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.

Vegetarianism: only 30% of India is vegetarian, but that is the part that makes the billionaires. Plus we get people’s goats without much effort, evidenced by the the Indian Idle worship.

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?
Probably not.
Would he , if he had existed today, been fit to be called an Indian?


  1. Pingback: Remembering Gandhi « Xntric pundits

  2. Nice post. We need more people like Gandhi who practice principles. People like Anna Hazare etc. come to mind who with their vision converted villages to self-sufficient ones.

    Welcome! I am sure this vision will bear fruit some day. Some century. But this is not to detract from the motivation which people like him seem to have.

  3. Nicely written!
    It might interest you to know however that Gandhi was not completely non-violent, he was okay with getting rid of stray dogs!
    To get our gandhian ideals back I think we need a common enemy…
    see how everyone united when they heard some group of britishers were coming to pay tribute to their dead during the indian mutiny!!

    Gandhi had also recommended a war on Germany, calling it a moral war if any war can be moral. Then he confused things for everyone by then recommending that the Jews sacrifice themselves to the Nazis and feel happy, superior and dead…
    Clearly the man thought different!

  4. Hi Ram,

    Nice post.

    He would still have been callen an Indian. However, he would face extreme pressure from all sides to do things against his policies.

    But, he would be a real politician; devoid of all the corruption etc., that the politicians now-a-days exhibit.

    Voracious Blog Reader

    Thanks for your comment. You mean he would have been no different, and neither would we be.

  5. I’m going to write the poorest of all comments:
    “Nice post, Rambodoc”

    And I will give you a befitting reply: Thank you, Priyank!

  6. very nicely written doc – I liked the style of this one!

    btw, sanskrit IS read by many many today. Just spoken is quite rare (albeit not non-existent).

    And, I am sure, you are one of those who can do both?!

  7. :-} very thought provoking and sarcastically humorous at the same time
    a rare accomplishment !

    I am never good enough, actually. I just try, and the effort shows…

  8. Thanks rambodoc for mentioning my post.

    // later in life, he said he believed in every other major religion as well.//

    Gandhi nearly converted to Christianity when he was in London. He was against inter religious marriages, though later on in his life he was a big supporter of such marriages.

    //Today, if he were alive, would Gandhi have bought a laptop and blogged on truth and nationalism? //

    I believe he would have blogged. I am not sure about the ipod part although.
    Very nice post rambodoc. Thought provoking sattire as always.

    Thanks, Prerna!

  9. Pingback: Indias war on terror a non starter! « Tech and Trek

  10. Rambodoc, you are teaching me that I have a lot to learn about Indian thought and culture.

    Very well written. I’m going to be a while taking it all in.

    Thank you for the translation you left in a comment on my blog … you’ve taught me my first two Hindi words.

    If you learn about Indian thought and culture from me, you are at risk of misunderstanding me, for I usually am sarcastic when talking about this…

  11. I can’t add anything more to Priyank and Prax’s comment! (Now, that wasn’t as poor as a comment can get, was it?) 🙂

    Thanks, Mahendra!

  12. me: btw, sanskrit IS read by many many today. Just spoken is quite rare (albeit not non-existent).

    doc: And, I am sure, you are one of those who can do both?!

    Actually I am neither 🙂 . But I know quite a few folks who can read and understand Sanskrit fluently. I also have heard of a village in Karnataka where Sanskrit is spoken.

  13. Rambodoc: Considering the discussion around ‘truth’ on Nita’s blog, I do not know if without agreement on definitions, we are certain of what we are arguing for or against… 😦

    What about other politicians? Who did more work for and after independence than go on hunger strikes, and let their favourite person be PM?

    I can’t really comment, because I am not sure what your point exactly is.

  14. Thank you for a thought provoking article….
    I have always felt thankful that Gandhi’s example exists for us. And the mere existence of that example makes the world a better place.. Every Oct 2nd, I think of some of the questions you raised – this Oct 2nd, I wrote a blog on Munnabhai and Gandhi – and the potential of Gandhi’s example to change the lives of others..
    Thank you for your work.

    Welcome, Nalini!

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