Monday, October 02, 2006


Gandhi - Is there a different side?A friend asked me today: Are you for or against Gandhi? Its been a while since I've lost the habit of thinking on these lines as I'm out of school and college, and there are no more elocution competitions to commemorate special days. My TV is not tuned to receive Doordarshan either, so it's been ages since I last watched Richard Attenborough's epic.

All my life, I've been told (by history books, elders, television documentaries, newspaper articles) that Gandhi is God. And I used to think that if a man is called the Father of the Nation and his image appears on the nation's currency, he must be big!

My only flash cuts to Gandhi's "negative side" used to be my Indian Air Force pilot-friend, who always abused Gandhi for "screwing up on the Partition". And I've read pieces about Gandhi's controversial experiments with Brahmacharya. Somehow, the growing cynicism in me wants to think there must be more to the man than just truth and non-violence. Again, I believe that all people are made of goodness and evil, and that the two must be weighed to determine, in the greater scheme of things, the person's greatness.

I believe nobody in real life can be a thamizh film hero - embodiment of all good things, without a trace of negativity in them. And that every person is glorified after their death, positive side usually conquering the dark side. Couple this with our national tendency to turn people into "Gods", in the truest sense of the word.

So, as "Is Gandhigiri relevant today" debates happen on NDTV and Sun TV airs Thiruda Thirudi, my response to my friend's question:
I don't know enough about Gandhi to form an opinion of him.

Suddenly my ill-informedness slaps me very hard!

Some interesting links:
MK Gandhi's Autobiography
More on the Mahatma
Much more on the Mahatma
(warning - may be offensive to some):
Nathuram Godse
More on Nathuram Godse
The Gandhi Nobody Knows by Richard Grenier


Anonymous said...

Greatness is overrated. You can be perceived as great, if 10 other people want you to be so. So its easy to manipulate how the world looks at you.

And again the topic of what consitutues greatness comes up. Does a public figure always have to have a clean slate both in personal and public life?

vasanthi said...

If today somebody can go around with one piece of cloth even for one day for peace i think he has achieved more than a normal human being with a normal routine. So if you calculate it on the number of years Gandhiji did that for the nation it talks about his greatness.

Jeevan said...

This post make me to think and i should tell it also encourage to know more about gandhi. Link are very informative.

Srinivasan said...

I heard there is a woman who worships Rajiv Gandhi(and there is a whole nasty history abt Nehru Dynasty). Once someone reported abt a temple for MGR in Chennai(who had a darker side which no one cared abt)... Two leaf party members worship J Amma...

If these ppl can be worshipped, then Gandhi is a God for sure... This is not relativity theory, but of all criminals who played with partition he would be the least partner in that crime... He achieved lots more by principles rather than power and positions.

His life has great ideologies and at the same time negatives cannot be avoided, coz he is not an incarnation of God but rather a simple human being. Even in that case, Lord Krishna applied illegal tactics to win the Kurukshetra...

In a country led by the worst of the lot, the least worst becomes the best. So in his group of ppl without aathma, he is Mahathma for sure... And its time we started called him Great Grandfather of the nation coz its time for the present generation to take charge as Fathers of Modern India...

Anyways, thanks for those links, its always good to know abt someone from all dimensions. :-)

P.S: If it was like reading an high school essay, I am really sorry for that :-D

Karthik Srinivasan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
indianangel said...

Thanks for sharing these links Vinesh!

Jo said...

I dont understand why it is a fashion to blame Gandhi for the partition. Just like Jinnah, Patel and Nehru were also hungry for power. They were not ready to give up power to avoid partition. We read from "Freedom at Midnight" that Gandhi was greatly pained to see his successors like Patel and Nehru disobeying him while on the discussion about partition.

He is, in all senses, a Mahatma. And a human being too. And to err is human. But to blame someone for what he did not do is not human.