Bapu's legacy still lives on
Yesterday, this paper ran a front page story on how Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi was irked by the attempt of a London auction house to sell a slide of Bapu's blood. Incidentally, the sample went unsold, as it could not draw the reserve price of 10,000 pounds sterling (Rs 8.4 lakh)
The issue has cleaved a nation, which is debating furiously about the London-based auction house Mullock’s attempt to sell Bapu’s blood, and the Indian Government’s lack of a response.
While the subject simmers, especially since Tushar took to microblogging site Twitter to air his ire, one has to look at the broader picture. The slide of blood was unsold, but Bapu’s memorabilia was auctioned at hefty amounts — a will left by Gandhi for his son going for Rs 46 lakh and a personal shawl he spun himself going for Rs 34 lakh. Prayer beads were snapped up for Rs 8 lakh while a bowl went for Rs 10 lakh.
This shows that despite all those proclamations of despair and lamentations that Bapu had been forgotten, the father of our nation still holds people in thrall, with his magic, philosophy and his teachings.
While cynics may scoff, one has to look at the positives and take heart from the fact that this bespectacled, dhoti-clad pacifist who fired up the imagination of a nation without taking a gun in his hands, throws a long shadow outside India too.
When the Munnabhai series was made, the filmmakers said they were motivated to make the film because our youngsters were ignorant about Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi is not just a dusty chapter in the history books. Today, more than ever, we need his ideals, and even a big slice of his legacy.