Let us have a glimpse of Gandhism as what it meant to a commoner and examine ourselves as how relevant it is in the present day contest when most of us have drifted away from his teachings and find nepotism, corruption, dishonesty, terrorism ,falsehood and insincerity prevailing mostly everywhere!
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Bishwanath Singh :
The Gandhism is a collection of inspirations, principles, beliefs and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, who was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian Independence Movement.It is nothing but a body of ideas and principl...es that describes the inspiration, vision and the life work of Gandhi. The term also encompasses what Gandhi's ideas, words and actions mean to people around the world, and how they used them for guidance in building their own future. Gandhism also permeates into the realm of the individual Gandhi’s commitments to non-violence, human freedom, equality and justice arose from his personal examination.Truth was interpreted subjectively by him. Gandhism does not demand that its adherents agree to Gandhi’s own principles to the letter, but in spirit. If one honestly believes that violence is sometimes necessary, it is truthful to believe in it. When Gandhi returned to India in the middle of World War I, he said he would have supported the British in the war. According to Gandhi Ji, it would have been wrong to demand equal rights for Indians in the Empire, and not contribute to its defense. On the other hand, by the time of the advance of the Japanese in World War II, Gandhi had given up notions of fighting alongside the British and argued for nonviolence instead. Gandhi Ji the father of the nation was a profounder of Ahimsa. Gandhi developed a way of life by his constant experimenting with truth — a phrase that formed the subtitle to his autobiography. He was prepared to learn through trial and error, often admitting to mistakes and changing his behavior accordingly. This was particularly notable when Gandhi stopped all nationwide civil resistance in 1922 after the Chauri Chaura incident. He would forsake political independence for truth — believing that Indians should not become murderers and commit the very evils they were accusing the British of perpetrating in India..Gandhism is more about the spirit of Gandhi’s journey to discover the truth, than what he finally considered to be the truth. It is the foundation of Gandhi’s teachings, and the spirit of his whole life to examine and understand for oneself, and not take anybody or any ideology for granted. At the age of thirty six, Gandhi adopted the vow of brahmacharya, or celibacy. He committed himself to the control of the senses, thoughts and actions. Celibacy was important to Gandhi for not only purifying himself of any lust and sexual urges, but also to purify his love for his wife as genuine and not an outlet for any turmoil or aggression within his mind. .Ahimsa, or non-violence, was another key tenet of Gandhi's beliefs. He held that total non-violence would rid a person of anger, obsession and destructive impulses. While his vegetarianism was inspired by his rearing in the Hindu-Jain culture of Gujarat, it was also an extension of Ahimsa. Gandhi Ji had analyzed the need to fast to eradicate his desire for delicious, spicy food. He believed that abstention would diminish his sensual faculties, bringing the body increasingly under the mind's absolute control. Gandhi was opposed to the partaking of meat, alcohol, stimulants, salt and most spices, and also eliminated different types of cooking from the food that he ate.Fasting would also put the body through unusual hardship, which Gandhi Ji believed would cleanse the spirit by stimulating the courage to withstand all impulses and pain. Gandhi also adopted the clothing style of most Indians in the early 20th century. His adoption of khadi, or homespun cloth, was intended to help eradicate the evils of poverty, social and economic discrimination. It was also aimed as a challenge to the contrast that he saw between most Indians, who were poor and traditional, and the richer classes of educated, liberal-minded Indians who had adopted Western mannerisms, clothing and practices. Gandhi undertook a fast unto death on three notable occasions: (a)when he wanted to stop all revolutionary activities after the Chauri Chaura incident of 1922; (b)when he feared that the 1934 communal award giving separate electorates to Untouchable Hindus would politically divide the Hindu people; and (c) in 1947, when he wanted to stop the bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims in Bengal and Delhi. Though, he had himself confessed that his life had been full of tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on him and for that he owes it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.He was not an orthodox Hindu. He believed in essence of teachings of all religions. He was a secular in his mind & action. He use to often pronounce that Hinduism as he knew that it entirely satisfied his soul, fills his whole being. He use to tell that the concept of Islamic jihad can also be taken to mean a nonviolent struggle or Satyagraha, in the way he practiced it. On Islam he had very clearly said that the sayings of Muhammad are a treasure of wisdom, not only for Muslims but for all of mankind as whole. Later in his life when he was asked whether he was a Hindu, he replied that yes he is. He is also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.Gandhi's religious views are reflected in the hymns his group often sang:Vaishnav jan to Call them Vishnava, those who understand the sufferings of others and Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram Call him Ram or God or Allah.Let us imbibe his teachings in our day to day life to make it worth living with dignity and pride and keep our head high!