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Today, 89 years ago, Bapu embarked on the iconic Dandi March. Though aimed at protesting unfair Salt Laws, Dandi March shook the foundations of colonial rule and became a strong symbol of fighting injustice and inequality.

 

Did you know who had a key role in the planning of the Dandi March?

The great Sardar Patel.

The organisational man that he was, Sardar Patel planned every minute aspect of the Dandi March, down to the last detail. And, the British were so scared of Sardar Sahib that they arrested him a few days before the launch of Dandi March hoping it would scare Gandhi Ji. However, none of that happened. The larger cause of fighting colonialism prevailed over everything else!

Last month I was in Dandi, at the exact spot where Bapu lifted a handful of salt. A state-of-the-art museum has also come up there, which I urge you all to go see.

Gandhi Ji taught us to think of the plight of the poorest person we have seen and think about how our work impacts that person. I am proud to say that in all aspects of our Government’s work, the guiding consideration is to see how it will alleviate poverty and bring prosperity.

Sadly, the anti-thesis of Gandhian thought is the Congress culture.

Bapu said, “...through realisation of freedom of India I hope to realise and carry on the mission of brotherhood of man.” In many of his works, Gandhi Ji said that he does not believe in inequality and caste divisions. Sadly, the Congress has never hesitated from dividing society. The worst caste riots and anti-Dalit massacres happened under Congress rule.

Bapu said in 1947, “It is the duty of all leading men, whatever their persuasion or party, to safeguard the dignity of India. That dignity can’t be saved if misgovernment and corruption flourish. Misgovernment and corruption always go together.” We have done everything to punish the corrupt. But, the nation has seen how Congress and corruption have become synonyms. Name the sector and there will be a Congress scam- from defence, telecom, irrigation, sporting events to agriculture, rural development and more.

Bapu spoke about detachment and staying away from excess wealth. However, all that Congress has done is to fill their own bank accounts and lead luxurious lifestyles at the cost of providing basic necessities to the poor.

While interacting with a group of women workers, Bapu said, “I have been receiving complaints that some so called eminent leaders of India are making money through their sons, that nepotism is on the increase as also is corruption and that I should do something about it. If it is true all one can say is that we have reached the limit of our misfortune.” Bapu despised dynastic politics but the ‘Dynasty First’ is the way for the Congress today.

A firm believer in democracy, Bapu said, “I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong.” Ironically, the Congress gave the nation the Emergency, when our democratic spirit was trampled over. The Congress misused Article 356 several times. If they did not like a leader, that Government was dismissed. Always eager to promote dynastic culture, Congress has no regard for democratic values.

Gandhi Ji had understood the Congress culture very well, which is why he wanted the Congress disbanded, especially after 1947.

He lamented, “I am sorry to have to say that many Congressmen have looked upon this item (Swaraj) as a mere political necessity and not as something indispensable.” He also added that Congress leaders are only busy making communal adjustments. In 1937 itself he said, “I would go to the length of giving the whole congress a decent burial, rather than put up with the corruption that is rampant.”

Thankfully, today we have a Government at the Centre that is working on Bapu’s path and a Jan Shakti that is fulfilling his dream of freeing India from the Congress Culture!

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Why India and the World Need Gandhi
October 02, 2019
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The great leader envisioned a world where every citizen has dignity and prosperity.

Upon reaching India in 1959, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remarked, “To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim”. He added, “Perhaps, above all, India is the land where the techniques of nonviolent social change were developed that my people have used in Montgomery, Alabama, and elsewhere throughout the American South. We have found them to be effective and sustaining — they work!”

The guiding light whose inspiration got Dr. King to India was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma, the Great Soul. On Wednesday, we observe his 150th birth anniversary. Gandhi Ji, or Bapu, continues to give courage to millions globally.

