From suicide thoughts to headstrong thoughts: A Journey

By: Riya Jadhav

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is one of the most prominent leaders that India has ever seen. He was born as an ordinary man, yet his extraordinary deeds hailed as a freedom post for India. His policies and ideas inspired countless people. His peculiar way of dealing with problems with zero violence has left an unerasable mark on this world.

Greatness comes with a price. When Bapu was younger, he experienced episodes of depression, anxiety, and mental problems.

Gandhi mental health

So you see, even the greatest of the leaders are vulnerable at some point in their life.

Not just Gandhi, other powerful leaders like Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, etc were also victims of severe depression and suffered from mental illness.

Gandhi Ji faced many snags in the way to see individualistic India, Back then our country was in the hold of Britishers who had us under their authority for around 200 years straight.

They drained India with resources and economic conditions were exponentially deteriorating, creating problems like critical poverty, unemployment, education lag, deprivation of basic rights, and above all slavery which affected huge Indian mass - both emotionally and physically.

Bapu carried the blame on his shoulder. He passed through the most lowered curve of his life and became emotionally shaky and vulnerable. Throughout his low coil one thing that’s significantly appreciable is that he was open about his mental conditions, he never wavered to talk about his lows.

Gandhi mental health

There are many interviews online which evinces his pessimism and self-doubt emerging especially in that mid independence era. He felt uneasiness and sensed a strong discernment of personal failure. His principles and beliefs did free us from the chains of Britishers but tied us more firmly thereafter to religious conflicts.

Muslim and Hindu communities were in serious dispute, beliefs of both religions clashed resulting in riots, bloodshed, and eventually resulted in the partition of India-Pakistan which felt like a huge violation or say the failure of Gandhi Ji's core principle of AHINSA and SATYAGRAH.

Gandhi mental health

He was successful in brushing off Britishers, but that cost India an unpayable and irreversible fight between two religions which still persist in modern India. Isn't it? Try it, If you are an Indian, Go support Mohammad Amir in one-day international matches other than Jasprit Bumrah and see how judgemental and anti-Indian vibes you get from people around. It's that one ninja technique to feel like a terrorist in no time. Jokes apart, The religious conflicts and partition hit him hard, like a rock. Carrying the weight of mahatma with the father of the nation made it worse. But where there is a will to serve, there is a way to grow. Gandhi stated, “A man is a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes,” After failing in multiple areas, As inadequate as a court case to a consequential national level problem. One thing that’s persistent in him that might’ve helped in getting over his depression and anxiety was he knew the power of starting over. He was courageous enough to face his fears and accepting and moving on with his regrets and fought head-on with his problems.

Gandhi mental illness

His inbuilt core senses of integrity, honesty, and humanistic guts made him influential and a man of his words. Following the path which is right and not getting clouded by 3rd party factors is what he believed in, no matter how many lows or how difficult that path is. After most of his revolutionary actions, he drowned himself completely in the ocean of books, especially the ones on spiritual lines-reading more about religions and Bhagwat Geeta inspired him profoundly.

His famous 21 days fast against - Say NO to riots between Muslims and Hindus was unusual, his medical conditions were thin, and still carried the fast 21 days long, which didn’t bring far-reaching transformation but undoubtedly brought momentary peace around. This very well shows his enthusiasm for serving and struggling against what’s unacceptable and unethical.  He fought violence without using violence, and that’s what made him True mahatma. He was not just a national hero, but an international sensation. Being a national hero sounds very overwhelming. Right? yes, it is, keeping in balance the personal, political, and social life is no joke, especially when you are carrying a load of hopes, aspirations, and trust from millions across the country. apart from all the downs, He faced turbulence in his private life, too. Gandhi being "Gandhi" enforced his rules and principles on his wife Kasturba- because of differences in judgments and many other reasons - A strong resiting friction was seen between them in initial phases. But as the years passed, they eventually landed up on the same page. Gandhi later admitted it publicly that Kasturba gets all the credits to emerge the true essence of love in him-she taught him many life-changing lessons. He also appreciated her for handling all his tantrums, anger outbreaks, and his mood fluctuations. Gandhiji quoted that Kasturba made him believe the most important lesson of life and that is -to transform the world around- the first step is to transform yourself. And thus the best couple awards of the pre-independence era goes to Kasturba and Gandhiji. He faced some serious temper issues but with bitter and painful experiences in his path; he coped with it and mastered the anger management routine. He said the man who is capable to channel all his anger to actions and can radiate positive energy that will promote betterment in society is the authentic hero. and I agree with this.

There is so much to know and learn from Gandhi and his experiences. There are dark sides to his story but who doesn’t have darkness within, right. Every 'yes' to one is 'no' for something else. Every good thing you do for someone is bad for some others. 

Every character is born with both shine and shade, it’s all about how you channel it. For a person who fought for our nation, went on all harsh fastings, and crossed over successful marches which led to ultimate freedom, Hate seems an inappropriate word to remember him.

He took wrong decisions and made bad choices-let it be the Jallianwala bagh plot, the Ambedkar- Gandhi conflict, his association with congress, the India Pakistan partition, and above all the hanging of Bhagat Singh. yes, 

there are dark sides to him that are known to all of us. but let me tell you frankly, An India with no Gandhi would’ve definitely got freedom, no question in that, but it would’ve cost a lot more blood and bones of innocent people.

Good things take time, and so did independence when approached with the Ahinsa-tic way. It takes all the energy to hate someone for their grave decisions but takes a second to appreciate all the things someone has gone through for us. There are both reasons to love him and hate him at the same time. Being a responsible and faithful 'freedom enjoying' citizen of India lets pledge to appreciate his works and sacrifices for our motherland. what do you choose? To be a Hater or an Appreciator? Do let us know your views in the comment section below.

Have a nice day!