HYDERABAD: Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Arun Gandhi says those who killed the Father of the Nation are so intimidated by him that they are still trying to demonise him and justify his assassination.
The writer feels that the nation has to decide whether their icon is going to be a murderer or somebody, who is revered and whose philosophy of peace and non-violence is relevant throughout the world even today.
Tushar, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi's second son Arun Manilal Gandhi, believes that truth prevails while lies have to be sustained. He wants those who believe in Gandhi's ideals to counter the campaign of lies as when lies go unchallenged, people start believing them.
He said that he doesn't feel threatened with Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse dominating the national discourse. He is more determined to spread Bapu's ideology the way he understands. "Godse is merely symbol, a symbol of counterpoint to everything that Bapu stood for," he says.
Is he concerned about the growing support for Godse? "No, I am not concerned. Because 70 years after they murdered him, he continues to intimidate them so much that they are still trying to demonise him, trying to justify that murder. Which means they have not succeeded in doing that in 70 years. A phase is there where we see the campaign becoming more acceptable, but they still have to keep doing it. Godse's is not like the worship of Gandhi. Gandhi's worship is spontaneous. Nobody has to go hammering people to worship him. Even if they are less in number, it happens spontaneously, but for the worship of the murderer, they have to keep going doing stunts, otherwise, nobody will remember. That is why the difference is so stark."
"I am not worried personally as they become louder. Because I am given the opportunity to become even louder. I know I have the ability to do that. Lies are always intimidated. They know they have to sustain themselves. Truth isn't intimidated because it survives. It may seem to become weak or inconsequential, but that never happens. It is the campaign of lies, which is inherently weak. It doesn't intimidate me that there this an increase in Godse's ideology in the country."
"Bapu is my ancestor. Even if the whole nation tomorrow declares Godse as the father of the nation, it is not going to change the fact that Bapu is my great grandfather. I am not bothered. The nation has to decide whether their icon is going to be a murderer or an icon, somebody who is revered whose ideals of peace and non-violence are relevant throughout the world even today," said Tushar, who was in Hyderabad to deliver a talk at the programme organised by 'Sanskruti', a women's organisation, on 'Bapu and Baa' (Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi).
He is of the view that Gandhians became complacent which allowed the campaign of lies to grow and gain acceptance. "We should have been aware to counter it much earlier. Now countering campaign become all the more difficult because for five decades they have been able to do it without being challenged but it's never too late. Truth prevails but lies have to be sustained and that is why they have to be so shrilled and so loud they have to keep creating lies. If somebody counters them with the truth they will be helpless."
He narrated a recent incident in which a youth from Pune put up a very derogatory and abusive post on Bapu on Facebook. Some young people who had formed a group to learn about Gandhi felt offended and decided to take legal action. As soon as that man got the information that legal action was taken he removed all the quotes.
"There was cowardice over there. They themselves know what they are saying are lies. If they are telling truth he would have said okay, challenge me, let us see who is speaking truth. The cowardly action shows the weakness of their belief in the ideology that they themselves are trying to promote."
Tushar wants those who believe in Gandhian ideals to be alert and counter such attempts to spread lies.
"When lies go unchallenged then people will start believe that this is truth because other point is not being presented to them that is what happened propagation of the belief that what Godse did was right that is where his worship has increased and his acceptance has increased. It is easy to counter it. Lies they have spread are very easy to be countered. Fault lies with us who are called Gandhian did not bother to respond in a timely manner."
Tushar believes that Bapu's ideals and his philosophy are timeless. "They are the basis on which our modern Indian nation was created. As long as those values of truth, peace and unity are important for us, then the ideals can't become irrelevant," said
"Everybody wants to know whether Gandhi is relevant whereas we need to ask are we deserving of his legacy. Today the way we are direction in which we are moving, the signs of civil strife, intolerance and hatred that we see in our society, we have to ask ourselves whether we deserve the legacy of people like Gandhi or Buddha or other great people we take pride in as being part of our ancestry," said Tushar, sharing his views at Bapu Ghat, the memorial in Hyderabad where Gandhi's ashes were immersed in Musi river.
He believes that like gods, Gandhi has been reduced to an image reduced to rituals. "To people like him homage comes in the practice of their ideology and philosophy not in mere rituals. None of the great people whom we revered today ever were bothered about the ritualisation. They preferred to see their ideas in practice. As long as those ideals were in practice their worship would be meaningful. Otherwise, it is mere pretence."
Is he satisfied with the way government is organising 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi. "Governments always limited by their requirements and needs. I am disappointed with the Gandhian organisations. In 1969 when centenary was celebrated all Gandhian organisations came together and executed nation-wide programme for the whole year. The government had also partnered with Gandhian organisations. This time we had the same possibility. If all Gandhian organisations had come together and declared a joint programme for the whole year, the government would also have been forced to join in the celebrations."
Every Gandhian organization is doing its own programme and the government is also not bothered and it is its own thing. "None of the celebrations are worthwhile. They are just mere events not celebrations by which something constructive can happen for society. Unless something constructive happens for society and society realizes that we have long term benefit from what is happening, they will never associate."