Gandhian methods of resistance ignited a spirit of hope among several African nations. Dr. King remarked: “When I was visiting in Ghana, West Africa, Prime Minister Nkrumah told me that he had read the works of Gandhi and felt that nonviolent resistance could be extended there. We recall that South Africa has had bus boycotts also.”

Nelson Mandela referred to Gandhi as “the Sacred Warrior” and wrote, “His strategy of noncooperation, his assertion that we can be dominated only if we cooperate with our dominators, and his nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements internationally in our century.”

For Mr. Mandela, Gandhi was Indian and South African. Gandhi would have approved. He had the unique ability to become a bridge between some of the greatest contradictions in human society.

In 1925, Gandhi wrote in “Young India”: “It is impossible for one to be internationalist without being a nationalist. Internationalism is possible only when nationalism becomes a fact, i.e., when peoples belonging to different countries have organized themselves and are able to act as one man.” He envisioned Indian nationalism as one that was never narrow or exclusive but one that worked for the service of humanity.

Mahatma Gandhi also epitomized trust among all sections of society. In 1917, Ahmedabad in Gujarat witnessed a huge textile strike. When the conflict between the mill workers and owners escalated to a point of no return, it was Gandhi who mediated an equitable settlement.

Gandhi formed the Majoor Mahajan Sangh, an association for workers’ rights. At first sight, it may seem just another name of an organization but it reveals how small steps created a large impact. During those days, “Mahajan” was used as a title of respect for elites. Gandhi inverted the social structure by attaching the name “Mahajan” to “Majoor,” or laborers. With that linguistic choice, Gandhi enhanced the pride of workers.

And Gandhi combined ordinary objects with mass politics. Who else could have used a charkha, a spinning wheel, and khadi, Indian homespun cloth, as symbols of economic self-reliance and empowerment for a nation?

Who else could have created a mass agitation through a pinch of salt! During colonial rule, Salt Laws, which placed a new tax on Indian salt, had become a burden. Through the Dandi March in 1930, Gandhi challenged the Salt Laws. His picking up a small lump of natural salt from the Arabian Sea shore led to the historic civil disobedience movement.

There have been many mass movements in the world, many strands of the freedom struggle even in India, but what sets apart the Gandhian struggle and those inspired by him is the wide-scale public participation. He never held administrative or elected office. He was never tempted by power.

For him, independence was not absence of external rule. He saw a deep link between political independence and personal empowerment. He envisioned a world where every citizen has dignity and prosperity. When the world spoke about rights, Gandhi emphasized duties. He wrote in “Young India”: “The true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek.” He wrote in the journal Harijan, “Rights accrue automatically to him who duly performs his duties.”

Gandhi gave us the doctrine of trusteeship, which emphasized the socio-economic welfare of the poor. Inspired by that, we should think about a spirit of ownership. We, as inheritors of the earth, are responsible for its well-being, including that of the flora and fauna with whom we share our planet.

In Gandhi, we have the best teacher to guide us. From uniting those who believe in humanity to furthering sustainable development and ensuring economic self-reliance, Gandhi offers solutions to every problem.

We in India are doing our bit. India is among the fastest when it comes to eliminating poverty. Our sanitation efforts have drawn global attention. India is also taking the lead in harnessing renewable resources through efforts like the International Solar Alliance, which has brought together several nations to leverage solar energy for a sustainable future. We want to do even more, with the world and for the world.

As a tribute to Gandhi, I propose what I call the Einstein Challenge. We know Albert Einstein’s famous words on Gandhi: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

How do we ensure the ideals of Gandhi are remembered by future generations? I invite thinkers, entrepreneurs and tech leaders to be at the forefront of spreading Gandhi’s ideas through innovation.

Let us work shoulder to shoulder to make our world prosperous and free from hate, violence and suffering. That is when we will fulfill Mahatma Gandhi’s dream, summed up in his favorite hymn, “Vaishnava Jana To,” which says that a true human is one who feels the pain of others, removes misery and is never arrogant.

The world bows to you, beloved Bapu!