Nandini Voice for the Deprived conducted an essay competition for school and college students (17 to 25 years old) on Gandhi Jayanthi. The topic was whether Mahatma Gandhi is relevant in today’s India.
Not surprisingly, many students point out that Mahatma Gandhi would have largely gone out of public memory thanks to the present state of affairs in the country, but for the holiday observed on October 2, his birthday.
Students say Gandhiji is being humiliated year after year, by corrupt and dishonest people holding positions of power and authority (politicians, bureaucrats and now even those in the Defence services), who preside over meetings to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation on Gandhi Jayanthi but resort to all kinds of unholy ways to stay on in power, to amass wealth and benefit family members.
Students say that it is extremely difficult to imagine that a person like Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked in India. They find is impossible to Gandhiji’s teachings to current happenings. Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy is out of sync with present times is what they feel. Many provide the examples of the widespread consumption of liquor in the country today and the deep-rooted corruption in public life and government departments as the most visible acts of defiance of Gandhiji’s philosophy.
So, who is responsible for all this? Several students say that those who claim to be ardent followers of Mahatma Gandhi have not lived up to his ideals and standards and have remained as poor role models for today’s youth.
Those who strongly believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy today are few and they are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices and wage the intense struggle required to try and cleanse society of its evils. Of course, politicians and bureaucrats have only hastened the decay of the moral fibre.
Will any leader be willing to use non-violent means and fast like Gandhiji did? The unanimous answer was No.
The views expressed are those of the more than thousand students who participated in the contest and they cannot be taken lightly, Munnabhai and Gandhigiri notwithstanding.