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.”
All through the week we’ve been getting to know that once born we all have to leave this world at some appointed time. However, there are some people who choose to lay down their lives for a cause.
Think a moment about those brave hearts who are enlisted in the military of different countries. Death stares at their faces every single day. Yet they are not afraid to die. They know well that their job is to safeguard the lives of millions of people in the eventuality of an enemy attack. In doing so, many of them are martyred. They choose to die if required, so that others may live!
India’s struggle for independence from the British saw many men and women embrace death with bravado. Rani Laxmi Bai, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad are just a few names among several others who fought for India’s independence with courage and determination. Today the citizens of free India salute these great men and women. They paid the price for India’s freedom with their lives!
Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for her pioneering research on radioactivity – the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice. But, this came at a price – the price of her life. Continuous exposure to radiation robbed her of her life. However, through her sacrifice she overturned established works of Physics and Chemistry and blessed the world with greater awareness concerning the uses and misuses of radioactivity.
Valiant men and women all through history have chosen to give up their own lives for the betterment of several other lives.
There was one more man born in an obscure city of Israel more than two thousand years ago. He too chose to die so that people could be saved – not from the attack by enemies, but from the bondage of sin and eternal death. Jesus Christ Himself being God, humbled Himself and came down to this earth to give up His life as the price of sin for all human beings of all ages. In dying the gory death on the Cross, He has offered forgiveness of sins to the entire world. By His resurrection He offers eternal life to mankind. On that Cross, Jesus executed all His divine attributes together not even abandoning one. Anyone who believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will never have to bear the punishment of his or her sins because the price has been paid – once and for all!
Physically, we all have to die one day. But, is our eternity secure?