Freedom of choices

badshahkhanIn the context of all relationships, the best ones are the ones where we understand each other, despite having differences.

Unfortunately, being judgemental about others,  even in the food choices we make seems to be the name of the game today. This often results in more divisions and unity as it only creates more barriers between ourselves.

In this context, I remember reading somewhere about the time when Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Badshah Khan came to visit Mahatma Gandhi in his ashram along with a young child.  We know that Gandhi was a staunch naturopath.  Still, he did know the food in his ashram would not be suitable for his guests. He immediately ensured that a suitable non-vegetarian diet was served to them.

He could of course have enforced his own diet on them. Surely, they would have accepted it but this gesture of Gandhi in going beyond his own beliefs endeared him to them as nothing else could have.

This also does show us the true hospitality and humaneness of Gandhi who at other times, chose to live in a Dalit home, during times when they were considered sub-human, cooking and doing all the work that they did and bonding with all.  Mahatma Gandhi called them “Harijans” or people of God. People may criticise the term but to Gandhi, everyone was a child of God, be it Dalits, people of other faiths, or even other nations. Equality to Gandhi was equality in all domains, which is what he considered real freedom.

Freedom to be who are, freedom to fight your battles, freedom to pronounce all your choices is what true independence is to every individual and by extension, to societies and nations.  This to Gandhi and other stalwarts of that era was what true freedom and independence was all about.


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