We need not conduct ourselves poorly with the government over the atrocities committed by certain individuals. Let our graciousness inspire them into giving us our freedom.
Creating the Centena
My father always said ‘If you keep your eyes open, you’ll learn something interesting every day.’ I haven’t always complied but I am happy when I learn something interesting. Like the relatively large number of people amongst family and friends who have access to memories of World War 1. The number of centenarians and near centenarians that we seemed to have direct or indirect access to.
There seemingly were many people to choose from not just from my family and friends but also from many noteworthy characters from history.
Take Indra Lal Roy, the sole Indian World War I flying ace. An admirable person and one of the seventy-four odd thousand Indians to die in the War. There’s something dashing and admirable about a fighter-pilot who died serving another country.
But Gandhi had allure as a topic. One can never learn enough about him and his thinking. I started reading about Gandhi and his ideology. There was much to learn and admire. What manner of a human being would not take advantage of his opponent’s weakness?
Fortunately there is an enormous amount of material on Gandhi available online. I looked at multiple sources to understand which aspect of his life during World War 1 was most interesting. He had been busy during World War 1 with matters not covered in my Centena. He led textile workers on strike and then agitated for reduction of land tax.
Even though I only read a little of the vast resources on Gandhi available, I got an insight into how uncompromisingly principled he was. It was never an act – there was a consistent set of values and principles that drove his behaviour. He learned to cut his own hair when a barber refused him service because of his skin colour. Later he stopped patronising a barber once he heard that the barber was refusing service to ‘untouchables’.
After reading about him, I understood why he didn’t agree with others that the Empire’s crisis was India’s opportunity. Instead, he believed India should provide unconditional support in Britain’s hour of need. He even argued stressing that loyalty was a necessity of citizenship.
He was never for exploiting a weakness and in his code, those that helped out were due acknowledgement for their support.
When the British didn’t withdraw from India despite Indians’ support during the war, he was not embittered by their actions. He didn’t lapse into an angry tirade or endorse the use of violence. All he did was train his sights on the British and request them to leave India as it was not theirs to rule. He then went on to make them leave.
Simple, dignified, principled – that was Gandhi in short. And if his goodness is mistook as naiveté, shame on those who think so.
26 is a group of writers whose purpose is to inspire a greater love of words in business and in life.