Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gandhigiri or Gandhiism as a Way of Life for Teachers

Ever since the release of the movie “Lage Raho Munnabhai”, the term ‘Gandhigiri’ has come to be used frequently. Mahatma Gandhi-known as the Father of The Nation was the key motivator in bringing freedom to our country. He was also a well read person, being an ace lawyer by profession. He also held with him a set of values, most of which he strived to practice in his life. He could be looked upon as a person who was extremely confident. And because of this inherent quality, he managed to be a leader, at one time literally leading the whole country.

Now as teachers we need to emulate most of those qualities. Ethics and morality could be clearly related to Gandhi and his ways. The teacher must strive to be the following:

  1. Self- confident: to be able to market qualities of self righteousness, astuteness, humility and be a compassionate, as well as an approachable being.
  2. A Problem Solver: that is what Gandhi was. The quiet strength and resilience that he portrayed in his ways is an example for all. “He saw a situation and dreamt up a novel method to address it that got good results” Gandhi tried to solve problems by trying not to hurt either side.
  3. An Effective Communicator: A man of words, Gandhi could be interesting, assertive, and could prevail upon others, often through moral force.
  4. Patience: Gandhi proved it that anything could be achieved by patience. Especially with those who harm you, to exercise patience is a quality that may eventually correct the problem at hand. In today’s world intolerance is becoming a way of life, which leads to violence. Gandhi pro-actively preached Ahimsa or Non-violence. Gandhi said “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will make the whole world blind and toothless”. The trick is in being ‘persuasively patient’. The path of patience is difficult but pays in the end.
  5. Be Truthful: In the words of Gandhi “My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than truth” This is an essential quality for a teacher. Truth always triumphs (satyamev Jayate) is what Gandhi always preached, a path that ultimately leads to peace. The Story of My Experiments with Truth, which is an autobiography of M.K.Gandhi is a must read.
  6. A Preacher of Ahimsa: Gandhi said:” Identification with everything that lives is impossible without self purification; without self purification the observance of the law of Ahimsa must remain an empty dream…”

“So long as a man does not of his own free will put himself last among his fellow creatures, there is no salvation for him. Ahimsa is the farthest limit of humility.”

Gandhigiri or Gandhiism re-gained momentum recently and for the good. I discussed this in detail with my students, and thanked our good fortune that such a movie had been released. Teachers can take this opportunity to discuss moral and ethical issues with children, with relation to Gandhiism. It is a way of life, and we as teachers could in all sincerity make it ours.


Everybody loves Kung-Fu fighting?? Where is our Saint of Sabarmati?

In this age of terror and fear where violence seems to be making a stronghold in urban and rural societies, where are the ideologies of Gandhi?? So has Gandhi failed to keep his ideals alive? Is Gandhigiri/Gandhiism just a fashionable word? What do you have to say?

I am of the view that Gandhi’s values still live on and is more alive today than any other age. It is on the firm base of love that the world moves on. More and more people believe in non-violence. We want peace in our lives, minds and hearts and all around us. There always will be extremists,, there always have been in every age, but ultimately the only solution to all the strife has been peace. As long as there is constant questioning and debating on this issue, I am sure we will come to the right conclusions, for our own sake.

Gandhi’s empathetic, non-violent attitude, his dramatic responses like Satyagraha which embodied humility, love, and non-violence; all this seems more relevant today.

Gandhi lives on, our champion of non-violence still lives on…

Now I enjoy the rhythm of this song, lets not love to fight, but this is about Kung-fu fighting, which is an art form.. so listen on and enjoy:)