Gandhi Jayanti: Celebrating a legacy of inspiration

Mahatma Gandhi - Be the change

Gandhi Jayanti on October 2nd is a national holiday celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, fondly called ‘Bapu’ or the “Father of the Nation”.

Mahatma Gandhi is regarded as the greatest political figure in India’s history, who inspired Indians with his non-violent ‘Ahimsa‘ movement for civil rights and freedom from the British rule. He had an outstanding approach fighting for the rights of the people. Gandhi was an inspiration for many and a claimant of truth and simplicity. His autobiography, ‘My Experiments with Truth’, gives a detailed insight into his life from the time he was a child. The life of Mahatma Gandhi is full of lessons that still inspire people across the world.

Gandhi’s life offers us many key lessons

Change yourself.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

Such a powerful message that empowers and inspires at the same time. After all each and every one of us has the power to change how we think, feel and act. And so the world around us will change.

Live Simply

He practiced simplicity and minimalism in all areas of his life and he left behind a huge legacy in how to live a life of simplicity.

“You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.” ~Gandhi

Let your life be your message

Though he was a prolific writer and powerful speaker, in private Gandhi spoke very quietly and only when necessary. He was also very punchy and concise in his writing.

He preferred to let his life do the talking for him.

Have an open mind and learn constantly

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

To have an open mind means to be willing to consider or receive new and different ideas. It means being flexible and adaptive to new experiences and ideas. Everyday we learn and grow to be better versions of ourselves without being limited by beliefs and values to appreciate other perspectives.

Be Zero

Nothing plus nothing is everything. When asked his great ambition, Gandhi drew a circle in the sand and said ‘Shunya’ or “To be zero”. What he meant by that was to be the opening, with no ego, for God’s work to flow.

Forgive and let it go.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Mahatma Gandhi - An eye for an eye

Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give ourselves as we let go of negativity. We can always choose how to react to something.

There are so many other interesting anecdotes and learnings from Gandhiji’s life available in his books, books on him and online resources. Bollywood too has in its blockbuster 2006 comedy ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ explores the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi. The eponymous lead character through his interactions with Gandhi begins to practice what he refers to as Gandhigiri (a neologism for Gandhism) to help ordinary people solve their problems.

Do share your favorite quotes, learning’s or observations on Gandhiji with us.

by Poonam Sagar