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Relevance of Gandhian philosophy in 21st century

In this article we will be going to examine the relevance of gandhian philosophy in 21st century and I would like to begin by quoting Jawaharlal Nehru that The work of a nation is never complete so does the work of Mohandas karamchand Gandhi, the voice that is great within us is complete after independence and is it over in the 21st century? The answer to this question is a straight NO.Gandhi has been often termed as the prophet of the 21st century.

He was a spirit of profound wisdom with an iron will and an inflexible resolve that shook the British's strength to the core with the simplicity and humility of his life. Though he was considered a frail naked man, his principles and ideologies are revered worldwide and hold significance even to this date. Despite the fact that, on the superficial level, his principles are based in Indian contexts, his philosophy is considered universal and eternal by the world.

He also brought about various ideologies focusing on empowering and making villages self-sufficient, women empowerment, sanitation etc so be it swachh bharat abhiyaan or our DPSP of constitution ,they all are directly based on Gandhian principles for example Article 47:that states that The State shall take steps to improve public health and prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health .... in the time of covid and drug trafficking by famous bollywood celebs we know how important these DPSPs are.

I believe that if Gandhi's thinking, ideals and philosophy were to guide us, then there would no place for discrimination, arbitrariness, unfairness, or unjust treatment of anyone. That is how Articles 14 to 23 of our Constitution ought to be read.

In today's modernized world, world problems are not just limited to internal conflicts and matters. Issues ranging from border management between india and china to nuclear issues are emerging around the world and poses a threat to the peaceful existence of humankind so Gandhian ethics of social and political reconstruction are more relevant than ever since they represent an act of self-transformation of humanity rather than an illusory dream of a political leader.

Now lets talk about few Gandhian concept and their relevance in todays world:
  1. first doctrine of trusteeship:
    according to Gandhi people who are rich and well off should understand that they are trustee of that wealth and should do something for marginalised people now this is relevant in today's time. corporate social responsiblility emerged from this concept of Gandhi.
  2. Voilence:
    Gandhi's concept of violence is not limited to physical sense it is much wider. In today's time of world crisis of climate change the deployable condition of our environment by us is also a type of voilence! at this point I would like to recall Gandhi's famous quote that earth provides enough to satisfy everyone's need but not everyone's greed. The world need to be more serious about the climate issue and achieve various sustainable development goals net zero emission keeping gandhian philosophy in mind let me give you another example Gandhi's methods of non-violent approach to dispute resolution is an important area in peace research.

    He proposed ideas like Sarvodaya and satyagraha. in current world the situation in Afghanistan is a good example where Gandhi's concept of Non violence can be used just like it was used in Arab spring i.e the middle east revolution in early 2010.The time has come to make rational, intelligent and practical choice of fighting for peace the nonviolent way. Solution ranging from peace talks to third party involvement can be adopted instead of exercising physical power in conflict situations. This will save human life and resources.
  3. Swaraj:
    self rule At the individual level swaraj is vitally connected with the capacity for dispassionate self-assessment and self reliance .this principle is very much need of the hour as lk,,authority in power now holds so much power to control individual actions be it cyber surveillance in the name of security or be it Pegasus the spyware for targeted surveillance state can monitor individual and can misuse data for its benefits.

    Significantly, like Leo Tolstoy, Gandhi believed that decentralised politics and an egalitarian economy function better at the level of micro-communities The ocean wave theory is relevant even today. there should be distribution of power like the waves or ripples of ocean where citizens can operate in relations of reciprocity and mutuality.
  4. Means and end concept:
    In the current time where political parties are running to win elections with whatever means. Gandhi's means and end philosophy is very much relevant it states that if your means are correct you should not be concerned about the ends it will ultimately lead to good ends.
  5. Swadeshi:
    The importance of this concept of Gandhi can be seen when The present Chief Justice of India, says that the need of the hour is Indianisation of justice delivery. He extensively quotes Gandhi. the only way to reform our judiciary is by using Gandhi's concept of swadeshi .

Well After all these being said, the only questions for me remains whether we, the people of the 21st century, are moral, open-minded and wise enough to understand the Gandhian teaching and to apply it in our everyday life, irrespective of the fact that we are statesmen, policy makers, businessmen or simple world citizens.

I only could hope that the answer is yes. I hope an affirmative answer because I think that the message of the Gandhian heritage could be considered universal, irrespective of time, geographical space and cultural background, thus relevant even in the 21st century so in the end i would like to conclude by quoting baghvat geeta chapter 4 verse 7- yada yada hi dharmsaye glanir bhavati bharta, abhyuthanam adharmasya tadatmanan srijamyaha!

meaning-whenever there is a decline in righteousness and increase in unrighteousness o arjun, at that time I manifest myself on earth.
so I believe Mahatma Gandhi is that person whose principles will help us fight for righteousness in any course of time.

Written By: Sonali Chauhan

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