Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gandhi on Sale ?



When I heard the news of Vijay Mallya buying the belongings of Mahatma Gandhi in an auction, I felt a sudden respect for the "King of Good times". Such a great man, who bought back those precious things to India. One week later I read an article in the Times of India entitled "Buying back Gandhi". The words written in that article were harsh but they changed my view completely. This happens when you listen to an influential person. May be the same thing happened to me but I am still in agreement with the author of that article. And no counter argumnent has yet been able to change my stand.

The author first questions the crazy reaction of Indians on the news of auction of Gandhi's (I prefer to call him Gandhiji) belongings. He says why we were so concerned about that auction in the first place when we dont feel concerned either about Gandhiji or his work. But when someone tries to showcase the belonging of that famous personlity, we suddenly felt how can he do that? how can he sell the belongings of Gandhi, those things should belong to India. The author says that how different we are from Taliban now, they also keep their women inside their house and when the world wants to look, they frown (This is something I dont want to comment upon). Now,these things have come to India. What have we achieved after this. We will just showcase them in some mueseum or some Gandhi memorial, where they will lay forever, and people will come and see that these things belong to that great man whom his country respect no more.

Secondly, the author asks, why we feel that Mr. Mallya has done some great job by buying those things. Has it got something to do with respect towards Gandhi or towards India? Mr. Mallya is popularly known as a liquor baron, and Gandhiji is known as Mahatma. Does this incidence show that we have got enough money to buy back our father? Has money become the criteria to decide the greatness of Indians and their respect towards the country? Quite a thoughtful say.

Now my view point, I too believe that bringing back the things of Gandhiji does not make any sense when we dont follow what he has taught us. Lets face this fact, we, Indians are way ahead from others in hating Gandhiji.Every other person I meet on any day has some or other "strong" reasons of his own to hate Gandhiji. "agar wo nahi hote (its actually 'hota' most of the times) to India kab ka azad ho jata" (Had Gandhi not been there, India would have got freedom much before) , "Gandhi ne barbaad kar diya desh ko" (Gandhi destroyed the nation), "one person I hate from the bottom of my heart is Gandhi". MOst of them speak as if they would have created wonders had they been born a little earlier. They dont think twice before cracking some seriously vulgar jokes on Gandhi. Hating Gandhiji is like fashion these days.

Their ideals are Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh. I dont question the greatness of those great men either. I am also not here to defend Gandhiji. A person of such stature needs no support.

I only want to ask one basic question to all those people. The young generation gives tremendous respect to the national anthem, national amblem and national song. Wherever they hear Jana Gana Man, they stand there to honour our national anthem. Half of them dont even know the meaning of the words of the national anthem. But they respect it, thats more important. Wherever they see Tiranga, the tri color flag, they salute to pay respect. They dont question that why there are only saffron, white and green and why not purple, yellow, pink, I like pink, so I wont respect National flag. No. They dont say that. They just accept the tri color as it is and pay respect. No questions.Why? because forefathers of our nation have given these things the stature of national symbols. We dont question them but respect them.

However, when it comes to Gandhiji, whom the same forefathers of our nation has given the title of "Father of the Nation", these people face difficulty in showing any respect. Their own beliefs, questions and doubt comes in their minds before showing any respect towards Gandhiji.

I feel tremendous respect towards the Father of the Nation. I will not comment on his policies adopted during Indian independence movement. Because I am not very much aware about that time period and I feel whatever we hear, read or know about the history of that time is based on some view of the narrating historian. And personal views has biasness specially when you are commenting about the policies of a leader. So I will not comment on his policies, though one thing I would definitely say. You take any famous leader of the Independence movement, be it Bose or Bhagat Singh, it is a well known and widely accepted fact that they never had mass following, otherwise Netaji would need not go to other nations for help and Bhagat Singh would not not be living incognito. It was only Gandhiji who had a mass following. People respected and followed what he used to say. I was overhelmed when I saw a pic showing the funeral procession of Gandhiji and I could see infinite number of people behind. This was the charisma of the leader whom the followers used to call "Bapu".

From all that I have read and heard about Gandhiji, I can put my view that Gandhiji's motive was not just the independence of India. His motive was much more sacred. He wanted the character upliftment of India. He wanted the character of Indians to be pure. Something that has not been achieved as yet. His teachings of Self-dependence ("Swavalambi") is very important. He used to say that people should do all their work for themselves that they CAN do. Even while in South Africa, he himself used to clean his commode and would not allow the sweeper to do that. Would any of us do such work when we know that a sweeper comes for this ? This shows the thinking of that man who used to believe that no person is so meanly cursed to clean others sh**t.
The usage of "charkha" also shows that we ourselves can make our clothes, and no dependence on externally manufactured thread. This is called simple living.

Vijay Mallya's lifestyle is far from simplicity. Mallya's victory in the auction is in one way a defeat of Indians. Its an irony of life that a liquor baron has bought the belongings of Mahatma. Though I myself am very happy that Gandhiji's belongings are now in India but somewhere in my heart I know that we have been insulting Bapu since 1947.

1 comment:

Manohar said...

I agree with your comments on Gandhi and the disrespect current youth bestowing on him.

And I also hate to believe that Gandhi's auctioned things are bought with the money coming from selling liquor to which he vehemently opposed throughout his life. Very sad!!!