Read today some parts of Selected Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, by Ronald Duncan. Many times, when I read such books, I don’t feel like reading them continually or get bored at some point, when I feel it’s not possible to focus anymore. But this was exception. As if I was reading a story, I could comprehend at every point and felt that Ronald Duncan was extremely lucky to have spent some quality time with this great man.
One of the great comprehensions that I could sense in Gandhi’s entailing of facts - Ronald Duncan says, I began to understand what he meant by the relation of religion to politics. ‘Every act’ he would repeat almost daily to me, ‘has its spiritual, economic and social implications. The spirit is not separate. It cannot be.’
He details a great experience with Gandhi about how he handled the filth in the village around Wardha where he was staying that time. The villagers didn’t have the slightest idea of cleanliness and used to even scatter their excreta around the village. Gandhi didn’t say them a word. He did not preach. Instead he started lifting the excreta himself and burying it. After some time villagers joined him and the area was cleaned. It just shows his ability to act without pretense and his true devotion to the underprivileged people. His actions spoke thousand words.
Even Gandhi’s positive thinking about his prison days is enthralling. Ronald says, “His dignity lay in the acceptance of every humiliation.”
When I had read “My Experiment with Truth” I was alarmed by Gandhi’s frankness and his nobility to accept his faults. Through the books I have read, I haven’t found till date such frankness and ability to condemn oneself so assuredly for some unknowingly done wrong things. Felt only if we have this single quality of acknowledging our faults, we would be far better human beings to live in the positively disposed society.
He says, “I am not a God,’ he used to complain to me, ‘if the truth were known I am tempted more than most men – but perhaps less than those who are sinners.’
That says it all!