October the second was the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the revolutionary leader who first took hemlines above the knees, and (according to Lapierre and Collins) reputedly made ball-scratching a liberating national art form.
Today, the legacy of Gandhi is in the moniker governing the country by proxy, the face etched on the currency notes, and in his name gracing street signs across the country.
In real terms, as Prerna does not say, Gandhism is dead. Or is it?
Today Gandhism remains the official religion practiced by none. Just like Sanskrit, our original language, read or spoken by none.
Let us look at Gandhi’s beliefs, and how we are doing:
Truth: clearly, anyone who believes Indian society is not based on a commitment to truth is seriously in need of a non-violent whack on the head. Virtually all people (and I mean politicians, officials of cricket boards, CEOs, players, TV anchors, teachers, etc.) are speaking the truth all the time. Spin, propaganda, publicity, self delusion, rumor, sentiments, are some of the other names by which truth is experienced and known today.
Truth is even a policy for national integration, as we believe in a tooth for a truth.
Non-violence: We are the most non-violent nation on earth, as the Taliban who hijacked our plane to Kandahar knew. The only time we ever indulge in violence is when we breathe on a fellow Indian.
For Gandhi, brahmacharya meant “control of the senses in thought, word and deed.”
We are seriously following this. The only modification being that ours is a populobrahmacharya: a credo that controls the thought, word and deed of others. One should not be selfish, hence the self is always excepted in this system of non-violent control.
Even when he was alive, it cost a lot to keep Gandhi living his life simply, without the trappings of power and pelf. Today, the truth is simple: truth is simply a failed experiment.
Religion: Gandhi was a devout Hindu, though later in life, he said he believed in every other major religion as well.
Today, all religions are chaotically fighting for space, threatened by the new religion:
getting, rather than making, money.
To many minds, Gandhism, as he knew it, is dead in reality, except as a relic of a lovable, yet unlovable, and unlivable ideal.
Gandhi said: “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” Well, Indians are always permissive in this regard, proving once again how his quotes live in our daily national life.
He also said this: “Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles”. He was talking of the Ministries of the Government of India, but it somehow got printed as ‘Roots of Violence’.
Gandhism would be irrelevant in a progressing India today because it would not accept progress without the egalitarian availability of that progress. Is this a wrong assertion?
Today, if he were alive, would Gandhi have bought a laptop and blogged on truth and nationalism?
Would he have accepted an iPhone as a gift? Would he have given Baksheesh? Would he have then deducted it off his taxable income, as a new Court judgment says he could? Would Gandhi have invested in a Sensex booming past 17,000? Would he have watched Ramdev Baba on TV?
Would he have worn Jockey underwear? Drunk Coca Cola and called it Cococola? Would he have aborted female fetuses? Called strikes?
Would he , if he had existed today, been fit to be called an Indian?