Mahatma Gandhi and His Experiments
By Manasa Rao / April 20, 2014
I had read about Mahatma Gandhi in several books and newspapers, but I was looking for something different and interesting that could help me know more about Gandhi. Like they say, the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. However, I had this opportunity to read Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography that covers the first fifty odd years of his life till 1920, when he became the leader of the Indian freedom movement. He talks in his book about childhood, education in India, and in England, and his employment in South Africa. The interesting part of his life to me is the evolution of Gandhi’s beliefs, both the political beliefs of non-violence and civil disobedience, and the personal beliefs about food and religion.
India is a country that has given birth to many great personalities who have offered immeasurable sacrifices to the growth of our nation. Amongst them, the first and foremost person who comes to mind of an Indian is always Mahatma Gandhiji, the person who we genuinely respect. According to me, he was the most powerful man that I’ve ever heard of. Who could lift a pinch of salt and galvanize millions? He inspired not only millions in India but people elsewhere like Mandela and Martin Luther King. But his idea was not something he was born with. They were the result of years of thoughts, events and circumstances.
There have been reviews by the readers complaining that Gandhi does not seem logical with respect to some of his personal beliefs in his book and they seem outdated and primitive for today. Gandhi had some core absolutisms. He adhered to the same rigidity to non-violence that drove his personal behavior. In one respect, this made him become greater than life to the masses of India and earned him respect in the west. A more reasonable or realistic person would not have achieved what he dared to do. While claiming to successfully summarise the formative years of any man may sound to be mere pretension, claiming the same of Mahatma Gandhi’s formative years would certainly amount to nothing short of blasphemy. To know about Gandhiji, all that a man requires is to have a passion, a burning passion to discover and see the truth, the absolute and unchanging truth as Gandhiji himself did, when he set out to write his autobiography, ‘The story of my experiments with truth’.