>I am watching too many movies. Almost everyday the night ends with a movie. Even scarier, sometimes they are repeats. Since I started to semi-self-sustain, the number of movies that I watch has increased drastically and I don’t see the end any time sooner. I tend to enjoy good movies and therefore its ok, I guess. The important thing is I stumbled on this inspiring movie, which I would probably never forget. Although I’ve seen this movie before, I don’t remember seeing it in the way that I am seeing it now. I am talking about the changed mindset, of course. I watched a Richard Attenborough (the white bearded owner of the island full of dinosaurs in Jurassic park) movie made in 1982. It was a spectacular movie and there were no special effects at all. It’s a great movie, considering the fact that the main character is a simple, vegetarian and non-alcoholic (for the most part), supporter of non-violence. Half-dressed in dhoti, he inspired a few simple humans to become Mandela, Suu Kyi, Biko and the likes. Best known for freeing a south east nation which went on to become the largest democracy in the world and to an extent, talk of the economic world today, he is, referred as the Mahatma, meaning ‘the great soul’, by his followers, pointed in our school textbooks as father of the nation, named Mohandas by birth, loved and respected (by most) throughout the world, simply known as Gandhiji.
For those Indians who have no idea what I am talking about, think pay day. That’s right. I am talking about the one who is in all our currency bills.
The movie is simply awesome, and as Mr. Attenborough’s wish, it was surprisingly entertaining. Some times, movies like this end up as documentaries. But this portrayal of the mahatma was wonderfully screen played and at the same time provoked thought in most of the minds that watched it. The movie won 8 Oscars including best picture, during the 1982 ceremony. I don’t think many would disagree with the way the picture was taken.
But what surprised me the most was the judgment passed by some of educated Indian brothers of my generation. When one of my roommates said, that Gandhi is being given too much credit, I thought he was being funny. It got a little bit serious when he proclaimed that Gandhi simply got lucky that the British gave up India not because of the civil resistance, but due to their financial problems after WWII. Just when I thought this nightmare would soon end, he hit me like a mad truck, by ruling out Gandhian philosophy as impractical and flawed. I felt like being stung by a Tranquilizer dart.
I always felt that we get a sense of superiority in us, when we degrade some one of great accomplishment. Its getting into pop culture, I think. I saw few social website groups against Gandhi and probably most of the leaders. There are a lot of articles that wouldn’t accept him simply because of “what if”s and “you know what he did”s. In pop culture people express “if Hitler had won…” and it’s a happy tone, and they are even happier when a hero is insulted. We don’t exactly favor the villains, but we are thrilled to know the hero is not that good himself, after all. One single scar and we trumpet, ‘you’re not that great. If I was there, I would’ve done it, even better’. I wonder why there are fewer leaders compared to the hhuuuuuggggeeee (supposed to be an exageration) followers and significant whiners.
Being a fan of most of our national leaders I won’t accept it and therefore on my defense I would simply deny all of it on a simple basis that no one is perfect, but not even one came close to being as perfect as Gandhi. The world has seen so many rulers, leaders and revolutionaries, but nonesoever proved more clearly that the strength of human heart can shatter even the hardest of metals, than Baapu. Men and women, who have risen to greatness, have repeated time and again that their inspiration came from all the methods and sufferings he took for his struggle towards freeing his nation.
Yes, he refused penicillin to his wife, he slept (just slept,literally) with naked women to prove his mastery over brahmacharya, but these were his own philosophies. He never forced anyone to do things his way. It was a request all the time. For one he never supported the Indo-Pak partition and he joyfully declared himself to be a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian and what not.
I don’t think he will be surprised by our ignorance to see the real truth. The real truth, is not that non-violence was the key to end the strongest of suppression, not that through simple life one can strengthen his/her heart and inspire respect and devotion, not that doing what is right is simply doing to others what you want others (or yourself) to do to you, but the real truth, I believe, is simply staying true to your heart and believe in the natural goodness in fellow humans. Yes, I don’t think he will be surprised.
We should try to learn what is good from others and try to instill ours in them. That way, we can make a greater number of heroes and eventually lesser and lesser villains.
Of what has become of the nation he loved, or even the world where doing right is to go after oil and kill in the name of religion, today, he will probably be saddened. Just pick up a new paper and look at the world that we are living right now. Seems like Gandhism could be worth a try.
Unless we see ourselves in the perspective of the universe, we are never free of our prejudices. Therefore, this is my prejudiced view. Let’s take someone of better credit.
Nine out of ten times Einstein is right. Of all things he found, he found that
Mahatma Gandhi’s life achievement stands unique in political history. He has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country, and practiced it with greatest energy and devotion. The moral influence he had on the consciously thinking human being of the entire civilized world will probably be much more lasting than it seems in our time with its overestimation of brutal violent forces….We may all be happy and grateful that destiny gifted us with such an enlightened contemporary, a role model for the generations to come.
Generation to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.
And I could’nt agree more.