I never truly believed in god. I am not a blind believer and I question a lot, if not articulated then in my mind. I don’t believe on great personalities and I am never interested in listening to them. But as it is said that exceptions occur for every possible thing in nature, I am no exception. There is one personality whom I truly venerate. I get goose bumps just by mention of his name. Hopelessness gives way to hope and light suddenly glows at the end of long dark tunnel. I am not writing this to start any discussion (We already have plenty of that) on good and dark side of Bapu. No person can lead an unblemished life and Bapu is not an exception of that.
It’s going to be 100 years of journey that Bapu took to get a glimpse of India. When Mahatma Gandhi landed in India in 1915, mesmerised mass requested him to lead them in their struggle just as he did in South Africa. But Gandhiji declined. He has been away from India so long and he first wanted to understand India and Indians before claiming to become their voice. He travelled thousands of kilometres in 3rd class of Indian Railway to get the sense of India.
When I think of his journey in one century old India, I wonder how it would be in this new India. How much has it changed? What difference Bapu would find in today’s India? Would he be happy, sad, astonished or shocked?
Let’s live the Bapu’ journey and see what has changed in 100 years.
Let’s start from Kashmir. Nothing has changed except for the sight of ubiquitous military uniform and artificial drawn line across the body of Kashmir. Endless bickering of two countries and innocent citizens squeezed between them. Nothing has changed. It still has got its beauty, It is still located at the same latitude and longitude but what is missing is its soul which has been trapped somewhere between the skirmishes of two nations.
Coming down the line is our own Delhi. Nothing has changed here also except for “Pehle yaha Raja ki Darbar lagti thi, ab yaha AAP ki talwar chalti hai” (I don’t think I need to translate into English. Just scrap it thinking it as crap ;)). Gandhiji will get his life time of shock if he decides to sit inside the parliament house. The sacred house of democracy which was supposed to be for people, created by people has everything in it except for the people. Janta is missing from every power corridor of Delhi. Nothing has changed, it was missing then in 1915 also and it is still missing after 100 years.
Next journey to Bihar, UP and north east is no different. He couldn’t be more horrified.
One would expect things to change in 100 years for good, not to exacerbate it further. You might argue about all those progress during those years. Yes progress has happened, but it has only changed the packaging. Content is still rotting inside the shining package and our leaders are fighting among themselves to give more polish to package and make it shinier.
Journey of Gandhiji would not be any different from the one taken in 1 century back. For name sake Indian railway might have removed the 3rd class but today’s 2nd class is much worse than that third class.
Numbers are what dominate our mind today – GDP number, IIP number, this index-That index. Quantity has eclipsed the quality, but what we forget are that numbers always grow with time and growing number can never be indicator of progress. But we keep trying to console ourselves by these numbers.
Gandhiji dreamt of a healthy India governed by healthy, educated and spiritual Indians. He dreamt of self-sufficient and content economy. We might have traversed the 66 years after the independence but we could barely increase our %age contribution in world economy. Everything is still at the same place what it used to be.
So what has changed in between? Nothing, except for oriental face of ruler instead of western face. Motto is same, intension is same – Keep ruling, keep exploiting. Jai Hind ?