Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian nation spearheaded the Indian struggle for freedom holding high the precepts of Satyagraha (Truth) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). Holding onto truth and offering passive resistance to the British Rule, Gandhi encouraged the freedom fighters to keep away from violence and bloodshed. The non-violent transfer of power from the British to the Indian hands in 1947 has marveled historians world over.
When the people of India represented by the Constituent Assembly constituted and gave to themselves a Constitution, they enshrined the ideals of JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY and FRATERNITY. These ideals echo the Gandhian precepts of Satyagraha and Ahimsa and are meant to keep the citizens of a diverse India united against all odds.
In the rights-based world that we live in today, where every person hankers after his/her own rights, is it still possible to practise non-violence and hold on to truth? Wouldn’t we be labeled as failures and cowards who fear to retaliate? As being too naïve to deviate from what is true? This is after all a different day and age!
Hundreds of years before Mahatma Gandhi spoke of these values, Jesus Christ preached and lived them. So impressed was Gandhi in these values that he used them in his struggle against apartheid in South Africa and later on in his fight against the British in India. In the words of Gandhi, “The example of Jesus’ suffering is a factor in the composition of my un-dying faith in non-violence.”
There we go! The age-old principles of more than two thousand years cannot become redundant in a post-modern world so easily. Civilization after civilization has passed by, dynasty after dynasty has passed by…yet these principles hold true even today. The immediate years post-independence were extremely challenging for a nascent India. Yet the ‘tryst with destiny’ that India made at that time has taken her a long way ahead.
As citizens of a free country every Indian ought to resolve to hold high the ideals of truth and non-violence which are not pathways of the weak but the gateways to greatness. To quote Gandhi again – “Seeming failure is not of the law of Satyagraha but of incompetence of the Satyagrahist by whatever cause induced…. The name of Jesus at once comes to the lips. His was non-violence par excellence.”