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RECONFIGURING GANDHI
Aug 02, 2017 at 11:20

Gandhi today is up for grabs. He has become an abstract, ‘up for sale man’, whose ideas are modified and twisted to fit in with what the man using him, wishes to sell. So many times has he been reinterpreted and “studied”, that the image that now appears of Gandhi, is so different from what we know, it may as well be another person altogether. Kunalika Gautam on how she understands the man behind the Mahatma


Kunalika Gautam
Student Reporter
October-2016

I am no Gandhian, so believe me when I say; Gandhi was a good man. Most of you will now put forward questions like – what exactly is a good man? Who decides if he is a good man? He conducted celibacy experiments, and so on. Yes, the man had his flaws, everyone does, and that is why he is a good man, and not God (or any other form of Supreme Being that you may believe in).

Gandhi is relatively new history, we have information to piece his life quite accurately, but I don’t think that has benefitted us much. We have deliberately decided on finding controversial and obnoxious facts on him, so as to mar his image and prove to the world he wasn’t a saint. I read an article that even managed to compare him to Asaram. Now, I genuinely don’t believe that he was a saint, he, as I stated before, was just a good man.

My justification? Well, he was born in British India, where educated cooperation with British would have been quite profitable, and he chose to lead a life of poverty. You will counter argue by saying that various men lead a life of poverty, true, but do they do that by choice? Would you, for any purpose (willingly), lead a life of poverty? A life in villages when you can clearly be dressed, in Paris, dry-cleaned suits, and drink Darjeeling tea? The answer is, No, I know I won’t. He did. And yet, that is not what makes him a good man.

Gandhi was a principled man, dedicated to what he thought was right, and he may have certain flaws but, doesn’t everybody? I truly believe if we were to actually assess people on every wrong they did, then nobody, ever, can be a good human being. And this assumption is extremely pessimistic for the human race. I mean, I can never be a good person, because that one time I laughed when my brother fell off the slide, this one time I lied to my mother, and another time I stole 20 rupees for my canteen trip, because my mother refused to give them to me. There you go, I can never be a good person now! No matter how many charities I run, no matter how many lives I save, no matter what big a role I play in uniting my nation, no matter if I am able to (maybe), save people from massacring others, I made certain mistakes which will ensure that I can never be a good person for the rest of my life. Period.

Is this how we function today? In a country where even murderers are given a second chance at life, we can’t forgive Gandhi?

Is 2nd October just a holiday for us? A day we know as ‘the day when all English channels play Gandhi?’ We are all different and have varied views on people. But this Gandhi Jayanti, do the “bad man” a good favor, and assess his life on what he did in public, don’t judge his personal life. Would you assess Bill Gates on whether he is a good father? No, he is a public figure and you will assess him on his public performance, do the same for Gandhi. I mean all political parties fight over who has the exclusive right on Gandhi, he must have done something good! Because, let’s admit, our parties don’t agree on anything.

Happy Gandhi Jayanti!

Try re-assessing the man, you’ll be surprised. Watch ‘Gandhi’ for starters.