Why Gandhi still relevant for the present-day World?

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi paying floral tributes at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, at Rajghat, in Delhi on May 30, 2019.
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi paying floral tributes at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, at Rajghat, in Delhi on May 30, 2019.


an age of rapid change, characterized by exponential economic growth,
increasing population, rise in violent extremism, climate change, migration
& refugees, globalization and rising inequalities, the 21st century poses a
unique set of challenges.” Highlighting the Global Challenges, UNESCO MGIEP,
The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development
(MGIEP), New Delhi, states so.

MGIEP was established with the support of the
Government of India and is an integral part of UNESCO. It is the first and only
category 1 Research Institute in Asia Pacific and focuses on achieving the
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.7 towards education to foster peaceful and
sustainable societies. In this, the Institute is guided by its vision of
‘transforming education for humanity’. 

Let us have a sight on some present-day
unkind incidents of violent extremism, intolerance, racial and religious vilification.

On August 24, 2019, a British Sikh, Amitpal
Singh Bajaj, was reportedly choked to death by a Norwegian tourist in Phuket,
Thailand.  Mr. Bajaj confronted the
tourist for making too much noise because his wife and child wanted to sleep. Mr.
Roger Bullman, a Norwegian martial arts expert, was drunk and causing so much
noise that hotel security came to warn Mr. Bullman twice.

Second example is that of  acquittal 
of all the six accused in Pehlu Khan’s lynching case by  India’s 
Alwar (Rajasthan )  court
giving  benefit of doubt on August 14,
2019, which  has once again refreshed the
unkind  incident of religious
vilification .

Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old native of
Haryana’s Nuh, had left his village to purchase cattle for milking purpose and
after purchasing some cows from a cattle fair he along with his two sons and a
few others was transporting the cows to his native village as claimed by his
family members. But, allegedly surrounded, stopped and thrashed by a mob of cow
vigilantes on the Delhi-Alwar highway on April 1, 2017, which later caused
death to Pehlu Khan in hospital.

A total of nine persons were accused of
lynching Pehlu Khan, among which three of the accused are reported juveniles
who are being tried separately. The remaining six were acquitted on August 14,

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has
assured that to ensure justice for Pehlu Khan’s aggrieved family the state
government will appeal against the verdict delivered by the court.

on August 5,2019, the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha had already   passed ‘The Rajasthan Protection from
Lynching Bill, 2019,’    by a voice vote
amid vociferous protest by the opposition BJP, which wanted the bill to be
referred to a select committee. 

shows the BJP’s opposition to Lynching Bill in Rajasthan assembly and
taking no step towards passing any act at central level  by the ruling 
Bhartiya  Janta Party to have a
heavy hand to deal with the  lynching
crimes ? Despite the Supreme Court of India’s recommendations  that the parliament should enact a special
law to deal with cases of mob lynching, the BJP led central  government has not acted upon the court’s
advice as alleged by Advocate  Mohammed
Asad Hayat . 

In an interview with The Caravan on August
13 ,2019 , Mohammed Asad Hayat, a Prayagraj-based criminal lawyer who is
representing victims in at least fifty cases of mob lynching and other hate
crimes ,alleged , “ In July last year (2018) , the Supreme Court recommended
that the parliament should enact a special law to deal with cases of mob
lynching. The court passed a detailed judgment in Tehseen Poonawalla vs Union
of India, issuing directions on the preventive, remedial and punitive measures
to be adopted by the central and the state governments. The judgment also
recommended that the special law by parliament should “create a separate
offence for lynching” and impose “adequate punishment for the same.” Yet, the
home ministry has consistently stated in parliament that only state governments
have jurisdiction over matters involving the police and public
order—effectively washing its hands of the responsibility.”

quotable incidence of cruelty, violent extremism, intolerance, and religious
vilification which fetched the attention at world level was that of mob
lynching of Tabrez Ansari. A reputed English Daily of India, ‘The Hindu’ has
also reported the issue.

24-year-old Tabrez Ansari , a Muslim ,  who worked as a daily wager in Pune,
succumbed to his injuries on June 22,2019 after he was beaten up on June 17 ,
2019  by a mob in Dhatkidih village in
Jharkhand on the charges of theft , which forced him to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and
‘Jai Hanuman’( Hindu deities ) .

