Be aware of power that the power corrupts; you are there to serve the villages and the poor, said Mahatma Gandhi when asked whether he has any advice for the new government after independence. He was in Calcutta trying to restore peace between Hindus and Muslims when every other leader was in New Delhi celebrating the great achievement after long struggle. We got freedom from British but we had much more problem within our country and among ourselves. How could we claim to be free when many other social issues have confined our mind, body and soul? When there is poverty, communal violence everywhere, exploitation, violence against men, women and children, disease, injustice, discrimination on the basis of caste system etc, how could somebody like Mahatma Gandhi celebrate? He didn’t dream just the freedom from British but a complete India, a prosperous India where the last person in the village corner prospered.
Prosperity is not just the kind of development we hear every day. It is the well-being of nation and its people and everybody else in the whole world. I think well-being should include health, education, safety and social security, personal freedom, opportunity, good governance, sustainable economy, good social relationships, respect and dignity, food and water security, better environment etc. There are many things to be considered when we talk about well-being or prosperity than just the economic development. This is the reason that I interpret Mahatma Gandhi not celebrating our freedom from British rule.
Today we have a sort of similar situation. A new government has been elected for 5 years. Many are celebrating, some are sad, some are hopeful, some are saying good days are coming, some are debating, some are just waiting to see what’s next. But I see one man who is not celebrating it the way other are doing, who is slow in speech after the victory, that’s Mr. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister -elect himself. Why is that the person who was talking the most during the campaign is talking the least now? Is he busy with his thoughts? He is not celebrating the ultimate power that county has given him. I think he is not overwhelmed by the power but by the responsibility that country has put on him. There are many things can be derived from his speech at the Central Hall of Parliament. He is not celebrating as much as his other party members. I think, he has taken the election victory as a huge responsibility to be carried out than just to be celebrating for the powerful position that the people of our country has given him. After the election result, I can see another side of Mr. Modi. He is speaking a different language than before. “We are here in the temple of democracy. We will work with all purity… not for the designation but for the people of the country. Work and responsibility are the biggest things.” “Government’s motto will be with everyone and for everyone’s development” said Narendra Modi. I think Mr. Modi realizes what Mahatma Gandhi said about power. If he does then definitely we will have good governance and we can be hopeful that better days are coming.
Now, lots of debates are going on in every corner of the country, the debate is on what issue is more important and what issue the new government should undertake first? Nobody knows what is going to come and how much change this government can bring but we can hope for the best. As long as the development process is inclusive and sustainable, Security and human rights have been given priority and our parliament is filled with the discussion about the uplifting and empowering the last person and community, we are in the right direction.
Coming back to what Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be aware of power that power corrupts”. Yes it does. We witness this in both small and bigger setup everyday. Power manipulates and corrupts. It diverts the attention of many leaders from the ultimate vision and responsibility ahead of them. Therefore I believe, Mahatma Gandhi’s advice is still the best advice for any government in this time.
God Bless you and our Country