I was not convinced with all the principles of ‘Gandhism’, also questioned many of his decisions in the later part of his life. Keeping these things aside, I respect the father of our nation immensely just because of his ability to influence billions of people without adhering to any easy way or short cut. He did whatever he could to send back the Britishers, and we did whatever we could to put him in our everyday life. Monuments, currency, roads, museums, movies and what not. He is everywhere. He is everywhere in this materialistic world and we worship him in our constitution, at our college entrance and in uncountable songs. So much so that he and his ideas has now become a hot selling property. Westerners have emulated two things from us with utmost passion: Yoga & Gandhism. Deepak Chopra has become a billionaire doing something I never understood and numerous others are following him.
As I have pointed out the commercial value (don’t say commercialization) of Mr. Gandhi in today’s context, I meant to say what he & his ideas worth, where they stand and what we exactly are doing. This thought came to my mind when a so-called gentleman (he does not deserve to be named) from US has put 5-6 belongings Mr. Gandhi on auction early this month. He has announced this decision of his long way back, but neither our government has responded to it nor the public. When the date of auction came closer the media, the great great (I am not sure if I have to put one more ‘great’) grandsons of Gandhi family, our caring politicians and the public woke up and so is the patriotism in our hearts. Wow…what a feeling. I believe we have discussed, analyzed and recalled the life and works of Mr. Gandhi more on March 5th (the date of auction) this year more than October 2nd. What an irony! That to we get a national holiday on October 2nd, but still we don’t have time to think about the great man once, instead we plan out whether we can club that ‘holiday’ with weekends to go out for a relaxed time at Matheran. Let’s understand the different perspective, the media: every channel flashed that we must bring back the belongings which are our national heritage!!! Our today’s leaders said: the govt. must act in time to save our national pride (the opposition) and we will ensure that we will stop the auction at any cost (the govt.)!!! Mr. Gandhi’s family cried in anger over the govt.’s slow response and started talking of “Gandhism” which even I never heard of!!! Finally, when asked, the public gave a different verdict, a mixed one though. Some said we must bring them back and some were of a view that rather than stopping the auction, we must participate in it and bid the highest (for sometime I thought the same as well). And most surprisingly, a fair amount of people has had the opinion that we do not need to spend so much for Bapu’s items as we already are reeling under economic turmoil.
I also had some heated discussions over it. Then we concluded with certain facts that made us realize what exactly Gandhism stands for (Rajkumar Hirani’s thoughts also helped us!!!). At the end of the day whose belongings were these? So, if we ask Mr. Gandhi about this activity what would have been his reply today? It would have been as simple as this: “I do not need all this, I only gifted it to people I liked & admired.” For him, what matters is the way people think. He always said, "If you want to follow something, then follow the ideas not me." He could not even imagine people auctioning his belongings for such prices that would suffice 50 BPL families in India for a lifetime!!! And tell me why we need these things at all? To show that we respect this great man? We spit on his statues, we have used his last name to make money in every possible way, political parties have got votes and won elections using him as a brand, we do all the possible corruption in all possible government offices in front of his huge pictures and with currencies where Mr. Gandhi is there in each one of the notes!!! And finally, when we will get back those belongings where are we going to keep them? Have we ever seen the condition of our museums where his personal items are kept? We do not have place to keep them safely and there is nobody to take care of them. I am not feeling bad, I only feel like laughing on ourselves. We have crossed such limits of hypocrisy that we simply are in a state of denial to the real meaning of Gandhism. And somewhere down the line, I am a part of it as well.
And the end result to all this drama: A liquor baron (the same guy who also brought back the sword of Tipu Sultan from UK few years back) has got these items where one of his representatives was present. He got it for 1.8million US dollars (a cool 9 crore rupees). Now some more drama, the govt. said that they were in talks with Dr. Vijay Mallya who bid the highest. Dr. Mallya denied any such talk, hehehe. What a farce! Is this the kind of govt. that serves us and talks of national pride and attach themselves to Gandhi’s legacy!!! Finally, some more irony or rather should I say some more food for thought…The govt. may now charge the import duty on these belongings!!! And you guys must be aware how much we charge on import duties. Remember Sachin’s Ferrari? It was exempted from any duty!!! But Mr. Gandhi’s things can not!!! He is no more a Mahatma, because we have made sure all the ways to humiliate him in our everyday life.
Long live Mahatma. Long live Gandhism.
Or should I say……..Hail Democracy. Hail our leaders!!!