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Gandhi Jayanti: Do we have the moral right to celebrate?

Only when we in India shun violence in whatever form or shape for any purpose, we can get the moral right to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti


We need to question if we have the moral right to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October. We hardly pay any attention to what the Mahatma stood for. For how many Gandhiji (yes, the same Mahatma Gandhi or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Father of the Nation) is a role model today? It would be better if we start a movement to stop declaring Gandhi Jayanti as a holiday.


In its place it would be more fitting to take up the challenge of implementing the lessons taught by Gandhiji all through 365 days. After showing our serious desire, we may then re-start celebrating Gandhi Jayanti. That way although it may sound like a dream, we can pay homage to him in a more meaningful way rather than just having one day to show movies, or give speeches, or pretend to do some charitable work and then completely ignore Gandhiji and his message the rest of the year.


Today there are at least nine major wars of different intensities being fought in the world—in Afghanistan, Columbia, South Sudan, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, the drug war in Mexico, Congo and North West Pakistan. In addition there is unrest in just about every country in the world resulting in violent conflicts and deaths.


In India itself we have Naxalite-related unrest in some parts of India which has resulted in violent deaths regularly at unpredictable intervals. Then we have sporadic violence unleashed by all the political parties in the name of helping the poor by calling Bharat Bandhs, threatening activists who dare to criticize their leaders, rasta rokos, stoppage of trains, burning public vehicles etc. Right to Information (RTI)-related murders are regularly reported. In short, a country which has given birth to an apostle of non-violence is becoming more violent. How can we then have the moral right to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti?


Our political leaders never fail to quote Gandhiji to justify their ‘peaceful’ protests of satyagrahas, bandhs, hunger strikes, etc. They forget that during Gandhiji’s times there was foreign rule and we did not have a voice in policy-making. If he were alive today, he would not have taken recourse to street protests the way our leaders do. Even when he protested he never allowed violent means to achieve his goals. He never treated his opponents as his enemies. He always explored ways of convincing them through non-violent ways. For him intolerance itself was form of violence.


Vivekananda pointed out that the greatest strength of India was spiritualism and we owed it to the world to spread it. It was that spiritualism which helped Gandhiji to demonstrate how non-violence can win any heart. What a shame it is that as the world is witnessing nine wars, we are unable to promote Mahatma’s lessons to stop them. This is because we have all but forgotten him, except on Gandhi Jayanti, or is it that we have devolved into a nation full of gutless hypocrites.  Isn’t it interesting that it took a US president Obama to invoke Mahatma Gandhi in an attempt to urge protestors in the Middle East not to take recourse to violence to show their anger? Or is it that an Indian prime minister presiding over a cabinet of corrupt ministers feels that he has lost the moral right. 


As the world is facing the twin tyrannies of energy crisis and global warming, India can be a shining example by promoting Gandhiji’s principle of simple living and high thinking. We can definitely reduce energy consumption by adapting energy saving technologies. But even more effective way of reducing energy is to eliminate the very exuberant affluence which results in consuming more energy.


If we want to practice Gandhiji’s teachings, we should not compare ourselves with the ‘developed’ world concerning the energy consumption. It is an accepted fact that the developed world is addicted to energy guzzling. We should try to go after the objective set for us by Mahatma to wipe tears from the eyes of the poor and hungry rather than the goal of the developed world to increase gross national product. That will lead to a different development path needing less energy.


For Mahatma, truth was God. Unfortunately what Gandhiji tried to promote is totally incompatible with the rampant corruption which is in the DNA of our political system today.  As inheritors of Gandhiji’s legacy, one would have expected India to fight corruption on a war footing. Instead we seem to be tolerating corruption at all levels.


It is only after Anna Hazare’s fight that corruption has come to the national agenda. But we have a long way to go in starting an effective movement to remove corruption. If Martin Luther King in the US and Nelson Mandela in South Africa were inspired  to wage a non-violent war for civil rights by Gandhiji’s teaching why we in India have not been able to produce political leaders to start a movement to eliminate or at least reduce corruption?


How many of us are familiar with Mahatma’s Hind Swaraj wherein he suggested that the rich should hold their wealth in a ‘trust’ for the benefit of the society. Warren Buffet and some of his wealthy friends are adopting Gandhiji’s principle. But our wealthy and that too those who are in the political field are amassing wealth not to hold in trust but for lavish display by celebrating weddings on grand scale, constructing palatial houses, accumulating gold and real estate, purchasing elections to earn some more money, stashing money abroad, etc. What message will they send when they celebrate Gandhi Jayanti?


It is high time that those of us, who claim to be admirers of Mahatma, develop a strategy to promote the lessons he taught to bring peace in war-torn countries in the world, to avoid violent bandhs, rasta rokos, bus burning, etc in India and to bring about energy sector reform to avoid global warming in the world. Only when we in India shun violence in whatever form or shape for any purpose, then we can get the moral right to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti.



Vaibhav Dhoka

5 years ago

Mahatma Brand is used by Congress as political card and nothing else.

Kalpesh P Shah

5 years ago

I think Gandhiji has been pushed to the corner due to way too much speaking/writing about him.
It is so easy for any tom/dick to bring Gandhi and ask others to follow his ideals.

People forget things that is in front of them (I read that it is a egyptian proverb). Look at Indian currency notes.

Everyone quotes Gandhi for other people to follow & not for themselves (ref. to Obama example)

Gandhi is outdated (i.e. the day when the world is ready to accept and follow Gandhi hasn't come).

