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Updated: Dec 3, 2020


Priyanka Rai, V year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from RMLNLU, Lucknow


This article highlights the significance of Gandhian thought in the present times specifically when global economies are currently on a lockdown and people throughout the world are in a state of social isolation. The author attempts to stress on the role of how minimalism and cooperation can contribute to our lives in the present scenario for us to come out of this global pandemic with a simpler and caring outlook towards our lives.

Relevance of Gandhi

The multidimensional issues faced by the global community today allow us to revisit Gandhian ideology. From a global pandemic to rising incidents of violence and mutual distrust between communities. From the current economic slowdown to the biosphere ushering in an era of climatic crisis. All we need is reconciliation and resolution of these issues through Gandhian ideas.

Gandhi’s primary motivation was on the idea of simplification through the concept of minimalism. He preached simple living. The essence has been to lessen belongings which we no longer in need and give them to someone in need of those possessions. The key is that only when we simplify our lives, we can concentrate on others and this is where minimalism comes into the picture. The time has come for compassion to take over sympathy and empathy.

He makes us think about the ‘others’, about shifting our focus from ‘self-interest’ to ‘selflessness.’ If we inculcate this in our daily life, it will not only improve our relationships with fellow human beings but also will bring us closer to nature. We can then collectively work together in resolving issues like increasing awareness about the environment.

Over-exploitation of resources due to human apathy is one of the main causes of the global climatic crisis coupled with global warming, pollution, melting of glaciers and change in weather patterns.

Our relation with Prakriti (nature) has to meaningfully amend. This will help to save the world from an ecological catastrophe. Optimism is the need of the hour and we can derive it from the courage of Gandhi in the national movement.

We need to get over our avarice and look beyond material gains. This is precisely the idea behind movements like ‘Fridays for Future’ where people are amending their relation with nature by recognizing environmental degradation and increasing awareness about it.

Gandhi’s adherences included two oaths that have been with us for varying time periods-Aparigraha (non-possession) and Asteya (non-stealing). These were seen as manifestations of an austere life. He gave a new dimension to these terms by broadening our horizon towards them. Aparigraha consisted of not only decluttering things which we don’t need but had an additional element in the form of ‘charity.’ The emphasis was equally on serving the ‘others.’

According to UNICEF, there are 153 million orphans worldwide. These children need love, care and personality development. The problem of beggary and child labour is equally on the rise. The purpose should thus be to serve such sections of the society and discard materialistic gains through incorporating the adherences of Gandhi in our daily lives.

‘Truth was his destination and “ahimsa'' was his humble path to reach the destination. A non-violent approach by the countries in the resolution of conflicts through the involvement of regional players can help the world at large. In a world where nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution,[1] the world needs to be more accepting of the ideals of ‘data’ and ‘ahimsa’. The present civilization has to embrace all those who have been hurt deliberately or accidentally and heal the injury with love.

His emphasis has always been on consistent self-development. The concept of ‘Brahmacharya’ (self-control) and ‘Abhaya’ (fearlessness) is what the world needs today. In the era of widespread corruption, terrorism and rising animal cruelty, we need to move forward with ‘Abhaya’ and we need to relook at his idea of ‘Sarva Dharma Samanta’ (Equality of the religions).

Further, to curb the growing menace of corruption we need to highlight the concept of Sharir Sharma (Bread Labour) which means every vigorous person must labour enough for his sustenance.

In this era of start-ups, young entrepreneurs and companies must look to Gandhi for inspiration, The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”The courage and confidence which is required for the present generation in the time of rising competition can easily be derived from a study of Gandhian principles. Any discussion on Gandhi is incomplete without addressing the ideal of Swaraj (self-rule/self-organization). From organization at an individual and family level, one can easily transit to changes at the village and community level which leads to faster and more productive growth and development.

In today’s world where there is stark social inequality and with the rising incidents of poverty, Gandhi’s principle of ‘Sarvodaya’ needs to be revisited which discusses universal progress. His principle of ‘Sparsh Bhawana’ (respect for all) is the need of this century.

In the field of governance, we need more transparency, efficiency and accountability and that can simply be ensured from taking a cue from Gandhi’s concept of decentralization. The policies and programmes should be kept in mind keeping the local needs. This will increase self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

In the economic sphere, the significance of ‘Swadeshi’ (local) needs to be brought back for our country’s economy to revive. We need to bring back the focus to the rural economy to attain self-sufficiency and additionally, we need to look back at our cultural roots to formulate strategies which can recuperate the present status of the economy.

Thus, the genesis of Gandhian ideologies lies in introspection and self-correction. A reflection of this can be seen - “Be the change that you want to see in others.” It is only when the collective conscience of the society is awakened and mutual efforts are put into action that we can bring substantial changes globally.

From environment to social, from economic to political and from the community to an individual level, Gandhian ideals are immensely significant today and their relevance is bound to amplify in the times to come. We must strongly act upon these and we should try to imbibe these in our daily lives to bring back the world from the shackles of poverty, economic deprivation, environmental degradation, corruption and transition into a peaceful, healthy and loving environment.


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