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A person whom I admire

Ideals vary with regard to everything. Every man has his own ideal
of human greatness. Some worship the man of power, some look up for
inspiration to the silent, patient worker, who is dedicated to knowledge,
some trying to keep the torch of science and philosophy. There are others,
again, who love the man of action. And there may be others also, who are
impressed by the man who obeys the inner call and renounces the world
and dedicates himself to duties of love and service. But my ideal of a
great man is something different from any of those mentioned above. A
great man, in my opinion, must be, above all littleness, - the petty
jealousies and prejudices that afflict the ordinary man. He must be
dedicated to a noble ideal, entirely selfless, free from all narrowness,
truthful in speech, fearless in action, but polite in manners and yet a lion
in spirit. Such a man is, no doubt, rare. But I had one who fulfilled all
these. He is Mahatma Gandhi and I admire him the most.

Born on October 2, 1869 be had the usual education of the son of


well-to-do Indian parents. He spent a few years at school where from he
matriculated; and then, against much opposition, he went to England,
where he qualified as a barrister. But from the moment that he learnt to
think for himself, he followed the path of truth. He subsequently went to
South Africa and there he discovered his true vocation. He found the
Indian community suffering under the most humiliating indignities. He
took up the cause of his countrymen and organized the famous ‘passive
resistance’ movement on Tolstoyan principles. For ten years he struggled,
suffering imprisonments and other punishments. In the end he succeeded
in getting many of the anti-Indian laws amended.

In 1915 he returned to India. In course of the next few years, he


became a political leader whose integrity ever one came to admire and
whose convincing arguments few could resist. In an age of violence he
fearlessly preached and practiced the gospel of non-violence. To the
unarmed people of India, he brought the weapons of non-co-operation
and civil disobedience. He felt in himself the woeful poverty of this
people and literally put on a beggar’s robe show his identification with
their cause. For wearing a loin-cloth Winston Churchill jeeringly called
him the ‘half-naked’ Fakir. But nothing would deter Gandhiji. Beggar
though he made himself, no prince could match his dignified self-
assurance. He spoke without rhetoric, but his eloquence touched the
inmost chords of out heart. He went to the round table conference in
London in 1932 to get justice for his countrymen. In prison or in other
places his mind remained serene. His heart was big with love and
sympathy for humanity. But he always retained the logic of a scientific
thinker. He did know what his people wanted, the freedom that meant
life, the food they were denied, - and out of his knowledge came his plans
for giving them food, flag and freedom. In his Satyagraha of 1931 these
ideals were upheld.

Nothing became him so well as the end of his life. Freedom had
come, but with freedom had come communal passion. Hindus and
Muslims, on both sides of the Border, were cruelly killing each other. The
frail old man, on the verge of his seventy-eight years, went from place to
place, seeking to establish peace and goodwill where there were enmity
and strife. He went to Noakhali to soothe and assuage the feelings of the
Hindus who had suffered from Muslim atrocities. He went to Patna to
heal the sufferings of the Muslims. He went to Delhi and each day he
preached love and communal amity in his postprayer meetings. In one
such meeting, on 30th January, 1948 an insensate fanatic, unable to bear
his message of goodwill, shot him dead. It was a noble death, much like
that of Christ’s crucifixion.

His passing away marks the end of a memorable apoch that has
bequeathed an undying legacy to posterity. Succeeding generations will
never willingly let die Gandhijis achievements. Humanity will realize a
fresh way of peace that was Gandhijis article of faith as the apostle of
Non-violence. Let us revere his memory by preaching – “Peace upon
earth and goodwill to all men”.

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