Gandhi Explanatory Essay About His Views on Charity and Humility
Gandhi may not have written simply for the sake of writing. Thought and writing were always tools in his arsenal to help him act more effectively. They were used to solve a complex problem in his head or the heads of his coworkers. Gandhi’s writings do not accurately portray who he was but rather whom he tried to be. His writings reveal the struggles he faced in the course of his life’s experiments. In reality, when Gandhi was born in 1869, India was still a part of the British Empire; by the time he died in 1948, India had become a free country due to his practice of the value of humility. Gandhi is widely regarded as the founder of the Indian independence movement. He was the commander of India’s nonviolent independence movement against the British regime and a counsel for Indian civil rights in South Africa.
Gandhi disapproved of arrogance and valued humility. “When a person has pride and egoism, he is not nonviolent. Without humility, nonviolence is impossible” (Kim 180). Humility, according to Gandhi, was needed to strengthen humanism. He believed that nonviolence could only be achieved if the individual did not harbor any negative thoughts in his heart (Arpana 69). “If one has pride and egoism, he is not nonviolent,” he said (Ravondrah 35). Gandhi was a firm believer in the Ahimsa principle necessitating compassion and pacifism toward all living things, including animals. Ahimsa had a higher and infinitely deeper meaning for Gandhi. It meant one must not offend anyone; one must not harbor insensitive sentiments, even toward those considered to be adversaries. He claimed that Ahimsa is the pinnacle of humility and it is not as crude as it has been made out to be. Nonviolence, he professed, was a principle: one must act accordingly, whether one is isolated or with others. Nonviolence is a dominant influence in one’s life. There is no room for ego or pride in Ahimsa; it is necessary for a person who claims to be nonviolent to follow it in his regular habits. Gandhi declared that “nonviolence is a weapon of the strong” (Kim 180).
Giving is not a new tradition in India. However, the concept of charity in India differs from that of the West. Trusteeship, as proposed by Mahatma Gandhi, is a better way to achieve equitable wealth distribution and reduce poverty. According to Gandhi, we are all robbers in some way. Accumulating things beyond our needs is a form of ‘robbery,’ because we deprive someone else of those things. This, too, is a form of violence (Somaiya 22). Nature is inherently balanced. Nature makes no distinctions. His fundamental philosophy was that nature had provided enough for everyone. There would be no shortage or poverty if everyone only took what they needed. Mahatma Gandhi reflected the world’s abundance for everyone’s needs but not for greed (Somaiya 13). He clarified the distinction between ‘need’ and ‘want.’ Inequitable wealth distribution not only has fatal and negative consequences, but it is also unjust. Taking into consideration of such thinking, many wealthy people engaged in charitable activities to assist the underprivileged. The Mahatma Gandhi concept of trusteeship was a better way to achieve equitable wealth distribution and reduce poverty than the Western concept of charity.
It was Gandhi’s dream that in an independent India, the poor would have access to the same amenities and conveniences as the wealthy. He had warned that if the wealthy did not use their wealth and power to benefit the poor, it would inevitably lead to a violent and bloody revolution. There were critics of Gandhi’s trusteeship concept, but he had only one response: “There should be economic equality” (Venkata 415). And if I am to achieve this equality, I must empathize with the poorest of the poor. Gandhi worked tirelessly throughout his life to achieve this goal. Gandhi was unaffected by the wealthy. On the contrary, many wealthy people joined him in living an austere life and implementing the concept of trusteeship.
Gandhi discussed about egocentricity. He observed and cautioned wealthy people not ready to share their fortunes with helpless people. “We must be strict with ourselves and lenient with our neighbors. For we know not their difficulties and what they overcome” (Sreechinth 437) Gandhi’s concept indicated that the duty of a man is to serve others nobly. This is only feasible if one has grasped the authority of one’s senses. A wealthy individual who is independent of antagonism, self – centeredness, and hatefulness can be a valuable integral part of the society. This gives rise to a belief of beneficence and the principle of trusteeship. The wealthy class should consider this, live happily, make lots of money, but keep in mind that this wealth belongs to the people, to society. If they do not realize this, they will become captives to their materialism and very frustrated.
Gandhi recognized the need for wealth producers. When asked whether it was desirable to close down the mills during the Ahmadabad textile strike, Gandhi responded that we also needed people who could make money. However, he reasoned that it is an act of violence to ignore the poverty of others (Somaiya 4). Gandhi believed that trusteeship would put an end to social inequity. He emphasized that regardless of how much money one earns, one should regard oneself as a trustee holding this money for the benefit of one’s neighbors. Wealth is not for oneself; what is owned by oneself is the entitlement to a decent living, no better than that of millions of others. The remainder of my wealth is for the community and must be used for its benefit (Singh 40).