How the father of the nation innovated through simplicity.(And how we must too)
He lived so simply that a round rimmed pair of glasses became iconic by his use. General George C. Marshall, the American Secretary of State, described him as "Mahatma Gandhi…. a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires."
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869. His father Karamchand Gandhi occupied the high office of the Diwan of the princely state of Porbandar.
Despite rank, privilege and an education that were available to so few those days, Gandhji never took anything for granted and introspected even as a young child and eventually joined the struggle to free India of the British reign.
The rest, as they say, is history and he turned the mighty empire upside down and shaped India’s journey to freedom.
So unassuming and simple was his attire and behaviour that at first no one realized how strong and determined he was.
Winston Churchill even referred to Mohandas Gandhi as the 'half-naked fakir'. Simple living and high thinking are terms that are often used to describe the mahatma and he lived by the tenets of simplicity and minimalism.
He even advocated it to all and said “Live simply so that others may simply live”.
His words that rang true and served as an inspiration to many are even more relevant now. Today, with the world whizzing at a very fast pace and it is easy to lose sight of the simpler pleasures like family time, reading, and playtime.
Play which is in fact the work of childhood often gets lost as children are directed to activities that allegedly prepare them for the future.
However there are many arguments for free play and simple toys -
Innovation - when children have to do some thing for themselves they will find many ways of doing it. They will often look for smarter ways of doing things rather than follow the tried and tested methods. For instance, a child who has to ask for things is more likely to learn the best way to ask for something and develop social graces faster.
Creativity – A simple set of blocks is more likely to be built up into different and unique shapes and heights every time they are played with. A battery operated toys takes you down the same path over and over.
Concentration and focus – Which of us adults is not familiar with dropped milk or the burnt dinner that often stems from multitasking? Putting together a jigsaw puzzle however demands attention and builds concentration.
Gandhiji was a true innovator and his innovative use of non-violence overturned even the mighty British Empire. Never before Gandhiji in history was non-violence used so effectively.
He was extremely focused and made it his life work to lead India to freedom often at what would be considered great personal sacrifice.
He was also very creative and used unorthodox but effective methods like wearing just a dhoti so that he could consume the least and lead a minimalist life.
Gandhiji who said “My life is my message” believed that we should be the change we wish to see in this world. The best way to honour his memory and his legacy is to follow his message the best we can.