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This website is a renovated website of Adyar Gopal Parivar. I am Dr. Mohan G Shenoy inviting you to visit the website to understand the many different families that form this Parivar.
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BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF MAHATMA GANDHI
Edited by Mohan Shenoy
October 2nd
        Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had written a book "An Autobiography or the Story of "My Experiments with Truth" in Gujarati language prior to 1927. The Mahatma was 58 years old in 1927. The Gujarati book was translated by his close friend and personal assistant Mahadev Desai into English and published by him in 1927. After this the second edition came out in 1940. The second edition was reprinted many times and what I write here are extracts from the 1976 reprint, in which 25,000 copies were printed.This book is a 'must-read' for all our people of GSB community. This book is important with its historical point of view and with its moral value. For every human being to study the lives of men that have made a name in the society is the best way to select their own path in life. M.K.Gandhi wrote thus about the experiments: "The experiments narrated should be regarded as illustrations, in the light of which every one may carry on his own experiments according to his own inclination and capacity.

        "Uttamchand Gandhi alias Ota Gandhi, my grandfather, must have been a man of principle" says the Mahatma in this book. "The Gandhis belong to the bania caste and seem to have been originally grocers." So do the GSBs, most of whom were grocers in the 19th and in the first half of the 20th Century in what was then known as the Canara region under British rule.

        About Ota Gandhi he writes, "State intrigues compelled him to leave Porbundar, where he was Dewan, and to seek refuge in Junagadh. There he saluted the Nawab with the left hand. Someone, noticing the apparent discourtesy, asked for an explanation, which was given thus: 'The right hand is already pledged to Porbundar."

        M.K.Gandhi was born at Porbundar, otherwise known as Sudamapuri, in a land ruled by Lord Krishna from Dwarka in the Mahabhaaratha days, on the 2nd October, 1869, that is 139 years ago today. "I recollect having been put to school. It was with some difficulty that I got through the multiplication tables, "he says in his book. "I used to be very shy and avoided all company. My books and my lessons were my sole companions. But somehow my eyes fell on a book purchased by my father. It was Shravana Pitribhakti Nataka, a play about Shravana's devotion to his parents. I read it with intense interest. 'Here is an example for you to copy' I said to myself.... play -Harishchandra- captured my heart. I could never be tired of seeing it," writes the Mahatma in his book. Both Harishchandra and Shravana are living realities for me. I was not regarded as a dunce at the high school. I always enjoyed the affection of my teachers. Certificates of progress and character used to be sent to the parents every year. I never had a bad certificate. For if I had not acquired the little Sanskrit that I learnt then, I should have found it difficult to take any interest in our sacred books. In fact I deeply regret that I was not able to acquire a more thorough knowledge of the language, because I have since realized that every Hindu boy and girl should possess sound Sanskrit learning.

        Today, the structure of education in India is a matter of debate and the parents in the 21st Century do not have many children like the parents in Mahatma's era did. The parents of the 21st Century would have only one child and it is important for them to chose the best education for their children. Let us see what the Mahatma has to say about education of his children.

        "When I landed at Durban in January 1897, I had three children with me, my sister's son ten years old, and my own sons nine and five years of age. Where was I to educate them? I could have sent them to the schools for European children, but only as a matter of favour and exception. I could have sent them to the schools for European children, but only as a matter of favour and exception. I was loathe to send them back to India, for I believed even then that young children should not be separated from their parents. The education that children naturally imbibe in a well-ordered household is impossible to obtain in hostels. I therefore kept my children with me.

        "I am of the opinion that, if I had insisted on their being educated somehow at public schools, they would have been deprived of the training that can be had only at the school of experience (experience obtained by living with the parents-Ed), or from constant contact with the parents. I should never have been free, as I am today, from anxiety on their score, and the artificial education that they could have had in England or South Africa, torn from me, would never have taught them the simplicity and the spirit of service that they show in their lives today, while their artificial ways of living might have been a serious handicap in my public work

        "Often have I been confronted with various posers from friends: What harm had there been, if I had given my boys an academical education? What right had I thus to clip their wings? Why should I come in the way of their taking degrees and choosing their own careers?... There are within my knowledge a number of young men today contemporaneous with my sons. I do not think that man to man they are any better than my sons, or that my sons have much to learn from them... Had I been without a sense of self-respect and satisfied myself with having for my children the education that other children could not get, I should have deprived them of the object-lesson in liberty and self-respect that I gave them at the cost of the literary training.

        "And where a choice has to be made between liberty and learning, who will not say that the former has to be preferred a thousand times to the latter?"

