Friday, January 30, 2015

Gandhi's Martyrdom

67 years on from the day a cold-blooded murderer ended the Mahatma's life the emotions that surges is still grief. The depravity of his murder is still hard to comprehend. How could a being whose every fiber imbibed the best humanity has ever offered be assassinated? And for so many of us to see the Mahatma's murderer being openly celebrated simply sends shock waves.

It is arguable that no one in the current power structure can call the Mahatma's murderer just that - a murderer. I've struggled to overlook this aspect of the BJP/RSS combine. I genuinely want them to succeed in solving the nation's problems but the underbelly of their existence is just so corrosive for a pluralistic India. The country could certainly benefit from an economically right-wing yet socially inclusive political entity. But that will remain a pipe-dream as long as the hostile, majoritarian agenda is tolerated even if in small and calculated measures.

Today I want to lament the loss of a progressive political force that would articulate Gandhi in the 21st century. The AAP is still filled with contradictions although they've come a really long way but still remain ideologically unhinged. And, I would like to reserve my sharpest critique and disappointment for the Indian National Congress. Despite a positive governing record over 10 years they were utterly incapable of communicating with the people. The incessant scams didn't help either. For better or worse the messenger does matter as much as the message. PM Modi's team deserves a lot of credit to rehabilitate his image. That doesn't mean that the pursuit for justice for the victims of 2002 is complete. Far from.

On this Martyr's Day, as recognized in India, let's connect with the spirit of that movement of freedom that aimed for something much beyond a change of rulers. It aimed at freedom from discrimination, violence and ignorance. Battles against all three still raging. It isn't revolution that we need but a sense of national mission that finally delivers on Gandhi's dream. In his own words:

The India of my dreams is a nation where every man and woman feels that their efforts are going in making his or her own nation.

The ultimate homage to the martyrs will be to create that sense of belonging among all citizens and the diaspora as well.


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