Opinion | The one who kindled the flame of truth
A century-and-a-half since his birth, Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals still inspire us. While his vision may be a blur to some, the force of his convictions could yet give us a better world
The pop of champagne may be more familiar to much of the world than a crop in Champaran that rattled an empire. But that does not alter the facts. It was a response to the plight of indigo farmers in Bihar about a century ago that first kindled the idea of satya- graha—truth force—in India. It was a firm conviction in truth and its power to prevail against the odds that animated the call for self-rule, which led us to our tryst with destiny in 1947. And it was he who showed the way. He unified us, gave us a national purpose, and sparked a global revolution of hope—for justice, equity and peace by means of non-violence. Today, a century-and-a-half after the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948) in Porbandar, Gujarat, his spirit lives on. Evoked by the subtlety of blue denim, the mood of a campus festival, the eloquence of Martin Luther King’s dream, the get-up of a Beatle, the sight of a currency note, the jaadu ki jhappi of Munna Bhai and, above all, by every little act that relieves someone of misery, Mahatma Gandhi lives on. An inspiration, he certainly is. What’s less clear, alas, is the extent to which he inspires our collective conscience.