HEARTBEATS : Gandhi – A Leader Par Excellence

Dedication: To my mother beloved who, I am sure, holds my hands eternally.

 October 2, 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born.  Two authentic political prodigies amongst us were prominent of that age, Lenin and Gandhi, who created revolutions single handedly in an extra-ordinary style.  Lenin worked against Human race and Gandhi for.  Gandhi proved that non-violence and peace are no less powerful weapons however powerful and tyrannical the government or an army may be.  He opened up most enduring and novel methods of conquests for humanity, especially the oppressed and the weak to follow in future generations.  He has proved that no power on earth can resist the aroused and disciplined spirit of men who are determined and prepared to die for their ideology.  Gandhi was prepared to die for his ideology, and that was his core strength.  When he was shot down on a Friday the 30th January 1948, he was already much above an individual, a family members, in fact he had become a legend, larger than life, and his departure really gave an impression that an army or a nation has collapsed, not an individual.  Thanks to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore who gave him the apt title ‘father of the nation’.  In fact, he should have called him ‘father of humanity’.

 With his departure humanity lost an extra ordinarily precious life, and a source of inspiration to millions that came to an abrupt end. Extra ordinary lives have always been subjected to inhuman attacks and systematic annihilation in human society.  It has happened with Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King Jr., Galileo, and many others who have stood for truth-absolute truth-beyond the comprehension of common psyche.  Even the Son of God Jesus Christ was not spared. 

 The demise of The Mahatma created shock waves all over the world. Tears were unstoppable even in the eyes of those who had not seen him in real life. They wept as if they had lost a close relative.  The UN lowered its flag, 110 countries mourned his departure from three to seven days. Government of India received 3441 and odd condolence messages from foreign nationals.  Such a big respect and reverence for a man who held no position of authority, had no distinction of scientific or academic achievement to his credit, except that he was a simple, true, and rare human being had never happened in human history.  

 A real leader has to always take extra ordinary decisions contrary to the prevailing customs and practices in the society matching with the ideology he is pursuing, and such disciplined approach only make him a leader par excellence. A true leader does things differently, of course, and The Mahatma has exhibited this exemplary quality through his own life as an example.

 Employing an untouchable at his home, at a time when untouchabilit was vehement in the society, relinquishing insurance policies and gifts worth thousands of rupees, much against the wishes of family members, fitting to a Vishnavite (a follower of Lord Vishnu), much against the wishes of family members, and in accordance with the real principles of Hinduism as proclaimed by Lord Krishna in The Bhagvad Geeta, which he had adopted as a way of life.   Being a Vishnavite he  strongly believed that all said and done life is a celebration.

 When he was in the high school, one day during the visit of education inspector, he misspelled the word ‘kettle’ disregarding the recommendation of the class teacher to copy it from the student next to him as he felt that such an act was not right.  Such clarity of mind and intimacy to truth was evident in his life right from childhood as an indication that he was destined to cross the barriers of ordinary human limitations.

He strongly believed in the universality of human soul, and the necessity to treat all human beings alike as part of that Universal Soul or “the children of God” in his own words.  He strongly believed that “everything must be sacrificed if necessary for that one sentiment, universality”. This is a principle known to all Hindus and all human beings with average common sense irrespective of caste, creed, geographic, economical, or social identity.

 The Mahatma has proved to the world the importance of self-discipline for greater achievements in life through the principle of “simple living and high thinking”, and how an ordinary person can become extra ordinary, how a poor and the weak can take on a mighty opponent, even if it’s an empire equipped with huge military, armaments, excellent political, and social management skills at its disposal. 

 At a time when there was no technological advancement, television, internet, computers, or social media platforms, a letter posted almost anywhere in India and most parts of the world would have reached him, even if only his photograph was affixed in place of address.  Such enigmatic charisma has been rare in human history. 

When he was thrown out of the train at Martizburg station in South Africa by the British officer, any common man in his position would have dusted his back and gone home, to look after his own business.  He, on the contrary, took the opportunity to prepare for a long-term war against oppression.  He could master-mind the moral war against the British with only peace and non-violence as tools, apart from a strong belief in selfless service, which truly has resulted in saving the lives of millions of our countrymen in the struggle for independence.  For the poor destitution is the strength, for the oppressed the struggle and the survival instinct are the strengths, and for our countrymen peace and non-violence were the tools against which the mighty British Empire had to bow down often.

