Letter to a ‘Gandhian Nation’
This is being written at a time when the highest office-bearers of our nation seem beholden to avowed Gandhians and at a time when a supposed latter-day Satyagraha is moving millions towards a revolution. These are times when the din of Gandhian rhetoric is drowning out the silence the man himself cherished , and death penalties for the commonest-of-the-common crimes are being sought under the banner of one in whose name capital punishment is being eschewed elsewhere in the world.
This is being written not as an attempt to preach a gentler Gandhian worldview to the self-assured Gandhian choir now beginning to sound more like a sloganeering lynch-mob. This is being written just so that a couple guarding with their lives both humanity and innocence does not go unsung in this season of clarion calls. They are guarding humanity amid the once bloody and now bloodless brutality of the lynch-mobs of the sort Gandhi remonstrated with in his last years. This is being written so that a cynical nation inured to wrong-doings as routine, does not nonchalantly change channels while hearing a news item as shattering to one’s conscience as “Terror orphan’s savior arrested“. Barkha Dutt asks the obvious question, “Any hunger fasts for this?”. Another inescapable question is, “What would Gandhi himself have said?”.
An answer can be found in the pages of Gora’s “An atheist with Gandhi” :
“Pandit Sundarlal, speaking at the marriage function, revealed to the guests a particular remark that Bapuji made to him when they both had met at Delhi at the time of a communal riot. Bapuji wished the communities turned atheists, if that served to stop communal hatred and riots. This remark illustrated again that Bapuji evaluated principles not so much by their intellectual or sentimental content as by their practical results. He was not averse to atheism if it tended to civilize humanity.” -Chapter VIII, An Atheist with Gandhi.
Prof. Richard Dawkins concludes his famous essay ‘Atheists for Jesus‘ with the conviction that if Jesus were to return today he would be on the side of Reason rather than on the side of the Rapture-hasteners. I submit to good people of the Gandhian nation that if the Mahatma were to return today to the nation that calls him its Father, he would rush not to the Ramrajya-hasteners at Ramlila Maidan, but to Hyderabad’s Chudibazar to the beleaguered parents who, unflinchingly in the face of threats, chose to their own selves be true.
Yours in search of truth,
A well-wisher of that daughter of India, who’s neither Hindu nor Muslim