Apostle of non-violence

Albert Einstein, credited as one of the most brilliant men to have walked the modern world, observed earnestly, “Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe, that such a man, ever in flesh and blood, walked upon this earth.”

As Indians, we should gloat in pride with this observation of Einstein on the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, whose 145th birth anniversary Indians across the country celebrate today.


He is rightly remembered the world over not just as a freedom fighter, patriot and nation builder but also as a moral force who pushed the world with an unprecedented urgency towards truth, non-violence and harmony.

Lovingly called Bapu, he was indeed the greatest apostle of peace and non-violence of the 19th century. Gandhian principles, as his teachings have come to be alluded to, need to see the light of the day in a nation that is currently engulfed by the darkness of poverty, child-abuse, unemployment, corruption, violence, communal hatred and disillusionment.

The words of our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, “The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere,” on January 30, 1947, after Bapu was sadly and heartlessly assassinated, resonates through the gloom that spreads over modern India. For as Nehru put it, “That light represented the living truth, reminding us of the right path, drawing us from error and taking this ancient country to freedom.”

It is true that the light of Bapu, which Nehru pointed out to, was no ordinary light. It was the light that was the beacon for oppressed Indians to seek emancipation. It was the light that illuminated the dim minds of our ancestors towards the path of truth and non-violence. It was the light that kindled the fire of dignity and self-reliance. It was the light at the end of the dark tunnel of colonial rule.

It was the light that blazed through the darkness of communal discord dissipating hatred. It was the light that lit the torch of peace and sparked the fire of freedom. It was indeed the light that glowed through gloom to dispel the darkness of foreign rule and domination.

To such a light, our eternal tribute ought to be to keep that fire burning. To keep the fire of honesty instead of corruption, truth instead of deceit, peace instead of conflict, brotherly kindness instead of animosity and growth instead of stagnation is no easy task. It takes courage, determination, faith and focus.

But with the life and words of Gandhi for inspiration and guidance, this seemingly insurmountable task to tread on the right path could be for us Indians both an attainable and an enjoyable challenge. As Gandhi rightly put it, “In a gentle way you can shake the world!”

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