Views of Great Personalities about Mahatma Gandhi
The Father of the Nation
Gandhi on Charkha ( Spinning Wheel)
What is Gandhi Jayanti?
On 2nd October India celebrates National Holiday, but why? The reason is very simple. 2nd October is the birth anniversary of the father of the Indian soil. He is referred as the ‘Father of the Nation’. Yes, his full name is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was the great patriot who gave his life for his country, India. In Hindi, the national language of India, Gandhiji’s birth anniversary is known as ‘Gandhi Jayanti’. Coincidentally another great patriot of India Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India, was also born on 2nd October but was quite younger to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Deeper Way to know Gandhi
Today, I would like to put forward some interesting stories and incidents that took place during the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The people of India and the world learned about the struggle Gandhiji undertook for the independence of India through reading different kinds of books. May be history or course books. In the process of learning about a person’s achievements we miss to learn about some simple happenings and sayings that take place in the achiever’s life. I feel that ordinary happenings, simple talks and opinions of others about a great personality should not be ignored. They are equally important because that helps to know a great person’s extraordinary life deeply.
Gandhi and Subhash Bose
A few relevant stories about Mahatma Gandhi:
Wrong Assumption about Gandhi
Gandhiji was an advocate of ‘ahimsa’ that means ‘non-violence’ but as we all know that every one in his/her lifetime faces criticism for one’s action. Gandhi was no exception. He too faced some criticism from different people. They believed that his ‘ahimsa’ was just a farce. Some people, I mean, not his followers considered that Non-violence was not Gandhiji’s strict principle. They were of the belief that ‘ahimsa’ in real terms would not be practiced by Gandhi but it was just an intelligent political move.
The whole assumption was proved wrong by Gandhiji during the ‘Chauri Chaura’ incident that took place during the ‘Non co-operation Movement’. A large group of people attacked the policemen at Chauri Chaura and that led to the death of some of the British policemen. This was against Gandhi’s principle and so he stopped the Non co-operation movement that he started. He began the movement with the appeal to the people to remain non-violent. Once his appeal went unheard he took no chances and called of the agitation. This clearly reflected the ideology of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Thus, who had a wrong assumption about his intentions received a reply through his style of working.
B.R. Ambedkar, He was the First Chairman of the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution. Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar usually differed in their opinion regarding the betterment of the Dalits, a class which according to Hindu religion was considered as a lower class- the untouchables. Gandhi named the so called untouchables as ‘Harijans’. Both Gandhiji and Ambedkar wanted the condition of the Dalits to improve but their approaches towards the issue were totally different. Due to the differences B. R. Ambedkar once bitterly said about Mahatma Gandhi that ‘Mahatmas have come and Mahatmas have gone, but the untouchables have remained untouchables.’
Subhash Chandra Bose another great patriot of India had ideological differences with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Both of them respected each other but they hardly agreed at a point on freedom movement. They were so different in their opinions that for the second time when Bose won the President’s post in the session of the Congress Party after defeating Pattabhi Sitaramayya, Gandhi’s candidate, then Gandhiji openly accepted it as his ‘personal defeat’ . Due to a great number of followers in the Congress Party, Gandhiji enjoyed a strong hold which indicated a revolt in the party and so Bose resigned from the post and started a new party named the ‘All India Forward Bloc’.
Gandhi and Nehru
Tribute by the Greats of the World
Though Gandhiji died in 1948 but three great men of the world wholeheartedly acknowledged that whatever they achieved for their respective countries was because of the path shown by him. The three greats: Martin Luther King Jr. and his civil rights movement in United States, Nelson Mandela and his fight for freedom in apartheid South Africa and Lech Walesa ’s fight for democracy in Poland. They all paid tribute to Gandhiji’s style of working. They were of the opinion that they owe their success to ‘Satyagraha and Ahimsa’.
