By Devsurabhee Yaduvanshi
The Ahimsa Ke Raste program conducted at Sevagram Wardha offers perspective and insight into the roots and background of where the country of India is coming from and personally rewarding for the growth of the mind….
HUMANS naturally look to the future, towards progress, transcendence and growth. It is first nature to be, do better and grow, and these sentiments are easily, immediately recognisable in the Indian Constitution. Our carefully crafted, comprehensive and ground-breaking futuristic Constitution not only reflects collective aspirations, but also advocates social reform as a constant way of life. This is embedded in our DNA as a democracy.
Why is it then a surprise that a progressive, Fabian socialist like myself believes in it wholeheartedly? However, I realised that just knowing the Constitution generally doesn’t serve any purpose beyond a point, especially not now, even if I studied it at length while doing my bachelor’s in Public Administration. That is why I wanted to delve deeper into the ideology and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, his thoughts and path, the source of the ideology of the Indian National Congress Party — the “rooh” of our freedom struggle — and how we arrived at becoming a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.
To understand the essence of all this it was natural for me to attend the Ahimsa Ke Raste program at Sevagram, in Wardha, Maharashtra, where INC 2.0 was conceptualized and birthed by Mahatma Gandhi. Ahimsa Ke Raste (AKR) is conducted in Sevagram Wardha by Sachin Rao, the all-India training head for the Indian National Congress and a permanent member of the CWC. This program is for everyone to delve deeper into our shared legacy as a nation, whether a member of INC or not. Those who attended belonged to INC, NGOs, and even an ex-RSS member in the batch!
It is a simple yet powerful training program that plants very revolutionary, catalytic questions in your mind and proves that it is possible to live authentically, powerfully and in a non-violent manner. There is no coercion but radical self-introspection and love.
HOWEVER, the question remains: Why now?
The kind of environment we’re seeing in India today under the fascist BJP regime, is more than evident through the rapid breakdown of our Constitutional institutions and their independence. Any semblance of Constitutional propriety has been lost, giving way to a rampant culture of uncouth, lumpen behaviour, especially by those holding public office. This is cause for worry and panic. There is a renewed need for understanding our past history, to grow stronger ideologically and learn from our pantheon of leaders on how to stand steadfast against society’s worst impulses.
Mahatma Gandhi as a human being and a leader has been one of the most truthful person to have walked this earth, not this country alone. His path of satya (truth) and ahimsa (non-violence) are known the world over and find resonance in the minds and hearts of millions of people. The sum total of his path — which most people don’t know — is not only of satya and ahimsa, but also swaraj (mastery over self), sarvodaya (emancipation for all) and satyagraha (political dissent).
Gandhiji’s was a comprehensive path towards becoming a wholesome human being, not only for oneself but for being an integral part of society in this country and world. Keeping this in mind, to be radically truthful, non-violent, having mastery over self, dedicated towards collective emancipation and unafraid to showcase political dissent, is an act of ground- breaking revolution in our times.
Nothing scares fascism and fascists more than individuals living their lives and yet not afraid to speak up. Juxtapose this against a mindless zombie-like culture and we may understand, why every fascist regime perpetually insists on a single cookie-cutter identity. Mind control only works where there is homogeneity, and no diversity.
All this brings me down to what I gained by taking part in the aforementioned Ahimsa Ke Raste program at Sevagram Wardha. The program primarily awakened a sense of belonging and pride in my own roots as an inter-generational Congress person, albeit a new generation politician. Secondly, it made me realise that standing on the right side of history may be difficult at times, but like Mahatma Gandhi and his path, it makes us just as timeless and immortal; we are part of something that is as foundational as the universe, natural and organic.
Thirdly, it reinforced my own pursuit of living authentically, even if it may not be a natural fit for mainstream political life per se, but on a path that will eventually play a role in bringing a catalytic change, somewhere providing a solution to the political crisis we’re witnessing currently.
IN PURSUIT OF PROGRESS
IN the pursuit of progressive ideals, to understand history, our legacy as a country much better, the Ahimsa Ke Raste program is an essential. What better way to be and do better, to grow and transcend — than going back to our roots to understand our wise leaders?
Whether you’re a member of the Indian National Congress or not, if you believe in progressive ideology, I urge you to participate in the Ahimsa Ke Raste program at Sevagram Wardha to gain much needed perspective and insight on where we are versus who we have been! Godspeed to us all!