Archive for July 2011
I just finished reading a biography of Gandhi and it is quite impossible to make up one’s mind about him. He comes across as a saint, a moral force, perverted, neurotic, uncompromising, manipulative, disingenuous, or power hungry at different times. All in all however, my positive assessment of him remains. I think he was fundamentally driven by humanistic principles, and remained true to those principles for the most part.
One thing one can learn from Gandhi is the power of the unflinching will. To dedicate ones entire life, every moment, to principles which one has unbudging faith in, at the cost of family and comfort. It is quite unlike a normal everyday existence where we make compromises at every juncture, or the normal state of life, which is ambiguity. There really is no reason to believe that one way of life is better than other. So why not lead a life well within the parameters of normalcy, and loosely hold on to some principles, which may always be shed when ones skin or comfort are threatened.
Going by Gandhi’s case, one is tempted to believe that one can achieve anything imaginable if one is driven by a will and faith in ones principles like that. What greater source of self belief. Maybe that is why prominent leaders in Gandhi’s era fell in line with him, in spite of his bohemian persona. They half believed like the rest of us, while Gandhi had with him certainty. It is ironical that men like Christopher Hitchens should nit pick at his life, while they would never apply the same standards to their own life.