EKLA CHALO RE!
Drawn from one of his favourite compositions by Rabindranath Tagore, he drew power from the lyrics of EklaChalo Re (Walk Alone, if you must). The Gandhian pedagogy flourished in the sense when he never asked anyone to do anything, but he showed people how to do it. This Gandhi Jayanti, let us reminisce the brand of the Mahatma, the one he built on honesty and has continued to enlighten and empower people for centuries.
Reverence and respect fail to testify the vision and mission of the Father of the Nation. As a paragon of a visionary who secured the liberation of India from the rule of the largest empire in the world, generations to come will barely believe that such man in flesh and blood ever walked on the Earth, who was understood by the educated and the poor alike and rose as a beacon of hope for people who wanted a life of equality, dignity, inclusion, and empowerment.
It was enigmatic how the astonishing phenomenon of the revolution was led by a saint, yet the archetypical moral force had a universal and lasting appeal. During the time when the nation drenched in commotion, he silently prepared for Dandi March, broke the Salt Law and heralded the revolutionary shift in subtle ways of non-cooperation movement, boycott of foreign goods, Delhi Chalo by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, and led to a declaration of war against the British rule ultimately.
His thoughts, words and deeds relied neither on power or weapon to connect and empower the masses. In the capacity of a lawyer, a politician, an activist and writer, his actions aligned with causes and he practiced what he preached. Though he did not have all the answers, he always asked the right questions. He challenged every Indian to interrogate the notion of nationalism, and his piercing vision saw more than what was visible to the eye; he could see through the soul. And yet, through his eyes, the world saw the shining light of humanity; indicative from his belief in the piousness and purity of God in every thread that he drew on the spinning wheel.
Satyagraha or non-cooperative, passive resistance or nonviolence, salt march, in or spinning wheel weren’t just political struggles for him, they were potentials of revolutionizing the entirety of Indians toward self-respect and self-reliance. His understanding and farsightedness in lieu with the reality behind self-sufficiency, sustainability, or acknowledgment made him the man of knowing the truth, which makes sense of every fight he made up using a weapon.
His strategies were as much aimed at building the new social and economic order, as it was a strong boycott of industrialism that had made man a puppet at the mercy of machines and mammon. With his astounding and progressive notion of India rising to a new dawn, he wanted luxury in the true and honest sense. He motivated the citizens to pursue nationality over religion in the strife for a future where every He promoted human welfare through coexistence and cooperation in a patriotic, philosophical and spiritual belief. He prophesized that one needs to handle oneself with the head and handle others with the heart. In hatred he saw love, in fear he saw courage, in cruelty, he saw kindness, in anger he saw humanity, in struggle he saw peace.
His uncommon knack of the sentiment that the vast number of India had to find even minimal comfort; the countryside had to work equitably in the new normal that defined the identity of the nation. He gave his sweat, tears and blood to shape the village in a new era as well equipped and installed with perfect sanitation, as his firm belief in the “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” prodigy, for natural light and ventilation of the households, planted courtyard that vegetables, grains, fruits and khadi, wells that were accessible to all and a place of worship, cooperative dairy, panchayats and schools to support the holistic development of the young generation.
He emphasized that the economic liberation of the Indians couldn’t be separated from political liberty. The production of one’s own clothing with locally grown produce without relying on high-cost foreign clothing helped Indians share the profit and reduce the dependence on the British men, a weapon that made Swadeshi Movement visible and uprooted the British rule by forcing shut down of mill in Lancashire.
Khadi as a way of life reaffirmed and reassured every person that toiling hard at the spinning wheel of a metaphor for the patience required to spin the thread of Swaraj, while the Charkha was an embodiment of the constructive program in realigning us to our innate identity. More than the mere ethic of equality of all men in law and on land, it made way for a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. It was an exemplary medium of consuming only what you can produce, to which production of homespun cloth was a manifestation. The natural fibre was an austere and simple indication of values cherished by the wearer. The bond of unity between class was persistently and consistently revamped for every Indian to practice spinning for an hour every day as a duty towards the nation and to develop empathy with the poverty-stricken and backward classes, uplifting them to rise in self-sustenance.
It intersected with the bond of unity between the classes and masses. By way of planting and harvesting their own raw material, engaging in spinning, weaving whatever is needed, dying fabrics and generation of more jobs of sewing and tailoring, it offered support to women in the rural areas as an indispensable paradigm shift and addressed social problems on various levels. The Khadi spirit was surrounded with simplicity and patience and instilled dignity in hand labour. It is still representative of India’s pride, values and emotion as the freedom fabric has transcended into the will of nurturing our handicrafts and associated industries.
His humane economic model symbolized the homogeneity, absence of status, simplicity. He recognized that industrialization made the pursuit of wealth the goal and disturbed equilibrium between man and nature, and advocated sympathy, sensitivity and support for a need-based against the greed-based lifestyle. In true sense, that was what the luxury of honesty was, the values inseparable from each other and running freely to break the shackles of differences between the rich, the poor, the capital and the labour, the prince and the peasant.