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Rich paupers

February 19, 2018

There is that class of those who live in poverty, penury, frugality but who own the wealth of all in the world. Trust me, it’s not all philosophy, ideology. Take Gandhi for e.g., over the days he quit his barrister job, put away his finery, even full clothing to identify with the weakest by lifestyle. He pared down life to the bare minimum as still Sabarmati testifies with its bare cot, and the lone spinning wheel. He is not remembered for his education, his command over language or houses he may have built. Not the money he gathered, not the fashionable pose he struck. But he did build a nation, he did fight for equality, for justice, for moderation and secularism. What that accomplished was a nation of teeming millions who imbibed his values, his vision, his simplicity, his tenacity, his generosity. Sure, they may not have built a nation from what they said or did (as beloved Gandhi ji) but they did live peaceful and industrious lives, built houses, made income to make ends meet, help others and even save up for future generations. They did achieve great exploits in those very areas Gandhi refused to confine himself to: money, education, fame, accomplishment, comfort. All significantly tied in to and springing from the service of one man who gave his all to have a nation take a particular course. For had he not paid with his life, India would have taken another course: a fundamentalist ideology still steeped in superstition and exploitation, untouchability and extremism, slavery and subjugation, glamour and pomp. Hence every rupee made by the average Indian is due to Gandhi in a more real way, the houses they built for the peace they were afforded, the education they could access for the progressive outlook they were provided with, the modesty they reflect for the simplicity they were compelled to. Yes, it all belongs to the man who chose to be a pauper for another’s wealth.

That’s the very same principle of Christ and of Paul too. They are well summarized by these stark words of Paul (the great!) who (most unfortunately!) had to defend his noble but poor estate with a churchdom (Corinthian) who were too blinded for this worldly measures:

4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. II Cor. 6:4-10

From → observation

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