to create an environment on the campus for students and teachers to achieve the right knowledge.”

Sudarshan Iyangar, the V-C of Gujarat Vidyapith, talked about the institute’s efforts to contribute to find out solution for problems like global warming.


Palahalli S writes – The highlighted portions are what interests me.

So we have Tibet’s Prime Minister in exile telling students that Gandhi’s teachings can solve problems of  “Disparity and injustice, violence, depleting environment and religious intolerance”. Perhaps by going back to village economies of self-sustenance while the world around us industrialises. Then we get to use Satyagraha and Ahimsa to counter aggression from these industrialized neighbors.

It will not be out-of-place to remind this “Prime Minister” of Tibet that it was just such local self-sustenance and complete indifference to what was actually happening in its neighborhood that brought China into Tibet in the first place.

Pro-Tibet folks never fail to remind us that there was a time when China used to pay tribute to Tibet. What happened? What changed? Was Tibet a “self-sustaining” and non-violent society then?

When this “Prime Minister” speaks of ‘Majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi hai’ i.e. “When one is helpless, one speaks of Gandhi”, he seems to be facing the truth. It is indeed a helpless man who would speak of Gandhi’s methods.

It’s another matter if his methods will bring positive results – and so the wag will say, why prescribe them then?


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