Monday, March 22, 2010

Gandhi and my Thoughts

Finished reading this book and it ends with the assassination of Gandhi. Feeble after the fast, he would still spin cotton on his wheel as he believed that ' bread taken without labour is stolen bread'. Reading this book that is as much about Gandhi as India's independence, I realised that he was a man who grasped the truth when he saw it. Once while boarding Johannesburg-Durban train an English friend gave him John Ruskin's 'Unto This Last', Gandhi read this book all night and made a vow, he would give away all his possessions. According to Ruskin riches were a tool to secure power over men. A labourer served the society as much as a Doctor or a Lawyer and the life of labour, of tilling the soil was worth living. Gandhi was doing very well as a lawyer those days with an income of 5000 pounds a year. This thought process had begun in his mind since the past two years. He would do his own laundry, cut his own hair, clean his toilet and had delivered his last child. He settled his family in a farm with few friends and Gandhi's life took on a pattern that would rule it until the death. A renunciation of material possessions and striving to satisfy human needs in the simplest manner, coupled with communal existence in which all labour was equally valued. He also took the vow of sexual continence, this had been nagging issue since he had questioned his indulgence in carnal pleasures as his father lay on the death bed.

It is this force of truth that gave him such power over the Indian masses. During his fasts he subsisted on lukewarm water and bicarbonate of soda and as the life would ebb out, the masses would give up violence and gather around him and promise to be brothers. He loved with his heart every human and it seems he had risen much above the divisions of cast, religion and colour. Seems he had reached beyond the individual to the collective, where all living entities are merely extensions of a whole. I will be reading more on this great man and share it with all.

Working on reuse, reduce, recycle, we got a blender jar for a very old mixer that husband had bought when he was eighteen. Amazingly we got a new jar that fits perfectly. This brings me to rural areas, it is just the Indian cities that are now into the Western mode of use and throw. The moment you move to the suburbs and villages, you see old plastic buckets stitched up, innovative use of things like plastic bags and another sore sight, mountains of non degradable plastic that cities consume and dump in landfills that pollute the suburbs and little towns beyond.

Reading Gandhi, one thing is clear, the things he believed in would have led to a world where everyone was happy, not a fistful of rich people like today, who sadly lead a life that is happy(Is drug, indiscriminate sex and corruption happy?). Still, the illusion is being heaped with such deadly skill by equally corrupt media. Percolating from those strata to those who look up to this fancy world, not knowing that the woman who they want to emulate sleeps when drugged or the man who looks so suave racing his ferrari has a heart bathed in guilt, how he cheated the investors and is now cheating himself with this pretty toy. Falsehood upon falsehood and now they say its recession, the crooks think they are smart but the creator is smarter, unless we do not accept the balance, there might be passing moments of gratification but no real peace.

1 comment:

  1. While even Gandhi was an imperfect human like the rest of us, he had conviction and he "put his money where his mouth is". I respect him deeply for this.
    Reading your plate licking experience makes me think of an old comedian skit, Garry Shandling, when he said:
    "We've all done this because we're so mature. You see a cow on the side of the road, stick your head out the window, and go, "Mooo!" Like we expect the cow to think, 'Hey there's another cow driving that car! How can he afford that?'"