Friday, January 30, 2009

Lest anybody forgets



61 years ago, a Hindutva nationalist fired his bullets on Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhiji undertook a fast unto death demanding that Rs. 55 crore be rightfully given to Pakistan, that were withheld by the Indian government. 

Pakistan was at that time under armed confrontation with India, sending its troops to occupy Kashmir. 

Indian leaders tried to plead Gandhiji, saying that Pakistan will put that money to bad use, and intensify its warfare against India. Gandhiji didn't budge. He didn't stop his fast until the Indian government released the money to Pakistan, and until the leaders of both the Hindutva and Islamist movements personally promised him to lay down their arms. 

Gandhiji didn't undertake his fast for the sake of Pakistan, whose creation he vehemently opposed. He undertook it to preserve the very soul of India. 

Gandhiji didn't die on his fast, and he didn't die on the day Nathuram pulled his trigger. 

Gandhiji will die on the day when Indians forget the very principles that drove this loin-clothed man from Gujarat onwards his idealistic journey towards freedom and brotherhood of man. 

As Tagore has immortalized in "Ekla Chalo Re", the journey that the Mahatma began will not finish as long as there are people who are not afraid to walk alone. 


2 comments:

Ananth Majumdar said...

Do you really think ethics and ethical people can really achieve anything in the world? British left India because of their own problems after II world war and India was becoming increasingly ungovernable... I really love to dream of ethical world but when I see incongruencies every day and every where, i have lost all hope of an ethical world.

Ray Lightning said...

I am an idealist, Ananth.. Not a practical man.. But think about it this way, we humans have a finite life time and we've got only a finite opportunity to give and receive love.. So we should do our best.. As Gandhiji himself said, humanity is like an ocean. A few bad drops of water won't make the ocean bad.

I don't think we can afford to ever lose our trust in human beings..