 The contribution he has made in creating unity in diversity in our society, and taking the struggle for independence to the masses, is out of his exemplary quality as a leader par excellence. In reality we should call him ‘father of humanity’ as he is an inspiration even today to millions all over the world.  It will be difficult for the coming generations to believe that such a great human being has ever lived among us in real life and blood.    

 All over the world he is being talked about in colleges, universities, management institutes, and even at government level, making him a source of inspiration to make this world a better place to live. Other than Shakespeare he is a personality on whom maximum books have been written which occupy voluminous space in the libraries across the world.

He was above religion, above family, even above nation, and he was a leader of humanity and a product of divine creation.  He has also been the real inspiration to world leaders like late Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and many living legends include Barrack Obama, Suu Ki, and many more.  The impact he has made on humanity with his principle of peace and nonviolence is the unique contribution anyone has made for humanity in the last more than 100 years, and his principle of universal brotherhood would have fetched him Nobel Prize for Peace, had he been in any other country of the world.

 It is high time that we teach the total Gandhi in our schools and colleges by introducing a separate subject on him, like Shakespeare in English Literature, rather than histories of violent kings and rulers, to make our children better human beings, and the world a better place to live.  Today’s generation suffering from thought pollution badly need his ideologies.

 The material and scientific progress of humanity have failed to provide happiness and bliss humans have always yearned for.  People are more and more realizing the fact that there is some missing link beyond, there is some lack of meaning in life over and above these awesome achievements, leading to the realization of the fact that possibly the value systems pursued by leaders like Gandhi may help people to fill the gaps in life.  Gandhian philosophy, if adopted in practical life, may find solutions to many unanswered questions in human life.


Further Readings: 1. My Experiments With Truth (Autobiography of MK Gandhi), 2. Gandhi On Personal Leadership by Anand Kumaraswamy, 3. The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi by Robert Payne. 




HEARTBEATS 2021 : Who Dares Question Our Intelligence?

DEDICATION: To my mother beloved who, I am sure, eternally holds my hands

When it was reported that the attention span of gold-fish has become more than human beings, with twelve seconds and nine seconds respectively, the possible cause was attributed to the impact of social media making human brain redundant.  With abundance of knowledge and information floating around on the social media platforms available on the press of a button, the thrill of human brain to seek knowledge and enrich life has become less and less challenging.  Although in reality knowledge goes one way and life the other, the human challenge was to become more and more knowledgeable in life.  This thrill of life we are losing day by day due to knowledge explosion.

However, the reality is not so bad as per the reports in the Journal of Memory Study.   Research by Prof. Risko and Gilbert 2016 of two groups, one experts in using Google and the other with less expertise, it was found that the group who could use Google faster performed well than the other.  Yes, of course, the usage pattern of data through the social media has acquired momentum compared with the olden era of memorization.  In fact, just like the fire created by ancient man by rubbing stones life has taken us to LED bulbs, bullock carts to rockets, and so on, social media has transformed human life by leaps and bounds.  It is an alternative route discovered by human beings, called ‘cognitive off-loading’ and is the modern method of enhanced human intelligence.  It opened up a new vista, a new world, a new era, and a new trend for the human mind to explore.

Has availability of knowledge on finger tips actually reduced the human intelligence?  Actually not, as it opens up new and intelligent areas for the brain to explore.  The researchers ask a question, whether the calculators, computers,and other gadgets have actually reduced the capacity and intelligence of humans? No it has happened the other way because the world has become  a big platform.

Today my six-year-old grandson possess latest knowledge in making use of social media and finding answers to any problem.  The challenges also have increased.  People with specialized skills are in demand.  Those who can’t keep pace with the change have to be left out.  It will have the impact of virtual world affecting human body in different levels necessitating people with different skill levels to tackle them.  All the mechanical and at all levels repeat actions with no value additions are being subjected to automation.  Robots and new technologies are taking over the workplaces.  People across the world are loosing jobs.  The dictum “keep pace or be left our” has become a reality.

Today in many developed countries you won’t find people breaking rock pieces by hand in a road making process.  You won’t find a road roller with stone wheels.  Similarly you will find all workplaces getting transformed. It’s a pace of life.  The changes nobody can stop.  In fact the change is the perpetual factor.

