Gandhi Jayanti 2013

2nd October every year is a national holiday in India. The reason we have declared this as a holiday is (I assume) for every one of us to remember the contribution of this man for what we have today – independence. While we were young we used to watch the famous movie ‘Gandhi’ almost every year. It is touching, provides fresh messages every year since we get older every year. The life of Mahatma Gandhi is a case study on life and living. Here was a man who took up a single cause in his life and gave up his life for that cause. This single pointed effort with extreme conviction in the action is what gave him the strength to stand up against all odds till the goal was reached.

I still watch Gandhi every year as the movie continues to get screened on some channel or the other. And to my utter amazement every year a fresh message triggers in my head. But among many things that I admire of this great man who walked the same land as we do, is his audacity to court truth and actually live it. ‘My Experiments with Truth’ is a brilliant view of how true he was to truth itself. Every page in the book has lessons that can be culled out. A simple example is his reading of ‘Gita’ every time he had confusions in life. Do you have a scripture that you have identified for yourself to seek clarity during difficult situations in life? Nobody said ‘Gita’ is the only book we must use, but we need something to be grounded. Gandhi found the ‘Gita’ – how about you? Find one for yourself.

I hope we spend a little time this Gandhi Jayanti and reflect on what ‘independence’ really means. The forefathers of this nation have sacrificed a lot for giving us this wonderful gift. If we understand and value it, we will understand the responsibility that comes with it. Gandhi’s life and his autobiography is just a reminder to us about this inherent truth. Watch the movie, read a few pages of his book and experience the power of ‘ahimsa’ and ‘truth’!

I cannot forget the widely quoted words about Gandhi attributed to Albert Einstein – “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”

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