Its Independence Day, 60 years, calls in for a celebration. I felt, looking at the media, our commercial ventures made Independence Day lose its tactile sensitivity. It is great to see many different ads coming out; I feel that India has its tenet when celebrating any occasion.
Today morning, a friend of mine was writing an article on India, and she seemed to be very passionate about it. She wanted to underscore the beauty of India, and I am sure it will be good reading. I felt, “Chalo, even I shall share few of my adventures associated with Indian Independence with the same verve as she is.”
Last year, sometime in July, I selected few places of my own volition. The first stop was Ahemadabad. There was a reason to meet one of my good friends, Rachita, working out there. Well, the early signs of her stay at Gujarat weren’t encouraging. Her mother accompanied her, but they both didn’t seem to enjoy the visage of that particular environment. In a way, it is tough on us to be leaving our comfort zone (home) to some other place. I guess, at times, one shall wallow with circumstances when there aren’t many choices given.
I reached the place, and the first thing I did was to book a hotel room for myself. The weather was not dry and was cloudy. It was that time of the season where monsoon was expected any moment. I never set my heart on myself while traveling; I keep reminding myself that I have got too much wanderlust at times, and hence I allow my mind to control most of the situations. I did meet Rachita and her mom. In a way, they were happy to see me being there when there aren’t familiar faces around. They were staying at the company’s guest house until she found herself a place to stay.
The first day was spent in me spending most of my time with them. Rachita wasn’t feeling well for some days. Her mom and I went out in search of a house. We did meet quite a few agents and lots of places. We weren’t entirely happy with what we saw. In a way, getting a house that aunt and Rachita wanted seemed very tenuous, but never did they or even I lose any hope.
On my way back, next to my hotel, there was a theater. I am fond of movies, and I just went in to watch “Omkara.” I paid 20 bucks for this and got a good deal with the seating as well. I did realize the entertainment taxes out here in Bangalore were too much. I guess that goes the same way with any interstate movies.
Day 2: I wanted to visit places. I was sure this place was close. I took the rickshaw, and out I went.
Sabarmati Ashram it was.
I was always fascinated with the way Gandhi worked out his methods. Be it via Ben Kingsley in the movie ‘Gandhi’ or his experiments with truth; he somehow epitomized a man who is not just known for his tonsure.
Previously, I knew Gandhi only through movies and literature. As I walked into this tract of infinite wisdom, I was astonished to see and hear many facts about his life.
The ambience was refreshing, and the first thing I did was enter the museum, which had many of his writings and photographs.
One by one, as it flickered, I was an eagerness to know the reason for him being transcendent and set an example of being truculent by imbibing the concept of ahimsa.
Many of the portraits explained the transports of people and Gandhi in particular for a common purpose. Being Independent; free of being held in thrall by the British.
By looking at the photographs and the events depicted, I was vicarious with the events.
The vision of Gandhi was clear, to turn the barren administration into a verdant.
His veneer appearance spoke more than his abstinence practices. He had principles, and he followed them vehemently.
Few would argue or doubt his principles, but, he had a vision and a dream, he sensed to negate the ever-growing vex among his fellow countrymen, ahimsa was the way to go. He never veered with his principles even at the time of adversity. It spoke volumes of a man who stood by what he thought was veracious.
It was time to give back the voyeur British Government to stop impaling Indians (as we proudly say it) with their illogical, adamant, and, more importantly, egoistic practices at times.
Like, we say, the British did a lot of things that were responsible for the uproar. Spreading English education by Sir William Bentick and encouraging Indians to take part in civil services were precedent for self-awakening for souls.
At times, the vitriolic and virulent attitude of certain officers made us realize that it was high time we needed our land to be ruled by our leaders, not aliens.
I don’t want to go back into history but would like to share the vignette I have or instead I saw out there at the ashram.
It was his sheer dedication and determination that saw the British wane out eventually.
Well, Gandhi didn’t become a leader; he was made to lead. He led because people had faith in him; he had confidence in himself and his abilities to take on the rampant opposition.
However, some people were in opposition to what he believed in. Instead of blaming each other, we must acknowledge the best of all the worlds because everyone had a common goal.
