Initially Gandhiji used to say that “God is truth” – but later he modified it as “Truth is God.”
He named his autobiography as “My Experiments with Truth”.
In the autumn of his life someone asked him –
“Have you realized the truth?”
His answer was, “No, not fully. I have just had some glimpses of it. The glow of truth becomes brighter every passing day, but ‘The Truth’ has not fully emerged”.
That is why Gandhiji used to say,
“May many like me perish, but let truth triumph. The scale of truth should not be marginalized to accommodate pygmies.”
In September 1947, Gandhiji paid a visit to the Jamia Milia.
While getting out from the car, his two fingers got crushed in the door and began to bleed.
Immediately some first aid equipment and medicine were brought.
But Gandhiji smilingly told them that he wanted only a glass of water and a piece of cloth.
He dipped his injured fingers in the water and bandaged them with the piece of cloth.
Sailen Chatterjee wrote an article about this incident.
Gandhiji asked him not to send it for publication.
He said that hundreds of people on reading the story would write letters and send telegrams to enquire how he was.
That would mean unnecessary expense on their part and increase his work.
"If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example."
If you want to give a message to the West, it must be the message of love and the message of truth....
In this age of democracy, in this age of awakening of the poorest of the poor, you can redeliver this message with the greatest emphasis.
You will complete the conquest of the West not through vengeance, but with real understanding.
I am sanguine if all of you put your hearts together-not merely heads-to understand the secret of the message these wise men of the East have left to us, and if we really become worthy of that great message, the conquest of the West will be completed.
The weapon of violence, even if it is the atom bomb, becomes useless when it is matched against true non-violence.
Gandhiji knew that he might be killed any day.
Indeed, it would seem that the violence had not only sapped his will to live but created a positive desire to die a violent death in the hope that his death might achieve what his life had not.
The following day a well-educated, highly articulate, modernist, and militant Hindu, who ideologically stood for almost all that Gandhi rejected, killed him after first bowing to him in reverence.
Gandhi died instantly, allegedly murmuring hey Ram.
His assassination on 30 January 1948 had a cathartic effect.
It discredited Hindu extremists, chastened moderate Hindus, reassured the minorities, and pulled the mourning nation back from the brink of a disaster.
Today, Gandhism is a very confused ism in India.
Many politicians use this term merely as a slogan and the common man make Gandhi almost out of reach of the younger groups by making him an unwilling avatara.
Gandhi is remembered in India mostly on his birthday which is celebrated as a national holiday rather as a ritual.
His name is more projected as an apostle of cleanliness and not as apostle of global peace and non-violence.
The only photo we see of Gandhi in India is always that of an old man which brings the image of a very simple and pious man who was meek and mild like Jesus Christ.
This does not give the right image of Gandhi and does not bring any inspiration to the younger group.
Gandhiji visited a smaller village in Champaran, he found some of the women dressed very dirtily.
His wife asked them why they did not wash their clothes.
One of the women took her into her hut and said: "Look now, there is no box or cupboard here containing other clothes. The sari I am wearing is the only one I have. How am I to wash it? Tell Mahatmaji to get me another sari, and I shall then promise to bathe and put on clean clothes every day."
When millions of womenfolk of his motherland were not getting even two yards of cloth to cover their bodies how could he serve them being covered from toe to top? Unacceptable to him. Immoral.
May be, the idea of Khadi came to his mind then.
"If you want to gain self-respect, change your religion.
If you want to create a cooperating society, change your religion.
If you want power, change your religion.
If you want equality, change your religion.
If you want independence, change your religion.
If you want to make the world in which you live happy, change your religion."
In 1935, when the Kavitha village untouchables demanded that their children be admitted to the local school, they were assaulted and forced out of this village in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat.
On 14 October 1935, at a conference Ambedkar called upon the untouchables to disassociate from Hinduism. He announced his famous decision to leave Hinduism.
Albert Einstein exclaimed: "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this (Gandhiji) ever in flesh and blood walked upon the earth."
Mahatma Gandhi was a leader in true sense of the word.
Leadership is considered to be the most important aspect of management.
In this Gandhi excelled.
Judging from his remarkable achievements and the excellent and effective manner in which he selected and negotiated his Satyagarha issues, and planned and implemented his campaign, he was undoubtedly a management expert.
No wonder, Harvard School of Business Management has crowned him the Management Guru of the 20th century.
Hind Swaraj or Indian Home-Rule by Gandhiji comprises of 20 short chapters.
It is a source book for Gandhian ideas for an alternative civilisational framework.
This article contains an over-view of Hind Swaraj and also a critical appreciation of his ideas to help the readers in understanding its message more clearly.