No. 1: In today’s world where a nuclear attack is just a button away, the threat of which does not necessitate any reason, generations have sure forgotten the man who gave up his entire life, struggling for the cause of non-violence. The man who according to Nehru, strived throughout to wipe a tear from every human eye, now remains confined to pages of history textbooks. But for Gandhi Jayanti and Martyr’s Day, Mahatma Gandhi would have almost been a distant past, for many, considering that his ideals of ahimsa have long been buried as outmoded philosophies that have no relevance whatsoever to present-day India. If not, would there have been so much hatred and bloodbaths? Religious intolerance, parochialism, communal disharmony, unabated corruption and all other modern-Indian vices which Gandhiji foresaw and categorically voiced against, have lacerated the country’s unity and its divine sanctity. Therefore in my opinion, there is no relevance of Gandhism today.
No. 2: I fully agree with the views of No. 1 Gandhiji’s preaching’s of non-violence seem to have no impact whatsoever, as violence and religious intolerance, gain more grounds in his own land. It is happening not only in Gujarat but everywhere in the country. Gandhiji’s ideals have become quite irrelevant now. The emerging social and economic scenario in India demands much more than what Gandhiji could have possibly offered if he were alive now. The philosophies and working strategies have long been changed after Gandhiji. And Gandhiji himself had to pay the price with his life, as his ideals were getting redundant, then. No. 3: I had to interfere with you my friend No. 2, as the younger generation need to revive him from the textbooks and follow his ideals. They need to observe his sense of organization and duty, to usher in a better tomorrow. And youngsters, whose minds can only conjure up images of Ben Kingsley when Gandhiji is mentioned, have already started to wonder, as to how the half-naked fakir could have won the country’s freedom through a non-violent struggle.
Gandhiji, if born in the contemporary times, would certainly have had evolved different philosophies to tackle the situation. The debate is not whether Gandhiji would have been able to solve the crisis or not, the point is to understand the character of the man, the rectitude and truthfulness, which reflected “Indianness”.
No 4: It is sad and pathetic but it is true that even the most optimistic surviving Gandhian will concede that his cherished ideals remain buried deep under the final sweep of globalization and consumerism. While globalization has killed his concept of self- sustaining villages, the latter destroyed ideals like simple life style, emphasize on human factor and minimum exploitation of nature. The Mahatma had worshipped values of life and the means and ends alike. Now the ever hungry capital and mindless machines have become the world’s new gods. No. 5: I am of the view that Gandhian values have not totally faded away in the modern era. Beginning as a fad the vegetarian movement has not only spread far and wide but acquired new meaning and new targets. Departmental stores have been forced open separate “organic” sections. This has encouraged a whole lot of new industry and organic farming. Like the greens, they have found new target in genetically modified food, something on which the corporates have made heavy investment and wanted to market in a big way.
No. 6: Dear friends, the viewpoints held by all of you have lent me to derive two Gandhian traits. First is the increasing aversion to excessive industrialization and forced consumerism. This marks a reinvention of the virtues of nature and need for reservation of environment. The second and most obvious has been the adoption of the Gandhian tools for mobilization and affirmative action.
In an era where a direct confrontation with globalised capitalism is unthinkable, the passive Gandhian model of affirmative action has several advantages. So long as the movement remains passive, the establishment is unlikely to pounce on it. This has been the pattern even when some groups in the USA had occasionally resorted to their own version of Gadhian civil disobedience. Moreover, none of the existing movements have the organization or stamina to withstand a full-fledged showdown with the establishment, which could destroy the Soviet system. The passivism has the tremendous potential of silently educating the people about the impending disasters.
The strengths of modern capitalism are its innovation, efficiency, competitiveness and spread . however , each of these is bound to come into conflict with the essentials of human nature. The system dose not recognize any one in between the corporate office and the consumer. While raising investment and production and improving the quality of the products and their reach , it ignores the man behind the machines – somethings critical to Gandhiji-his job, his minimum needs. The Gadhian tools of protest enable the activist groups to educate the people about this contradiction.