A nation boasting people who are religious, moral, unsavory, fearless, shy, etc
There are possibilities of conflicts of principles and interests. But in this case, it was only principles because the appeal was the same. All had a common interest.
Finally, the Gandhian principles prevailed, and he turned out to be the primary catalyst for our freedom. So he was our Father of the Nation. If Bose had survived and got us freedom through his principles, he would have been bestowed with the above title.
Ultimately, it is all about being survival of the fittest; Gandhi just proved, he need not be physically fit; his taut principles and the tensile strength were indeed very fit.
Even now, his idealisms doesn’t seem to be uncouth; it’s just that we need the courage to follow them. One has to be tendentious and then follow it up. Gandhi’s idealism was accepted because we were short of ideas, and we just took it because it worked for us. So, in theory, the situation is very different now. We need to use these idealisms to fight within rather than people.
Also, people wanted and waited to hear at that time, and it isn’t the same; although people want to hear, do they have time to wait?
And by the time I reached the end of the portrait section, I realized that being independent doesn’t mean staying away or not being dependent on others, Independent means, unclogging ourselves with the ailments we carry throughout the day.
In the real sense, freedom means free ourselves from the prison of our thoughts, which inhibits our movements. This could bring a degree of tempestuous situations at times within us, but it is better to tarry decisions than to end up being tawdry.
Sometimes, we need to carry the necessary unguent to the sore mental muscles. That comes with wisdom. Gandhi expressed the need to read literature and be aware of the world that takes us a step closer to being independent.
If independence means not being dependent, wisdom helps us be aware of situations and, hence, less dependent on others. Serve the food you like; the buffet is ready.
It is better to enjoy the best of all worlds at our disposal than criticize being drawn to the comparison. However, if the comparison is what brings in the money for others, let it be at professional life instead of taking it to our personal lives.
Towards the end of the portrait section, a portrait of his funeral is displayed. Nearly three lakh people gathered on that day.
He wore the robe of verisimilitude. His deeds are indeed highly venerable from all places across the world.
After a while, I visited his home, Hriday Kunj. A familiar sight of a Gandhian sat there. I asked him about the history of this place, he explained in a detailed manner. He did mix his Hindi with Gujarati; I was unimpeachable and didn’t show any signs of not understanding when he spoke in Gujarati. But I could sense what it meant.
I entered the place; it was refreshing. One could forget all the venial thoughts. Except for his room, all other rooms were accessible. Although, one could get a glance at how his room looked like.
And after this, I could see the sad sight of River Sabarmati. It was polluted and dry. Thankfully, Government is restoring the river through one of its projects.
The forecast was rain showers that day, but even the weather gods couldn’t vitiate my visit to this ashram. I could summarize his principles in this way. V for Verity and not Vendetta.
In a way, whenever I behave devilishly, I never realized what went before me. Did people of my age at that time enjoy similar privileges?
The point is it’s not comparing our lives with that of our ancestors. It is all about learning and being progressive. Like we progressed from monkeys to humans, our thoughts must advance. It is all about creating better positions for the coming generations rather than concentrating on minor issues.
I know our tyranny might not help us in progress. But doesn’t the situation arise once again what our ancestors faced?
It is true; history repeats. And it is also true, one must learn from our history.
Sometimes we do dream of having many things. It is all about transmuting our dreams into actualities. The challenges faced in realizing our dreams are what we call the driving forces of life. One could be a hero like Gandhi, Bose, etc., bowled by their talisman qualities.
The way our mind progresses, the problems would have reached another level as well. As proportionately, we are all in the same league as our ancestors were.
In a way, it is equivalent to the lives we live with the ways our forefathers lived. I know it has changed a lot. But, change is the only constant thing in this world.
It is not just to remember them on particular days being allotted as National Holidays.
The way they thought about us being in the right positions would be better if we do the same by thinking of our country’s future. Oh yes, there would be a Gandhi, Bose coming out again. It is likely to be a combination of many qualities than those reminiscent of Gandhi alone or, in particular, any other person alone.
I managed to catch the rickshaw and headed towards the hotel. I realized every idea works as long as it works and continues to work if it had worked.