At the 60th birthday of Gandhiji, when Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya greeted the Mahatma and wished him "May you live for one hundred years !" Gandhiji in his usual wit and humour made a sharp cut: "Panditji, why have you cut down twenty-five years ?" This does not mean that Mahatma had lust for life, but nevertheless unlike other saints and seers he had a philosophy of "yes to life" and like Buddha he had greater stake in working for the removal of suffering of his fellow-beings than in his own personal salvation. He said "If I could persuade myself that I should find Him in Himalayan cave I would proceed there immediately. But I know that I cannot find Him apart from humanity". He did not believe that an individual may gain spiritually and those that surround him suffer. Therefore for him, "truth and non-violence are no cloistered virtues but applicable as much in the forum and legislatures as in the market place". He made "truth and non-violence, not matters for mere individual practice but for practice by groups and communities and nations" That was his dream. He lived and died in trying to realize it. Though he was essentially a religious and spiritual soul, he took part in politics because "Politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake". Besides, "life is one indivisible whole and it cannot be divided into watertight compartments called social, political and religious. All act and react upon one another". He did not believe that spiritual law works on a field of its own. On the contrary, it expresses itself only through the ordinary activities of life. If it cannot be practised in all departments, it has no practical value.Men of rare endowments like Gandhi do not belong to the present or the country of his birth only. Let us not contain him within the contours of time and place. He said: "My mission is not merely brotherhood of Indian humanity. My mission is not merely freedom of India... but brotherhood of man". Infact, he was ahead of his time. When he wrote his Hind Swaraj, he was most misunderstood man. But today, when the Indian civilization is facing the crisis of survival itself, "limitation of violence" as well as "limitation of our wants" have become the only safety valve against the impending disaster. We have hardly a choice between non-violence and non-existence. Unless we learn to subdue our 'Satanic impulses' and greed, and continue to worship the God of extravagance in the name of 'civilized life', we are bound to the unescapable wrath of "nuclear winter" and other environmental hazards. Gandhi rightly said: "Nature has enough to meet our needs but not our greed". Hence Gandhian prescription of non-violence and simple style of life are neither political tactics nor religious
dogmas, they are our compulsions. However, the question is : "How can we emerge from physical power or brute force so that we do not all perish ?" Perhaps, we have to seek some radical solutions. Our own civilization which we have built during the last two hundred years has proved to be our greatest enemy. Either we evolve an alternative model of development based on human technology and a political culture of truth and goodness or we are bound to destroy our civilization. Hence, here also Gandhi is the answer. However, the modern dilemma is : we talk for peace and prepare for war. We talk at the Earth Summit against environmental pollution, but we are prisoners of crass materialism and consumerism; we aspire for Kingdom of God on the Earth but we behave like beasts. Has Gandhi provided an answer? A small girl from Germany who has won the first prize for an Essay Competition held during this 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi tries to help us. She says : "If I have understood Gandhi correctly, then this is what is important to him : acting in a non-violent way in one's everyday life and treating all people equally. It is difficult to do. Yet, Gandhi gives me courage and hope when he says: "I have not a shadow of doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith." This means that there is no short cut to survival. What is required is a new desire and also a new asceticism. It might be difficult but it is the only way. This is a Memorial Volume containing articles written by scholars mostly from outside India. We have not included any old article. There might be different shades of opinions and multiple dimensions but they all centre round Gandhi. We are indebted to those learned scholars who have prepared their papers at our request. We are also indebted to the authorities of Gujarat Vidyapeeth who have allowed us to publish a few papers presented at the international seminar held last year at Ahmedabad.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Art & Culture (700)
Emperor & Queen (479)
Mahatma Gandhi (264)
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