By RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR
Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace, who’s born 140 years ago — and, destined to “live” forever — recognised the chaos that follows when we deny our responsibility and proceed in pursuit of self-interest.
Gandhi summarised our responsibility for each other in his Seven Social Sins, a keynote on how social evil can run asunder. Politics without principle; wealth without work; commerce without morality; pleasure without conscience; education without character; science without humanity; and, worship without sacrifice
This was Gandhi’s genius, his vision — a powerful reminder of the times we now live in, and for tomorrow. Responsibility, for Gandhi, meant disciplining oneself — to live responsibly according to an “accountable” code, and setting a good example for others in doing so.
The inference is obvious. Responsibility helps us to move towards industrious independence and towards each other. It leads us to a perception that we are all together in an interdependent world, and worthy no matter what we own, or who we are by way of caste, colour, creed, race, career, status etc.,
It isn’t an easy equation, all right, for all of us to feel at ease. But, for a responsible person, as Gandhi espoused, the whole thing is celestial drama, or a Will of the Supreme Element.
Call it God, or what you may, you and I could elevate “oneself” by adopting an altruistic and patient disposition. In so doing, we become aware that acting unselfishly and/or kindly towards others begins by taking responsibility for [y]our impressions on them. It broadens the spaces we share, and makes us more comfortable to be with oneself too. The onus, therefore, is on us, and us alone, as Gandhi taught us, no matter our divergent perceptions.
We have to, in the troubled times we now live in, as Gandhi told us, foster the notion of thought at the heart of our responsibility to each other. This is something that begins early in life, and becomes eroded, at times, when we grow up. It’s also taking responsibility for our own costs, keeping in touch with the four — Fire, Air, Earth, and Water — elements of life.
It also, quite simply, means that we need to find the Gandhi in us — within ourselves — to lead a conscientious life.