10/01/2011, 00.00
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International Day of Nonviolence, the spirituality of Gandhi against corruption

by Anthony Charanghat
The comment of the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mumbai on the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi for an Indian nation now “devoured by corruption, consumerism and violence. "
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Tomorrow, the anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, we celebrate the International Day of Nonviolence, sponsored in 2007 by the UN General Assembly. Recognized in India as the "Father of the Nation" and nicknamed Bapuji by his followers, for Gandhi satyagraha was the only legitimate way to obtain political rights. According to Father Anthony Charanghat, a spokesman for the archdiocese of Mumbai and director of Catholic Communications, today, we are "devoured" by corruption and consumerism; we need the courage, character and charisma of Mahatma. Below, we publish a reflection by the priest, who is also director of the diocesan weekly newspaper The Examiner, on Gandhi’s legacy.

Today, when we are engulfed by the dark forces of corruption, consumerism and carnage in our country, we need the courage, character and charisma of Mahatma Gandhi who dared to speak the truth, was ready for sacrifice to purify his character, and relied on non-violence to overcome violence, so that he could lead our nation to freedom from the bondage of oppression and evil.

On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, as we reflect on his principles of satya (truth), tyaag (sacrifice) and ahimsa (non-violence), we get a glimpse of a genuine Gandhian which is a far cry from the claims of our netas(political leaders).

Satyagraha for Gandhi was the only legitimate way to earn one’s political rights. Satyagraha is fundamentally a way of life, of truth and sacrifice, which guides the modes of political activism undertaken by the followers of its principles (or satyagrahis). On the political front, satyagraha involves utilization of non-violent measures to curb the opponent, and ideally to convert him rather than to coerce him into submission. A satyagrahi wants to make the evil-doers see the evil that they are indulging in and realise their injustice.

Gandhi talked about self-sacrifice all the time. The key to his daring achievements lies in his own abstemious living. He firmly believed that the more we purify our lives, the more our lives will serve God’s work to end war, poverty, and injustice. He gave away his money and personal possessions, renounced his career, moved to a communal farm, made his own clothes, dressed like the poorest Indian peasants, and shared their meagre diet of fruits and vegetables.

Gandhi challenged people of faith to recognise the hypocrisy in their lives. He argued that we cannot go to church, synagogue and mosque one day, and the next day sanction war, support executions, foster racism, or pay for nuclear weapons.

Bapuji, as the beloved Father of our Nation was reverently called, also acknowledged that his most powerful weapon was prayer. Through his daily meditation, he came to believe in the presence and nearness of God in day-to-day life. These characteristics of the spirituality of non-violence are a must for a true Gandhian who wishes to effectively transform the present political scenario and
liberate the country from corruption.

Nirmala Carvalho collaborated
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