Dear Mahatma Gandhi,
Just a few days over fifty-eight years ago, you were assassinated. The man had made several attempts on your life, and on January 30, 1948, while on your way to prayer, Nathuram Godse, killed you. But instead of focusing on your death, I’m going to focus on your life. You were a person whose wisdom continues to inspire, and to give hope. You weren’t one to sit idly, or to simply wish for change. Instead, you inspired two nations – South Africa, and your home, India, to demand change.
“What barrier is there that love cannot break?” –An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth
You developed your theory of peaceful protests into an accepted, and powerful political movement. You personally tasted the bitter drink of racism, and eventually led peaceful protests against it, which helped you take on the name of Mahatma, or Great Soul.
You, raised within a Hindu community, with Jainism influences, traveled to Britain at a young age, where you were exposed to Buddhism, Christianity, among other religions. Instead of turning away from them, and parading your own belief system as the best or the only, you embraced them all.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.” –The Story of My Experiments with Truth
You changed your usual attire to one of a loincloth, thereby encouraging your fellow Indians to buy, and wear khadi, Indian hand spun material, thus providing work for Indians throughout the nation.
You promoted, and worked tirelessly for peaceful Hindu-Muslim relations, and determinedly called for Indian independence. You demanded equality between men and women, and you opposed the Untouchable status.
“The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth.” –An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth
Your wisdom is still powerful, and celebrated, and may it always be. Our world is full, even brimming, with love, but there remains a strong, and constant pull of intolerance, and hate, in all corners.
And this is where I leave you: The world still needs your vision, your compassion, and your ability to accept and love everyone from all backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, or religion.