Friday, March 06, 2009

Gandhi's Plight.

In the recent few days, we've witnessed, what can be termed as a rat race, for Mahatma Gandhi's memorabilia. It was so keenly taken up by the Indian Government and was well planned. They had to bring India's heritage back to India. It was a matter of pride, a matter of achievement as the elections near. No stone was to be left unturned.

On the other side was James Otis, a collector of historical items, an auctioneer, who was going to auction off India's heritage. He had the audacity to dictate terms to the Indian Government, ask for budgetary increase in allocation for India's poor, as if India did not know to take care of it's poor.

The main issue, was that Gandhi had to be brought back to India at any cost. Finally came Liquor Baron Vijay Mallya to the rescue. He brought home Gandhi's old sandals, round rimmed glasses, pocket watch, a bowl for 1.8 million dollars.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would have either laughed with sarcasm or turned in his grave with tears. There is a small message in the movie "Lage Raho Munnabhai", where Gandhi's character says, that all Gandhi's statues in the country must be demolished. A subtle message that, we have still not got over our obsession with mere symbols.

There is a greater gift, a greater lesson, that gandhi gave us, the path of truth and non-violence, Satyagraha or the desire and struggle for seeking the truth. A non-violent means to achieve anything. In these times of terror, these much treasured gifts remain forgotten. In these times of economic depression, again gandhi's message of abstinence and simple lifestyle remains forgotten. He would have surely scoffed that his simple almost worthless belongings were being brought for such a huge amount of money.

Truth, non-violence and simple living were all there before Gandhi as well. What was essentially an Indian epithet was transformed into a message for the world by this man, and yet today his country had to depend upon Vijay Mallya, a man who sold liquor all his life, to bring back Gandhi's heritage to India. What was essentially Gandhi's heritage, had however never left India in the first place.

I personally have nothing against Vijay Mallya. I respect him in fact for the excellent businessman that he is, and the prosperity that he has brought. But I still cannot help sympathizing with Gandhi's plight.!


Pria said...

Its all about money and power these days and thaz what controls this world.
I wish it was handed over to the Indian Government or Gandhi family itself coz it belongs to them. Its priceless but people become popular with fame in the name of generosity.

mathew said...

i just cant help wonder whether this much publicized bidding by the liquor baron is linked to granting of international flying license for his airline to be issued by the government..difficult to draw a line there.

Anonymous said...


it is so much publicized matter that i cant help wondering what gandhiji would have wanted.

Srijith Unni said...

@Pria : Vijay Mallya is going to hand over the items to the Indian Government. The fact of the matter is that I dont look upon them as priceless. I strongly believe even gandhiji would not have approved.

@Mathai : Haa Haa, quite possible. He plays his cards quite well.

@Leo : Yeah me too. I feel he would not have liked it the way things happened.!

vishesh said...

oh we realized we needed those things back,why? because the govt will put it in a museum and earn rs.5 / ticket... :P

Vinod Narayan said...

May be its easier to run after the memorabilia, than follow the footsteps, or even learn from what was Bapu taught

I think people have even forgotten the difference when we say Bapu instead of Gandhiji

As always unni, you rock, lage raho

Hip Grandma said...

we do a lot of things that would make Bapu squirm.But who cares?with elections coming all parties need to come up with stunts such as these to remain in the fray.

shubhi said...

it is better to debate idealism of gandhi. do not go for his material world because gandhi itself detached of all that.if he alive he wondered what is the issue of national concern.

Keshi said...

No amount of money can buy CHARACTER...especially that of someone like Gandhi.


Sree said...

Instead of spending that money,the Indian govt should have send the mssg that it is Gandhi's messages that are more precious than the things he used.Well...still there will be ppl ready to buy those i guess who then would again keep it open for a higher bargain.Nice to read this post today.

AJ ! Serendipity !!! said...

Totally with you on this post.

Just a thought: From an opportunist's point of view (be it the need for power, fame, ego or other things) these events make a lot of sense.
After all isnt capitalism the new religion? That it ought to be 'responsible capitalism' needs another post altogether.

And it might well be good in an indirect capitalist kinda way? :
Say Mallaya buys this stuff, is spoken about in India and abroad. The fame strengthens his brand and may be could have gotten him a license. That gives him profits , helps him expand = more jobs in his expandind enterprise.

I think Gandhi wouldnt mind that, or would he ? :)