Let us begin the issues for the month of October by remembering three extraordinary personalities who were born on October 2nd. A recent article highlighted the outstanding qualities of these three persons – Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Leela Roy.
The first anecdote relates to Mahatma Gandhi. Motilal Nehru always wondered at the unusual attachment of his son Jawaharlal Nehru to the Mahatma. In fact, he was not happy at the way Gandhi was influencing his son to forgo his career as a barrister and join the freedom movement. During an on-going non-violence movement Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested and thrown into jail. This dismayed Motilal Nehru and turned him against Gandhiji for dragging his son in to the movement. Gandhiji at the time was staying at Anand Bhawan, Allahabad. At night when everyone had retired, Motilal Nehru went to Gandhiji’s room, perhaps to express his anguish. But he was surprised to see his guest spreading a mat on the floor to prepare for the night. Taken aback he asked Gandhiji, ‘There is a bed in the room which you have been using all these days. Why are you preparing to sleep on the floor today?’ Gandhiji replied ‘Jawahar is in prison. He is sleeping on the floor. How can I sleep in comfort when he is going through such a trial?’ Motilal Nehru was deeply moved by Gandhiji’s genuine love for and attachment to his son and stopped resenting Gandhiji’s influence on Jawaharlal. This is an example of the sincerity of a true leader and his affection for his followers that drew everyone to his fold.
The honesty of Lal Bahadur Shastri is well known. So is his commitment to responsibility. As the Railway minister he did not hesitate to give up his ministerial berth when there was a railway accident because he felt that as the head of the organisation he had failed in his duty. This spirit of commitment and honesty percolated to his family members because he had taught by setting examples. As the Prime Minister of India he had taken a bank loan to buy a car. After his untimely death his window paid back the loan to the last coin.
Mrs. Leela Roy, born Leela Nag, was a committed freedom fighter who inspired many from a very early age. She worked steadfastly for freedom movement, taking grave risks. She published a magazine called ‘Jayashree’ that was managed entirely by women and after independence participated in government and social work with equal devotion.
Now a days such examples are rare to come by. Let us draw our inspiration from them and pray that more such leaders are born to lead our nation to peace, prosperity and justice.
Recently I have come across a very stimulating article by an unknown author who derives his inspiration from Yuval Noah Harari, a historian from Israel. Let me share the wonderful thought.
There are two Gods: About whom, we know nothing. When science fails to solve the mystery of the Universe, the cause behind our creation or cannot unravel the intricacies of the atomic and sub-atomic world, then we realise that it is impossible to get to the root of our very existence because it is controlled by an unknown, unfathomable eternal force. We bow down to this Force in great awe. This is God and we know nothing about this God. There is yet another God and we know everything about Him – whom He loves, which prayer He answers to, what diet He approves of. He is partial to His followers and approves persecuting those who do not follow Him. We create a divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’ in His name. The problem is we often mix up between these two Gods. We fail to realise that the first God has no interest in the rituals we observe, the lifestyles we lead. We never pray to the first God but venerate the other that we have created for our benefit. Let us kindle the faith in the first and build a bridge of love over a river of hatred. In this issue the article on the Mahatma is concluded. We are also happy to share the history of Kerala Brahmo Samaj.