When anything is talked about Gandhiji the most common terms associated with him are nonviolence, truthfulness and many such terms in similar lines. Are these the things that he actually taught?……… We glorified him with the title of Mahatma and then as the father of the nation, and followed it were stories about his life. Perhaps someone took him too seriously when he said that ‘my message to people is my life’, and hence all we know about him is through what he did in his life, the way he achieved Indian independence through non-violence, the way he shook the British empire by satyagraha and mass arrests, the way he promoted communal harmony, and many many more similar incidents.
But still something remains on what we achieve by bestowing him with the title of ‘Father of the Nation’, are we to follow nonviolence and truthfulness, well that doesn’t seems easy, but that’s what is being taught to us. We are asked to follow nonviolence, and be truthful since childhood, and thus we limit Gandhiji’s philosophy to personal conduct. As we have just seen him through his life story, for us Gandhiji becomes a role model for personal conduct, weather we achieve it or not.
So in today’s term has Gandhi become a word equivalent to socially desired personal conduct? Does father of the nation have nothing more to offer?……..well I guess his philosophy has been leftout in glorifying his personal life.
If we could analyze what he did, we can see that all his acts were based on one single fact of concentrating on the roots of the problem……. This still holds true, all our problems could be solved if we try to concentrate on the roots of the problem.
Gandhi was insistent on development of villages, but Nehru concentrated on building a modern nation through cities, well now we have realized that the root cause of all the problems in cities lies in the villages, better villages means better cities.
This philosophy of Gandhiji has such a great implication in urban design.
Today we are mad about wider roads, while the root cause of congested roads doesn’t lie in the width of the road but in the requirement to travel. Every city has been trying to solve its traffic problems by facilitating the movement of people (weather by better car movement or better public transport), but if we could reduce the demand for travel then we actually won’t need wider roads.
The current planning and urban design setup emphasizes so much on designing a place, but we should spend more time understanding the problem. If the root cause of the problem is identified then we would have automatically better cities.
Concentrate on the roots, well that would be the best honor that we can give to the father of our nation….