Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Father is dead

Today is the day, the Father of India was born. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He lived for a large part of his life and also died, for the very notion of a free, liberal, secular and democratic India.

Who cares?

I do. I am sure, there many people out there, who do. And I am equally sure that there are many from 5 generations of Indians, who have very little resonance with the man, his ideals, goals and dreams.

Thinking about this man who literally moved mountains, this man who singularly managed to rouse enough Indians to get the once mighty empire to leave this country - I can not help but feel a sense of awe equally coupled with sadness.

Fast, fast, fast

Gandhi, the man was not perfect. Who is? But his ideas were genuine and worthy. His single biggest weapon of fasting and the resultant sparking of mass movement for the birthright of every human - freedom, showed the world what true sacrifice can bring. Awe.

Yet today, 'fasting' has become more used as a political tool to bend the will or showcase the might or simply rebel. With resultant media attention. There is nothing sacrificial about today's applied Gandhian philosophy. Sadness.

Alcohol and drugs

Gandhi's principles made his idea of an alcohol and drug independent nation of people, who would rise from temptation and self induced stupor to actually work towards creating and sustaining the very essences of democracy - a reality. Awe.

Yet today, our governments rake in the highest amount of revenues from the 'official' sale of both alcohol and drugs. The state in which Gandhi was born, continues to maintain an alcohol free image, but reality is that it is rather easily available at every nook and corner. As covered in The NRI blog post, some people from Kerala actually like the BBC covering a story on this place being the highest liquor consuming state in India. Sadness.

Gender equality

Gandhi wanted India to be a nation, where both men and women have equal rights to freedom, education and the opportunity to improve their lives. In his own words, "Women will enjoy the same rights as men." He ensured that in the movements to democracy, not once were women kept away or behind. Awe.

Today, this very nation has people who are ashamed and worried about having a girl child. Our clearly declining gender ratio or number of women abused every day are horrifying stories revealed across our multiple media sources, calmly watched or read and - nothing. We have become truly immune in our souls. Sadness.

The viral factor

Sixty to seventy odd years back, a man wearing a simple cotton cloth, brought the nation to stand as one with him in the quest for a life not enslaved. He did not have massive marketing budgets. He did not have qualified chartered accountants and finance managers who secured his funding. He had charisma. Awe.

Today, it is every piece of paper with this very man's image on a that is valued way more than anything else he stood for. As a dialogue in a film a few years back, made it so aptly clear - people love Gandhi and adore his value, for every Indian currency note has his face on it. Sadness.

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

Yesterday, the mountain of a man idealised and created a nation.

Today, the nation 'respects' him by watching movies on him, singing his songs, quoting his quotes, changing statuses and profile pictures on Facebook - for a day!

Tomorrow, we march on in the singular "pursuit of happyness", in our own way. I agree, looking back and running forward will only result in a fall. But stopping ever so once in a while, looking back and then turning forward can help us realise whether we are actually running in the right direction. Isn't it?


This train of thought led to me to another monumental figure.

JRD Tata - another great man with gigantic ideas, responsible for creating one of India's most respected organisations and making a real difference in the lives of many a people globally. He had once said, he does not want India to be an economic super power. Rather, he wanted India to be a happy nation.

We are happy, or are we? We have some of the richest people in the world from India. We have a 400 million strong and growing middle class. We also have 200 million people too poor and unable to eat one meal a day. We have race riots, but India has not yet splintered into multiple countries. We have true freedom, even if we take it for granted. We have systems, even if they are antiquated and manipulated by the government. We really are in the pursuit of happiness, but we get more thrilled to be known as an economic super power with enough clout to make the world listen to us. We are happy to have a powerful car to drive, but we are happier at having beaten the red light by milliseconds.

Having thought about all this, I only felt a sense of bewilderment. Have we become dysfunctional? Can we be more and importantly better than what we have become? Yes. Will we actually become more and better? Who knows.

On a different offbeat note, an important realisation was seared into my psyche a few days back.

Beware! Truly "unwatchable"

I had heard of blood diamonds, but I had not heard of blood minerals. Until I watched the film, at I do recommend that each and every one of you, do watch it. But beware, it is truly unwatchable


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  2. excellent blog. I have seen many people who hate him, which I could never figure why! Somehow, I respect this man for showing a vision of peace. I do not care whether what he did was right or wrong, there are conspiracy theorists everywhere, but in my view, his biggest achievement was his theory on peace and non violence, something everyone wanted but had no courage to show! A truly great man!

    1. Thank you Rajyalakshmi. I can understand people not liking a person. But what I can't understand is the vehemence of this dislike. Which is the reason why I like to focus on what practices and achievements Gandhi used to demonstrate what could be done, if we have enough resolve.


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