How Gandhi Changed Indian Actors' Lives
October 2 marks the birth anniversary of the 'Father of the Nation', Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, affectionately known as Mahatma Gandhi or Bapu, who fought for India's freedom from British rule and inspired the world.
As India celebrates the 154th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Monday, popular Indian actors pay tribute to the 'Father of the Nation' by reflecting on the transformative impact his teachings have had on their lives.
share with Sputnik India
their deep connection to the timeless teachings and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi, which continue to inspire them and the next generations years after his death.
Satyagraha - Upholding the Truth
also known as "holding fast to the truth
", became a powerful movement introduced by Mahatma Gandhi in the fight for non-violent
resistance and civil rights
during the Indian independence movement and his early struggles for Indian rights in South Africa
Adhering to the principle of Satyagraha, actor Gautam Rode tells Sputnik India that the philosophy has made him a better person.
"One of Bapu's teachings that I follow completely is truth and honesty. The impact has been immense in making me a better person. I follow this teaching of Bapu in my professional and personal life," Gautam Rode, who shot to fame playing lead roles in TV shows 'Saraswatichandra' and 'Suryaputra Karn', says.
Forgiveness and Perseverance
For actor Rohit Bose Roy, who starred in 'Kaabil' and 'Mumbai Saga' movies, the two teachings of Mahatma Gandhi which have been the foundation of his life are forgiveness and perseverance.
“When you hold something in your heart against anybody, that hate and dislike becomes toxic over a period of time and that toxicity starts affecting you. Not so much the other person. You carry that toxicity 24X7. I believe in forgiveness and I always did. This is the first thing I adopted about Gandhian philosophy,” Roy said.
“I don’t hold any grudges against people who have bad-mouthed me or done me wrong. I always tell myself that they had reasons for doing what they did, and I forgive them. And I pray that whoever I have wronged knowingly or unknowingly, they forgive me too,” Roy said.
As an actor, Roy practices perseverance at work, another philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, who also persevered to free India from the British Raj.
“Perseverance is always an order for me. I persevere to achieve whatever I want and never quit. I don't set unrealistic goals. Perseverance also carried me through all my tough times because I knew that the tough ones would last, the tough times wouldn't,” Roy added.
Peace: in Cohabitation, Protest, Life
Meiyang Chang, a dentist turned singer-actor
, shares with Sputnik that he has embraced one of Mahatma Gandhi's
most significant and enduring teachings in his own life: the importance of fostering peace
in coexistence, protest, and everyday life.
“In the increasingly turbulent and intolerant times we live in, this may seem foolhardy, but only when you slow down and reflect upon your values, will real change and unity come to self and society,” Chang says, who shot to fame after winning 'Indian Idol' and starred in several movies and web series including 'Asur'.
From being mocked for “looking Chinese
” to being called out as “Chinky
”, or “Corona
”, Chang encountered several incidents of racial discrimination
due to his appearance.
However, he dealt with such situations with the Gandhian philosophy of peace and non-violence.
“I apply this to the racist comments that I often receive. Rather than abuse back or pick a fight, I try to educate them so that they may change their mindsets to become more accepting of every kind of people. It works on some, it doesn’t on others. Mine is not to ask why, but to keep trying; one person at a time,” Chang says.
Actor Aamir Ali, too, strongly believes in resolving all matters peacefully and adds that Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy brought a big change in his life.
“A lot of big problems can be solved if we keep peace of mind and resolve it rather than creating a big fuss about it or fighting or just being aggressive. This is one of the most important teachings of great Gandhiji that has brought changes in my life,” Ali shares, who starred in F.I.R TV show among several others.
Actress Chhavi Mittal Hussein believes that to make peace, it is important to have a dialogue too.
“Best for me is that everything can be resolved with non-violence. I tackle every conflict with peace and conversation. Rowdy behavior only makes matters worse in fact,” Hussein says, who is also the co-founder of Shitty Ideas Trending (SIT) production house.
Actress Manasi Parekh, who starred in 'Uri: The Surgical Strike' movie, feels that following Mahatma Gandhi's principle of truth and non-violence in today’s complex world is not that easy.
“With diplomacy, hypocrisy, whitewashed perspectives, to be absolutely truthful to oneself is so difficult. Violence, in this context, refers to more than just physical harm. It encompasses mental and emotional aggression, whether it is caused by external factors or our own internal struggles, such as anger, greed, jealousy, or anxiety.
"I think all of these are extremely violent emotions. To actually follow non-violence would make society, especially in our times, so much more powerful, peaceful, and blissful,” Parekh explains.
Finding Joy in Simple Living
Mahatma Gandhi’s simple way of living inspired actress Kavita Kaushik to follow a minimalistic and simple lifestyle.
“One philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi that I'm trying to imbibe is simple living, finding joy in simple things, and not running after materialistic things or show-off. I try to follow the teachings of simple living, high thinking, and lessening desires, wants, and needs in my everyday life and it has worked for me positively,” Kaushik shares, who shot to fame for her performance in F.I.R sitcom TV show.
Model-turned-actor Keith Sequeira learned compassion from Mahatma Gandhi, he embraced it and lives by it.
“Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use. I have learned over the years in our industry and believe that compassion is paramount when working and interacting with people from different walks of life and backgrounds. When so many people work long hours to make a film or a TV show, you have to learn to be compassionate,” Keith says, who was last seen in 'Pathaan' movie.
"People are complex and everyone is trying to co-exist and work here," Sequeira shares, adding that Gandhi's teachings have made him smile more, which helps others as well as himself.