Add new comment | SPJIMR

Add new comment

Life is full of irony, and what bigger irony can it be that the champion of non violence, non cooperation and religious harmony died in a violent act. Assassination of Gandhi was not just an attack on a political figure but symptomatic of the clash between ideologies and differing visions about the future of a newborn nation. Roots of his assassination lie in values which he propagated during the Indian freedom struggle. Gandhi based his entire political struggle on truth, non violence and tolerance. His conception of ahimsa or non violence manifested itself in search of truth. Satyagraha was a political tool of Gandhian philosophy that seeks liberation of the oppressed and makes the oppressor realize flaw in his/her self deceptive conception of truth. Gandhi aptly wrote in Hind Swaraj "Satyagraha blesses him who uses it and him against whom it is used." It gives opponent every chance to prove that Satyagrahi's position is erroneous. Final aim of the whole process is not about winning but reaching closer to the truth and ending in harmony. As the saying goes "keep your doors closed but windows open ". Free flow of ideas and differing points of view not only push towards contemplating one’s fallibility but also, in the process, streamline the conception of truth. According to Gandhi, evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side. Satyagraha addresses human consciousness and profoundly believes in behavioural changes through it. A change in material condition without corresponding change in heart will not yield result. It will only change the oppressor but will not eliminate various forms of oppression. Gandhi believed that even the most brutal men have a spiritual element and potential for benevolence. Gandhi was killed because of his religious tolerance misconceived as appeasement, his non violence misrepresented as weakness and his morality seen as an exercise in futility. Partition catalyzed the already simmering contempt towards his policies. Partition itself depicted limitations of Gandhian methods, where religious identities triumphed humanity and idea of peaceful coexistence. Subsequent communal violence aggravated the situation to worst. Violence fanned other violent ideologies such as communalism, religious fundamentalism, identity politics etc. Flaw is not in Gandhian ideology but limited capacity and resoluteness of people following it. Indefatigable spirit needed for following path of truth and non violence lacked in common man. Also, as Socrates quoted "it takes great amount of knowledge to realise extent of one's own ignorance". Fundamentalists refused to accept incoherence in their belief system and got blinded by their own ignorance. Gulf of mistrust between people and communities got widened. Violent acts such as riots during partition, assassination of Bapu were natural culmination of moving away from truth and nature. On 30th January 1948, Nathuram Godse killed father of the nation. But even today by fatally ignoring his ideas and teachings, we keep on killing Gandhi. Growing consumerism, excessive desire of materialistic pleasures, unsustainable economic development, environmental exploitation and consequent degradation, religious intolerance, mainstreaming of violence, unprincipled politics, centralisation of power etc all are just manifestation of seven sins, Gandhi warned against. Killing of his ideas is worse than actual assassination of a person revered worldwide as 'Mahatma'.

Bhavan's Campus
Munshi Nagar | Dadabhai Road,
Andheri West | Mumbai - 400 058, India
Tel:+91-22-2623-0396/ 2401

Delhi Centre
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Campus, 3rd Floor
Gate No. 4, Copernicus Lane
Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001
Tel: 8130545577, 011-23006871, ext-871