Gandhi: Perspectives on Greatness


October 01, 2013 05:42 EDT

Can Gandhi's values be used in today's India?


Sixty-five years after his death, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, is still honored and remembered as one of the most influential leaders in history. His ideologies of peace and nonviolence have transcended the boundaries of nations and inspired individuals from across the globe to promote equality and justice for all. His philosophies inspired other iconic figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela.

Through Gandhi’s leadership, India was brought into existence as a sovereign nation in 1947; his effects on the nation are still prominent in its governance system, and Gandhian ideals are still considered to be an important basis for Indian culture.

Oftentimes referred to as “Bapu,” the father of India has his memory living on constantly in the nation; his face is even on Indian currency.

Institutions across the world study Gandhi’s Satyagraha and Sarvodaya, in an attempt to better understand the promulgation of peace. Such places are even researching ways to modernize these principles to have a prominent place on the contemporary international stage, allowing for the evolution of a world order that is governed by peace, cooperation, justice, and harmony.

Even now, well after his death, Gandhi continues to have a powerful impact on global society.

Why Does Gandhi Matter?

With Gandhi’s prominent position in Indian society, it is not surprising that his ways and teachings are criticized. It is argued by many that Gandhian values cannot be used to successfully run modern-day India.

Many of the laws governing India date back to the birth of the country, and it can be argued that these Gandhi-era laws must be modernized to keep up with the constantly evolving nation. However, these critiques form a complete contrast in relation to those who study Gandhi’s nonviolent ways as an outlook for future peace and international cooperation.

With the 144th anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s birth being on October 2, it is important that Gandhian ideals, ideologies, and philosophies are considered in a full context. From constant news reports and testimonies from those living in the nation, it is clear that the current governmental structure of India is not working efficiently; its citizens do not have the sense of security that is inherent for those residing in modern nations. Whilst there is merit to understanding Gandhi's nonviolent ways, especially through his philosophy (Satyagraha) and theory of social change (Sarvodaya), it is also important to explore the various options in modernizing the Indian system of governance. 

Mahatma Gandhi is no doubt a national hero and an international leader; his work will always be one of the foundational tools for working towards an international community of peace. But can his fundamental values be integrated into a modern governance structure of India, one that will allow for the well being of all its people?

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