Mauritius Times – 60 Years
By Ram Behari Lal Mathur
The appearance of Mahatma Gandhi on the national arena, in the first half of the present century, brought about a great change in the life of India. He was not only a national and political leader of India, but one of the greatest social workers the world has ever produced. Though he brought about the political liberation of India, symbolically he liberated the human spirit. Like a true humanist, he had an intense love of mankind. He preached the doctrine of universal brotherhood. He preached to the whole world the potent weapons of truth and non-violence for fighting against the forces of evil.
It cannot be said that the idea of Passive Resistance (Satyagraha) as a weapon to right the evil, was Gandhiji’s own invention. It was known to the western world long before. The famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’ gives in a nutshell Gandhiji’s conception of ‘Satyagraha’. Tolstoy in Russia and Thoreau in America had propounded the doctrine of non-violence as an effective weapon to cure the world of its ills and for lasting understanding amongst nations, but they confined their activities in writing books. Gandhiji took inspiration from these writings, and it was he who actually translated into action these doctrines and found what a magical effect it had on the people.
Martin Luther King, the Negro Gandhi, born in Southern US, writes:
“The spirit of passive resistance came to me from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. The technique of execution came to me from Gandhi.”
To Gandhiji, Truth was an another name of God, just as to Keats beauty was another name of God, and to Tolstoy love.
Gandhiji called ‘Satyagraha’ a love Force or Soul Force, it is free from bitterness and tries to change its opponents. Gandhiji preached: Love your enemy and by your actions and sufferings make him realise the folly of his action. Thus, he was against the application of force.
Gandhiji was a great social worker and started working on programmes in almost all fields of social work. He brought all the energies that were being spent separately in the religious, economic, political and social fields into an organisation of nationwide scope for regenerating the social life of the people.
He pleaded for the equality of women and afforded them due status in their private and public life. For the first time in modern history, women stood side by side with men and fought for their country. Gandhiji raised his mighty voice against the ‘Pardah’ system, illiteracy, amongst women and their dependency on men.
He also worked for the social, political, and economic betterment of the Harijans and established Harijan Sewak Sangh. He revived the Cottage Industries for the betterment of the rural economic life. He was against race segregation and prejudice which according to him has done more harm to India than foreign rule.
Amongst the many gifts India has given to Mauritius, the light of Mahatma Gandhi is the noblest and the greatest. This has helped the Indo-Mauritians in building up their moral character, civilisation and culture. It is hoped that the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi will be utilized for developing stronger ties of friendship amongst the communities living in this island.
6th Year – No 233
Friday 30th January 1959
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 14 July 2023
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