Dr. Rajesh Oza has created a profound and resonant work in Satyalogue// Truthtalk by allowing entry at multiple levels and providing ideas for growth. The book is based on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s life and autobiography, “The Story of My Experiments with Truth.”Oza’s writing draws us deep inside ourselves by providing questions and answers to re-evaluate our lives. It indeed becomes a living text: one to interpret in multiple ways, revisit with increasing understanding and joy. It was in experiencing the same concept from multiple dimensions that I realized Oza’s book offers a never-ending journey of the self.
Oza uses Gandhi’s brilliant architecture that framed a path to India’s liberation in four concepts, Satyagraha, Swaraj, Sarvodaya and Ahimsa. He adapts this framework for living well in modern times. Satyagraha, the search for truth to give your life meaning, forcing differentiation between reality and illusion, lies and truth. Swaraj means self-rule: the capacity to discipline the self thoughtfully. As Oza points out, “Swaraj is…Gandhiji’s prerequisite for independent India’s self-rule movement.” He elaborates this as a moral governor for rulers in any age. Too many world leaders are governed by ego, immorality, self desires and not by their constituents’ needs. Sarvodaya, understanding all world cultures, ensures we consider more options before choosing best life principles. Ahimsa, a concept of non-violence, the author reminds us is to “be the change you want to see in the world.” The Scope of Gandhi’s principle spans beyond India’s Independence but resonates within our lives, even today.
While a lifetime is necessary to internalize these overarching principles, Oza also provides relevant examples. I was moved by the leadership section, since it includes daily questions of how to remain ethical in a Nationalistic era. While effective leaders generally lead through thorny times, Oza wisely counsels us to remember that …”to be an effective leader, one must have self-rule (swaraj).” But he also reminds us, “all that wealth does not belong to me.” He stresses the concept of “Stewardship,” which implies delayed gratification for long-term results; stewardship implies the benefit of all stakeholders – employees, management and community. After successes or failures, effective leaders learn the dance of moving forward and stepping back to create high-performing organizations. In the climate change section, we see the seriousness of the problem; he argues that “…the father of Independent India was also the father of modern India’s conservation movement. He powerfully spoke to our stewardship of the earth–not as a backward-looking inheritance from our forefathers that we can squander, but rather as a forward-looking loan from our children and our children’s children’s children.”
Oza’s work serves as a ray of hope in dark times.
Satyalogue// Truthtalk: A Gandhian Guide to (Post) Modern Day Dilemmas.By Dr Rajesh Oza. Independently published (July 31, 2019). 296 pages Paperback $15.
Dr. Jyotsna Sanzgiri, served as Program Director, Dean and Professor from 1989 to 2017 at Alliant International University. She taught in the areas of Organizational Development and Change, often using principles from Gandhian philosophy for transformative change. Her parents worked closely with Gandhi and others for the Indian Independence movement, and Gandhi’s principles have shaped her life deeply.
Cover photo credit: A Creative Commons image by Eduardo Francisco Vazquez Murillo.