Aug 28, 2011

Magnum Opus

'He was a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires'

Today as India celebrates how the parliament passed the Jan Lokpal bill as demanded by Anna Hazare and his team.
The month long campaign has proved that complete freedom against corruption is a long way away but the freedom of speech by the people and the media sure found its expression among billions of Indians. Many supporting the cause, many supporting the man and thousands against the man.

One of my favorite biographical movie is 'Gandhi' by Sir Richard Attenborough. This timeless movie still answers the many questions that plagues our society.

Watching it for the millionth time, I'll attempt to dissect the essence of what we need to learn..

Disgraced after being thrown out of a train only because he was traveling on a first class ticket, this sparked the first flames of freedom against discrimination.
Even as a staunch follower of Hinduism, Gandhi respected and followed the essence of Christianity. He often called himself and everyone 'Children of God'.
Even when faced with an seemingly impossible task of bringing equality to Indians in South Africa, he never once was disrespectful. Just polite and stern.
From being called 'Citizens of the Empire' to overthrowing the Empire, Gandhi showed us how we need to 'Fight against their anger. Not provoke it.'

Where there is injustice, I always believe fight. But the question is 'Do you fight to change things or to fight to punish?'
The problem with our supposed fight against corruption is that a majority of us are very comfortable with our every day lives (and I've already discussed why here)

When we spoke about Anna's stubborn refusal to budge, I remembered how Gandhi, referred to himself as a 'stubborn man'.
On my maiden visit to the Golden Temple many many years ago, I visited the Jallianwala Bagh. Now converted to a national monument it is one of those monuments that have been restored and preserved well. I could still see bullet holes and dried blood splatter. And the well, now sealed off is a grim reminder of the many dozens who lost their lives. A monument to mindless cruelty and unapologetic ruthlessness.
The way the empire and her majesty (note the lower case) refused to leave India despite the atrocity it committed, reminds me of how corrupt politicians refuse to step down.

When I read about how college students in Bangalore turned violent, I remembered how misguided protesters killed policemen during Gandhi's freedom struggle. But then violence has always been a much easier option for cowards.

Modern times call for contemporary measures. While most of Gandhi's principles is still proven to work in a world filled with turmoil. Prohibition is a farce in Gujarat where you'll always get the booze for the right price. It's not about looking or talking the part. It's about the being the part.

'Nearly all revolution starts as an idea in the mind of one man'. We won our freedom from the British with one such idea which became the most inspirational civil resistance in all history. In 2011, Anna has helped us win another.
Like Gandhi, he led from the front. Boldly, fearlessly and non violently.

Freedom. While we continue to fight among ourselves over who is more right, our politicians have always followed the colonial rule of 'Divide and Rule'. They have done it then and they continue to do it now.

'In our own sweet time.. In our own sweet way, we'll get there'

Britain, an tyrant Empire that once ruled most of the world and once was called Great Britain now reduced to a shell of its former self wrecked by terrorists from both outside and within. An island nation where an overwhelming majority of its citizens live on welfare and government doles. A nation that is still grappling with itself. What an awful turn of fortune. 
The only devils in the world are those running around in our own hearts. And that is where all our battles ought to be fought - Gandhiji
Now, lets drink to that!

This is an ode to Gandhi: The 'half naked Indian fakir' who became the icon who Albert Einstein remarked is a man who 'generations will come which will scarce believe that such of one of this ever of flesh and blood walked upon this earth'

When I despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time, they can seem invincible but in the end, they always fall.

Hey Ram!

Read more:
The government against satyagrahas, then and now
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