Saturday, October 04, 2008

Gandhi Jayanti

Oct 2nd, birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more popularly known as Bapu or Gandhiji, is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti in India and International Non Violence Day, the world over.

Couldn’t have been timelier with bloodbath all around. Lets see whats happening around the country. India has been rocked by a series of deadly explosions starting Jaipur, followed by Bangalore, Ahmedabad, (failed ones in) Surat, Delhi and recently North-East leading to heavy casualties of life and property leaving trust and confidence in tatters. It has managed to instill fear in the minds of innocent citizens and has shattered peace. The whole intelligence and security apparatus has failed, rather failed miserably.

Yesterday Ratan Tata announced pull out from Singur. He cited violence, agitation and lack of cogenial atmosphere as the key reason. We can blame Mamta Bannerjee but this what Left has practiced for ages and getting taste of their own medicine. Rule-of-Law has been thrown to garbage bin.

Orissa and Karnataka are witnessing violence against Christians of worst kind. Both sides are to be blamed. Christian missionaries, flush with funds from foreign shores, for luring conversions in poor tribal belts and Hindus for retaliating with violence. In a civil society one has no business to retaliate by raping and killing people.

Parts of Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar are hit by Naxal violence with parallel government running there.

I need not recount the J&K story. It has been worst hit by terrorism and every party has tried make most of the divide between Jammu and Kashmir and within Kashmir - within India and Pakistan. Month long Amarnath violence just got over, leaving even more bitterness.

North East under seize from local extremists.

Can it go worse than this? The entire country seems to be in grip of violence.

Don’t know how Gandhi must have felt, if he were alive, witnessing so many innocents getting killed in this mindlessness. One who couldn't even tolerate killing of oppresors -the 22 policeman at Chauri-Chaura - leading to him taking fast-unto-death to drive the non-violence discipline, would have taken to ‘samadhi’ for sure.

The causes remain the same what were prevalent in 1947. What our great leaders then worked to eliminate, political class of today have played it for narrow political gains. Anti-social elements have gained upper hand. Fractured conscience of our political class has given them legitimacy. Couldn’t believe that Manmohan Singh allowed every criminal to come out of jail, treated them as VIPs and allowed them to vote in the parliament to save his government. Why would they be afraid of law? Why would they fear an honest officer. Rather it will be the other way round. All those who sacrificed cushiness by not succumbing to corruption, worked honestly and tirelessly putting themselves and family to risk over years to get the criminal elements behind bars saw their efforts evaporating in seconds. Other parties fare no better. Nobody walks the talk citing political compulsions rather we are termed impractical. All of them are spineless. Their commitment to non-violence is over by releasing full page advertisements on this day and customary visits to Rajghat and wearing Khadi.

It comes handy to politicians and other leaders who want to hide their incompetence. We haven’t built a world class infrastructure, so ask people to refrain from road rage violence. We cannot take care of our internal security so we keep asking to citizens remain peaceful after every blast. We cannot eliminate corruption so we ask them to internalize.

Gandhism as a religion and philosophy is more relevant today than it was ever and needs to be celebrated. So how do we celebrate - by forcing shut-down of every single establishment? No entertainment complexes, no shopping complexes nothing is open? Why do we make it so dull? Urban families have no clue on what to do. Instead of enjoying the day, they start cursing as the day gets boring and stressful. Isn’t it violence of a kind – violence of authority? We need to make it lively; it’s a national holiday, and isn’t it a birthday after all. Birthdays are meant to be enjoyed with families and friends with pomp. That’s one way of spreading his philosophy. Munnabhai series has shown the way on how Gandhi’s ideology of truth and non-violence needs to innovatively presented to the current generation. Happiness and Joy go hand in hand with truth.

Hopefully next Gandhi Jayanti will be an enjoyable affair.

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