The Invisible Man
A name synonymous with ahimsa. A name which has spawned a series of philosophies, a score of super-hit movies and which still finds a place in all major political speeches in India.
I am not a Gandhiwadi. Yes- I look upto Gandhiji- like most Indians do. But I have never been a strict follower of him or his ideas. The simplest example- "Ek gaal par yadi koi thappad maarein- to doosraa gaal aagein badhaaon.." I think I will find it extremely difficult to follow this. If someone does slap me on one cheek- depending on the size of that person- I would either slap back or I would retreat.. I wouldn't really offer my other cheek to be slapped..
All to say that- I respect this great man- and he is a force to reckon with. But that's about it. What I am trying to say in politically correct terms, is that I am essentially indifferent about it.
All that indifference changed in a single moment yesterday.
I was working on a professional assignment which involved monitoring the mailing of a newsletter. In the process of doing so- me and my colleague needed to go through the messages which were a part of the mailing. Being a newsletter- it had a weekly summary of some individual opinions about various topics. And one of those topics was about the Mahatma himself. As a few expletives in that particular section caught our attention, we went ahead to read the whole article and at the end of it- we both were dead silent.
As we read that revolting text which compared the Mahatma with Osama and Bush and others we felt sick. Suddenly the empty office walls seemed to close in on us as our blood boiled with anger. But of course- being professionals we quickly closed the window and resumed with the monitoring. "Oh- this stat has increased- that's a good sign.. Hmm- we'll need to change the config here a bit"
But we both knew- that inside us- we both were terribly upset and hurt after reading that message. We both avoided talking about it- but that one moment of pained silence was enough to say it all- it hurt!
The Mahatma- albeit invisible- made me feel his presence. And the invisibility made him more powerful than any tangible force. Yesterday I understood how implicit some things are. We do not realize how much they matter to us till we see them being brought up in an undignified manner.
As for the individual who had all that nonsense say to about Mahatma Gandhi- I know that beating him up won't help and suddenly- Gandhiji's ahimsa starts making sense... So here's what I pray for that bird-brained lost soul:
Patit paavan sita ram
Ishwar allah tero naam
Sabko sanmati de bhagwan..