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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Acts of Gandhigiri


ADITI PRASAD | New Delhi, October 2, 2012 00:16
Tags : MK gandhi | anna hazare |

When reel-life underworld don ‘Munna Bhai’ began daydreaming about the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi in the 2006 film ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’, Gandhigiri became fashionable. Then when real-life Gandhian activist Anna Hazare hogged limelight at Jantar Mantar and declared a war against corruption last year, the fad turned into something very tangible. Millions of middle class Indians – especially youngsters who were born post independence– tuned into their very first personal brush with Gandhian principles and ideals

But has this up close and personal encounter with the persona and ideals of the Mahatma really enabled us to make a lasting impact on our day to day lives? Not really. Sadly, the spirit of Gandhigiri has remained confined to something that the ‘other’must practice instead of the ‘self’. So there are reams written about how the netas and babus of today must take a leaf out of Gandhi’s life and go about their public life, but hardly anyone talks of how we can transform our own life condition by borrowing generously from Bapu’s teachings.
Gandhi left behind a world of wisdom – many of them very pertinent in the 21stcentury rigmarole of modern hectic lifestyle, inflated egos and stressful work and home environment. The most important take away from his many fundamental teachings was the importance of changing and re-inventing yourself continuously. He said: “As human beings, our greatness is not so much in being able to remake the world – as in being able to remake ourselves.”The thought stemmed from his philosophy that we must be the change that we want to see in the world.
If a friend says a few nasty words to you and behaves in a particularly spiteful manner, most of us would retaliate by breaking that bond of friendship forever and even throw in a few nasty words of our own – maybe on Facebook - for good measure at that.
But Gandhi believed that if we change how we think and feel, and take actions based on that, the environment around us would change accordingly. So if a friend has been rude, instead of feeling hurt – we should perhaps try to understand the assumed slight behind that behavior. It’s as important to not retaliate in the same language as it is to forgive the person in your heart. As Gandhi said: “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
As we celebrate Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s 143rd birth anniversary today, I have tried to forgive many people in my life – my mother, for some imagined slight some ten years ago; my friend for not being there when I needed her most; a colleague for not appreciating my work; my boss for adding insult to that injury by ignoring my recommendations; my household help for not turning up for work on time; my neighbor for playing the music really loud when I had a blistering headache…
There’s been no earth shattering change in my life since I embarked on my forgiveness spree this morning. I definitely feel lighter though. It’s not going to be easy. After all, egos are very fragile beings and don’t let you forgive and forget easily. But I have already begun conjuring happy castles in the air when free of all negative memories, positive thoughts and energy can have a free run in my heart and head.
And to think that I have a fictional Bollywood underworld don and an aging social activist from Maharashtra to thank for re-introducing me to these Gandhian principles!
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian)
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017