Return of Gandhi – A Modern Day Tale: By A. Mahajan
Return of Gandhi – A Modern Day Tale: By A. Mahajan
I just walked out of my Samadhi at Rajghat; as the actor Arnold Swaz … keeps doing in his action films. I am your Gandhi here amid you in 2011.
I just walked out of my Samadhi at Rajghat; as the actor Arnold Swaz … keeps doing in his action films. I am thus; your Gandhi of the old again here amid you in 2011. Delhi has undergone a sea change. I am sitting on a bench near a bus terminal, and a procession of men and women has passed by me. They were shouting slogan against the soaring and unaffordable prices of vegetables and food grain. Vegetables and food grain? They all looked well to do persons. Then I walked on and reached a vegetable market. I inquired about the vegetables and was flabbergasted. I walked still further and found a college. Students and teachers were coming out after the day’s work. I noticed an old professor who walked a little distance to the nearby bus stop and stood there in wait. I walked to him and greeted him. He greeted back. Then after introductory talking, I requested him to clarify the dilemma about rising and unmanageable prices of vegetables and food grain. He looked back for a long moment before saying, ‘you appear to be from a dharamshala, or you are an eccentric or are perhaps from some unknown civilization living somewhere in the Himalayan wilderness. Who doesn’t know this? In the last 2 decades, India has changed in favour of few millions of rich population. I am a lecturer of Chemistry. I tell you, the old naïve man, before 25 years from now, a man had to worry about few things like his daughters marriage or his wife’s health or building his own house; now many worries have added to the list like how to buy tomatoes at 40 rupees a kg; how to buy other vegetables and food grains in the limited income of 25000 per month. What a joke is it, which just occurred to me this very minute? You see old man, have you ever heard about Chemistry’s periodic table of elements, educated in a college as you appear from your visage despite your bucolic appearance. Earlier the job was simpler. You remember the atomic weights and position of the few common element and could manage; then a situation develops in 25 years when you have to remember the characteristic no of so many elements of the table that were insignificant 25 years ago; say prices of vegetables and food, petrol, diesel, cooking gas etc. were insignificant in comparison to pressing requirements like son’s education or a medical operation of somebody in family. This is what has happened to India . Now those insignificant things account for the most part of a man’s income.” I thanked the Professor and went my way.
I, your Gandhi wanted to go to Bombay where I had tried to establish in older days and failed. When I woke up in the morning, the train stood in Ahmadabad . I decided to leave the train at Ahmadabad- the place of my many experiments with truth. But till when I could make my mind to exit, the train left the station. I further travelled till Viramgam, and left the train there. The station was better looking than those days with many modern changes. But the vast spread of ghettos just starting from the station and spreading backward to unlimited horizons was not there in old Viramgam of my days. Had my poet storywriter friend Raychandbhai been with me today, he would have written a narrative; then I heard his voice from the air saying he would be with me for some time; but could not appear in person.
Raychandbhai started talking. “The ghettos spread here and in India elsewhere are horrifying. They say 500 million people below poverty level stay in the ghettos of India . Viramgam ghettos, my friend Gandhi, may remind you of the ghettos of South Africa of indentured labourers; in present time it looks like…..well, let you and I walk a little in Viramgam.”
So we leave the station and come on the labyrinth of roads flyovers etc… Automatic traffic control is there. At a signal, a long crowd of two wheelers extending and mushrooming half a kilometre is being seen with all engines cut off to save fuel. Then the signal becomes on and the engines of all two wheelers become live at once. We were looking at the traffic with interest. Suddenly Raychandbhai told me, “When the signal turned green, the entire mass of two wheelers started the engines. A poet would say they became a mass with a modified definition signifying a new birth; signifying a nascent focus on the composition of random spread of entities; signifying something like the existence of those ghettos adjunct to the Viramgam railway station when it reappears into visibility discarding the pall of darkness on a morning break.”
“ but you know Raychandbhai, I happened to ask one ghetto man about the diseases people die generally in ghettos, and he replied it is mostly a road accident, police shooting on a certain crowd through which terrorists may be trying to escape; spurious liquor; suicides of unemployed people .Remember I never earned a rupee from India from my practice? I asked the man -no disease kills. He said no. All diseases are curable now.
And Raychandbhai, Where is self-reliance/swadeshi/truths/ahimsa/true satyagrah/aparighah/spiritual training/non-violence that I trained Indians with so much effort, I know not. Leaders are in jail again; but for having made scams: what a shame! I want to know did I struggle all my life in India and South Africa for the picture to reverse miserably on the national horizon so early after me being shot. I am again going on a satyagrah and will not leave the place unless the police come and kill me if they want to. But Raychandbhai, it is difficult to redo the entire thing in this present short visit. Any way I will try in next few days.
