It is encouraging to find that people are talking about Gandhi. However, it is discouraging to listen to what they are speaking about him.
On Jan.6, 2012 during 12th Prof. Ramlal Parikh Memorial Lectures, Lord Meghnad Desai; Economist & Professor emeritus at London School of Economics questioned Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence in view of his endorsements of Bhagwad Geeta. Then, there was an article in Cambridge Journals- Modern Intellectual History/Vol/ issues 02 August 2010 p. 335-353 by Dipesh Chakrabarty & Rachana Majumdar titled as “Gandhi’s Gita and Politics As Such”; that discusses understanding of Geeta of likes of Lokmanya Tilak and that of Gandhi. The authors of the article state, “Gandhi, we argue, wrested from the ‘Extremists’ their vocabulary and their pre-eminent political text, the Gita, and put them to use in cause of non-violent politics.”
It is not my intention to discuss anything regarding the merits and demerits of the views expressed in the cases referred in preceding paragraph. I am sure, there must have been several other instances in recent years when Gandhi’s thoughts were evaluated in different contexts chosen by different authors themselves. In my opinion, it hardly matters if some or more of his ideas are praised or criticized but it is of consequence if those ideas are viewed inappropriately for their intents and contents; because if that happened, the main purpose and objectives for which those ideas were presented by Gandhi are pushed to a background.
Creating confusion and diverting attention of the people from the issues that are relevant for the welfare of the people may be the techniques of the senseless, selfish and power hungry politicians and their supporters, but such things must be avoided by the intelligentsia and intellectual of modern times, who do not have any selfish or dubious intentions. They must keep in mind that they, like all other human beings, are responsible for the welfare of mankind; the purpose for which Gandhi devoted his life.
My submission is that one must apply simpler ways to understand Gandhi because there is nothing very complicated about Gandhi’s thoughts, words and deeds. Gandhi was ‘simplicity personified’; he knew and had internalized that the truth is always simple. This applies to the great scripture Geeta also. It speaks to the wretched man, with innumerable limitations and defects; and tells him the path of “Nishkam Karma” (selfless service) being Human Dharma (natural duty of the man), which is not a drudgery of life but joyful surrender to the laws of the Divine.
That is what I have sincerely and honestly attempted to explain in my book.
PROMOD KUMAR SHARMA
[The writer of this blog has authored “Mahatma A Scientist of the Intuitively Obvious” and thereafter “In Search of Our Wonderful Words”.]