Mahatma Gandhi’s principles stay strong

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sashidhar Adivi and Yashika Mathur

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Youth icons talk about following Mahatma’s new India.

Mahatma Gandhi

India celebrates its 70th Republic Day the day when the Constitution came into effect. The principles laid down by the Father of Nation more than seven decades ago are still relevant. 

Mahatma Gandhi, who fought tooth and nail, sans violence, for India’s freedom adhered to six principles in life Truth, Non-violence, Vegetarianism, Brahmhacharya, Simplicity and Faith.

The ongoing Hyderabad Literary Festival being held in the city had a panel discussion on “Is Gandhi relevant today?” Key speakers C. Shambu Prasad, Ph.D., Professor, General Management (Strategy & Policy), Institute of Rural Management Anand, and historian Sudhir Chandra spoke on Gandhian principles.

Shambu Prasad says, “What was fascinating for me was that even after his death some of his ideas were taken much further by the people. This means, you need not relate to the historical Gandhi but try and experiment in many ways to explore changes without wearing khadi and kurta, and yet be successful.” 

Sudhir Chandra adds that Gandhi’s life was his message to the people. “Gandhi said that everyone’s life should be like a rose. Just like how a rose spreads the fragrance, our work (like fragrance) should spread across. But the biggest influence he had on the generations to come was his thought ‘I not only want to live, but want to grow and learn’,”, Chandra said.

Gandhi’s Ideologies relevant Forever
Varun Tej, actor​
I watched the film Gandhi several times when I was in school, and his ideologies influenced me strongly. Whenever I see the Tricolour, I feel the adrenaline flow. Had I not been an actor, I would have reacted differently on some social issues on screen too. Sometimes I get an opportunity to endorse his ideologies in some way. I did a few films like Kanche and Anthariksham that are high on patriotism.  Gandhian principles are relevant forever because they are instrumental for success. Ideologies like being truthful and individual self-development have had a direct influence on my upbringing.  My father always tells me not to react immediately to something that’s directed at me. He wants me to think, be truthful and then act. Also, he tells me to constantly update, work hard and build on my potential to create my own identity, and not rest on laurels.

Imbibed Principles of Truth and Peace 
D.K. Aruna, Congress leader
Two Gandhian principles I imbibed were Truth and Peace. People say that being in politics makes it is challenging to talk the truth. But the kind of person I am, I always want to get to the bottom of an issue – be it social, personal or political. It was indeed difficult but I continue to be the way I am. Also, there was a lot of faction-ism in my constituency, but I resolved this through peace talks (Ahimsa), another Gandhian principle.  I did not look for short-term gains but over time, I held peace talks with several leaders and eventually settled the issue amicably. And I continue to stick to these principles, which makes me what I am now. These ideologies can be passed on to our Gen Next who can also learn how to become better citizens of the country.

Gandhian Principles Relevant for Society
V.V.S. Laxman, former cricketer​

If there is anything relevant for the society to follow, it is the Gandhian principles. Unfortunately, the influence of western culture is too much and we need to remember the simplicity which Gandhiji taught us. Gandhian principles hold true now. I am a big admirer of Gandhi. To get freedom without any violence, is something brilliant. Nowadays, there is a lot of violence. A lot of people don’t remember why we wanted independence. The principles Gandhiji followed are very important for Indians to follow and emulate.

For Most Parts, Gandhi Still Right!
Anuradha Acharya, entrepreneur​

I think they still hold relevant. If everyone followed them, there wouldn’t be a lot of problems, a lot of differences, including the religious ones’, wouldn’t happen. Of course, not everything he said can hold true today, but for most parts, I think it’s right. For me, I guess it is things like non-violence and being honest to one’s own self. For me at least, these are the things which make more sense.