Isn't this is the same for every sampraday? i.e. are jains following Mahavir, Christians following Jesus, Muslims following Prophet?

Take a look at Ganeshotsav. Is it following anything of what Balgangadhar Tilak would have thought of it to?

We are not ready for their ideas yet.


5 years ago

Please correct the information provide in the above article.

Author said "Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as Father of the Nation".

#Fact : Mr. Gandhi was never been officially declared as Father of the Nation my Govt. of India


5 years ago

Our modern day leaders are truly spiritual. That why our beloved leader renounced PM's Chair become the.................UPA chairperson!! (selective renunciation !!!)

Dr Anantha K Ramdas

5 years ago

Thank you Mr Shenoy for raising the issue of how we truly can honour Gandhiji.

To be honest and be immodest, I honoured Gandhi personally in one way and that of working for a few hours even on his birthday. Frankly, those of us who believe in the ideals he stood for, we should spend sometime everyday, if not on his birthday, to do something useful and constructive in his memory.

Garlanding his statue (which will remain rotting for a few days after the "celebration" and making speeches is our political "tradition".

Uptrend on Sensex, Nifty not yet broken: Monday Closing Report

A close below 5,685 on the Nifty may lead to break of the uptrend

The market, which hovered near its previous close in morning trade, gained momentum in the second half and settled with modest gains, making it the second consecutive close in the positive. The Nifty moved almost in the same range as that of Friday and closed marginally higher. We may now see the Nifty may moving sideways if it closes below 5,685. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a lower volume of 64.91 crore shares and the advance decline ratio of 950:499.


The market opened flat tracking mixed global cues as markets in China and Hong Kong remain closed for a local holiday today. The Nifty opened two points up at 5,705 and the Sensex resumed trade at 18,785, up 22 points over its close on Friday. The market witnessed range-bound trade right from the opening bell after having gained nearly 1% in Friday’s trade.


The benchmarks fell to the day’s lows around 12.30pm wherein the Nifty went back to 5,694 and the Sensex dropped to 18,745. However, a positive trend in the European markets provided much-needed support to the local indices, pushing them into the green in noon trade.


The buying support enabled the market hit its intraday high at around 2.30pm. At the highs the Nifty touched 5,723 and the Sensex scaled 18,839.


However, the benchmarks pared some of the gains but closed modestly higher, making it the second consecutive close in the green. The Nifty settled 16 points higher at 5,719 and the Sensex finished the session at 18,824, up 61 points.


Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.33% and the BSE Small-cap index advanced 1.42%.


The top sectoral gainers were BSE IT (up 1.88%); BSE TECk (up 1.51%); BSE Capital Goods (up 0.67%); BSE Auto (up 0.65%) and BSE Power (up 0.56%. BSE Oil & Gas (down 0.26%) and BSE Bankex (down 0.16%) were the only sectoral losers.


Sixteen of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The key gainers were Infosys (up 2.96%); Tata Motors (up 2.65%); Jindal Steel (up 1.93%); BHEL (up 1.86%) and Hindalco Industries (up 1.83%). The losers were led by Bajaj Auto (down 1.11%); Tata Power (down 0.94%); HDFC Bank (down 0.87%); ONGC (down 0.84%) and ICICI Bank (down 0.63%).


The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Apollo Hospitals Enterprise (up 5.12%) and Tech Mahindra (up 4.92%).

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—LIC Housing Finance (down 2.98%) and IPCA Laboratories (down 2.98%).


The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Ruby Mills (up 20%) and IndBank Merchant Banking Services (up 20%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Vertex Spinning (down 14.55%) and SP Capital Financing (down 14.11%).


Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 26 stocks settled in the positive. The top gainers were JP Associates (up 4.92%); Ambuja Cement (up 4.21%); Reliance Infrastructure (up 2.97%); Infosys (up 2.90%) and Grasim Industries (up 2.85%). The main losers were DLF (down 1.86%); Bank of Baroda (down 1.62%); Bajaj Auto (down 1.12%); Punjab National Bank and HDFC Bank (down 1.11% each).


Markets in Asia closed lower on fresh concerns from Spain and signs of slowdown from across the globe.  


The Jakarta Composite declined 0.62%; the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.83%; the Straits Times slipped 0.08% and the Taiwan Weighted fell 0.51%. On the other hand, the KLSE Composite was up 0.41% in trade. Markets in China, Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for local holidays.


At the time of writing, the three main European benchmarks were trading between 1.03% and 1.49% higher and the US stock futures were in the positive, signalling a higher opening of the US markets.


Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares totalling Rs1,230.36 crore on Friday whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs679.06 crore.


Apollo Tyres today said its board of directors has approved raising of $150 million (Rs800 crore) through placement of shares to qualified institutional buyers (QIBs). In a filing to the BSE, the company said the board also approved increasing the investment limit of foreign institutional investors to 40% from 30% of the paid up capital. The stock fell 0.43% to close at Rs92.25 on the NSE.


Cera Sanitaryware, a leading bathroom solutions provider, will invest Rs140 crore in its manufacturing facility in Gujarat to enhance capacity. The investment involves Rs100 crore for increasing production of range of wall and vitrified tiles and another Rs40 crore for manufacturing faucets at the facility in Kadi in Mehsana district of Gujarat. The stock tanked 1.76% to close at Rs330.10 on the NSE.


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