Saturday, July 13, 2024

How do we connect to Mahatma Gandhi today? Is there anything we can attribute to that legacy?

Dr N Bhaskara Rao

Porbandar born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is in to face yet another twist in his stature which he would have never visualised in his reputation as a leader of a generation beyond a century.

Hidden persuaders are trooping in now for an onslaught on Mahatma and to dethrone him from that enviable stature. Globally that name reigns more as an example of a leader, the more the momentum now here to defame him. For, bad naming is easier and we have too many experts around us now. 

AHIMSA is now a three-year-old film of veteran producer Ramesh Sharma being acclaimed globally and was even screened in the United Nations. As more than a documentary, Ahimsa visually shows how the life and experiments of Mahatma Gandhi of India had influenced five different countries and shaped their future course.

This film was shown only a couple of times to invitees in Delhi last couple of years and not in any cinema halls in the country. Even Altenburg’s globally acclaimed film of over two decades which was being shown earlier atleast once a year, is now forgotten. As if this name itself is in clash with a new messiah unleashed to excel. And as if this pride of India name of Gandhi should eclipse soon as a better bet beacon for conflict ridden and trust deficient world.

Can anyone familiar with those times, deny that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi remains to date as a more transparent leader globally and within the country. His life was watched, observed, written about, and his preachings were criticised and even academically analysed by independent authors and journalists world over. And by Gandhi himself, As my experiments …’

And yet in a hush-hush campaign mode, MK Gandhi is being ‘described now, for example, as born to a Muslim (and that was why he was pro Muslim), had sex with over thirty women, etc. by some misguided crooks. These are today’s social media soldiers. Among them, unfortunately, there are even some in responsible public positions. Even claiming leadership role like Governor of a State.

But their formal public postures are often different.  They donot hesitate but avail an opportunity to claim that they were guided by or influenced by the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi, or by his moral values. What has come handy to these over enthusiastic is that there is no institute, academic or otherwise, engaged in Gandhian studies in India or any research being carried about on or about any of Gandhi’s thoughts and experiments.

We should thank eminent independent personalities like Ramachandra Guha, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, and many civic groups who frequently bring together writings on MK Gandhi to the attention of the larger public. Prime Minister Modi should be thanked for reviving the idea of Swatch Bharat with two specific agenda promoting cleanliness across and toilet for individual families. A well identified symbol of Mahatma Gandhi, his spectacles, were used in branding the idea.  But in isolation or as if incognito of Mahatma.  The larger life philosophy and the program itself was forgotten or reduced as of “Government”.

Neither of the organisations or agencies that exist nationally or regionally for decades, even outside the Government, ever took to any of the ideal causes of the Mahatma to take forward into communities and people. Today, what are we left with of Mahatma Gandhi which reminds his legacy to the country men, particularly the children, in any specific way to emulate as part of living or life style? For example, even we could not become any more punctual in time sense. Have we become more trustworthy people? Or, can we claim that more of us today are peace loving than before? Why on social media we are push “forward” type, more than originating own ideas or views? What difference celebration of October second and January 30 year after year for over 75 years, officially and unofficially, has made?  Let us question ourselves.

Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao
Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao
Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao has been crusading environmental activism with CMS Vatavaran ( movement last two decades.


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