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Wanted: Brand Gandhi - (TSI Edit bureau) - The Sunday Indian
 
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Wanted: Brand Gandhi

 

Even a ‘designer’ Gandhi cannot bring alive Gandhigiri in India
(TSI EDIT BUREAU) | Issue Dated: October 7, 2007
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Wanted: Brand Gandhi “So long as my faith burns bright, as I hope it will, Even if I stand alone, I shall be alive in the grave and what is more, speaking from it”– Mahatma Gandhi

Recently, a television survey was conducted involving the Indian Parliamentarians. The survey required them to answer two questions. One of them was: What is the full name of Mahatma Gandhi? It didn’t come as a surprise that many of them could not answer what is taught from kindergarten onwards in this country. Not surprising because India understood the way of its politicians long ago – how they invoke Gandhi at the drop of the hat but work diametrically opposite his ideals and principles. Gandhigiri, as the father of the nation’s philosophy is now known, is restricted to a picture adorning the wall of a government office or offering discounts on khadi across outlets in India. That is all we do in the name of Gandhi.

It is indeed sad that while the world recognises Gandhi’s relevance today, the scores of institutes run in his name in India do nothing to spread his message of peace and harmony. The police in Brazil use Gandhian literature to de-stress while we seem to be almost embarrassed about the fact that Gandhi was born on our land. While the top league colleges and universities in the US are incorporating Gandhian studies in their curriculum, we are content with him being a chapter in our history text book. It is, in fact, a fashion to discard him. The icons of the new generation are the creators of wealth such as Bill Gates.

Lage raho Munna Bhai cannot do much about bringing Gandhi back into our lives. For Generation X, October 2 means nothing more than a dry day. The irony is that the political leaders of today, who should have been a shadow of what Gandhi’s life stood for, have forsaken Gandhi altogether, and have instead chosen to follow lavish lifestyles.

In a foreword to a book about his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi said that one reason for remembering Gandhi is the glaring failure of violence to achieve results in places such as Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and Sri Lanka. His words can’t ring truer than now when mob fury is becoming the dominant sentiment in this country, when people are killing each other for parking space and when politicians are debating over the existence of Lord Ram.

On the coming October 2, politicians, wearing designer khadi, will once again flock in large numbers at Rajghat. Afterwards, everything will be forgotten. The day may not be far when even discount on khadi around Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday would become a thing of past.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017