Ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi – a Common Man with Uncommon Ideologies
Gandhiji was a versatile character who was born to Mr. Karamchand Gandhi and Putlibai Gandhi. Although his father was a Diwan of Porbandar but his mother used to lead a simple life, away from ornamentation she was devotedly religious and believed in spiritual practice.
Gandhiji was not an extraordinary student in his school; yes he was good in English but an average in remaining subjects. He never won any prize on the ground. He was a shy boy who used to speak very less. Where other boys use to gossip on various topics after the school, Gandhiji used to run home immediately after the school. Gandhiji use to live a simple life as he was in his mother’s influence.
Mahatma Gandhi was a Common Man with Uncommon Ideologies
He listened to and imagined mythological characters and was strongly influenced by the character of Harishchandra, who was a king of truth. It is possible to get the idea of Satyagraha from him which is one of the Gandhian principles. It was not a day what made Gandhi famous it took lots of years to develop such personality. He is not known for his looks. He is known for his thoughts, principles, and his point of view to see the world and etc. He was a common man but things made him uncommon were his thoughts and ideology.
He was born normal he made himself extraordinary. He believed in simple living and high thinking. Among the galore of freedom fighters, he was marked unique and decent all because of the thought qualities he earned.
Although his father was a Diwan, his influence was very less in his life also because he died very early. He was strongly attached to his mother and she use to believe in traditional religious practice. She was also a nurse for her family members and Gandhiji learned all of these habits from her. As he grew old, he developed his own principles and ideologies.
Like every child, he was also fond of ghosts in his childhood days, but one of his maids gave him Ramayana to get rid of his fear and in this way, he got familiar to books. It was also his mother who used to pray lord Vishnu and read mythological books which quite turned helpful for him to know some historical characters. All these helped him to develop his own principles such as truth, ahimsa (non-violence), etc.
Similarly, he learned different principles from different people like Plato, Aristotle, etc and developed his own ideology which was a mixture of many; he not only developed these principles but also strictly followed them.
Ideologies of Bapu
We have discussed some of the most important ideologies, which were helpful for independence.
- Non-Violence and Truth
Due to being from a Hindu family known as Vaishnavas, his family background was totally devotional. Especially his mother, she used to offer prayers and helped others in their downgrade. He read Hindu mythology and got inspired by it. Characters like Harishchandra had a great influence on him and taught him the power of truth.
He was from a family which truly believed in god and they were vegetarian. Being vegetarian, kept him away from any type of violence as slaughtering was not in his practical dictionary, and he was kind to all whether animals or humans and plants as well. Because of his being vegetarian, was ridiculed a lot when he joined the University of London. Still, he was firm on his principles.
Finally, he got a book in his support regarding vegetarianism, where he got certain logics which helped him. After this he started taking part in debates and also became a member of the Vegetarian Society, he encouraged others to opt vegetarianism. Being vegetarian also taught him non-violence.
He strictly prohibited any type of violence, although it was the freedom struggle or something else. He strongly condemned deforestation, as cutting trees was a kind of violence for him and he was strictly against it. He developed his own principles and applied everywhere and tasted victory.
He was a common man but it was his will power that stuck him to his principles. It is easy to make rules but very tough to follow them. He himself made his rules, followed them and won millions of hearts.
Satyagraha is a Sanskrit word, where ‘satya’ means “truth” and ‘agrah’ means “to hold firmly” which overall tells us to hold to truth firmly at any cost and situation. It is also termed as a passive resistance. It was Mr. Maganlal Gandhi, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who suggested the name ‘Sadagraha’ which was further modified into Satyagraha.
Satyagraha is termed as a weapon of weak. There is a slight difference between Satyagraha and Passive Resistance, as although they are synonyms but there is quite some difference.
In Satyagraha, we avoid violence and fight for our rights and the main part of Satyagraha is non-violence and truth, whereas Passive Resistance does not mean to always speak the truth, it is just to support non-violence. The person who fights for truth is called as Satyagrahi.
Gandhiji believed that Satyagraha should not be used for political benefits but only for universal struggle or for any type of injustice. He made certain rules to follow Satyagraha, there are:
- The very first weapon of Satyagraha was non-violence which is named as ahimsa.
