Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Gandhi and religion

The ordinary Indian, as I see in my village people, is deeply religious. And Gandhi, also in deep religiousness, struck a  chord.

'One man, however, could always sway a mass meeting of workers with the power of his own simple and holy faith. I saw Mahatma Gandhi address some sixty thousand persons on the grounds of the town hall…

‘When Gandhi mounted the platform and bowed to the people, a wild shout of welcome arose. “Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai!” echoed against the distant hills. Here, I saw, was a great man. This frail framework of bone and muscle clothed in a few yards of homespun cloth had, through his love for his fellow men, attained the lonely grandeur of greatness. It seemed to me that this was no longer a labor meeting, but convocation of men to hear the voice of one they believed holier than they.

‘Gandhi raised his hand to still the deafening acclamation. The gesture commanded complete silence. Then he began to speak, to exhort each man to give his utmost effort in the knowledge that God would watch over him. Above all, he urged abstemiousness in all things, and complete faith in prayer. He spoke like a man inspired. I wondered what would happen in an American labor meeting if a union leader tried to persuade the men to depend on God, to offer prayers for better working conditions!

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