India, Gandhi and Dissent

India is the land of seekers, the land of debates, the land of truth. In India, even the Gods and their acts are allowed to be questioned. Indian heritage teaches us to appreciate the fiercest of enemies, find good in the most evil souls and punish our very own, if needed. Nothing, literally nothing is too sacred in Indian philosophy, which cannot be questioned or debated.

Ironically, India has stopped questioning, if not questioning, then perhaps questioning the right people and with right perspective. We have started following the mediaeval foreign practices, of making people and things related to them sacred and unquestionable. We made them so sacred, that the sacredness suffocates the very essence and existence of theirs.

Gandhi is probably the greatest son, respected more than anyone in the modern history of India. Gandhi is inspiration, Gandhi is sacred. But what makes Gandhi, a Mahatma?

Gandhi in his several writings has mentioned about the weaknesses he had, the humanly failures he suffered. So why do we celebrate Gandhi?

We do not celebrate Gandhi, we celebrate his principles. Gandhi is nothing without his principles. Gandhi's principles makes him, what we revere. Gandhi himself is not sacred, his principles are.

Indian philosophy still has room to debate on Gandhi, Gandhi's principles. Not everyone would qualify to do so. Certainly not small person like me. Gandhi's most popular lessons are, "hate the sin, not sinner", "forgiveness". If Gandhi would have survived the bullets, probably had forgiven Godse, definitely not have hated him. It was the stature of Gandhi, which made even his assassin to bow down to him before killing.

Gandhi has his own challenges and dilemma thou. Gandhi, who is strongly convinced about the nonviolence, supports Indian troops to help British during world war. Gandhi is righteous, but not free from mistakes. Gandhi is ideal but also humane. Gandhi corrects himself regularly. Gandhi's lifestyle is simple, but hard to imitate. So are his principles, simple yet hard to follow. 

By making Gandhi not debatable or questionable, we are suffocating his principles, we are dividing societies, who may have questions for his actions. Especially those who know little about Gandhi. We have shut the doors for his principles to propagate. Gandhi is left to political rhetorics and slogans, and is getting far from the reach of commoners.

We, as Indian society, have done biggest disservice, to probably the greatest son of modern India, by making him too sacred. Sacredness has killed his teachings. It is also against the basic nature of the country, which questions everything, even their Gods, Gurus, Kings and Sages. This is how this civilization has survived for ages, negotiated aggression with inclusion, evolved and kept itself abreast with time.

When something becomes too sacred, it dies. Gandhi will remain alive only if his principles are.


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