October 1, 2016: A whole book can be written on how Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas are relevant today. He was a visionary and possessed a very powerful mind and hence thought deeply and wrote on basic human issues and problems facing India in those times. Those issues are as relevant today as they were in his time.
I will touch on the area of intolerance which is dividing our society and tearing into our social fabric and show how Gandhi’s teachings can help us.
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Gandhi was a compromiser par excellence. He would always consider other party’s point of view and come up with solutions acceptable to all parties. Both in his legal and political work he brought in parties together for resolution of their problems.
The ability to compromise comes only when we are very tolerant to the other’s point of view and do not impose unilaterally the majority’s point of view. This ability comes to an individual when he is secure in the knowledge that the compromise solution leads towards general good for all the people.
Gandhi, who was fearless and hence a very secure human being, always had the general good of all Indians in his mind whenever he offered solutions to knotty problems. Devoid of any personal ego and always looking for long-term solutions, he appealed to warring parties to keep in sight the higher purpose of life and achieved great success. Since he practised what he preached, his message had great effect and achieved the desired results.
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Today we see all around us intolerance and catering to special interest groups which is resulting in bans on various things and creating social tensions. This is an outcome of fear in the ruling politicians that if they do not do so they will not be elected — little realising that if they keep on working for the general good of their constituency they will be elected easily and with much bigger margins.
Fear comes from insecurity which is an outcome of a brain which cannot resolve the issues after taking into account all eventualities. This inability to evaluate all outcomes transcends caste, creed, or economic situations. Thus most of the people, no matter whether they are rich or poor, suffer from insecurities — for the poor it is the insecurity of their future and for the rich it relates to increasing their wealth and keeping it safe. The removal of these insecurities by a powerful brain can rid us of fear. Yoga helps in developing such a brain through meditation and focus on a single thought for a long time — called Sanyam by Patanjali.
Another way to get rid of fear is to be thankful for whatever we have and count our blessings. If we do that continuously, it gives us a sense of contentment and happiness since our burdens and insecurities are reduced by the thought that somebody will be there to help us and everything will be okay. This also has the ability to sublimate the greed impulse.
I also feel that the fear of missing out and the insecurity of what will happen in future is what produces greed and, in turn, corruption and corrupt politicians. These corrupt politicians then become egotist and intolerant and hijack the agenda of India’s democracy for their selfish reasons.
Gandhi practised both these things in his life — his regular and daily meditations and his deep belief in God and higher forces to whom he was grateful for everything that he achieved. This helped him become completely fearless.
Devoid of fear he was able to chart new paths in tolerance, taking everybody’s opinion and carrying all the people together to give us independence and make this nation better.
So on this solemn Gandhi Jayanti day let us remember and put in practice the teachings of the Mahatma so that we become a tolerant and happy society. This will help in making a better India. (IANS)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, fondly known as Mahatma Gandhi, breathed his last on January 30, 1948, but he has been brought alive on the big screen several times.
As India is all set to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we take a look at actors who essayed the role of Gandhi with elan.
BEN KINGSLEY in “Gandhi” (1982)
British actor Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 Oscar-winning film “Gandhi” is one that is etched on everyone’s minds.
NASEERUDDIN SHAH in “Hey Ram” (2000)
The Kamal Haasan-starrer film revolved around India’s Partition and the assassination of Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. Interestingly, Naseeruddin had auditioned for the role of Gandhi in Attenborough’s film. The role eventually went to Kingsley. Naseeruddin’s Gandhi in “Hey Ram” didn’t received the acclaim that Kingsley’s effort did, but he was praised for nailing the act and getting the Gujarati accent right.
JS CASHYAP in “Nine Hours To Rama” (1963)
Mark Robson’s English language film is about the nine hours of Nathuram Godse’s life before he assassinated Gandhi. Goidse was essaywed by German actor Horst Buchholz.
ANNU KAPOOR in “Sardar” (1993)
The Ketan Mehta film on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had Annu Kapoor stepping into the shoes of Gandhi. Apart from playing the great Indian leader on the big screen, Annu also lent his voice as narrator to “Khaar” — a docudrama on Gandhi’s Dandi March.
“The Dandi March initiated by Gandhiji was an iconic movement against the British and a milestone in India’s movement for freedom,” Annu said last year.
RAJIT KAPUR in “The Making Of The Mahatma” (1996)
Kapur, popular for playing the Bengali detective Byomkesh Bakshi on television, played Gandhi in Shyam Benegal’s “The Making of The Mahatma”. His role in the film, fetched him a National Film Award as Best Actor.
MOHAN GOKHALE in “Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar” (2000)
The film didn’t center around him but he managed to make his presence felt in the movie on BR Ambedkar, known mainly for helping the the downtrodden and oppressed classes in India.
DARSHAN JARIWALA IN “Gandhi, My Father” (2007)
His performance in the critically-acclaimed film was lauded by many, including the Indian government that honoured him with a National Award for his effort. “‘Gandhi, My Father’ happened in a curious way. Feroz Abbas Khan (director) had approached me for Gandhi’s role in his famous play ‘Mahatma v/s Gandhi’. I was his first choice. Unfortunately, I was preoccupied with other business interests then, and it was my misfortune that I couldn’t do it. So here I am, playing Gandhi in his directorial debut,” Darshan had said in an interview.
DILIP PRABHAWALKAR in “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” (2006)
The Sanjay Dutt-starrer was probably one of the most commercial Bollywood films to feature. The film wasn’t just about the great leader but his teachings were highlighted well in the comedy-drama by filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani. It showed why Gandhi continues to be relevant even today. Dilip was also honoured with a National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his act in the blockbuster.
SURENDRA RAJAN in “The Legend Of Bhagat Singh” (2002); “Veer Savarkar” (2001); “Bose: The Forgotten Hero” (2004)
Few know, but Rajan is the actor to have essayed the Mahatma the maximum number of times. the Bollywood character actor may not be a known face in Hindi films, but his roles as Gandhi in “The Legend Of Bhagat Singh”, Veer Savarkar”, and “Bose” have become his calling cards.
SRIKANTH in “Mahatma” (2009 Telugu film)
The film was about a hooligan whose life sees transformation after he gets to know of Gandhism by chance. Actor Srikanth essyaed the role of the Mahatma. (IANS)