Gandhi-ii had secured a footing in the masses, easy as a job is it now a day, and was quoted sometimes on TV. Then he accounted a satyagrah against the same set of issues; corruption, unimaginable price hikes, and deterioration of national character etc. he was addressing a large gathering;
“I want to know what MNCs are doing here in a nation, which is trying to become self-reliant, first at basic datum and then upwards. I also know that these MNCs are diffracting more than collimating efforts of Indians to achieve self reliance. I think they are only eroding the efforts of Indians to achieve self reliance. They pay good salaries for managing jobs, and private banks enable an ordinary man to buy costly flats and cars. A status symbol as these carry. Thus they spend the rest of their lives in paying EMIs. There contribution to national self reliance remains sequestered from them all their life thus. They represent a small % of 120 crores. Why couldn’t they work in large Indian companies had the leaders emulating Nehru set them up. The crop of 4-5 crores engineers every year after having spent 1 lack fee a year are the human resources which are being talked about here for these industries of imagination. They will put to use their hard work, knowledge, skills for the benefit of an Indian company to slake the starvation of this country for self-reliance. On the contrary these young men presently queue up outside MNCs. Now these MNCs don’t want engineers any further. So the new engineers are in a lurch with no employment.”
“Nehru’s PSUs were for this purpose; they were temples for performing hard work and using skills by Indian engineers. These MNCs have mucked Nehru’s dreams and have led PSUs to sickness.”
“So new engineers work at par to ITIs’ at a salary of 6 to 8 thousand a month. They are disappointed but are clinging to their position. They have no other way. They don’t want to join the 500 million unemployed.”
“Agriculture, the backbone of India , is reviewed on paper and nothing is done for it to come out of slow pace. Did we need the counter forces of MNCs in our self-reliant India ? Crime is at all-time high. People kill for simple matters, as they know full well that no one is going to be hanged for it; judgements are bought easily.”
“Real worthy people no longer want to expose them. They want to remain average looking. For they know once people know who they are under the skin, they won’t be able to work in companies. They can’t genuflect to save their jobs then. This very self-respect didn’t allow me to earn a single rupee in my gandhi-1 life in Bombay or elsewhere.”
“So my dear friends, I too am going to sit at my own Rajghat for a satyagrah for a self-reliant, non-corrupt India , and one India offering employment to 500 million unemployed. In my time, I used to be one unemployed man shuttling between Rajkot and South Africa for employment. All my life, I never liked my profession; rather I engaged myself in public work with a predilection. With no success coming straight to me in my profession due to my faith in my experiments with truth, I gradually sequestered myself from law, and more and more relevance of my actions I found situated in my experiments with truth. At one time, my degree in law became a unsought burden with me, which one has to carry with him without any benefit getting out of it.”
The Chemistry professor was also sitting in the audience. He rose and started saying,” my dear fellow Indians. This man is really Gandhi. The Gandhi who in currency notes is in the wallets of all of us. But still he is forgotten. In the currency note, earlier only his picture was sufficient to declare the note as real one. Now rather they want to prove that despite his picture, the currency is counterfeit. They consider his picture as a kind of possible impurity in a steel specimen. Those so many lines, so many identifications of the note which all of us check before accepting a 500 note are disbelief in Gandhi. Gandhi’s picture is now a days a doubtful insignia in a steel specimen. We check so many identifications of the note disregarding Gandhi. It is derogatory. I am a science man. I consider this act like considering Gandhi’s picture as an impurity in a steel tensile specimen. They test the specimen and if it fails, they say the note with real Gandhi is a fake. That day I told him eccentric but it appears, the grief and frustration has made me this moment an eccentric. True, an eccentric only might talk things like this, but believe me my dear fellows; he is the same man Gandhi, who is appearing in books and streets only in our present day India .”
At night, a police group came to Gandhi’s satyagrah place and asked thus,” you say you are Gandhi-ii?”
“You are a thug”
“Thug? I am second version of original Gandhi.”
“You are a thug like Ramdev. He too sat here for a Satyagrah.”
“What did you do with him?”
“We gave him a good beating when he was escaping in female attire and dumped him back in Hardwar . 1100 crores rupees from yoga! Eh. He wanted to enter politics and we have calmed him. He feigns yoga and talks like you to achieve a swadeshi India ”
“I don’t feign. I will not budge from here. Come and beat me. I will grasp the most rigid structure here and bind myself with it. You beat but I don’t lose my union with the structure,”
“Now you are getting on my nerves. There was a meeting about you of higher ups in the govt. As a last resort; they have sanctioned your killing.”
“Then kill me”
The SP thought for a while. “Listen Mr. Gandhi or whosoever you are. I may have to kill you really.”
“Go ahead” and Gandhi caught the policeman and shook him, repeatedly asking him to gun him down.
The irked SP pulled his gun and tried to intimidate the old man. Then somehow a shot was heard that went in some confusion.
“Hey Ram” and Gandhi was killed again this time not by RSS.