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“I will continue to speak from my grave” said the Mahatma while speaking about the growing discord and intolerance among his countrymen.

Gandhi’s martyrdom on 30th January, 1948 though put an end to his earthly sojourn, the dead Gandhi emerged stronger and formidable and continues to influence humanity in varying degree and the prophetic statement of Nehru announcing the passing away of Gandhi seems to have come true. Nehru said,

“…The light has gone out, I said, yet I was wrong .For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. The light that has illumined this country for these many years will illumine this country for many more years and a thousand years later that light will still be seen in this country and the world will see it and it will give solace to innumerable hearts.”

It is nearly seven decades now since Gandhi was assassinated and there are all kinds of discussions both in India and abroad on what Gandhi left for humanity and whether his teachings would survive the test of time.

The last days of Gandhi were marked by deep distress and pain in him on account of the unexpected turn of events which had led to the vivisection of his dear country for whose freedom from the foreign masters he led a nonviolent mass struggle of unprecedented scale and magnitude. When freedom came at last, to his utter dismay he saw his dream of a united India crumbling and the India of his dream enmeshed in internecine quarrel and bloodshed.

Undaunted by these unexpected developments Gandhi the lonely pilgrim marched ahead with tremendous amount of optimism. His last major initiative for peace and harmony in the blood-soaked regions of Noakhali was an eloquent expression of his profound belief that a divided society, fighting on trivial issues has no future. He also taught through this campaign that everyone can be a peace-maker and a peace-builder.

Gandhi’s campaigns in Noakhali for peace, harmony and unity, echoed Gurudev Tagore’s prophetic assertion ’Eklo Chalo’(Walk Alone)and Swami Vivekananda’s electrifying urging’ Arise, Awake and Stop not till the goal is reached’ infused new hopes and resolve in Indians to stand united for a new India. Gandhi’s belief that what the nation achieved on 15th August was political freedom from the British and the struggle must continue for economic freedom and social justice very well reflected his well-orchestrated resolve to remain a fortress of goodwill and bridge of harmony.

What even the passionate critic of Gandhi cannot miss while reading developments in the post Gandhi era is the string of activities inspired by Gandhi in different parts of the world. If not in very significant measure, there are now very few countries in the world where something or other in the name of Gandhi is not being organised. In short, there is a global nonviolent awakening after Gandhi.

The core of Gandhi legacy

It is widely accepted now that the core of the legacy Gandhi left for humanity is that he taught us that truth is greater than all worldly possessions, and that slavery, violence, injustice and disparities are inconsistent with truth.

What Gandhi left is not a set of theoretical formulations, on the contrary, a carefully evolved vision of an organically sound and mutually supportive and respecting independent world order.

Change with consent
The six decades of Gandhi’s public life in three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia), spearheading various movements for new social and political milieu where all men and women will be treated as brothers and sisters, demonstrated with convincing sincerity a revolutionary zeal for change – change with consent – hitherto un-experimented in national or international politics. Tolerance, consent, reconciliation and a profound faith in the unity of all sentient and non-sentient beings have been the core of the Gandhian vision of a world where harmony among the various segments of God’s creation would nurture the essential goodness in each one – both the visible and invisible threads – uniting the entire humanity into a single entity. Does this sound Utopian?

Yes, quite a large number of people believe that the new social order Gandhi envisioned is too idealistic and an unattainable utopia only fit enough for academic and semantic interpretations.

Gandhi’s critique of the emerging
scenario
Gandhi warned humanity of the growing injustice and deepening imbalance as early as 1909 when he pointed out in his seminal work ‘Hind Swaraj’, that unprincipled growth will land humanity on the brink of disaster. Even his own close disciples raised their eyebrows of disagreement when he said this.
The evil that we have to fight is within us and that we are ignorant of it, is the basic problem according to him. Motifs such as give and take, live and let live, love and to be loved have become clichés now in the new dictionary compiled by the champions of unlimited growth. This can be possible only if we adopt a holistic vision of life and ensure equality and justice which presupposes the simple truth that each individual is unique and we should respect his/her individuality and let him/her maintain each one’s uniqueness and what applies to an individual should apply to a nation or at a global level.