Eric Yollick, Guest Reporter to The Golden Hammer
Irving, October 7 – On Sunday, October 6, 2019, Governor Greg Abbott delivered remarks at the 150th Birth Anniversary Celebration for Mohandas Gandhi in Irving, Texas. The Governor discussed the enduring bond between India, Texas, and the Indian-American community, and highlighted the importance of Gandhi’s teachings of peace in the modern world.
Gandhi came to have the nickname, the “Mahatma,” which means “great souled” in Sanskrit. The nickname certainly applied to this British-trained lawyer who began his career in South Africa but returned to his native land to lead the quest for independence from the British Empire.
Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader, because he did, indeed, have strong adherence to principles of both personal behavior and public morality. He stuck to principles of “non-violence” through his entire political career, even in the face of violent responses from the opposition.
Gandhi’s fundamental belief was the concept of sarvodaya, which means “uplift of all” in Sanskrit. After the Mahatma read John Ruskin’s treatise Unto This Last, he decided to translate and paraphrase the book into his native language, Gujarati. Gandhi’s sarvodaya had far more structure than Ruskin’s philosophy. Basically, sarvodaya follows three basic philosophical beliefs:
- That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
- That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s in as much as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
- That a life of labour, i.e., the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.
Those principles can be remarkable and highly motivational, unless a politician turns them into a basis for socialism. Gandhi never did that, however. Gandhi believed in finding the broad means to achieve the “good of all” and was open to free market capitalism as the method of doing so.
An assassin’s bullet ended Gandhi’s opportunity to put his philosophical principles into practice, when Gandhi lost his life in New Delhi on January 30, 1948, less than six months after the British Empire formally recognized Indian independence.
As part of the celebration, Governor Abbott also paid floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, and toured the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza — the largest memorial for Mahatma Gandhi in the United States.
“The bond between India, Texas, and the Indian-American community is deeply rooted in our shared values of family, community, and freedom,” said Governor Abbott. “These are the same values that Mahatma Gandhi advocated for, and they are the foundation for greater cultural understanding. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, it is my hope that all who visit this memorial today, tomorrow, and all the years to come will be reminded of his teachings of peace, harmony, nonviolence, and unity.”