This month the world celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the person whom Einstein once paid homage to, in the following lines:
"Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this, ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth".
However, the shadow of doubt is the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in this modern, materialistic, skeptical and consumerist society? Are his teachings still relevant and aligned with the expectations of the 21st century?
In his own words Gandhi once said, "I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills."
But like Jesus and the Buddha before his time, Gandhi silenced the skeptics by proving that non-violence could be an effective instrument of social change even in modern times. He rejected war and paved the way to freedom through non violence and held up a mirror to the world to reflect it as the solution to global peace.
In this present era of eroding values with selfishness, greed, violence, materialism and extravagant lifestyles, the Gandhian principles of simple living and high thinking are the lost keys to the locked doors of this troubled world. His unshakable faith in the equality of all men and rejection of the caste system, his teaching of tolerance, his simple practice of equating cleanliness with Godliness, his desire for empowerment for a self reliant India are the answers for the serious issues that plague our nation.
Children are the future global citizens and as educators, the challenging yet pertinent responsibility of sowing the seeds of empathy and non-violence, rests on our shoulders. As we take inspiration from our Blessed Founder, Edmund Rice, we aspire to shape Columbans whose values will be rooted in compassion and tolerance for their fellow human beings. We must also draw significance from Gandhi’s idea of equality, civic engagement and collective deliberation. However this is no easy task! In this age of cyber bullying, intolerance, body shaming, immediate gratification and eroding sense of self esteem, the basic selfish instinct of personal good, stands in the way of reaching out to the values of selflessness and concern for our fellow human beings.
Nevertheless, there’s hope that lies in small steps - earnest and consistent steps, taken by us - the educators and the parents, in educating our children. We are faced with the pressing need of instilling restrained expression and reasoning as opposed to vengeful retaliation among our boys. They need to grow, embodying mutual respect, conscientiousness for natural resources, tolerance to differences and duty towards the society as a whole. We at SCS, in our own small but significant endeavours, aspire to create future global citizens who will walk in the light of human good and the Gandhian teachings of non-violence.
On the birth anniversary of one of the world's most impactful visionaries, let's revive Gandhism! Let's feel it alive, active and relevant in the modern world especially in the hearts of the young children who are entrusted to our care. Let us re-adopt Gandhi's peaceful means of conflict management through restorative practices and make honesty and truthfulness, social justice and responsibility as the pillars of our progress. Let us rekindle our conscience as we come together to celebrate the Mahatma in each one of us.
Do we dare to care?
Mrs. Ritu Kaushal
Headmistress, Junior Wing