The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday 3 October 2011

MAHATMA GANDHI: IT’S 63 YEARS NOW..


It’s now 63 years that the Mahatma left us, a bewildered nation then, and an equally bewildered nation now.

With Jupiter sized scams, political immaturity of world’s largest democracy, a black-holed sort of alternative when it comes to untainted and honest career politicians, a social services sector largely engaged in looting of public faith, stagnating standard of life indicators in proportion to the huge population base, India is again at the similar juncture where it found itself on August 15, 1947; India is again staring at the crisis where political solution seems like looking for other life in the Universe. Problems were there. Problems are there. Only set of elements has seen the reorganization. The untimely death of the Mahatma in 1948 left India in a lurch that is still haunting the country, for the Mahatma had realized the upcoming political crisis in just six months of gaining Independence. And Mahatma was not happy the way Independent India started its journey to stand on its own. It becomes clear from this paragraph taken from the Hindu compilation on last 200 days of his life.

It says, “Yet the tide and tang of nostalgia that swept over the Mahatma carried more of a bitter than sweet flavour now. So much that had been heroically – and yet willingly and cheerfully – fought for, had since been attained. The sufferings so many had undergone had been rewarded with the grand prize of the nation’s beloved freedom. The alien usurper and oppressor had been forced non-violently to see reason and to quit. This ancient country had realized its modern destiny and tryst with itself, of becoming sovereign and independent. The further care of Mother India had come into the hands of her own, dear children. And yet, what happened thereafter had brought the dryness of ashes stuffed into one’s mouth, spread a charnel atmosphere around sensitive souls, and brought the smell of human burning stiflingly into nostrils! Woe be it, Lord Rama, that we your devotes, who have known you with love as Ram and as Rahim, as Krishna and as Karin, we know you no longer in our blindness, in our narrow-minded frenzies, and in our intolerant ways of feeling, in the compulsive bouts of our senseless and violent behaviour. Forgive us, O Lord, this our gross folly!

This had been the theme of Bapu’s thought and utterances and deepest prayer most of these days. His discussions with old colleagues came repeatedly to anchor on this matter. In anguish he talked of his own sense of futility. What more had he to do? I am an old man, he ruefully reflected. Am I grown out of touch with the here and the now, in bewilderment he enquired.

It tells, we, as a sovereign nation, so soon diverted on the path of alienation away from the Gandhian values and the Mahatma’s sudden demise killed any chance to put effective check on the process that the nascent India needed to take. We slipped and the process continued unabated. Multiple riots, Emergency, 900 million of the population surviving on less than $2 a day (World Bank estimate) even after 64 years of being Sovereign, increasing sectarianism, cast bias, religious bias - grim reminders that fuel the flight of agony. The corrective measures envisaged by the framers of the Constitution were given a laidback attitude. Policymakers conveniently adopted what suited their interests, be it policies related to the common man or policies aimed at industries. We grew economically but were unable to contain the growing disparity and there is no rocket science in understanding it. Take a tour of Delhi’s Lutyens Zone or Defence Colony in the morning and shift your focus to any of its sprawling slums in the evening and you will know. Or to see more, take a night trip of Delhi roads to see the homeless. And this is in one of India’s best administered cities. Think of India’s over 6,00,000 villages! The crisis that India is witnessing today is not just limited to the political domains only. It is now hurting the fundamentals of this eternal civilization - a history that has been the Symbolism of tolerance, acceptance and assimilation of different civilizations and thought processes from across the world. India accepted all, invaders, visitors, immigrants and continued to remain the embodiment of the one of the oldest living civilizations. That very fabric is under threat now.  And this very threat can be the spark to raise masses from the slumber – the 64 years of slumber - the time during which we saw it all; sometimes we tried to act, but largely stayed put.  But something Gandhian remained there and the need is being realized now.

The Sovereign India began its journey on dead bodies owing to the communal riots and with a hostile and unstable neighbour and the Mahatma was worried of it. His vision of helping to make a stable Pakistan was just a part of his thinking on the upcoming crisis management. Some say he was killed as he supported creation of Pakistan and was adamant on extending financial aid to the newly built nation. Can we deny the role of a volatile and unstable Pakistan now when it comes to our internal security management? Certainly not, it is written all across. We have been saying it with convincing proof. Now the world is echoing the sentiment, and the US is leading the pack with almost all the major global terrorists (the big daddy of them, Osama was killed near Islamabad by the US in May) being reported to be in Pakistan or being patronized by Pakistan. And it has much to do with the handicapped political system in Pakistan. Gandhi, probably, did not want an unstable and hostile Pakistan in the backyard when his own country desperately needed to track the growth route. Extending help to Pakistan then or proposing to dismantle the Congress and introducing a new political party system then was realization of a man who had seen the Sovereign India to falter so soon after gaining freedom.  The politics of appeasement that continued from the colonial India could only be addressed with fresh infusion of political thought process in the country, an opportunity that India lost after the January 30, 1948 assassination.

It’s now 97 years that he arrived on the scene in India. It’s now 142 years (born October 2, 1869) that he arrived on the stage of this world to play his character. It’s now 63 years that India kept lying low on what should be the foundation ideals of the India of the day – the Gandhian vision, sidelined from the mainstream. And it’s now after 63 years that we have seen a sensible urge in masses with the Anna Symbolism to go back to those Gandhian ideals and the focus needs to be maintained. The resurgence of masses coalesced by the values of Gandhian practices tells us Gandhi was there in our psyche waiting for the moment. And Anthropology and sociology propound that such large mass movements are results of simmering mass frustrations over the years – in this case 64 years of the Sovereign India. Gandhi was relevant and will always be relevant. The Thought Process may be pushed to the periphery for a while but eternity will signify its perpetuity. And this one is the moment to capitalize on. What we missed in 1948 should not be the case now.  We need to think and act for a classless restructuring – THE MAHATMA WAY.