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Gandhian values needed now more than ever

Even as you read this, fighting is raging on in the oldest city in the world, Damascus, as rivers of blood continue gushing through Syria torn apart by a civil war. In Afghanistan, a suicide bomber has blown up 14 in what has now become a depressingly familiar scenario, while elsewhere an investigation is on into the deaths of striking miners in South Africa. And we have not even covered half of the violence raging in the world: this is only a small selection of recent headlines. But it is enough to give us an indication of the strife and unrest that pervades and intensifies by the day the world over.

Yet, this kind of violence — which grabs the slots on the global news is only part of the story. We are dealing with increasing violence, small wars, internal strife and aggression in our own small worlds too. Think of the threats that are exchanged everyday between angry drivers on the roads, and how small collisions can result in violent incidents of road rage. Senior citizens are murdered over money and siblings knife each other over a share of property.

Just recently, many people lost their lives after Muslims rose up in violent protests over a film insulting their religion. While the film, Innocence of Muslims was undoubtedly provocative, it was horrific to see innocent blood being lost over a movie.

As terrorism casts increasingly dark shadows and the sceptre of a World War III raises its ugly head, it is ironical that we even mark the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi today. One may not agree with the politics of the apostle of non-violence and peace. Yet, we cannot help but note the irony.

In an increasingly violent world, where clashes on every level threaten to consume us entirely, Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy seems more relevant and needs to be adopted more urgently than ever.  

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