In response to the reported murder of
Tabrez Ansari by a mob in the eastern state of Jharkhand in India, United
States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Tony
Perkins issued the following statement on June 26, 2019: 

“We condemn in the strongest terms this
brutal murder, in which the perpetrators reportedly forced Ansari to say Hindu
chants as they beat him for hours. Ansari later died from the injuries he
suffered due to this horrific attack. We call on the Indian government to take
concrete actions that will prevent this kind of violence and intimidation by a
thorough investigation of Ansari’s murder as well as the local police’s
handling of the case. Lack of accountability will only encourage those who
believe they can target religious minorities with impunity.”     

History shows that cruelty towards humanity
, intolerance , racial and religious vilification are not the problems limited
within the Indian boundaries , but these are cancerous for the whole world and
even Today’s  world leader America had to
wait for centuries to  frame the act
against lynching  .  The text of the bill placed for framing the
act reflects the heinous image of the crime in US.  According to the text of the bill, at least
4,742 people were reported lynched in the US between 1882 and 1968. It says 99%
of all perpetrators of lynching escaped punishment.

Only on Dec. 19, 2018, the US Senate
unanimously passed legislation that made lynching a federal crime. Proposed by
Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala D. Harris and Tim Scott, the Justice for Lynching Act
classifies lynching, “the ultimate expression of racism in the United States,”
as a hate crime. In its findings, the bill states that at least 4,742 people,
mostly African Americans, were lynched in the United States between 1882 and
1968, and that Congress had considered nearly 200 anti-lynching bills in the
first half of the 20th century without passing any of them.  

Why intolerance or racial and religious
hatred   ?

Addressing over 1,000 youth representing
over 27 countries from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe in the first
World Youth Conference on Kindness in New Delhi on August 23 , 2019 under the
aegis   of MGIEP ,  the 
President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind said that the strife and
violence that we see in the world today is often based in deep-rooted
prejudices. These make us see the world through the binary of “us versus

Mr. Kovind added, following Gandhiji’s
footsteps, we must let ourselves and our children interact and engage with
those whom we tend to define as ‘them’. Greater interaction is the best way to
develop a sensitive understanding, which can help us overcome our prejudices.
Stating the importance of education in developing understanding, President
further said that education too can play an important role in overcoming our
prejudices. “Education needs to go beyond mere literacy. Education must
facilitate and challenge the young to search deep within themselves and build
their inner strength to sympathize or relate to the suffering of others. We
need to educate young people such that they can defy and transcend boundaries
of class and race. We need them to be educated and creative to find solutions
to entrenched structural injustices and inequities. We need an education that
can touch our emotions and our spirits.”

Gandhi’s relevancy?

Explaining the relevancy of Gandhi in present day situations, President Kovind said that Mahatma Gandhi was not just a great leader and visionary, he was one who personified certain timeless ideals and values. We could place Gandhi ji in a time machine and transport him to any period of human existence and we would find him to be relevant. This is also true of the times we live in. Gandhi ji remains extremely relevant to our present day concerns such as need for peace and tolerance, terrorism and climate change.

Mahatma Gandhi

The President noted that this Conference
has brought together youth leaders from around the world. He said that these
youth leaders and millions of young men and women like them have the biggest
stake in making our world kind, compassionate and peaceful. He expressed
confidence that what the youth leaders learn and experience in this Conference
will inspire each one of them to be the ambassadors of kindness for rest of
their lives.

A staunch preacher of communal harmony,
Gandhi ji believed that anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct
understanding and nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness
is more manly than punishment.  

“For me, the different religions are
beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches of the same
majestic tree. Therefore, they are equally true, though being received and
interpreted through human instruments equally imperfect”, said Mahatma Gandhi. 

“If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is
inescapable. He lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity
evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own
risk.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Many of his (Gandhi’s) principles have universal application and eternal validity, and I hope the passing years will show that his faith in the efficacy of nonviolent pressure as an agent for peaceful change is as justified today all over the world as it was in his time in India.” U Thant.


“What is the relevance of nonviolence and
compassion to the future of humanity? As Mahatma Gandhi showed by his own
example, nonviolence can be implemented not only in politics but also in
day-to-day life. That was his great achievement. He showed that nonviolence
should be active in helping others. Nonviolence means that if you can help and
serve others you should do so. If you cannot, you must at least restrain
yourself from harming others. I believe that it is very important that we find
positive ways in which children and adults can be educated in the path of
compassion, kindness and nonviolence. If we can actively do this I believe we
will be fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy to us. It is my prayer that, as we
enter this new century, nonviolence and dialogue will increasingly come to
govern all human relations.” HH The Dalai Lama.



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