        The term 'liberty' that M.K.Gandhi has used here I believe is liberty to chose the subjects and the syllabi of education of the children. In fact the Mahatma wanted his children to pursue an education that made them not clerks and officials, but persons with self-respect and independent attitudes.

The book is of historical value and like all history lessons, Mahatma's autobiography gives us ideas we should apply in our life whenever there are choices to be made by us.

        What decisions the great men took when they encountered different situations, and what direction they turned to, when they came to a crossing in their lives, would be valuable to us in our pursuit of a better life. The present is different from the early 20th Century, no doubt, but the principles of life and concepts of morals are everlasting and applicable at all times.

        A copy of the book "An Autobiography or the Story of My Experiments with Truth" must be kept in every home for ready reference.

Continued in the right column
Continued from left column

        The world celebrates the 2nd October every year as the International Day of Peace, and the birth anniversary of the great Mahatma Gandhi of India.Mahatma Gandhi is regarded as the Father of the Nation. He is internationally known as the Apostle of Peace and of Non-Violence. But he is known as a stubborn Sathyagrahi also.

        The Mahatma was born on the 2nd October and this date is observed as the national holiday every year. It is a day which makes us think of the freedom struggle and the role of the Mahatma in the British exodus.If Mahatma did not take part in and become the leader of the freedom movement in India then we can not imagine what would have been the fate of the British Jewel in the Crown.

        It is possible that Mr. Jinnah would not have been the kind of politician he became. Mr. Jinnah would not have become the leader of the Muslims in India because it was the Mahatma who challenged the thinking of Mr. Jinnah off and on, and set him on the path of success as the chief spokesman for the Muslim League.

        India would not have won the Independence from the British in 1947 but the event would have taken place sometime in the 1960s, when the general trend was to give independence to the colonies, as demanded by the public opinion prevailing in USA and Europe, and also in USSR, China, Japan etc.

        If and When the British wished to grant independence to India in the 1960s India might have progressed well in social and technical fields and there would not have been the necessity for the Muslim League to ask for a separate Pakistan and India would not have been broken into two countries. Pakistan would have remained just a dream for the Muslims. The Muslims in British India might have preferred to keep India as it was and continue to hope for greater power in the governance.

        But these are only unfounded speculations, because Gandhi did take part in freedom struggle with such vigorous earnestness and focus that the British exodus came sooner than later, after the World War II ended. The military campaign of Subhash Chandra Bose added force to the demand for independence. India was too large for the British to control against the wishes of the Subjects and the Subjects were easily aroused by Mahatma Gandhi for a constant and continuous pressure on the British Parliament to ignore. Although one can imagine that the British were more than just generous to hand over the reigns of a valuable colony to the locals, their action of dividing the country into two nations was a blatant mischief. When Muslim League asked for a separate country for the Muslims they were not thinking of the two people, Hindus and Muslims as brothers. If Muslims behaved like the Christians did with Hindus then there would not have been a demand for a separate country for Muslims. It would not be out of place to suggest that the Sikhs, Jains, Pharsees and even Christians considered Hindus to be brothers, but not the Muslims. Hence there is no chance that Pakistan would ever behave in a friendly way with India. Our neighbour in the west will always be a thorn in our side.

        The Congress party has been trying to woo the Indian Muslims to make them friendly to India. In other words the Indian Muslims who still consider Pakistan as their darling are expected to support the policies of Indian government actively. The main injury the Indian Muslims would be inflicting on India would be supporting the terrorists from across the border. There are very few Indian Muslims that take part in the Lashkar-e-toiba movement, I guess, because otherwise there would have been many more terror acts in India than what is seen. The Indian Constitution protects Muslims equally and Indian Muslims do not have any complaints regarding the opportunities they get in India in education and jobs etc.

        It is not impossible to win over the Indian Muslims to co-operate with the administration at all levels because they are given equal opportunities in election and governing bodies.It is also not possible for the Hindus to win over the Indian Muslims to accommodate some of the Hindu demands such as the building of a Raam temple in the site where the Babri structure stood. If Jinnah was alive today I would not be surprised if Jinnah convinced Muslims to facilitate the Hindus to build such a temple. Like most of the Indian Muslims, Jinnah had the Hindu community around him in mind and considered the welfare of the Hindus as essential for the welfare of the Muslim community. But I am not sure if Gandhiji would have supported the Hindus and insisted on building a temple at the site. Both Jinnah and Gandhi wanted to play the role of a benevolent leader and there was a tussle as to who was more generous and accommodative. Gandhi would have made Hindus suffer in order to win the Muslims to his side but in vain.

(Concluded)

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