Saturday, 31 October 2015
Gandhi Beyond a 1000 Rupees Note...
On the 2nd of October, I received a Whatsapp message which read- “Dear Bapu, keep showering your blessings upon us through 500 and 1000 rupee notes.” It got me thinking... is this all that Gandhiji means to us today? An old, balding face benevolently smiling at us from crisp banknotes? Or just one of the many figures from our history textbooks? Quite disheartened, I decided to ask a few of my fellow Nirmanees what Gandhi means to them and how he has helped them in their work.
“Gandhiji inspires me to be the change.” replied Kalyan Tanksale, the Managing Director of Shakti Foundation. The picture of Gandhiji on his work-desk has the well-known message “My life is my message” written at the bottom, which has inspired him to make his life his mission. He says, “In the past seven years I have experienced that when I transform myself towards an even higher purpose, the tiny world around me starts transforming. Gandhiji, then becomes the infinite treasure where I search for 'that highest purpose' of my life.”
At some point, Ganesh Birajdar realized that Gandhiji is one of the few people who understood what the key problem of our time is; the problem being the "centralization" of everything. This thought has had a great impact on the way he thinks about social entrepreneurship and the world of tomorrow. Now on his way to the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Brazil, where he’ll be studying the People’s Movements round the globe, he says, Gandhi helped him understand that decentralization at every possible level is the sole way towards a more sustainable and exploitation-free society.
Amruta Pradhan, on the other hand, met Gandhi through organisations like SEARCH, Chetna Vikas, Nirmalgram and Beeja Vidyapeeth, who have personified the Mahatma’s thoughts into action. Observing these people work for a social cause so efficiently and for so long gives her the confidence to do it herself too! Currently working with South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People (SANDRAP), she says that Gandhiji’s Talisman has become a beacon of light guiding her through life.
Gandhiji’s thought that, “for my material needs my village is my world, but for my spiritual needs the whole world is my village” has left a profound mark on Atul Gaikwad, who works with QUEST. The Mahatma’s focus on purity of means and his tremendous clarity on the concept of truth have motivated him to rethink his behaviour and lifestyle and have also changed his approach towards doing things. He further says that, “while reading his [Gandhi’s] writing, many a times I read as if I am arguing with him. I think he is the only one leader who allows me to both follow him and criticize him.”
Tanmay Joshi, who has just returned from Rome, having partaken in the Food and Agriculture Organisation of UNO, says that Gandhi has given him the confidence to see the "common" in the "Mahatma" and thereby, the vision to see the "Mahatmas" in the "commons". This epiphany (if you may call it so) simply raised every other person around him in flesh & bone to the status of Mahatma and that, is the eternal source of energy and optimism for him when he works. He also says, “my faith that there is a Mahatma in everyone around me, including myself, refrains me from worrying or burdening myself with the false and sometimes egoistic belief that the weight of saving the world is on my shoulders.”
Well, to tell you the truth, it’s quite heartening and reassuring to know that Gandhi means way more than just a figure from textbooks and rupee bills! To me, the greatest quality of the Mahatma is the fact that his whole life was an experiment in self-improvement. He explored almost every facet of his own personality, striving all the time to make himself a better person. I find his words a remarkably clear way to think about my own life, my actions and their impact on the society I live in. I believe that his teachings and experiments are more valid today than ever before, especially when we are trying to find solutions to worldwide greed, corruption, violence and a runaway consumptive lifestyle which are putting a very heavy burden on the world’s resources.
This month, as we celebrated Bapu’s 146th birth anniversary, I urge you all to reflect upon how Gandhiji may have influenced you and helped you too...
Source: Kranti Doibale, firstname.lastname@example.org