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A Talisman….

January 29, 2009


GandhiJi’s Talisman

“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.”

– One of the last notes left behind by Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought.

Today is 30th January.A day that has left tears forever in India’s eyes..
Young minds are not quite able to grasp what this means.How will they when we don’t understand ourselves? How is one to make them realise the significance ,one which goes beyond mere textbooks and meaningless phrases that today’s ‘netas’ use to describe a soul who never needed words? 61 years have passed since India attained the ‘Freedom’ that the souls of this land were craving for.61 years and yet we do not have much to show for it,not much to be proud of.

On 30th January ,1948 a gentle soul was taken from us,from India and all that she could be.The reasons behind the senseless act are debated ,are controversial and much more..

In an age and a country ,where any public figure is either put on a pedestal or dragged right down to the ground,it is no wonder that Mahatma Gandhi too has not been spared.In this country of contrasts, there is no in- between.One either gets the bouquets or the brickbats.

So we find people from all walks of life, either criticising the religious aspect of his life or the de-industrialisation theory or the impotence of non-violence as a method of protest.

What many fail to see is ,that the man ,the ‘Mahatma’ as we call him was merely a product of his times.His ideas have to be seen in context of those times.He merely provided a way to guide us towards the path of freedom.Beyond that,it was all up to us.
Never once did he say that here are these ideas ,take them and apply them for as long as you live!

He had faith and belief in his countrymen you see.He believed that once he had gently helped and guided us towards the path, we would search for new ways,new ideas……that we would keep improvising ,always thinking of how best to take India forward.

Keeping India first and everything second.

How wrong he was.

”Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.”
said Albert Einstein …and one is forced to agree.

This generation finds it unbelievable,they cannot comprehend how or why a man would voluntarily use non-violence as a tool ,as a weapon no less!
Because they have never seen it being done.They believe in ‘might is right’ because that is what they see everyone doing.That is what they see the so called great powers of the world doing.How are they going to believe what we tell them ,when we cannot give them a single living example?

India has been through many experiences,experiences that one wishes one could say were bitter sweet,but these were more bitter than sweet.
All that was sweet got lost in the overwhelming bitterness that all of us have lived through time and time again.
And all that is left today is a very foul ,bitter taste in the mouth.

Is one to call it irony that the land of this gentle soul’s birth has seen the maximum bloodshed?
That peace prevails in this land at this moment,but there is a brutal violence simmering quietly under the surface.That no one quite knows how long will this elusive peace last.No one knows when and where a volcano will erupt and break the myth of the Shining India?

An India ,where parochialism,communalism,corruption have been given free reign.
A country which has simply forgotten the meaning of that most simple word of all ‘tolerance’.

India has come far everyone tells us,India is going to be a force to reckon with, they say.
Then why does one get this disturbing feeling that we are right back where we started?

How did one end up here?In a land where individual rights and liberties are being threatened?Where lessons in ‘morality ‘ are being ‘taught’by those who don’t have any left themselves?

Where is the ‘State’ ?That great bastion of all that is good ,the protector of our rights and liberties?
How is it that we are mute witnesses to horror and humiliation, all in the name of preserving ‘Indian culture?’

A land that takes pride in keeping women subjugated,keeping them ‘in their place’.

Where women are told to carry all the moral reponsibility.
The men are exempt from it all.
Women the givers of life,the nurturers,the saviours,the gentle ones,the fiery ones………..and now forcibly given the responsibility of upholding all that is moral,our sabhyata and sanskriti.

What is moral? What is not? Where does one draw the line?
Is beating,molesting and humiliating women moral?
Is trampling on individual rights moral?
A nation simply watches , a mute spectator to the unforgivable sins of some.
And these are unforgivable,have no doubt.

And just how did morality come into the picture?

This is not about morality! This is about rights! Mine and yours and ours! Individual Rights! Individual Liberties!

Treating any individual in this manner by giving the miserable and pathetic excuse of preserving culture and morality speaks volumes about the sheer impotence and frustration of these men and their ideas.

I am tired of listening to the pathetic excuse of ”this is how it has been for generations,this mindset will take time to change”…..Really?
How much time can be counted as ENOUGH time to bring about this change?
30 years? 40? 50? 61 years maybe?

This has gone on long enough.We are not interested in listening to what feudal mindsets you were brought up in or how chauvinistic or patriarchal your society is.

We have reached this stage,clawed and fought our way up here.
Don’t you dare try to take it all away.
Because you seem to have forgotten one basic fact. WE WON’T LET YOU!

So,try ! As much and as hard as you can!
But remember the result’s a foregone conclusion.The winner has already been decided.This is a rigged match and WE have rigged it.Manipulated it in every way possible.

We know you will call us names,feminist among many others…
Feminist,a term that you have made us hate.
You know what feminism means?
Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
And so we are.As are so many men who support us and stand shoulder to shoulder with us in our fight.
Indian men ,the betrayers you call them.And yet men more enlightened than you can ever hope to be.
One wishes one could compare you to an animal,but animals wouldn’t take too kindly to the insult we think.

So here we are men and women,call us feminists or anything else you wish to,standing,challenging you to give it your best shot.

But know this.And know it well.
These women whom you scoff at,in whose honour you have kept so many gaalis/profanities allpertaining to our gender,we will still be standing when the battle’s over and the dust has settled down.

SO we start the battle TODAY.

And you know what?
We will be coming for the ones in the villages and the ones who are behind the veil too.The ones,our sisters that you insist on trampling on in the name of religion/culture/sabhyata.

Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny?

