Remembering Gandhi in 2013.

Gandhi on currency note

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a Gujarati by birth place, Bania or trader by birth caste, lawyer by education, an unparalleled mass appeal leader by occupation, global enigma as a philosopher and failure as a politician. This is how the Gandhi would be summed up today his birthday in 2013 and a national holiday.
Gandhi was assassinated by a fire arm. A violent death for an ardent propounder of Non-violence.
For every person of Punjabi descent, Gandhi is a person who betrayed Punjab. It is told to me by my parents and grand-parents that in Public Speeches made in East Punjab (Now Pakistan), Gandhi would proclaim that:

“there is no question of partition of the country and if it happens it would be on my dead body.”

As things turned out, Gandhi, was no politician and his own progeny Nehru edged him out of stage and accepted partition of the country on religious lines without any inkling what to speak of vision about the fate of people and the possible exodus. The decision cost Millions to suffer ranging from poverty due to sudden forced migration to rape to death. Women raped and children murdered in cold blood. Every family has tales of horror to tell. All in the name of religion. A partition based on religion as propounded by ‘Civilised’ British Government.

Unfortunately, after independence, the Gandhi did not respond to anybody but went on to ‘moun vrat’ or vow of silence. He had won from the British Empire but lost to his own people. Just like Julies Caesar, who won for the Roman Empire but lost to the Senate (a.k.a. Politicians of Rome).
Things did not change any better either after independence or after the death of Gandhi. Except calling him ‘Father of Nation’, his own Congress Party or his progeny ‘Nehru’ simply ignored his every single philosophy if not turning it upside down. The comical part was that Nehru would sport ‘Gandhi Cap’ in public but would not follow any of his economic or social philosophy. So much so he sponsored a high-brid nationalistic-communist industrial-economic policy which was an open ridicule of Gandhian philosophy. He refused to disband the Congress Party and turned it into a political party to contest elections and seek power.
Dandi is a place in Gujarat where the Gandhi traveled from Sabarmati i. e. 240 kilometers, on foot to make salt on sea shore to protest against levy of Excise as indirect tax on salt, a basic need. This Dandi Yatra or Salt March is celebrated by Congress and its successive Governments but the name of law which levied this tax still remains the same. It was and it is still called ‘Central Excise and Salt Act, 1911.’ There can not be any greater example of hypocrisy.
Gandhi was a strong supporter of self sustainable village. And the fact that such villages can be created has shown by Anna Hazare an ardent follower of Gandhi, but Governments after Government could not create one self sustainable village.
Now small independent villages means small industries. That is what Gandhi advocated. In India what is a small industry is defined by Industries Development and Regulation Act, a legislation in control of Federal/Central Government whereby ‘all’ industries are controlled by the Central Government. Why? Because an industry controlled by Central Government can only be established with the permission or licence of Central Government. Permission means power. Bureaucracy of States are doing same for other left over industries. Selling licenses. Large industries failed to generate employment for local people. With new technologies, large plants run on its own and local non technical work force is engaged for maintenance only. Rural poor continue to migrate to cities for work.
There are numerous such examples. Co-operative is another movement supported by Gandhi but today all Co-operative Societies are hijacked by administrators and bureaucracy.
As stated above, I had inherited reasons to dislike Gandhi but it is time to rethink about some of his socio-economic policies, especially in view of ecological and economic mess we are facing.
For this generation Gandhi means currency note. They ask for it as ‘Gandhi’.
Would somebody remove the picture of Gandhi from currency notes which appears to be more of an insult for a person who was a pinnacle of austerity. Who lived most of his without any kind of pocket on his person.
I wonder if there is some kind of after life, what must be happening around Rajghat, the official Samadhi Place of Gandhi. Tremors?

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About Sandeep Bhalla

A lawyer, thinker, author, Linux/Ubuntu power user and sometime an economist or gardener or philosopher or cook or photographer depending upon the current thought and environment. View all posts by Sandeep Bhalla

4 responses to “Remembering Gandhi in 2013.

  • David Bennett

    How moving. I read Gandhi’s autobiography and I read part of Nehru’s The Discovery of India. I did not abandon the Nehru book, but it is sitting in a pile with others… waiting for its moment.
    The dominant feeling I got from reading Nehru is of the sense of pride in India and the terrible injustice done to it at all levels by the British… even robbing it of its self-image as the originator of many fundamental concepts of human life.
    From the way you describe him, I picture someone trying to drag India into the 20th century… but at what cost? At the cost of betraying all that India was capable of if the enfranchised village system could have been given free (unlicensed) rein.
    So imagine we could turn the clock back and that Nehru had been the faithful follower of Gandhi’s ideas. What would have happened to India on the world stage? Would it have been pulled to pieces economically by the Great Powers?
    On partition – I thought it was simply that Jinnah would not agree to a united India?
    Let’s continue this. It is deeply interesting to me and I am not sure why.

    Like

    • Sandeep Bhalla

      At the outset, thanks for your perspective. Every comment, even if it is a complete disagreement, continue my purpose of sharing my thoughts.
      You have raised many questions in one go. I may have answers to all. But my answers are based on facts not perception. But that will require another article which I will compile ASAP.
      Regarding partition, there is a book by Seervai called ‘partition of India’ which is based on documents declassified by British Government. Pl. Read that.
      This was not about policy of Nehru or his party. It was about Gandhi and his philosophy. If he was so great why no one followed him?
      And if policy of Nehru and his family were right, why his own party and descendants, reversed it after four decades?
      I shall revert with more.

      Like

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