Other than ‘ahimsa’ he taught the country another strong principle that is ‘satyagraha’. It means ‘truth’ and ‘firmness’. Mahatma Gandhi once said about his philosophy of ahimsa (non-violence) that ‘the strongest physical force bends before moral force when it is used in the defence of truth.’ That means fight for the truth in a non-violent way is a strong weapon against all odds. His Non Co-operation Movement led people to forego the use of British goods and started spinning cotton on ‘charkha’, the spinning wheel. During Freedom Struggle Gandhi started to spin cotton threads and the clothes made from it are known as ‘khadi’. It helped the movement of Non Co-operation by weaving own dress materials and rejecting the British products. This gave the ordinary Indians a confidence to fight against the British rule. About such a change in the scenario Gandhiji said ‘What I did was a very ordinary thing. I declared that the British could not order me about in my own country’.
Gandhiji used to say ‘My life is my message’ whenever he was asked to convey a message to the people.
Patriots on Gandhi and his work
There are lot of comments and opinions made and given by the great freedom fighters of India regarding Gandhiji and his style of working. A very few I am presenting here. They are as follows:
During the ‘Civil Disobedience Movement’ when Gandhiji undertook ‘Dandi March’ and prepared salt then his followers like C. Rajagopalachari commented: ‘It’s not salt but disobedience you are manufacturing’ .
C. Rajagopalachari was popularly called as ‘Rajaji’ which was given by Gandhiji. They had a great association with each other. After the death of Gandhi, Rajaji commented: ‘He was killed because he preached all faiths were one and all names were God.’
Jawaharlal Nehru was another patriot who at first failed to understand the policy of making salt but later he commented: ‘Salt suddenly became a mysterious word, a word of power… we were bewildered and could not quite fit in a national struggle with common salt’. Gradually he understood the policy and appreciated it. He even described Gandhiji as a pilgrim who walked fearlessly towards his goal.
In the book ‘Discovery of India’ Nehru wrote ‘… the dominant impulse in India under British rule was that of fear, pervasive, oppressing, strangling fear…It was against this all pervading fear that Gandhiji’s quiet and determined voice was raised: Be not proud.’
Abul Kalam Azad said about his association with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: ‘…We had differences also…but we never went different ways…with every passing day my faith in him became stronger and stronger.’
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan immediately came in support of Gandhi when he called for ‘Satyagraha’ and commented: ‘the weapon of patience and righteousness…No power on earth can stand against it.’
Gandhi and Tagore
Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu
Gandhi and his various titles
As we all know that Gandhiji was an extremely popular personality. He was loved by immense number of people. Some great men honored Gandhiji by bestowing a title on him. Some are:
Rabindranath Tagore conferred the title of ‘Mahatma’ on Gandhi and gradually he got well known as ‘Mahatma Gandhi’.
The people of India named him ‘Bapu’.
Sarojini Naidu used to call him ‘Our Mickey Mouse of India’ because of Gandhiji’s large ears. During her first meeting with Gandhiji she exclaimed about him as ‘little man’.
Albert Einstein called him 'a role model for the generations to come'.
Many others gave him the title of the ‘saint of the spinning wheel’.
Gandhiji was given the title of the ‘Father of the Nation’. Every Indian takes his name with respect and pride.
Winston Churchill named him the ‘seditious faqir’. Though, it was in a bad taste because of the political rivalry between the two.
International Acceptance for Gandhi
On Gandhi Jayanti, the 2nd October, in 1869 God sent a great man in the form of Gandhiji who taught the Indians the language of Satyagraha and Non-Violence. He led the Indians to earn independence from the British rule. His Sabarmati Ashram reflected the lifestyle of a saint. On 30th January, 1948 he was killed by Nathuram Godse and due to the sacrifice of life his death anniversary is known as the Martyr’s Day in India. Well, the world too respects him a lot and so 2nd October is known as the International Day of Non- Violence. It reflects that on the world canvas too Gandhiji and his style of working were hugely accepted. A simple man with a strong and determined goal helped him to achieve freedom for India. Undoubtedly he was a great personality!