Today, as we usher into 150th Birth Anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Bapu of Nation, I share my thoughts on Modi to Mahatma, a journey towards Gandhiji’s India.
In Young India, Gandhiji wrote “I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, in whose making they have an effective voice, an India in which there shall be no high class and low class of people, an India in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony… There can be no room in such India for the curse of untouchability or the curse of intoxicating drinks and drugs. Women will enjoy the same rights as men. This is India of my dream.” (Mani Bhavan, Mumbai).
With time, Gandhiji’s philosophy has become words rather than action. In 70 years we have not been able to cultivate habit of cleanliness among our citizens, making India dirtier day by day. Barriers of caste & religion are still there; vote banks politics has created more barriers. Women are still fighting for equality. Governments in past have tried their best to keep Gandhiji’s ideology alive, but, as we celebrate 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, India needs to do much to fulfill his dream of Swarajya which is possible only through Surajya, Good governance.
“Sanitation is More Important than Independence” – Mahatma Gandhi
For Gandhiji, cleanliness was Godliness. He made Cleanliness and Sanitation an integral part of Gandhian way of living. He wanted total sanitation for all. He wanted everyone to adopt cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation.
After becoming Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had launched “Swacch Bharat Mission” aimed at fulfilling Gandhiji’s dream of total Sanitation for all. Many mocked him; many found it as impossible task. We have made our country dirtier. Hygiene and keeping our cities/villages clean was never part of our lifestyle. Narendra Modi could have maintained status quo and could have carried other business like his predecessors. But, as Gandhiji has said “Be the Change you want to see in the world”, Narendra Modi initiated Swacch Bharat mission. It is sad that even after 6 decades of independence, Indian were still defecating in public due to lack of toilets at home. Over 6 crore toilets have been built across India under Swachch Bharat Mission. More than 3 Lakhs villages in 300 districts have been declared Open Defecation free across India. Swachch Bharat Mission is creating awareness among Indians about importance of cleanliness around us.
Cleaning Ganga and other rivers is another mission that, to some, seems mission impossible but public awareness and contribution will make it mission achieved.
“Khaddar (khadi) brings a ray of hope to the widows broken up home” – Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhiji, Khadi and Charkha have become synonyms of each other. Gandhiji promoted khadi as a part of swadeshi movement. In Harijan, 16-11-1934, Gandhiji wrote, “Khadi is the sun of the village solar system. The planets are the various industries which can support Khadi in return for the heat and the sustenance they derive from it”.
Even after Industrialization, weaving khadi is providing livelihood to thousands of families in India.
In his speech at the launch of the National SC/ST hub, and the Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) scheme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Ludhiana, PM Modi has said, “Khadi is a priority for us, and a charkha at home brings more income. Khadi is marketed well now. Adding that once upon a time, the apt slogan was ‘Khadi for Nation’, but now it should be ‘Khadi for Fashion’.”
In his Mann ki baat in April 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the people of India to buy khadi to support fellow citizens. As a result, there was huge jump in sale of Khadi. ‘Khadi for Fashion, Khadi for nation’ led to Khadi becoming fashion status.
Gandhiji said “Khaddar (Khadi) is an attempt to revise and reverse the process and establish a better relationship between the cities and villages”. In last four years, Khadi stores have opened in foreign countries. Khadi is being sold in Malls across India. Khadi sale has registered double digit growth, thus, strengthening rural economy. Narendra Modi has succeeded in establishing relationship between urban and rural India by reviving Khadi. India is adopting mantra “Khadi for Nation, Khadi for Fashion”.
“Future of India Lies in its villages” – Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhiji believed that India lives in its 7,00,000 villages. He said, “I would say that if the village perishes India will perish too. India will be no more India. Her own mission in the world will get lost.” He wanted ‘Gram Rajya’ in every village where villages had say in the local affairs, there was equality, cooperation, self sufficiency, decentralizations of power, and villages were governed by village panchayat.
Narendra Modi government’s ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’ is a step towards Swaraj through Surajya. Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana is about enabling the ‘poorest and weakest person’ in the village to achieve well being, affirming gender equality and ensuring respect for women, ensuring social justice, instilling dignity of labour and the spirit of community services and voluntarism, promoting a culture of cleanliness.
‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana’ aims at empowering employability of rural youth. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is to provide 24×7 power to rural homes & micro, small cottage industries. In last four years, 100% electrification of rural India has been completed by Modi Government.
“Our struggle does not end so long as there is a single human being considered untouchable on account of his birth” – Mahatma Gandhi
For Gandhiji, untouchability was a heinous crime against humanity. Even after 70 years of independence, intouchability, manual scavenging remains matter of shame and concern for us. In “India of My dreams”, Gandhiji wrote “There can be no room in such India for the curse of untouchability.”
Elimination of poverty through financial empowerment is one of the ways of eradicating untouchability. When Narendra Modi talks about ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’, he talks development of all irrespective of caste or religion. Dalits, Tribals, OBCs need opportunity to grow.
Launching of MUDRA bank with the corpus of Rs. 20,000 crores and a credit guarantee of Rs. 3,000 crore is an effort to help Dalit, tribal and OBC entrepreneurs. Narendra Modi has urged banks to give loans to Dalits and tribals for start-ups. Out of 12 crore beneficiaries of Mudra Loan, over 2 crore 18 lakh beneficiaries belong to the Scheduled Castes.
“To call Woman the weaker Sex is a Libel” – Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhiji strongly advocated equality for women. He believed considering women as weaker sex is an injustice towards them. When it comes to mental power, women are far more superior to men.
He always advocated on gender equality, widow remarriages & women education. In Harijan (27-2-1937), he wrote “Education enable women to uphold their rights”.
As a CM of Gujarat, Narendra Modi laid special stress on women empowerment and girl child education. ‘Beti Bachao’ and ‘Kanya Kelavani’ were his pet projects. To promote education among girl child, he auctioned mementoes he received and donated money towards Kanya Kelavani program. The program saw 100% enrollment of girls in educational institutions.
As a PM, Narendra Modi’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” is one of his missions at National level. Toilets in every home are missions wherein women don’t have to go out in open to defecate.
From Nari Shakti theme on republic day to appointing a woman as Raksha Mantri, PM Modi has saluted women power. Mudra Loan has financially empowered women. 50% beneficiaries of MUDRA loan are women beneficiaries. Nearly 4 crore gas connections have been given under ‘Ujjwala Yojana’.
Well, this not an attempt to compare Modi with Mahatma. I never like to compare two individuals; it’s an attempt to show that Gandhiji’s philosophy is still relevant even after six decades of his death. PM Modi is only following what Gandhiji said: “Be the Change you want to see in the world”.