Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence and communal harmony remain relevant 75 years after his assassination

Source: The post is based on the article Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence and communal harmony remain relevant 75 years after his assassination” published in The Indian Express on 30th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 1 – Indian History

Relevance: Ideals of Mahatma Gandhi

News: Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. The year 2023 marks the 75 years of his assassination and even after so many years, Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence and communal harmony remain relevant.

What were Gandhi’s beliefs?

He believed that the people of India could not be truly free unless there is an end to social discrimination, economic empowerment, solidarity and empathy towards different languages, religions and cultures.

He made the most humble and poverty-stricken Indian feel that he was one amongst them. He acted as an agent to connect different strata of the society.

Gandhi understood that the idea of violence taken up by revolutionaries cannot stay for a longer time. Hence, he preached non-violent resistance.

He transformed the idea of Indian independence from a small educated elite into a mass and people-centred movement. He gave the freedom struggle a vernacular dimension.

Gandhi was against untouchability and rejected distinctions based on caste, creed, and religion.

He believed that India could be a secular country with all religious faiths co-existing in harmony and in mutual respect.

He used his ideals among the masses to stop communal riots and indiscriminate killings.

However, the partition of India was a deeply wounding experience for him which he took as a personal failure.

How are these beliefs still relevant today?

Gandhi believed in masses and tried to bridge the gap between the lower strata and elite. However, in the present we can see this gap is widening.

Gandhi believed in the coexistence of all religions, caste, creed, etc. However, differences and discrimination still exist.

Gandhi believed in the empowered citizen, self-reliant and progressive India. However, we are back to the politics of entitlement with the distribution of welfare as offerings from the state and its leaders.

Hence, the ideals of Gandhiji can be applied even today in transforming India.

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