Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gandhi,the Father(?)

The Mahatma had never been my Father of the Nation. I don't know whether there was a consensus regarding this title bestowed on him back in his times.However,even if there was,I don't see why popular consensus should be taken for granted over the ages when the poplulace changes!

I had always been somewhat apprehensive about accepting his greatness based on my History books and the discourses about him that I managed to chance upon here and there.It seemed rather biased and unconvincing to me.

I watched Attenborough's Gandhi recently.It gave me goosebumps and showed me I had been rather immature in my judgements all the while.Yes,I agree it is a 'Bio-pic' of sorts and Kinsley's amazing portrayal worked as an enhancer and it deals with the white more than the black,(pun intended).It did not make me idolize Gandhi,put him on a pedestal and accept his philosophy overnight.What it did was to stimulate a tremendous amount of interest and awe for the man who did manage to inspire a nation and it was not merely an inspiration towards independence,but I believe it was the heralding of a new consciousness.

I don't know whether all he did was right.I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't.He was no saint.He was a great political thinker.I think it's high time we stopped either worshipping him as God incarnate or direct scalding critical invective on the man.If we think it is outrageous to see the 'Naked Fakir' on a Mont Blanc pen that ironically marks the union of Mr.India and The Father of the Nation,we should stop making him the brand ambassador of Truth,in whatever distorted form that it is envisaged!He was a politician , a mighty good one too and stretching and re-defining the truth becomes almost mandatory in the process.His life was an experience with truth in the truest sense of the term but not an embodiment of it,in my opinion.Trying to present it as the latter I believe,would be undermining his own philosophy.

I do not question the greatness of this man any longer.I would be a fool to do so.But what I seek is the nature of the greatness that is accorded to him.I want to decide for myself,independent of all the jingoism and critical tirades associated with him,whether to accept or reject him as my Father of the Nation.However to me,he shall remain my Leader of the Nation!


The Tragic Life of Pi said...

Whoa there !!! Very very well articulated article . Most of what i personally felt about gandhi is already mentioned in there, so i wont be able to say much.

one thing that i'd like to add, which clarifies why even I, like you dont consider him the father of the nation, is that he did not disband the congress party . I think, that, in his lifetime was his greatest mistake ever, which he'd personally accepted too !!

So, thats that,
and yeah,
4 thumbs up(2 thumbs and 2 big toes)!!

i'm very curious - which college ??

The Dark Side Of The Moon said...

Hey!Thank you so much!Especially for the 4 thumbs up!Tis the first I've got! :D
And I'm mighty glad to find like-minded people in context of such a sensitive topic! :)

And yes,I agree with you on that.The Father of a Nation should ideally rise above partisan fray and that's pretty impossible if you are a member of a political party in a democracy,even if the party has a clear majority.You gotta be the Father of the Nation for all those who didn't vote for your party too!

Oh,I am from Presidency College,Kolkata.

Cheers :)

Geek in the Pink said...

I'm glad you at least changed your stand. Not like I think he's the best thing that could've happened to Indian politics but yes,here's a man who made a difference and who knew how to make himself heard in a nation where everyone was screaming their lungs out to be heard.

The Dark Side Of The Moon said...

And he didn't even shout to let himself be heard!
That's what fascinates me.

Absolutely Normal Chaos said...

Ah, so much has said about this man that it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Though I do know that a lot of people from the Sikh community are against him as he allowed the execution of Bhagat Singh to happen. He could have stopped it if he wanted to, but he didn't because they didn't follow non-violence. Anyway, I could be wrong, read this a long time ago. Either way, you bring up a valid point!

The Dark Side Of The Moon said...

Well,Bengalis have a similar, if not same type of discontent with the way he treated Netaji.
That's the reason I believe he was no saint.I just think it's good to know more about someone who changed the course of history and then form an opinion.

pankajunk said...

very nice article. at the outset i was cynical and thought it would be a writing of the gandhi-hating bhagat singh lauding genre.

many of the doctrines he propounded seem to be quaint to me - celibacy, anti-modernism, enema etc. but i cant somehow not be in awe of the concept of non violence, in a world so fraught with violence (his times, and our time). some of his quotes are my fave quotes as well

my life is my message

an eye for an eye renders the whole world blind.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. (what a befitting response to those who say arranged marriage is better in terms of divorce rate)

The Dark Side Of The Moon said...

Thank you. :)
As I said,I do not identify myself with ALL of Gandhi's principles.I'm just learning more about him.Giving myself a chance to explore his philosophy.So far,it has been fantastic.