while commuting everyday to noida from north delhi, there are a horde of temples that i pass enroute. as a devoted believer, i make it a point to show respect to these roadside gods and goddesses with folded hands. a slight deviation is when i pass rajghat, the samadhi of mahatma gandhi, the man who gave us our freedom from the british, and should have thus been equivalent to any god. not wanting to be an oddity, i decide to follow the general apathy of people towards mahatma gandhi (some people insist on not using the word mahatma). my respect for mahatma gandhi though is intact.
still it will be a food for thought about why mahatma gandhi does not find respect, except in political gatherings and on-the-record conversations.
the greatest damage was done by the popular saying “majboori ka nam mahatma gandhi”. translated to english it makes mahatma gandhi synonymous with an act done involuntarily or under pressure. if i am correct, he got tagged thus after he consented to partition of the country.
mahatma gandhi was never ready for a division or partition of the country. many a times, he warned people of the british tactics of divide and rule. but people were hell bent then. a hindu couldn’t have lived with a muslim residing a block away. same was with muslims. so when the issue started to get out of control, he finally agreed, not wanting there to be bloodshed.
and what these people (those who tell he agreed to partition under pressure or as a favour to muslims) wanted from mahatma gandhi. that he order all muslims to go out of india and also not give them an inch of land anywhere on the earth. that’s baseless.
mahatma gandhi hasn’t found fan following among muslims too. they call him a hindu leader.
he wasn’t a leader of a particular community though. he proved it with words and actions. when he called for a combined action against the british, it was not only from hindus or not only muslims. he wanted to awaken the entire country in his efforts to push british out of india.
and he succeeded. never before gandhi, was any leader able to create a country-wide struggle for freedom. india, although unitedly subservient to the british, didnt think together on ways to get rid of the colonial powers. it was for this reason why the revolt of 1857 failed at the first hand. a few kings and queens fought largely for their interests and the impact of the revolt was hardly visible throughout the country.
gandhiji brought about this awakening among people that they were part of a big country called bharat. the evils that he fought was not only the British; also there were far bigger evils that ruled the minds of people. untouchability was a monster afflicting india. mahatma gandhi said that the dalits or the scheduled castes were harijans or the people of the lord.
and his means of fighting the evil was really very effective. non co-operation, swadesi, satyagraha – who would have thought these could actually force the british out of the country. but just as a homoeopathic medicine works slowly but effectively, his means worked.
but in a country that didn’t spare sita, who was the incarnation of goddess lakshmi, how could we even think of people believing matama gandhi. his tactics were quite good at fighting the outsiders. but when it came to fighting insiders, he was hapless.
so someone, in a fit, killed mahatma gandhi during a prayer meet in 1948. and ever since, people kill the great man every time of the day, by openly flouting his teachings and associating him with evils he fought throughout his life.