The 21st century world is a co-habitation of man and his machines where virtues stand endangered and fundamentals are toyed around to suit high profile cases. With the advent of automation, a major part of our lives recedes into dominion of the virtual. The clout of ideologies and principles, of reason and logic, is slowly being whittled away as competition and calculated measures sneak into the nook and corners of our societal framework. Thus, in a generation where patience runs low and immediate retaliation is the answer to most things, the big question is – do the principles of our forefathers carry relevance?
Does a Gandhian utopia hold any chance in the face of the fanatic passions of the teeming billions?Rising instability in relationships across borders, shaky international negotiations and an exponential rise in intolerance have not only ended in uncalled for invasions but also put stress on the economies of developing nations where the financial graph, instead of steeply ascending towards uplifting the underprivileged and the marginalized sections of society, leans heavily towards investments on defense research and development. Such inclines also see the influx of illegal warheads and armaments into otherwise peaceful territories.
Are the edicts of non-violence not supposed to plug the channels that allow unrestricted flow of illogical diktats? Should it not form the fulcrum of the balance upon which political opinions are weighed? Population around the globe and especially the rapidly surmounting one of our own country is faced with a sharp decline in rationality. As plummeting sensibility in the decisions rolling out of the power corridors widens the gap in our society through reservations and quota system to enrich vote banks, disdain seethes ferociously among classes. Will the same natural laws that dictate universal brotherhood and equality of all as were once applied by Gandhi to overthrow untouchability not be applicable here? Women of the day face regular harassment and severe forms of sexual assault as well as unprovoked violence at the hands of a patriarchal system driven by spurious stereotypes of a feudal kind. Religious sections deemed minority stay pigeonholed in the nooks of our society as raging wildfires of intolerance threaten to graze them to the non-existence on the basis of absurd and orthodox notions. Will a little self-restrain and moderation of thought not lead to a more peaceful co-existence?
As nations and society at large march towards self-destruction, the youth is fast slipping into the inescapable grasp of the digital world. Unheard of psychological syndromes and a state of hyper-sentimentality are taking deep roots in places where innocence and humility once resided, bringing about a radical transition in the natural course of growing up. The gadget-crazed generation holds little in terms of patience, resorting quickly to more aggressive approaches. Lack of engagement of a more emotional and intimate kind and addiction to reciprocations through a digital interface has ripped them of the capability to judge, reason or explore milder options. Do they not need a little temperance with the edicts of tolerance?All his life Gandhi remained a devout follower of Truth and advocated the freedom of spirit one enjoyed by reliance on it. His life has become a sermon of tolerance, non-violence, chastity and temperance.
These are arms that ousted even the fiercest of enemies. And yet they equip the weaponless with controls to rein in the very will to follow the path easily taken. The ways of the Mahatma are tough but these are the fruits of self-experimentation of a man well versed with the texts and the scriptures. If they could unseat a foreign rule of yore, which wielded brute force, they still retain the power of an emollient to soothe the bruises of today’s world. They only demand a certain degree of soul searching. And therefore, the answer, the very solution lies with the individual at the very cellular level of every system. Then shall the ways of the generation change. When politicians who walk the halls of fame and hold the power strings shall heed to the calls of justice and liberty, then will equality in distribution of wealth, of rights, of colour and caste, of sex and religion see the face of a glorious sun.
When the Bhawad Gita shall become a way of life imbued with tolerance rather than a means to expunge unsolicited course of actions then will the perfect society thrive. Only then, shall we all become “Harijans” in its true sense. Yes, the threat of biological and chemical warfare looms large in the horizon and subdued steps shall plunge whole populations to extinction. Yes, the prize of violence will always be more alluring than the victories of non-violence. Yes, the acts of a sleazy mind are instantly rewarding than the sustainable growth of a controlled will. Yes, the lure of the graphical world is more pleasurable than the harsh realities of the geographies outside. But then are we not humans, the same as Gandhi. Do we not share similar flesh and blood? And do we not have the same capability to realize before it is too late. Yes, we do. All we need to fill the gap is to tread on the path that he blazed and head into a more sustainable and satisfying future.
Seldom does a man like The Mahatma walk this earth. And as the sands of time gather over those footprints it becomes the responsibility of all forthcoming generations to preserve and follow them, not in blind pursuit but as the references for guidance into a safer future. For as the Father of the Nation himself said, “The opinions I have formed and the conclusions I have arrived at are not final. I may change them tomorrow. ”