October 2, Gandhi’s 150th birthday. Dry day, no fresh meat, pious platitudes mouthed by politicians. Facebook and Whatsapp flooded with sayings of the Mahatma. Really?
Our Pradhan Sevak is busy lip syncing selected quotes of the Mahatma, even as killer gangs of goons masquerading as saviours of Hindutva, assault, intimidate and lynch fellow citizens with impunity. The opposition, led by a family that shares his name, make saccharine statements that signify nothing.
New Delhi now has a war memorial but there is no peace memorial anywhere, where people can be reminded of Gandhians and Gandhian movements, a journalist writes in one of India’s well known newspapers.
The late, great, Jai Prakash Narayan had said sarcastically that New Delhi was a graveyard of Gandhi in more ways than one. Delhi had witnessed much violence even before the Mahatma’s assassination.
A bomb was thrown at the Gandhi on January 20, 1948 as well. The leaders of free India did they utmost to save the situation from spinning out of control. Had they failed, history may have taken a turn for the worse.
Gandhi was 80 years old when he was killed. But killing his ideas continues.
He advocated decentralised power and economic structure; we opted for centralisation.
He favoured village-based development; we have opted for smart cities.
He wanted us to harness locally available resources and talent, but we paid no heed.
He wanted the palatial residence of the Viceroy to be turned into a public hospital. We turned it into Rashtrapati Bhavan.
He favoured an austere government and said public servants in free India should live modestly. In Delhi and other state capitals just look at how our leaders live and how ostentatious the government is.
Gandhi spoke of social responsibility and growth from the bottom. We chose a top-down approach.
He wanted education to be useful, productive and equal for everyone. We made it discriminatory and easier for the rich and the well-off to buy better education.
Inequality is such that the rich even determine the poverty line.
Just one per cent of Indians control 73 per cent of the country’s wealth.
The four pillars of democracy, rather than supporting each other, are busy colliding with each other.
All of us: students, professors, academicians, government servants, IAS officers, and even murderers lip-sync to Gandhi on this day.
The question is whether we can rediscover Gandhi within ourselves. All the rest is a sham.
Mohit Brahma likes to call himself a barefoot journalist.