150 years and beyond…

Be The Change You Want To See In The World

-Anjali Shekhawat

This year on 2nd October 2019, marks the 150th birth anniversary of the father of our nation Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. As the nation is prepared to celebrate this glorious occasion we as Indians need to also look back and forth at his ideas and its relevance. To this day we credit him for the birth of our nation, uniting the nation at the time of rising communal violence and fighting the stigma of Untouchability. These days with the advent of BJP government we are of course reminded of Gandhiji as our Prime Minister Modi has made him a sort of icon for new India and thus it is also important for us to understand why. Prime Minister has gone on record several times and expressed his reverence for Gandhiji, he is constantly paying obeisance to statues of Gandhi even commemorating Gandhi’s things not to forget the ‘Swach Bharat’ Campaign is conducted with Gandhi’s glasses as the logo.

Gandhiji was the first political figure for our nation and for several others, most important world leaders till today are inspired by his philosophy. Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Obama and several others cite Gandhi as their role model and we somewhere in our hearts of hearts take pride in that. He is even till today the most admired and followed Indian. Gandhiji’s one of the philosophy which personally resonates with me is that the means have to be worthy of your end and if the noble end was pursued through ignoble means then Gandhiji wanted no part of it and this was precisely why he called off the Non- Cooperation movement when police station was attacked in Chauri Chaura because the means became bad even when the Indian freedom was a noble desire.

Gandhiji’s vision for India was loud and clear where his ‘bhajans’ tell us that “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, Ishwar Allah tero naam” saying we from different faiths are all together in this. Many would argue that this was what led to his assassination by Nathuram Godse who was part of Hindu Mahasabha and RSS and was Hindu extremist. Of course then they are some who want Godse’s statue’s to be erected which then brings us to question the fundamental assumptions on which this nation is build. Hence it also makes me hopeful for my and next generation which has grown up believing that Nathuram Godse was the assassin of Gandhi, also one whose side of story is never told. Well it is only for the coming generations to know if our secularism is under any kind of threat because even when there are many followers and fans of Gandhi there are only few who can tell why they follow Gandhi and what it is to be a ‘Gandhian’. But I would not delve deeper into this as Ashis Nandy, famous Indian political psychologist said it best, “Contemporary politics is not about ‘truths’ of history; it is about remembered pasts and the problems of fashioning a future based on collective memories. For better or for worse, Gandhi seems to have entered that memory”.

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