Are Mahatma Gandhi’s Ideologies Relevant For Today’s Youth?
It has been 72 years since India gained her freedom. However, our nation still remembers and cherishes the man who was, among others, responsible for attaining this freedom. Frequently quoted, Mahatma Gandhi is remembered for his teachings. The ideals that he preached still echo in people’s minds today. But how far are these ideas of nonviolence and truth that won us our liberty, relevant in today’s day and age?
Non-violence Or Ahimsa
Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of Ahimsa was based on the idea of non-violence and compassion. In the face of colonial violence, he proposed responding with non-violence. To his mind, a calm, nonviolent response lowers the anger and frustration of the aggressor.
Non-violence, as a principle, remains relevant especially today with so much going on around us. Learning to deal with issues calmly, rationally without resorting to violent means is something every young person must learn.
Today, there is a noticeable rise in people’s frustration. They are quick to get angry, especially the hot-blooded youth. The validity of the anger is debatable – a lot of the times, people are angry about injustice, but even so, anger that leads to non-violence is most often harmful. Non-violence, as a principle, remains relevant especially today with so much going on around us. Learning to deal with issues calmly, rationally without resorting to violent means is something every young person must learn.
When Mahatma Gandhi first spoke of ‘swaraj,’ he meant it in the sense of self-rule. Swaraj meant to be free from foreign influence and external control. In today’s age, India has a self-ruling government. However, how many of us can truly say that we are free from all external influences? In 2019, what swaraj stands for is one’s control over his own self. Freedom from outside control is important for today’s generation. It is imperative to exercise self-control and self-discipline while being free from the temptations of the outside world.
In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, it is essential that one has control over himself. Self-empowerment is the call of the times. Every young person in India has the responsibility of searching for their own identity, without being forced to fit into moulds created for them.
Every young person in India has the responsibility of searching for their own identity, without being forced to fit into moulds created for them.
Mahatma Gandhi always advocated for honesty. He not only believed in the power of truth but also condemned the act of lying. Gandhi preached three tenants of truth – truth in thought, truth in speech and truth in action. As a general principle, honesty is a valuable asset. However, according to many millennials, it’s not all that black and white. Prachi Singh, a 20-year-old college student based in Kolkata said, “Things like Satyagraha and truth are relative concepts, and don’t stand as Gandhi understood them. Gandhian ideologies as such are out-dated and unnecessary.”
Another important tenant of Gandhian ideology was to boycott foreign goods, and buy from Indians. While this emerged purely from the need of the hour to overthrow British rule, it still rings true. According to Ayushi Sarkar, a 22-year-old postgraduate student, “In today’s age of sustainability and eco-consciousness, there is once again a revival of buying local.” More and more people are boycotting larger, mostly foreign brands that promote capitalism and consumerism. Instead, they are buying from local service providers, helping them earn a living.
Is Gandhian Philosophy Irrelevant Today?
Several young people feel that the principles that took the world by storm in the mid-1990s are redundant today. Amidst controversies surrounding the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the average millennial’s trust and faith in his figure is not so constant anymore.
“Gandhi is no longer, to us, the revered figure he was all these years,” his teachings are still important.
It would be wrong to say that all aspects of Gandhian ideologies have been rendered worthless in today’s world. Ushashi Sarkar, an undergraduate student of Political Science, believes that while “Gandhi is no longer, to us, the revered figure he was all these years,” his teachings are still important. “Some tenets of Gandhian ideologies remain essential.”
Prapti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV