Today everybody seems to be bitten by the Gandhi bug, everyone is quoting him , everyone seems to adore and respect his ideals. But how many really understand what Gandhi stood for? How many understand the goal that Gandhi strived for till his last breath? How many of us have to courage to walk the path of Gandhi?
Today India and the world is celebrating the birthday of Gandhi. India calls him the father of nation but the nation that Gandhi aspired to free from the clutches of British Empire was never born.
Gandhi dreamt of Independent India as a utopian nation that would be the beacon of non-violence and truth for the whole world. It was for this nation’s freedom that he was fighting for.
The freedom that India compromised to was simply the change of guard, nothing else changed. The machinery and systems remained the same. The English empire was nothing more than an extension of multinational corporation, setup by the 24 English merchants in response to the five shilling increase in the price of pound of pepper, in action. If we compare the current scenario still it is the MNC’s who control or influence the functioning of the Indian government, be it eviction of the advisees from their land in order to exploit the resources hidden in the womb of earth or taking over of agriculture for setting up of a factory or submerging of numerous villages and displacement of indigenous people for the want of a dam.
For the poor the “Lagaan” never was abolished, just changed form, now it has taken the form of bribes, taxes and loans. Which a peasant has to pay either with his life’s earning or his life. No doubt the famines have become thing of the past but that doesn’t mean no one dies of hunger. To visit all the miseries of the nation one just needs to take a look beneath the shiny cover that has been put in place, one just needs to visit the villages and its poor. Gandhi wanted to build a nation which would derive its power from its villages but the India that has come into being has forgotten its villages. The villager, whom to empower Gandhi struggled are dying of hunger, they are committing suicide as they no more are able to till their fields.
Gandhi wanted countries top politicians, bureaucrats and leaders to show the way and lead a simple life but has happened is that their lives have become so full of pompous display that the supposed servants have transformed into the masters against whom Gandhi had fought. Gandhi had predicted the emergence of this new elite class of bureaucrats who will be disconnected from the people but will be responsible for making decisions for them, unless they are made to toil in mud with the peasants of India. Today we have politicians debating and justifying Rs 35 enough to survive a month or to how many delicious treats one can treat himself to for Rs 5! Today’s leaders have no shame in stealing from the poor or even the dead. Scam after scam is coming forth, be it coffin scam or paper scam, but still these politicians claim to be the torch bearers of Gandhi.
The so called representatives of the Indian people have let go of no opportunity to mock at the Gandhi’s philosophy and yet at the end of the day quote the same Gandhi to forward their self-interests. They didn’t spare even the name “Gandhi”, Indira the daughter of Pandit Nehru married a parsi by the name Firoz Ghandy, being intelligent enough to understand the importance and value of the name “Gandhi” she changed the spelling of the last name to Gandhi, to fool the innocent and sentimental people of India. Vinayak Narhar Bhave (friends called him Vinobha) a Gandhain was the first to notice this and he was not going to let it go easily but he was no MK Gandhi.
Through his fasts Gandhi galvanized an entire nation, made the most powerful nation to shake and ultimately accept the fact that they had to leave from India. The last fast of this great man was not against any colonist nation but against his own people. The objectives of the fast were to enforce peace in Delhi in particular and in India & Pakistan at large, which were had descended into frenzy of sectarian violence after partition. The second objective was to make government of India give government of Pakistan the promised Rs 550 million share after partition. Gandhi considered the Indian government’s decision to withhold the payment as dishonorable. He was of the view that when a man or government had freely and publicly entered into an agreement, as india had on the issue, there could be no turning back. Moreover, he wanted Indi to set the world an example by her international behaviour, to offer a display of ‘soul-force’ on a worldwide scale. It was intolerable to him that so soon after her birth India be guilty of so immoral an action. Yet the same India couple of days back through its PM, by claiming Kashmir to be its integral part and would accept no compromise on it, denied the promise it had made on the same floor!
Whatever Gandhi aspired India to become, it never became and whatever he had achieved, even if symbolically, has been undone; Harijans are being referred as untouchables again, khadi is worn more by foreigners than inhabitants!
There can’t be a worst way to disrespect a person than to claim him to be the father of the nation and make that nation stand for everything that that person stood against. India is a nation which is at war against its own people and is even occupying people against their wish.
I have no doubt that had Gandhi been alive today he would be fasting in some part of India against the some sort of injustice and falsehood. I want to believe that the little man is still out there walking the dirt paths with the song on his lips
“Akela chalo re , yedi tor dhak sune keu na asse tabe, akela chalo re
Akela chalo, akela chalo
Akela chalo re”
“Walk alone, If they answer not your call, walk alone
Walk alone, walk alone