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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.!