Gandhi's views: Wealth and Health & Education
Updated: Sep 30
By: Saee Bhodke
“It is Health that is Real Wealth and not pieces of gold and silver”, the words of Mahatma Gandhi.
Throughout the Independence movement and for many years after it, Gandhi was revered for his views on nonviolence, struggle and life.
In today's age, Mahatma Gandhi's life has been subjected to a lot of controversies, mainly due to a lot of claims about his absurd views regarding celibacy and 'experiments' related to the same.
Acknowledging these claims of questioning his character, we can agree that many great figures have had a grey area about the personality and the flaw might lie in overestimating their greatness. It can't be denied that his take on the independence movement was extraordinary and reflected on his lifestyle as well. Health and education are other such aspects that reflected his simple views on life.
Concept of elements
Gandhi believed that it is necessary to have knowledge about one’s body which most of them are ignorant about. He states that the human body is composed of five elements: Earth, Water, Vacancy, Light and Air.
This concept, however, was used by very ancient philosophers and held very less medical claim. Regardless, he drew focus towards breathing exercises, as suggested in Yoga practices and believed that the body needed to well maintained and exercised in order to keep at the maximum.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, vegetarian food was the most optimum to be consumed. In his journals, he states the importance of fruits, vegetables, pulses and milk, and the proportions to be used while eating them.
He thought highly of jaggery as a sweet and often encouraged others to use it over sugar, manufactured in factories, as jaggery was prepared locally and by small manufacturers. Of course with these simplistic values, he believed that drugs and alcohol were the bane of existence and should be avoided at all costs.
He valued education highly and pursued a law degree in London. Even though he went through Western education, he critiqued it a lot, claiming that western education was killing Indian traditions and traditional or 'swadeshi' education.
He often said that - "real freedom will come only when we free ourselves of the domination of Western education, Western culture and Western way of living which have been ingrained in us."
Linking education to industry
With his years of travelling around in London, South Africa and through rural India, he understood that poverty of the minorities was being encouraged due to the rapidly growing industrial era. He was a strong contender of making and promoting local goods - the precursor to 'Make in India'
Learning traditional crafts and science would develop a sense of culture as well as productivity.
Women and education
At a time when women were solely bound to kitchen and housekeeping duties, Mahatma encouraged women to get on the forefront of the movement and be the leaders of the change. He thought that women would make the necessary difference and bring out a round of passion in the struggle for freedom. Delving into his views on women's duties and assigned gender roles, he encouraged women to get an education and put them on the forefront of the national struggle.
What would not fly by today's age is that he expected women to still abide by the suffocating standards and be responsible for the house and the kids.
Health and education were definitely some things in Gandhi's life that inspired people to become more self-sufficient and independent.
What are some qualities in your health and education, that could be 'Gandhian'?