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By: Azhar u din & Roshan Ara

Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi was the great chrematistic political leader. In addition to this, he was also an illustrious social reformer. Due to his great personality, he was named ‘Mahatma’ by Rabindranath Tagore. Moreover, for his unprecedented strategy for freedom struggle, he was titled as the ‘Father of Nation’ by Subash Chandra Bose. These are not just commendable words for Gandhi, but these adhere to the colossal paramountcy to the values for which he struggled his entire life. It was under his distinguished leadership that the dream of freedom of the Indian people came true. His philosophical thoughts, teachings, and values still have the applicability or relevance in the contemporary socio-economic and political life and related problems and issues.

Though the modern society is well advanced in terms of technology and science nevertheless, the depression, absence of mental solace, suicide, degradation of moral and ethical values, envy, terror, and fear are increasing and the roots of these social plagues are going much deeper and deeper with increasing materialistic desideratum. In such a ruinous society it is the need of the hour to reform the inner soul and mind of the individuals. Gandhi was the firm believer of this view that the ultimate goal of the individual’s life is the realization of God. Therefore, this ultimate truth of life will maintain the equilibrium in the worldly needs of the man which in turn reduces his quest for materialistic needs and subsequently the social evils and menaces will naturally diminish and dwindle.

Today almost every country in the world is suffering from violence and terrorism in one way or another. Chunks of people in the world link terrorism with some religions especially with the religion of Islam but it is important to note here that terrorism has no religion. Gandhi was the staunch opponent of violence and bloodshed. He believed in the method of ‘Satyagraha’ a technique of non-violence. It is an approach that implies to shatter or break the tyrannical or oppressive law, but without causing physical harm to the agents of the law. Gandhi believed that we should try to know the cause of violence and also attempt to know the pivotal or root cause which makes a person violent so that we can find a proper antidote to solve the problem which causes rampage and violence. There are approximately 08 lakh Indian army personnel deployed o in the Kashmir valley which makes it the largest militarized zone in the world and almost every day whether an army man, innocent civilian, or militant is killed in Kashmir. If India considered Gandhi as the father/Bapu of the nation and gave the main thrust on his teachings and values then Why the Indian Government does not resolve the Kashmir and Naxal issue with the Gandhian methods of peace, love, and non-violence and stops this bloodshed? Here it is a million-dollar question. On the one hand, the majority of the Indian people claim that the Gandhian method of non-violence is the best method to curb the violence but on the other, they make it a paradoxical statement. The current problems of violence, brutality, and ferocity which the entire world is suffering from can settle down with love, affection, peace, dialogue, and non-violence and one can find all these remedies in the Gandhian method of ‘Satyagraha’.

In the current scenario, unemployment is the biggest challenge before third world countries like India and Pakistan.  The increasing population makes it difficult to maintain the balance in the resources and rapidly growing population. Every year India and other developing countries produce millions of unemployed graduates with only degrees in their hands. Unemployment causes depression and mental disorders which in turn give birth to the many social evils like suicide, drug addiction, crime, prostitution, etc.  China, the most populous country of the world has to some extent succeeded in making the balance between resources and economic needs of the growing population by the cottage and small-scale industries. In India about 72 years ago, M.K. Gandhi advocated that Indian people should give the main thrust on the cottage Industries and Swadeshi (Indian made goods) which not only would make India self-sufficient but also generate a large number of employment opportunities in the country which modern industry is unable to do under its jobless growth.

India is the single roof under which 125.03 crores (2011) people having different faiths, cultures, languages, etc. live together. But from the last two decades, the communal riots mainly based on religion and language are increasing swiftly. The religious minorities are mainly attacked. But according to the teachings of Gandhi, Religion is a binding force that calls for peace and brotherhood amongst them. In present India, all the religions can maintain communal harmony on the footprints of the teachings of M.K. Gandhi.

The World is suffering from global warming and climate change. Recently, the renowned leaders in the UNO (United Nations Organizations) had made it clear that “If Virus doesn’t kill us, climate change will.’’ Thus, from this statement, one can make an inference that climate change and global warming have become lethal and fatal for humanity and other living creatures. From the last two or three decades, the anthropogenic activities ruthlessly degraded the natural environment for the narcissistic and self-centered needs of the man. Though many so-called agreements and protocols have been signed to reduce the impact of climate change and global warming, the pace of pollutants emitted by different anthropogenic activities is not falling down but increases day by day. According to M.K. Gandhi “The Earth has enough resources for our needs but not for our greed.” He believed that mechanization or Industrialization will not only usher unemployment but also lead to the destruction of the environment. His prominent work, Hind Swaraj, which he penned down in 1909 alerted of the dangers that the world is facing today in the form of environmental destruction and the threat to mother earth. If Gandhi’s principle of non-violence will firmly be followed, there is no need for wars and nuclear tests which lead to the heavy environmental pollution and innumerable loss of human lives. Moreover, he thought that the highly modernized lifestyle leads to more depletion of natural resources which in turn increases the noxiousness of air, water, and soil. Therefore, if a modern man will lead a simple life then definitely he will maintain the proper equilibrium between his growing needs and the limited resources of the mother earth without harming the environment. The modern concept of sustainable development is more or less similar to the concept of Sarvodaya. Gandhi’s Sarvodaya means a healthy development and environment that can be developed by man to establish his compatible relation with nature and other living creatures. He did not acknowledge different rules for different spheres of human life, but he saw all spheres in a unified manner, that epitomize the human ecological perspective. What he exhorted and practiced correlates to what we today call eco-friendly measures and living in conformity with nature.

Thus, Gandhian values and teachings can be applied in every aspect of life. Moreover, contemporary burning issues and problems can also be resolved peacefully and systematically. But an important thing is that we should not only confine his teachings to the books but practicz them in the day to day lives.

– Writers are students of Geography at Aligarh Muslim University.

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