‘Let’s fight violence with Gandhigiri’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/lets-fight-violence-with-gandhigiri/

‘Let’s fight violence with Gandhigiri’

Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday in our country.

Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday in our country. Isn’t it ironical that our country refrains from working in honour of the man who staunchly believed that ‘work is worship’? Most youngsters today view Gandhiji as an idealistic man,who preached non-violence,and,of course,was instrumental in getting freedom for our country. However in the same breath,they would proclaim that Gandhiji (naturally,since he was born more than 150 years ago) was an old-fashioned man,whose views are not of any practical use in today’s day and age. How wrong can they possibly be?

Let’s ponder on these facts… In the year 1918,Britain allowed women over the age of 30 the right to vote and it was only 10 years later in 1928 that women over the age of 21 could vote there. USA,in 1920,graciously granted women the privilege of voting but it was much before in 1917 that Gandhiji expressed his views,“A woman is gifted with equal mental capacities to participate in the activities of man and she has an equal right to freedom and liberty.” Hence,I have reached the conclusion that this old-fashioned man was more modern and forward thinking in his outlook than the average Englishman or American of that time.

In our caste- and class-ridden society,Gandhiji befriended the lowest of the low and called them ‘Harijans’,meaning the ‘children of God’. He himself engaged in the ‘demeaning’ task of cleaning common toilets in his ashram to reinforce the dignity of all forms of labour.

Gandhiji was a religious person as well as a secularist. He said on one occasion: “Supposing a Christian came to me and said he was captivated by the reading of the Bhagwat Gita and so wanted to declare himself a Hindu,I should say to him: ‘No. What the Bhagwat Gita offers,the Bible also offers,you have not made the attempt to find out. Make the attempt and be a good Christian.’” Which of our so-called ‘spiritual leaders’ would have the courage to say such a thing?

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Gandhiji believed in non-violence completely. He practiced it. He demonstrated to a world,weary with wars and destruction,that adherence to truth and non-violence could be applied in global affairs too.

It was Gandhiji’s deep commitment and disciplined belief in non-violent civil disobedience as a way to oppose tyranny that inspired political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr,Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela to bring about changes in the world.

As the principal of a school,I am happy to state that in our small way,we seek to reinforce the ideals of Gandhiji. The International Day of Non-Violence is a happening day in our school. We conduct many activities to embue the values of truth and peace in students. Songs about Gandhiji,snippets of events from his life,presentations and quizzes are the high points of our celebration. On this day,our students also take out rallies on peace and do ‘Shramdaan’ by way of cleaning roads,picking up waste and guiding the general public that they must be the change they wish to see. This year also marks the opening of a social service centre in our school,in which our students will,on a regular basis,train underprivileged people to handle computers,free of cost.

Gandhiji’s life was a continuous search for experience,knowledge,enlightenment and truth. He was an intellectual whose ideas and thoughts came from action,from living life to the fullest. It is my fervent hope that the world will embrace Gandhian truth and action and that you,my students reading this,will be among its torchbearers.

Anjali Aggarwal,

Principal,St Mark’s Sr Sec School,Meera Bagh

The birthday of Mahatma Gandhi reminds us of his struggle for non-violence and peace. Today’s world continues to be torn by violence,visible on the streets,escalated to distrust and violence among nations. It is also reflected in the social,political and economic spheres. Non-violent protest is widely used to show disapproval and to bring public awareness. It is an attempt to show that the means must be as pure as the ends and that violence dehumanises. The non-violent approach believes that even the most difficult person can be transformed,and can even form the core of civil disobedience. It requires great courage,conviction and commitment to the cause of removal of injustice and exploitation to follow the non-violent approach. It being a peaceful tactic to attain one’s goal,which has more often than not succeeded,its relevance today remains unquestioned.

Usha Diptivilasa,Delhi Public School R K Puram

Yes,go ahead and observe October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence. Why not? We have Earth Day,Women’s Day,Humanitarian Day etc. etc. Crime,be it against the environment,women or humanity at large,is only on the rise.

All religions preach non-violence. Yet there is so much of aggression and intolerance. If we are observing October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence,in memory of Gandhiji,I welcome it,for here was a man who truly practised and preached non-violence in its true essence. Merely organising programmes and chat shows to promote non-violence is not going to help. In fact,I would suggest,begin with October 2,and devote every day after that to promote non-violence,with absolute zero-tolerance to violence.

Gowri Ramachandran,Delhi Public School,R K Puram

Violence signals the death of humanity. Ahimsa, the mantra given to the world by the great philosopher and leader whom the people called the Mahatma,is in no way less consequential than the all-encompassing meditative communication,the ‘Om’. But the poison of hatred and anger that today’s world is feeding on,is suffocating mercy,brotherhood and all the worthy traits of humanity.

Violence,taking birth from hatred,has numerous visages in today’s ‘Kalyug’. After all,the perpetrator of a crime,in killing the human being inside him,is also committing an act of violence against his own self,against humanity — a double crime.

Now,just as great economists look for answers to the monetary problems of the world,we must appreciate the need for finding solutions to the moral bankruptcy of mankind. In the famous poem ‘Keeping Quiet’,Pablo Neruda talks about “sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death”.

Deepika Malhotra,SSLS DAV Public School,Mausam Vihar

An average inquisitive child,with firm morals and ethics. His one step made him “The Leader”,became an inspiration to many,including Martin Luther King Jr.

Why only 24 hours to sing and chant the gatha of this unforgotten hero? Would these hours do justice to what he did for the country? It was him who strived towards the term ‘Independence’ for our country. He slept in the arms of our motherland like an innocent child. ‘Hey Ram’ — his last words were not a coup de grace but an inception of a new tomorrow. The question is,how relevant or irrelevant are these words for today’s world? The youth of today is an ardent believer of practising the rights of a citizen. The term protest defines today’s young generation. The avant garde version of non-violence,‘Gandhigiri’,is what they subscribe to. They are no followers but the forerunners of tomorrow. The Mahatma is regaining momentum in the 21st century as a trigger in the minds of today’s generation.

Monica Raj Sharma,Maxfort School,Rohini

When one finds himself or herself unable to make the other person comply with his or her own wish through discourse or reasoning,he or she resorts to violence. Nothing justifies violence; the core cause is often forgotten,remains unnoticed or,at best,attracts only apathy. Legends like Mahatma Gandhi have always showed us the path of non-violence,especially at the time of great difficulties. Even dominant leaders around the world,like Martin Luther King,firmly believed the power of love could serve as the strongest weapon against social

unjust. That’s why these noble people were able to fight against social

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evils like discrimination on the basis of race,religion or caste. The need of the hour still demands us to go back and follow that same path guided by our freedom heroes.

Pooja Wason,Cambridge School,Indirapuram