“You must be the change you want to see in the world. As human beings, our greatness lays not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves.” – Mahatma Gandhi
There are very few people in the world who dares to do what they preached. Gandhi ji was an epitome of change. He wanted to change the world but before that he changed himself. He changed his attitude towards world and world’s attitude towards him changed automatically. It was his attitude that transformed him from a young promising lawyer, born in slave India to the father of a free nation. He started the journey of his transformation from the Dark Continent of Africa where he confronted the social evil of the apartheid. The plight of the black and coloured people of South Africa filled his heart with a feeling of sympathy for them. His resolution became more solid when he himself had to suffer. He was thrown out of the first class compartment of a train despite of having a valid ticket. He came to know that whites considered sharing the compartment with coloured persons as losing their purity. Gandhi ji was a man of principles. He had the guts to object against the treatment being given to the coloureds. If it had been any ordinary person, he would have easily surrendered to the situation. But he considered it against his dignity. He demanded from the government to end the policy of discrimination. His aim was not to force something from outside. He wanted that the whites realize that they were wrong. They must change their attitude towards the coloured. His crusade against the system kept him in South Africa until he unshackled the coloured people from the chains of apartheid system which had bound them for centuries. His ways and attitude inspired the coloured. They woke from a slumber which had made them drowsy for so long to realize that they were also human beings and it was not their fault that they were coloured. The inspiration helped them to get justice finally.
Gandhi ji did not only preach the principles of truth and non-violence but also presented before us how to make these a part of our lives. His thought was telling without doing so will be hypocrisy and lie. Before giving someone some advice he always tested that on his own self. He taught the world that an alcoholic has no moral right of telling anyone to give up drinking. Before changing others one has to change himself.
Indian history is full of personalities who inspired Gandhi ji to make his statement. Those were the persons who changed themselves before preaching. They transferred their entire lifestyle and philosophy to be able to preach what they wanted to. The great Mauryan king Ashoka is known for his love for peace and non-violence. But before that he had to leave his policy of violent aggression. He was able to convince others only after he personified non-violence. Another example is of Gautam Buddha. He was the founder of a great religion. He preached only after he himself was aware of the ultimate truth. His personal example inspired many to become his followers. He had to first adopt the values which inspired others to adopt them. Gandhi ji was also inspired by these historical personalities. He came to know that changes brought by blood and violence are temporary. People accept these changes under the influence of fear and they doesn’t last for long. But changes brought through peaceful ways are permanent.
Gandhi ji was great believer of non-violence. He termed the youth as ‘some misled youth’ who were adopting violent ways to prove their point. He returned from South Africa in an atmosphere of suppression and tyranny. The situation was blood boiling. But he did not compromise with his principles and maintained his calm. He did not give up his ways of peace and non-violence. He straight way disapproved the violent ways adopted by revolutionaries who wanted to drive out the Britishers. He believed that though their cause was noble, their means was wrong. And to reach the destination of freedom, the path of non-violence must be adopted. He did not compromise even when the movements started by him were at peak. He withdrew his non-cooperation movement when the news broke that at some places it had become violent. It was a step to show his resentment for the violence.
Gandhi ji preached ‘Work is Worship’. He is often seen in pictures sitting behind a spinning wheel. It was not just to impress onlookers, but he in fact did his petty works himself. His thought was,” Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
We all have our own ideal world inscribed in our minds. We see many things which are of our liking but many are those which we do not like and always wish to change. Not only we but many like-minded people having common ideas wish to see changes in society. But this idealism is mostly restricted to merely wishes. We all remain passive and cynical about changes. People do not want to take initiative. We always hope that someone else would take the first step. It is because for a change to be effective the person who initiates the process has to bring changes in himself. We are reluctant to do so.
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Charity begins at home. We must first be content and satisfied then only we can satisfy the demands and requirements of the others. If we try to satisfy the needs of others and ourselves remain needy then we cannot do justice with the charity. It will be a forced charity just to prove ourselves philanthropists. Only after being satisfied, we can enjoy the real meaning of charity. So the change starts from me, right here where we are now, from each one of us. Let us all join together and spread acts of non-violence, acts of friendship, acts of peace and acts of compassion. Our children should get a better world than we have inherited. What do you say?
Think about it!
Reference: LexisNexis, THORPES