- Honesty the second weapon can be also termed as truth. He always suggested to follow the path of truth so how can it stay away from Satyagraha.
- He always respected all religions equally and made this one of the rules of Satyagraha.
- These were some of the rules of Satyagraha, but when it was for Indians, he also added weaving and spinning khadi.
- A person must be away from alcohol or other intoxicants.
Things to be done in Satyagraha:
- A person should never show his anger with violence and one should have enough patience to face the opponent’s anger.
- We should never curse or insult the opponent.
- If arrested, never ask for any type of favourable treatment.
These were some of the basic rules of following Satyagraha and Gandhiji strictly followed all of them. He never abused anyone, treated everyone in the same way. Really, he was a hero and should never forget his contribution. He will always live among us with his philosophy which can be followed either by an individual or a group of people. There are many more ideologies to be listed below.
- Eradication of Untouchability
On one side, India was facing the torture of the British and on the other side; they were fighting among themselves on the caste and religion. In India, the society was distributed among various categories as the Brahmin, the Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra and the Dalits who were considered as the untouchables. Gandhiji did not believe in the caste system and he expressed his feelings for the untouchables in this way:
“I do not want to be reborn. But if I am to be born, I would like to be born an untouchable, so that I may share their sorrows and sufferings.”
He called them “Harijan” which means “People of God” and tried his best to uplift them. The untouchables were prohibited from eating with other cast people, they were not allowed to be seated in the same row, were not allowed to enter the temples, houses of the upper cast, etc.
They were not treated as human and this always bothered Gandhiji. He worked a lot for them and eradicated untouchability from the nation. In the leadership of B.R. Ambedkar, several rules were made in our constitution for the ‘Harijans’. We can say that Gandhiji played an important role in the eradication of untouchables.
- All Religions are Equal
Gandhiji truly believed in one religion and that was humanity. As a child, he truly believed in Hinduism but when he read Geeta, Bible, and Koran he concluded all religions are the same and believed in one god. He never misbehaved or tried to impose his religion on others. We have read his childhood and never found him extraordinary; in fact, he was as simple and common as a child be but the concept and ideology, he developed were really admirable.
In the pre-independent era, people were tightly bound up with their caste and religion and if they thought of anything like mingling up with other religion, they could also be thrown out of their village. But Gandhiji had the courage to bear all but to eradicate all types of taboos from society.
The British were well aware of the conflict between Hindus and Muslims and made certain rules and laws to divide the nation and follow the divide and rule policy, but it was Gandhiji who never succeeded them in their plan and did not let this happen.
- Encouraging Swadeshi
Gandhiji had a great vision and understood the importance of homemade things (Made in the nation). As it was a new trick of Britishers to torture Indians. Gandhiji stated why we should rely on others to make our clothes or for other requirements and he encouraged khadi. As he stated:
“The cleanest and the most popular form of Swadeshi are to stimulate hand-spinning and hand-weaving and to arrange for a judicious distribution of yarn and cloth so manufactured.”
He weaved khadi and encouraged others to do so especially women, as they can do it in their free time. He not only encouraged indigenous products but also played an important role to control our economy. To enable us to develop our technology, power, market and etc. which were necessary for a nation and its growth. As he remarked:
“Swadeshi is an eternal principle whose neglect has brought untold grief to mankind. It means production and distribution of articles manufactured in one’s own country… Swadeshi is a constructive program.”
His ideas made him The Father of the Nation. There were other freedom fighters also, but it was Gandhiji who gained so much importance because of the ideologies he developed and was successful in his plans.
It is a never-ending topic because Gandhiji was a man who faced new challenges every day and used to solve them in such a way that it became remarkable. His thought, mentality, way of addressing people all were decent and made him the Father of the Nation. He was kind to all and because of jolly nature, everyone loved him.
He was not born with a silver spoon in terms of beliefs and ideology. He was a common child with a shy nature, who developed himself to be great. Gandhiji had a reading habit and was good in Literature and writers like Plato, Ruskin, Thoreau, Mazzini, Tolstoy, Emerson, Dadabhai Naoroji and Romesh Chander Dut had great influence in his life and helped him to develop his own ideology.
His ideologies of moderates, extremists, and the education system in India all are remarkable and he was a person who worked for the overall development of the nation. He will always be alive among us and will always be remembered as Bapu.