Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Idol to Remember

I am inspired by what Sujata wrote on Mahatma Gandhi . I am in agreement that today’s generation seem to know little about our ‘Father of the Nation.’ In the workshops that I conduct , I always draw examples of this great man and here is some of what I tell my participants.
I ask the participants – ‘What did Mahatma Gandhi say when he was thrown out of the train in South Africa?’ The reply that I often get is ‘we don’t know.’ I tell them I also do not know but my guess, looking at what happened between 1942 (Quit India Movement) and 1947(Indian Independence), is he would have said ‘ You threw me out of the train, I will throw you out of my country.’ Indeed he did it.

The Indian freedom started with Mahatma Gandhi declaring ‘ India will be free.’ It saw the light of the day on 15th August, 1947. My learning is that there exists so much power in language, conversation and declaration that it touched , moved and inspired millions of Indians to win freedom for their country. Freedom the world over has been achieved through declaration by some individual.

While concluding the session, I ask a question – ‘Who was Gandhiji’s neighbour?’ Generally I am greeted with stunned silence or some innocent ramblings. I conclude the session saying ‘Gandhiji’s neighbour will never be known. You need to be Gandhiji to be known.’