The name of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (M. K. Gandhi), popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhiji or Gandhi Bapu hardly needs any introduction. Born on October 2nd 1869 in Porbandar of Gujarat state in western India, Gandhiji rose from a British educated lawyer to civil rights activist in South Africa and later became world famous with his exceptionally orchestrated Indian freedom struggle. He was pioneer of 'Satyagraha' movement, which means resistance of (British) oppression through the medium of mass civil-disobedience founded upon principles of non-violence. Gandhiji not only successfully lead Indian National Congress to win Independence for India from the British rule but also inspired civil rights and freedom movement across the globe.
Though Gandhiji's political contribution was gigantic, he influenced Indian populace on economical, social, cultural and spiritual level as well. He defied taboos and social structure, fought for the alleviation of poverty, for the liberation of women, for equality among various castes and gave dignity to untouchables. He was instrumental in bridging the wide gap between upper and lower castes.
Gandhiji's economic agenda was to empower common man with means to earn his livelihood and thus to make the nation economically self-sufficient. He inspired poor villagers to make and wear cotton clothes using charkha (spinning wheel) and to reject foreign clothes and goods. Apart from winning hearts of ordinary Indians with his exemplary simple lifestyle, he inspired masses to lead a modest, disciplined and contained life and thus became the 'Father of the Nation' in true sense.
While Gandhiji's political leadership became legendary, his spiritual contribution put him in a different orbit. Though Gandhiji never wore saffron clothes or took sanyas (relegated worldly duties), he became revered spiritual figure of his time as he represented, lived and exemplified highest values like truth, non-violence (and vegetarianism), detachment, brahamacharya (abstinence or celibacy) in his day-to-day life. Inimitable faith in Supreme being and prayer as a medium to reach Him made him mahatma, a great soul.
Shri Yogeshwarji, great Gujarati saint and literate of modern times was immensely inspired by the life and works of Gandhiji early in his youth. Though he was unaware of Gandhiji's role and his ideology at that time, he developed reverence and affection for Gandhiji.
Yogeshwarji believed that it require immense courage and uprightness to stay in midst of politics and yet remain detached from its vices. Gandhiji entered into politics as it was the need of the hour but he lived the life of an ascetic. Yogeshwarji's love for motherland and India's freedom emotionally attached him to Gandhiji and his philosophies. Though he only saw Gandhiji from distance during his college days and never personally met this great soul, he felt internally connected to him. Yogeshwarji led very simple life, wore only khadi clothes, stayed away from pomp and publicity and worked selflessly till the end of his life like a true karma yogi, thus imbibed Gandhiji's principles in his personal life.
On Gandhiji's birth centenary year, Yogeshwarji decided to pay his homage with a grand poem covering major events highlighting Gandhiji's life. Moraraji Desai, former Primer Minister of India wrote preface for this book and Kaka Kalelkar, noted Gujarati writer wrote introduction.
'Gandhi Gaurav' is in a way a manifestation of Yogeshwarji's love and reverence for his idol and a hero. What else could be a fitting tribute to Gandhiji on his birth centenary ?
મહાત્મા ગાંધીજીના જીવન અને કાર્યો પર શ્રી યોગેશ્વરજી રચિત મહાકાવ્ય 'ગાંધીગૌરવ'માં પ્રસ્તુત થયેલ પસંદગીની રચનાઓ.
The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.