Thursday, September 07, 2006

I did not kill Gandhi....

‘I did not kill Gandhiji on purpose….please believe me!’ cries a desperate professor Uttam Chaudhury. An intellectually gifted man who has lit many a soul now sits explaining himself to a psychiatrist as his family is convinced he has lost his senses. A common man, who has no recollection of when his wife passed away. A man with no acknowledgement of his daughter’s internal war to help him survive the battle of life. A man who is so obsessed with the thought of having been responsible to Gandhi’s death that he wants justice for his unintended sin.

Scenes like these from the movie ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara’ strike a chord we have long forgotten. I saw this movie many moons ago and it had disappeared in some corner of my forgotten subconscious. Disappeared like the message it carries with it. Forgotten like the Rupee note on which the Mahatma smiles back at us. Movies like ‘Maine Gandhi Ko…’ are mirrors to a lot of burning issues in today’s India. Issues concerning the integrity of people, issues concerning the chaos that surrounds the lives of the elderly, issues that threaten to expand themselves beyond the sane borders of the human psyche and issues that showcase the relevance of Gandhi in today's India.

As I watched the immensely gifted Anupam portray the role of a schizophrenic college professor who is coming to terms with a childhood trauma, I could not help but think of the upcoming Gandhi Jayanti. Times for us to sit back and think of our beloved father of the nation and garland him to ensure obligations are taken care of. A time when we sing Vaishnav Janato in groups and summarize the day with a blissful tribute to his soul.

A time to remember Mohandas.

But this year my reflections are no longer caught with these mundane rituals. It is no longer a time for me to rejoice at being identified as someone from ‘Gandhi’s Land’. It is not a fragment in time when I am proud to be a person who is from a country that saw the Mahatma live his life. Instead, I have chosen to count the number of times I have managed to kill him since October 2nd last year. It is a time for me to grieve the hurt I have caused the angelic soul of Mohandas in my trivial pursuit of mortal gains. A time to acknowledge the many mistakes I have made fully aware of the equally sinful consequences.

All of us who are fed on a rich diet of Gandhi’s ideals and principles in life somehow manage to grow out of it once the reality train arrives. We get into it and no longer remember nor care about brotherhood, peace, truth and selflessness. We no longer find pride in being labeled an individual with strong principles. We no longer are Gandhi’s children.

This Gandhi Jayanti I urge you to get off at the next station and sit a while. Sit a while and try to acknowledge the times you have managed to kill Gandhi this last year. Hopefully a day will come when that count will be a zero. Till then with your infinite wisdom please accept our apologies bapu.

--ShaKri

5 reflections:

VENU VINOD said...

i agree with your thoughts Shashi. Those who have got the repentful attitude towards their sins, would be forgiven by Bapu. But will he forgive those persons, who repeat their sins like giving false promises, tearing poor's lives?

mouna said...

but do we agree on every aspect....

what about the aftermath of partition?... was it called for.... though the after-effects do shake the country even now...

shakri said...

@Venu: Thanks for the comment there. I agree that the concept of Gandhi is looking at a specific set of ideals. Some of which we understand but most of which is a matter of practice.

@Mouna: Partition was a beast that was born as a result of greed for power. Gandhiji tried his best to convince everyone not to go through with it but failed. Now that it is done with, we have not done anything since freedom to try and take what was worth taking from Gandhi's ideals and philosophy. That, is what I was trying to drive home in this article.

mouna said...

on one point yes.... he tried to instill the fundamentals of humanity in us which is in turn preached by every religion...... above all... the nation followed him.....

in today's time of crime... how will anybody follow those principles.....i know the 'how' is very blatant... but can we do anything about it....

a person is ridiculed for being truthful... for not being an expert in lying... this sounds silly... an example of what his principles are... the result(?)

shakri said...

Mouna...today's time of crime is becoming more apparent because of the loss of the Gandhian value. Who is responsible for crime to flourish? We are. To call it a generic expression like 'time of crime' makes it sound more like a fad that anything else. There have been so many instances where I have followed the Gandhian principle myself. Maybe not on a revolutionary level but at traffic lights, at queues, in places where I see blatant disregard to the rules I have done my job as a citizen to make sure truth is maintained and a system is followed.

I dont know if I made my point clear but to me, that is where the change starts. That is where the healing of the Gandhian soul begins.

 
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