We all know when and where Gandhiji was born and how he fought relentlessly till India gained freedom from British rule.
On this day, celebrating his birthday, let us understand why was he different from other freedom fighters. Why was he was honoured as father of nation? He was different from others as he led millions of Indians teaching them the practical use of unusual weapons like Truth, non-violence, non-co-operation and civil disobedience.
In 1942, he called upon the British to quit India and asked people to rise to the occasion. Five years and 7 days after he asked the British to quit, India secured complete Independence on August 15, 1947.
He practised what he preached. The important principles for which Gandhiji stood for are:
Satya (Truth): His influence as a leader and upholder of truth is unprecedented in History of India. He said, “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.” He considered truth as god and non-violence as a means to attain god.
Ahimsa (Non-Violence): One of the differentiator for Gandhiji to gain momentum during the freedom struggle was Gandhiji’s principle of Non-violence. It is an essence of Gandhian technique. He advocated a State or country to be based on Non-violence. Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of Ahimsa. But that is not the end of it. Ahimsa for Gandhiji also meant not to hear evil, speak evil, think evil and see evil. He felt it is the weapon of the strong.
Satyagraha (holding onto Truth): Gandhiji’s another strong weapon was Satyagraha. He said evil should be resisted through Satyagraha and not through physical force. Satyagraha is far more superior than physical force. A satyagrahi is against violence of any form. He appeals to reason by gentle argument.
Satyagraha has many forms and they are:
Non-Co-Operation: Directed against the government or authority in the form of hartal, boycott or social ostracism or picketing. Government will be helpless if people do not co-operate.
Fasting: It is a fiery weapon to resist injustice or to change the heart of the evil-doer.
Strike: Strikes to be undertaken by workers for redressing their problems so as to change the heart of the wrong -doing of the opponent.
Civil Disobedience: Disobedience to the authority must be civil and never violent. It must be sincere, respectful and restrained and should be based on well understood principles. It must have no ill will or hatred behind it.
Hijrat: Means voluntary exile from oppression and injustice.
Sarvodaya (Welfare of all): It means uplift and welfare of all and not just few, or one section of society. It aims at moral, social and economic upliftment of the society. Acharya Vinoba Bhave true disciple of Gandhi was a staunch supporter of Sarvodaya movement. The basic ideals of Sarvodaya movement are –
- It advocated Stateless society
- It was against representative democracy and party system
- Advocated loose federation of autonomous villages
For his unique principles which he practiced and preached, he was honoured as Father and Nation and was regarded as Mahatma meaning ‘Great Soul’.