Nobel Prize Winner, poet “par excellence”, the gem of the Indian literary world could find no better adjective to qualify the guest “par excellence” who had come to visit him at Shantiniketan.
He simply addressed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as “Mahatma”. And that was it and that did it. India got a Mahatma and the world bowed before this “Great Soul”, for indeed the world wonders that such a great soul did ever walk on this earth. And as it happens to all great souls, he was adored, vilified and finally assassinated.
MK Gandhi, the British educated barrister had fought for human rights in South Africa as well as for the oppressed in his own country. He always joined his voice to the outcry whenever human beings were trampled upon. Even though his voice was a quiet one, low, soft and gentle, yet it could be heard above the din and noise of the multitude of actions. It was the soft plea to his principle of “Live and Let Live”. It was a different voice, full of thundering power, different from noisy politics, different from long, futile and ineffective speeches. It was a voice which urged actions, not talks.
Mahatma Gandhi called his religion ‘The Law of Truth and Love’. And it was through this religion that he wanted to restore the spiritual unity of the people. Dogmatic religion, which tends to separate all the children of the same soil, could not be tolerated by this great soul, who was touched by the starving nations. In his own words, “a semi-starved nation can have neither religion nor art, give them first the vital things of life.”
His “India of his dreams” was influenced by modern thought currents, “where the poorest would feel cared for”, where he would like “to wipe every tear from every eye.”
For more than 60 years later, on each 30th January, the world celebrates the coming and the going of this special light which had illumined lives and will still illumine the world years and years to come.
He came in the life of India, He even touched Mauritian shores at a time when we all needed to grow up in spirit. He came to enrich and make us strong. The strength he gave his people was not only for a day but something added to their inheritance as well as to ours.
Leaders of today, specially in Mauritius, which is facing a serious moral crisis, should make it a must to delve into history and retrieve the gems left by the Mahatma, also called Bapu, Father of the Nation. A father, it is said, is a banker by nature. The Mahatma as a perfect banker has provided his children with loads of strength and spirit. His love and care knew no boundaries, no frontiers and no nationalities. He never refused to give advice to and infuse determination into all the weak who came to him. His principles of non-violence, dispassionate labour, adherence to truth are but tiny examples of how this soul lived and died at the apogee of his strength.