Tuesday, May 2, 2017

THE SPIRIT OF 'UBUNTU'







There is a very moving scene in Richard Attenborough’s movie, ‘Gandhi’… Young Gandhi, after leading years of non-violent struggle in South Africa, has returned to India. The well-known leaders of Indian freedom-struggle want Gandhi to take a plunge in the freedom struggle… But, Gandhi is in no hurry… He senses the disconnect between the leaders who live in sophistication and the masses that live in acute poverty… So, he decides to travel across the length and breadth of the country… into the deepest interiors… to feel the plight of people… to feel connected with them… be one with them… Yes, before he could take the mantle of being their Moses!

During this travel, one day, he comes near a village river just to splash some water on his tired face… On the other side, barely some yards away, he notices village women washing clothes, tucking little babies to their bosoms… Poverty is visible, the clothing is just not sufficient to cover their dignity… One woman, who gets self-conscious when Gandhi sees her, tries to cover herself by pulling whatever clothing she has… and, we see Gandhi doing a Gandhi: He takes away a piece of his own clothing and sends it across to the woman through the flowing water… It leaves us with chills in our own bodies!




Gandhi did not become a ‘Half-naked Fakir’ for no reason!

How can I be happy when you – my fellow-beings - are not? How can I ever think of leading you, when I am not able to feel for you, connect with you? How can I talk of your freedom from slavery when I have not freed myself from the bondage of being selfish? When you bleed, I feel the pain… When you triumph, I rejoice… I cannot ignore your welfare... for my own…

Yes, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE… This is the meaning of the famous African philosophy - ‘Ubuntu’… Hey, we are all connected… our laughter and tears, our success and failures… our hopes and fears… Yes, we are all beautifully connected.

This morning, my dear friend, Ratandeep, sent me an Ubuntu story with the request to share in our P.D. sessions. I assured him that I would not only share it in our P.D. sessions, I would also share it in my blog, today… So, here it is:

An Anthropologist proposed a game to the African tribal children ... He placed a basket of sweets near a tree and made the children stand 100 metres away. Then, he announced that whoever reaches first would get all the sweets in the basket.

When he said 'ready steady go', do you know what these children did? They all held each other's hands, ran together towards the tree, divided the sweets equally among themselves, ate the sweets and enjoyed it!

When the Anthropologist asked them why they did so, they answered 'Ubuntu'. Which meant - ‘How can one be happy when the others are sad?'

‘Ubuntu’ in their language means ‘‘I AM BECAUSE WE ARE!'






Mahatma Gandhi got us from Africa this spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ just as he took for them from here the spirit of ‘Vaishnav jan to…’


Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye je
PeeD paraayi jaaNe re
Par-dukhkhe upkaar kare toye
Man abhimaan na aaNe re (Vaishnava)



“One who is a Vaishnav (Devotee of Vishnu/God)
Knows the pain of others
Does good to others
without letting pride enter his mind.”

All of us are beautifully connected. You and I can be truly happy only when all of us are!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Internet
Videos: YouTube




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