Sense or Nonsense?

Sense or Nonsense?

By Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi spinning cloth at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, India — at Ahmedabad.I have a little patch of garden in the front of my condo. In 2007, after the death of my wife and my busy travel schedules made it difficult to tend the garden and nurture it regularly. So, I let it grow wild (or, naturally, some might say!)

After much criticism from friends I decided to weed the patch and buy some flowering plants to make the entrance to my home more attractive. It was while I was wearing the gardening gloves that the thought came to me: Who am I to decide what should live and what should not?

After all I am a firm believer that everything that is born on this earth has a purpose. Sometimes we know what our purpose in the enlarged scheme of life is and sometimes we don’t. But ignorance does not make us dispensable. Is it right for me to pull out a plant because I think it is ugly? Yet, when you look at weeds dispassionately you will find beauty in them too, just as there is beauty in people we consider ugly.

While in this reflective mood in my little bitty garden I asked myself: Isn’t what I have come out to do to vegetation what Hitler tried to do with human beings? If it was, and there is no doubt in my mind that it was, wrong for Hitler to weed out what he considered his garden is it right for me to weed out mine?

People may not see the correlation between the two –- after all how can we compare vegetation with human beings. Yet, both are living organisms only one has a voice and the other has none. However, the mindset of sitting in judgement over who should live and who should die is the same.

So I let my garden grow on its own and admire everything that grows from dandelions to exotic flowers. They all have beauty and serve a need, whatever that may be. People still look askance at me and my garden and I say to them: I am not going to be a Hitler and decide what is good and what is bad, what should live and what should die. Whoever it is that makes things grow knows why and what is its purpose. I don’t. Not yet.


  1. Indeed a fresh look at gardening in particular ‘weeding’

    I will remember this when I have a garden.

    Love the philosophy

    • Denise Scott says


      I have always thought this way. Not only do we ‘weed out” what we have deemed “ugly” or “bad” or “not fitting” (which usually has little to do with whether the thing is inherently beautiful or useful) but we do so in very horrible ways. When I lived in a manicured area of Brighton, people would dump dangerous insecticides on their lawn in their attempt to weed out the undesirables..

      We are a strange species!

      I love your article.


  2. Hari Krishna says

    Wow! was an ardent reader of the back pages. way back.