On the 150th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, people debated whether the ideologies and principals of the freedom fighter were still relevant presently. However, before even attempting to consider Gandhi’s relevance, we should try and understand his life and ideals. Gandhi was not a political leader like the ones we see today, but was more of a spiritual one. He experimented by mixing spirituality with politics. He succeeded in winning the hearts of a population, who were struggling to break their bonds of slavery from a strong imperialist country.

Violent means of protest was never an option for Gandhi, which is why he adopted the idea of ‘ahimsa’ or peaceful struggle. It was widely accepted, and though challenging, posed a big obstacle for the British government and soldiers.

Now, the idea of Ahimsa can originate only from a compassionate, spiritual mind. Here it should be stressed that spirituality does not relate to any religion. Politics is a practical science pertaining to material well being of masses; spirituality relates to the psychological, emotional and social well being of people. Or in other words, while the practical politics looks outwards to the physical world, spirituality looks inward of human beings.

A compassionate political ideology cannot believe in violent means, and it cannot ignore the sufferings of the under privileged class. It cannot be chauvinistic and has to be inclusive. Imagine such a system in power and you can see the relevance of Gandhi.

Another characteristic of this great man was his firm conviction and the courage to live by it. He sacrificed his personal happiness for the greater good. When he claims “my life is my message” it is the truth verbatim. There is no need to stress the relevance on this aspect of leadership in present times for obvious reasons.

His life was dedicated to the principle of equality, and betterment of the untouchables. His ideas are still relevant and it is sad that we have hardly made any progress in the past few years.

- The reader is a resident of Dubai