Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a Hindu Gujarati, a professional lawyer, a civil rights activist and an Indian National Congressman all condensed into Father of the Nation.
Mahatma Gandhi was influenced by both western and ancient Indian culture. His ideology is regarded as a double-edged weapon, that is, the simultaneous transformation of individuals and society with principles of truth and non-violence. His ideologies are globalised and employed by Martin Luther King in the US, Nelson Mandela in South Africa and Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. The United Nations recognise 2nd October as International Day of Non-Violence.
In Gandhian philosophy, the fundamental principles were truth and non-violence. Gandhi was majorly inspired by Bhagavad Gita, that is the ultimate truth is God. He regarded non-violence as the highest law of mankind. His idea of focusing on acting within and from one’s community economically and politically, termed as Swadeshi, was evident in his boycott of foreign products. Under his leadership and collective ideologies, India was established as a Democracy.
An Update on the Nation
In March 2021, Freedom House, a US government-funded NGO published a report titled “Freedom in World 2021- Democracy under Siege stating “India appears to have abandoned its potential to serve as a global democratic leader”. India has been downgraded to “partly free” in terms of democracy.
After the sweeping win of the National democratic alliance (NDA) in the 2014 Indian general assembly, pressure increased on Human rights organisations, frightening activists and a spate of attacks, especially on Muslims, caused degradation of civil and political freedom. It said that the crackdown against the Citizenship Amendment Act, a bill that offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants, had added to India’s decline. The report criticised the government’s unthoughtful response to the pandemic which left millions of migrant workers in havoc.
On a lighter note, the Gandhian idea of Swadeshi is being employed like vocal for local to cultivate local artisans, craftsmen. The initiative of “Make In India” is to bring foreign investment to the country and raise employment. “It is my destiny to serve Maa Ganga,” said PM Narendra Modi when he was elected in May 2014. The government launched a conservation mission ‘Namami Ganga‘ to revive the river. The environment for start-ups and entrepreneurs have been improved. Nevertheless, Pradhan Mantri Modi has been captivating the countrymen since 2014 and remained unopposed. But that doesn’t mean the governance wasn’t scrubbed. The scrapping of Article 370 in August 2019, the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The government faced major criticism.
The Farm bills 2020 are the three acts initiated by the Indian parliament that sparked huge disappointment between farmers and the state. Mass agitation, highway blocks, bandhs by farmers made the supreme court intervene and halt the action. Eleven unsuccessful sessions were held between farm groups and the state but neither side compromised. The protest started on 9th August 2020 and till today it continues.
In Delhi, petrol is around 102 per litre. This has blown many who were dependent on transportation.
However, no government is full proof. It always has some flaws. But in the end, overall progress is all that matters.
In November 2019, a veterinarian of Hyderabad, Priyanka Reddy was brutally raped and burnt alive. A lot happened then, the entire nation reacted.
Hyderabad Metropolitan police detained and encountered four men. Following December, the incident was of prime importance in both the houses of Indian parliament.
“Open to every suggestion to curb such heinous crimes” stated the union minister Rajnath Singh. A bill Disha Act 2019, was passed by the government of Andhra Pradesh to award the death penalty for rapists under 21 days after the crime was committed. Questions were raised against the four encountered men, if they were actual committers. We never know the truth.
A year after, a similar incident induced controversy occurred in Hathras UP, in September 2020. A 19-year-old Dalit woman was brutally gang-raped in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. The four accused were from the upper caste. It was a controversial incident. The victim’s brother has alleged the honour to kill the accused. The largely divided opinion was broadcast across national media.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2020, in India on average 80 murders and 77rape cases occurred daily. A total of 29,193 fatalities in 2020 were reported in India. There had been a 1 per cent increase against the 2019 NCRB report. As in 2019, a total of 28,915 murders and 79 rape cases were reported daily.
To serve justice to the victims of these incidents, fast track courts have been introduced. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 was enacted to safeguard minors.
However, the truth of many of such incidents remains in question and laws being gender-neutral in demand. Many fake allegations also have been reported. In many cases, there has been misuse of jurisdiction to take revenge, devalue men by morally corrupt women.
The mishaps can only conclude the deterioration of human behaviour. Laws and acts are to help the victims but cannot prevent them. I believe that we are in a state of serious moral crisis but no one addresses it. The beginning of the crisis is very subtle, that it begins in childhood. Parents fail to provide ethical education for toddlers. Schools kind of ignore the subject. Students flee from moral science. They cannot be blamed. Our age is so career-driven, so technology-driven, so self-centred that ethics are left. Here we see the departure from Gandhian philosophy of truth, a departure from mankind. This could be a possible reason why we don’t see more Gandhians. People don’t share emotional bonding.
For example, this could be seen in the increased divorce rate. Families have become nuclear and lost contact amongst themselves. Electronic gadgets were meant to be tools but have the most significant presence in our lives nowadays. Regarding the amount of time spent by an Indian smartphone user, the Nokia marketing chief Amit Marwah said “An average person consumes close to 5 hours per day”. This average is many times more than a family interaction. No one would deny the usefulness of these gadgets, but they also have made us apart. Gandhi was majorly inspired by Bhagavad Gita. The father of the nation who must have understood the importance. We should also try to understand and incorporate the same. And become trustworthy individuals not only just remembering Gandhi…
Edited by Kanishka