My opinion is that the human intelligence has multiplied and it has developed the capabilities to handle multi tasking and meeting deadlines to achieve the objectives.  Only the life is shifting to a different level, probably the human body isexperiencing  limitations to withstand the virtual impacts.  Perhaps people are requuired to spend more energy, time, and resources to tackle the new life styles.  The mushrooming wellness clinics, gyms, investment patterns, life style changes, are staring at humanity with an unpredictable future.

HEARTBEATS invite you to open your heart and share your HEARTBEATS .  Let us start a discussion and enhance our knowledge to strengthen our capabilities to face the challenges of the future.  Please offer your comments on this site.  Thanks.




















HEARTBEATS 2021:Man Is Working Against Himself!

There will be no human being who, at least once, has not thought of committing suicide. This is due to the faculty of ability to think, judge, and evaluate, and the thing called intelligence.  This ability also ignites the ego or the process of feeling proud of one’s achievements and inability to face failure.  In the absence of this thinking process, human being will be living like other animals with the common purpose of eat and mate, and there will be no occasions for emotional imbalances.  You can’t find a tiger or a lion got dejected and committed suicide irrespective of the number of times they fail to get a prey, there is nothing called failure in their life.  .

The Police Horse Shaktiman which was brutally attacked by a member of Parliament in the state of Haryana in India in the recent past is an example of heightened human ego.  The expressions of the MP in the video give rise to an impression that the horse is an enemy of humans and the MP a savior.  The attack has resulted in amputation of its leg, and the horse could only stand for days before it succumbed to death.  Since Shaktiman is an official member of the police staff, an attack on it is actually an attack on the police force.

The fact that the horse was a means of mobility of human beings, much before the automobiles were invented, and it has been instrumental in transforming the lives of humans in the universe, actually demanded gratitude and support from humans, though it may not mean anything  today after the invention of supersonic jets and rockets.  In such circumstances, if humans become extremely egoistic and nurture the tendency to ignore the horse, it is natural, though deplorable on the part of humans.

There have been ordinary human beings in history who have proved themselves as extra ordinary like Alexander Graham Bell who invented the phone, Thomas Alva Edison who authored about 1100 discoveries most useful to humans, Isaac Newton who invented the gravitational pull of the earth, and many more.  They have been the torch bearers of human progress.  Along with all these gifted humans there have also been people like Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and many others who have adopted the aggressive way of life and spent their lives to prove their worth, and at the same time we also had ideologists like the Mahatma, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and the like who have led humanity to the path of oneness and love.  We have seen that the word God has emerged from ‘good’, and the word Devil has emerged from ‘evil’.  Thanks to Osho the revolutionary mystic and writer who has advocated this concept.  The fact is that God and Devil have existed all along side by side and will continue toi do so.

Human beings have experienced the menace of slavery and its impacts from ages, and though we claim to have eliminated slavery, actually it exists in various forms even in modern society, even inside our houses, though the life styles of humans have tremendously improved and progressed over the years, thanks to the efforts of some planners, policy makers, and administrators, who continuously worked on education, freedom of expression, civil liberties, and human rights due to which we have been able to enjoy quality life in many part of the world.

We have also seen that, apart from slavery, the industrialization process from the sixteenth century that our factories were mostly working with the hard labor of children. Children were made to work even for 18 hours a day in our factories, while all the fruits of economic progress were being enjoyed by the few who were owners of the factories.  Acute poverty, and sufferings have forced the parents to surrender to the temptations to put their children to work, and even today we find such stray cases  here and there.

Therefore, child labour, slavery, human trafficking, and exploitation of the weak and infirm, have been the areas of interest for many from time immemorial, and we have not been able to overcome these negativities of human nature completely.  Actually these negativities exist in different shapes and forms blocking the progress of humanity, in spite of continuous efforts of many to get them eliminated.  Like the horse which was a pride possession of humans such negativities too have existed and existence of terrorism, religious hatred, atrocities on fellow humans, and cruelty towards animals, all are examples.

Today we have to recognize the presence of far more superior thinking process and we have really become universal personalities.  Today even young girls are seeking partnership in marriage rather than a one-sided social contract.  We have spent our resources, time, and energy to make our students, especially the down-trodden, able minded and conscious citizens, by showing them the Martyrs like Bhagat Singh who faced the gallows with smile as our heroes, and consequently when we find that student leaders like Kanhaya Kumar emerging as exemplary leaders, and when they point fingers at us, standing by the constitution and complying with our recommendation to ask questions, we are unable to bear.  However, how long can we go on breaking such fingers?  How long can we bear the somber and gloomy situation that we are in today.