Monday, August 25, 2008

The Gandhian Pledge

Dear friends,

As we observe the “International day of Non-Violence”, I came across the message published by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as they lead the country in taking the Gandhian Pledge..I stop for a moment and read the message twice before I thought about writing this..I wanted to salute the Father of the Nation from the core of my heart on this auspicious occasion but my brain would not allow it somehow…and I thought about “thinking aloud” again without trying to be hypocritical about it..

The message was “India of my dreams” from M.K. Gandhi…and it says “I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, in whose making they have an effective voice, an India in which there shall be no high class and low class of people; an India in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony. There can be no room in such an India for the curse of intoxicating drinks and ……….That is India of my dreams…”I stop for moment and I thought of three things…

1.Is that the need of the hour?
2.Am I ready to take this pledge?
3.Is that the only meaningful thing that Gandhi ever really said about India?

And without trying to be hypocritical about it I thought of writing about it as I remembered something that I thought sets Gandhiji apart from others..(Now that reminded me of a controversial comparison with Netaji Subhas Bose and friends please pardon me for that….) I used to look upto “Bapuji” for these things mainly…

1.His tremendous inner strength (and my salute to Netaji Subhas Bose also in this regard).

2.His “acumen and maturity” to choose the Path of “Non-Violence” as the only alternative source available for the “oppressed class” with plenty of “practical limitations” .. The “eye for an eye” is the “mode of protest” and a way of giving vent to your anger and frustrations only if you are in a position to do so.. But what happens when you are not in a position to do so and you can’t afford it basically? You got to do the “Gandhigiri” then… I guess Netaji lacked in this maturity part only to be ignored as the “Unsung Hero” of our times..But I don’t think Netaji was acting like a “Violent Naxalite” against a “Non-Violent Gandhi”… I guess he and his likes tried to follow some kind of “Calculated Guerilla Protest” mode when the situation was going “out of hand” ….(may I call it “Subhasgiri”??.) .Boy am I talking like an illiterate in here?? My sincere apologies…

But I do agree, that Gandhiji was matured enough to understand the “limitation” part of it more than anyone else out there and I guess he tried to “experiment” with these “limitations” both in his life and with his country.. and I guess the “truth” comes out only when you get to know about your “strength” and “limitations” and thus, I guess, came out his “My Experiments with Truth”…

3.His “faith in simplicity”… and his “Plain living and high thinking” attitude….

4.His strategy of “non-cooperation” as mode of protest…

Now in spite of having this tremendous regard for him, let’s see what was preventing me from taking this pledge …

First of all I beg to disagree that …
“I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country,”

I would rather say that ….
“I shall work for an India in which the deserving shall feel that it is their country,”…(somehow that reservation thing still bugs me a lot and just imagine “reserving” everything for the “poor”…Oops!!)

again I disagree to “in whose making they have an effective voice…”

Sorry, I would rather say that,
“in whose making the quality people have an effective voice…”(Boy do the poor necessarily understand even what is good and what is bad for them? What are they going to decide for the country?? There “voice” gives a scope for “dada-giri” actually ….Oops again!!!)

third is …

“there shall be no high class and low class”

I would rather like to live with the pragmatism that
“privilege of a class” should be based on “quality”….otherwise the deserving ones would be discouraged in doing something better if they don’t get some privilege that the “other class” doesn’t ..Pretty much like “making a cut” to get a chance (in the “A team” or “B team” or “C team” etc)..but of course with full dignity of labor and respect for individuality for all….

Fourth point is ….

“There can be no room in such an India for the curse of intoxicating drinks and …”

I wonder how Dr. Vijay Mallya(and his likes) is going to take this statement…:) and how does this picture of “Pt. Nehru lighting up a cigarette for Lady Mountbatten” and attending his parties ….and causes no conflict with Gandhiji on “ideological” ground goes with this statement???.. I also wonder why we don’t we wear dhotis made by “Charkhas” and use foreign goods more than anything else…??
I mean, do we really dress like a “half-naked fakir” as a pledge (for austerity measures) to show our respect towards him? (The Big Oooooops…. :))

I guess we have to a bit more practical in our approach and we have to come to terms with life and the changing socio-economic scenario … .Isn’t it? …I believe that, blind faith in anything can do us more harm than good ….

Having said all these, I don’t know whether I’m going to get condemned for this…but blame it on my “maturity” (or the lack of it) …:)

Humbly yours,
(Bande medha dum...bande mataram...)

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