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Bapu of all seasons

Sunday - October 7, 2018 4:02 pm , Category : OPINION & INTERVIEW

WTN- Great men have a professional hazard of being great that doesn’t leave them even after their death. That is the politics of convenience. Their names and idioms are tried to be appropriated by diverse interest groups to propagate and promote their own versions and interpretations of their ideologies. 

In the end, little of the original ideology remains, coloured as they become by narrow objectives of material gains. Mahatma Gandhi is one of those most misunderstood personalities of history, who is also among the most politically convenient tools used most prolifically depending on the objective to be achieved. His ideologies are picked and chosen selectively and all those which don’t serve the political needs are castigated and riled. 

Every year in October 2 it becomes a fashion to remember Bapu and prostrate before his statues as much as it has become a fashion to deride him all round the year for all the ills the nation is suffering today. If even 50 per cent of the Mahatma’s ideals were followed today in letter and spirit, our country would have been different. In fact, many of Gandhi’s tenets are more adhered to in western countries than in India. They are realising the importance of Gandhi today more than India. 

Bapu’s ideals of universal education, inclusiveness, rural development, people’s unity, selflessness, etc have long been forgotten. Even the basic premise of Gandhi, for which he stands as a universal template i.e. non-violence, doesn’t hold much relevance today. 

Our society is rife with violence and bloodshed and our volatile emotions are ever on the verge of exploding. India has always been known for non-violence and assimilation of diverse cultures and religions right from Buddha and Vivekananda, to Gandhi, but if we see our history of the last 30 years, it is fraught with death and destruction, hatred and divisiveness, bloodshed, riots, genocide and pogroms. How or why this tendency has dominated our psyche or public space is a mystery. We may blame it on political parties or mass media or effect of foreign influences, or may be all of them in some measure, but we are never sure what worked in our disfavor and made the country what it is today – far removed from the Gandhian ideals of peace,  harmony and unity. It must be understood that Gandhi was one of the earliest politicians to realise that India cannot survive unless we live together irrespective of our religious and other affiliations. This has been forgotten today and we are baying for each others’ blood. If we are not secure from our own people, we can never fight enemies who would take advantage of our disunity. 

In this modern era of technological advancements where the world is a shrinking global village, Gandhi’s concepts are more relevant than ever. People to people contact and communication is ever rising and the more we unite, associate and understand each other better it is for society and economy. We cannot afford to fight each other and bring about our mutual doom. The need is to understand and assimilate Gandhi’s values in our lives and see the positive aspects of them. Every politician has flaws which become more glaring when we see it from a different perch in a different era. 

What a leader did at his time may seem absurd in many ways to us today but we cannot ignore the greatness by playing up the shortcomings. If we adopt the good things of a great man, we will benefit more.

-Window To News
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