Some of us must have seen Richard Attenborough’s film on the life of Gandhi which was first screened in 1982. Though many critics say that the film was unfair to Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Subhas Chandra Bose; but taken as a whole, the film was a faithful portrait of Gandhi.
For the ‘Gandhians’ or ‘Gandhibadis’ (devoted followers of Gandhi), Gandhi was the apostle of nonviolence, the ultimate realty, another name of truth and a divine ‘avatar’ or incarnation. Gandhi neither did claim to be a prophet nor even a philosopher.
He was not even interested to leave a sect behind him after his death. For Gandhi, ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) was not a simple abstention from violence, but it had much higher, infinitely higher meaning. It is the most powerful tool for positive social change.Gandhi was the strongest symbol of non-violence in the 20th century India.
According to him, someone who is following the doctrine of nonviolence cannot harbor uncharitable thought, even in connection with those who consider his enemies. Such a man cannot have an enemy. Once this is achieved with ultimate sacrifice and self-suffering; his self-purification starts. Soon he finds himself in the ultimate stage of spirituality where he can conquer the whole world.
Gandhi advised us that we should deliver our lives and honor into the hands of our enemies who want to harm us. This submission, according to Gandhi, requires far greater courage than delivering of blows to the enemy.However there are many critics who have now appeared with a rather different view of Gandhi.
With solid arguments and a revisionist history, they depict Gandhi as a charlatan. They see Gandhi as a crafty politician, a ruthless manipulator posing as a religious leader and presenting a facade of spirituality. Some critics see Gandhi as incredibly dangerous and utterly stupid person.