I am currently reading 3 books by three of the biggest names of the last century. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Bill Clinton. Actually I am not reading Bill Clinton but more of listening to his autobiography. The other two books are:
> The story of my experiments with truth (The autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi)
This is perhaps my 3rd reading of Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography. I am not much of a religious person and unfortunately also have minimal knowledge about religious books. So Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography comes closest to a holy book for me.
Einstien has said “I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil. ”
He further adds “Mahatma Gandhi’s life achievement stands unique in political history. He has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country, and practised it with greatest energy and devotion. The moral influence he had on the consciously thinking human being of the entire civilized world will probably be much more lasting than it seems in our time with its overestimation of brutal violent forces. Because lasting will only be the work of such statesmen who wake up and strengthen the moral power of their people through their example and educational works.
We may all be happy and grateful that destiny gifted us with such an enlightened contemporary, a role model for the generations to come.”
Its truly unbelievable that Gandhi could think so differently and make a nation follow him. If only the politicians of today stopped using Gandhi for their own political benefit and actually applied a samll portion of his teachings we would be far better off.
Its ridiculous that riots started after Gandhi’s assassination or that in protest of a recent play that showed Gandhi in poor light, the party workers burnt the play organizer’s bus and tried to forcibly stop the screenings. These would have been the last things that Gandhi would have wanted. Also the silly uses to which the politicians have put Gandhi’s name, has led to the next generation in India being disillusioned and very few have regard for Gandhi. I too did not have high regard for Gandhi until I came across the Gandhi movie and then the books.
I could not believe what I saw and read. We are all genetically programmed to respond in a certain way to certain stimulus. So if someone troubles you, you fight him. That’s what would be our natural reaction. To bravely take the blow and have no hatred for the oppressor was unheard of.
Initially peaceful resistance was beyond my comprehension. However as I read more and let the ideas grow on me, they had a magical effect.
I have tried to adopt Gandhi’s teachings and have been successful to a certain extent. There’s a lot more to be learnt and adopted. The British may not still be ruling over Indians yet there’s so much wrong happening all around that needs to be changed.
> Discovery of India (Jawaharlal Nehru)
This book is a must read for any Indian. Unless you are well aware of your history you cannot understand or comment on the present. This is the first book by Jawaharlal Nehru that I am reading. It’s good to see that the freedom fighter and later Prime Minster of India was a well read, well traveled, erudite and sensible man.
Nehru takes you through Indian history right from the epics to Buddha’s time and gradually to the present. It’s a great journey. How I wish everybody read such books, as it would surely lead to a lot less social turmoil. Those trying to force things down people’s throats under the name of culture would see how cultures change and evolve over centuries. The role of religions like Buddhism,Hinduism and Islam in India’s past is particularly interesting to read. Actually the discussion on religion in Gandhi’s book is also thought provoking.
>> Bill Clinton Autobiography
Bill Clinton has surely been the most charismatic world leader in the recent past. I haven’t still got very far into the book. I have been through Clinton’s experiences at the time of Vietnam, how he met Hilary and how he became governor.
Will write more on all the books soon.