How right the great man was!:)So many whose control over their own lives needs to be restored!

“Morality which depends upon the helplessness of a man or woman has not much to recommend it. Morality is rooted in the purity of our hearts.”
Pretty wise guy ,don’t you think?:)

”First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

“We must become the change we want to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

A SONG FOR EVERY WOMAN

Inside my head there lives a dream that I want to see in the sun
Behind my eyes there lives a me that I’ve been hiding for much too long
¡®cause I’ve been, too afraid to let it show
¡®cause I’m scared of the judgment that may follow
Always putting off my living for tomorrow
It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my faith
It’s been illusive for so long, but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith, it’s time to show my faith
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found

Chorus
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

Behind my pride there lives a me, that knows humility
Inside my voice there is a soul, and in my soul there is a voice
But I’ve been, too afraid to make a choice
¡®cause I’m scared of the things that I might be missing
Running too fast to stop and listen

It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my faith
It’s been illusive for so long but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith it’s time to show my faith
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found

Chorus
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

Bridge
I close my eyes and I think of all the things that I want to see
¡®cause I know, now that I’ve opened up my heart I know that
Anything I want can be, so let it be, so let it be¡­.

Chorus
Strength, courage, and wisdom
It’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, wisdom
It’s been inside of me all along, everyday I’m praying for¡­

Chorus
Strength, courage, and wisdom
To find me, yeah,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

Vamp
I found it in me, I found it finally
I’m sure to keep it’ cause I like it, I say thank you

Strength, Courage, Wisdom
SONG BY INDIA ARIE

All Photographs courtesy Gandhi Museum
Useful Links
Books oN Mahatma Gandhi
More Books
Stamps Featuring Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi Wikipedia
mkgandhi.org
Photos

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. hitch writer permalink
    January 30, 2009 12:23 am

    A Talisman !

    A Leader is wht we need badly in today’s age.

    The fact that the Mahatma had millions of people listening to every word he said was his biggest strength. People heard him and believed in him. They thought he was taking them in the right direction. They would leave their jobs, lifes for freedom, motivated by him.

    Today India badly needs a leader, a talisman…

    This is not just about women, this is about goonda-raj. This is about the power of the mob. This has to stop.

    Some people want Marathi to be a compulsory subject in BA or they vandalise varsities, some one has a problem with the name of a sweet shop, some one will rape nun’s, some one will burn people who want to convert.

    This violent means of showing protest are to be shunned. My beloved country don’t, don’t fall prey to perverts, goonda’s.

    Even the government must ensure that these violent protesters and mobsters are punished severly or this will keep on increasing. Don’t let this get out of hand…

    Don’t go to a point of no return…

    We donot want to become a future Pakistan or Afghanistan !!!!

    Wake up people…. is any one listening !!

  2. Indian Home Maker permalink
    January 30, 2009 1:41 am

    … listening to what feudal mindsets you were brought up in or how chavinistic or patriarchal your society is.

    We have reached this stage,clawed and fought our way up here.
    Don’t you dare try to take it all away.
    Because you seem to have forgotten one basic fact.WE WON’T LET YOU!

    It’s great to read strong words of determination 🙂 And this post is about my favorite leader 🙂 He was also concerned about the fifty percent of population locked behind the purdah!
    Imagine Indyeah, the guts he had to say something like this in those days!!!
    Martin Luther King Jr and Obama are the only ones who come close to him in determination and in ideals.

    And even today the most popular leader in the world- who seems to truly follow Gandhian values is able to lead the best, doesn’t that prove something about Gandhi?
    And he gave us ‘abhayadaan in those tough days.. . when we had a lot to fear. I think we have even more to fear now nut no Gandhi to guide us …
    Let’s hope we use the lessons he left behind as guides and find success.

  3. Ana Cristina permalink
    January 30, 2009 2:04 am

    “We must become the change we want to see in the world.”
    ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    I try to live by this maxim every day. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  4. indianyarn permalink
    January 30, 2009 3:17 am

    gandhism means rebel against oppression of all kinds. gandhi through the east india company out by making his own clothes – that is rebellion against english selling artifical fibres etc etc.

    Can i take gandhi’s picture on the charka for the blog – indian yarn?
    Thank You

  5. Indyeah permalink
    January 30, 2009 4:16 am

    Hitchwriter:-Absolutely!Just like Mahatma Gandhi which is to say someone whom the people could look up to…..
    ”People heard him and believed in him. ” this is the most important of all.A leader and not a ‘neta’as Chirag says ,someone who can make us believe in her/him,in ourselves and in the idea of India…

    ”This is not just about women, this is about goonda-raj. This is about the power of the mob. This has to stop. ”
    very true…You see this is how it starts ..by subjugating/trying to subjugate half of the population…the 50% as they say,whic with the female infanticide is not even 50%anymore…
    THIS is about freedom,and individual rights….
    The constitution guaranteed evryone the right to CHOOSE…we all can make our own choices as the citizens of free India..

    this burning of churches/raping of nuns and other women too in the name of religion/culture/morality ,
    We ,Indians need to wake up…
    I am sure that there are people out there who will be thinking that we are making a mountain out of a molehill(believe me there are)that we are getting alarmed needlessly….
    but this is how change comes…slowly….gradually…one day before you realize it…A talibani is standing in our own house…such hoorendous influences always creep up..they dont blow a trumpet and announce their arrival…and if we the citizens are not careful and observant enough this…”We donot want to become a future Pakistan or Afghanistan !!!!”CAn happen…
    Isnt’ Pakistan a lot like us culturally?Only its an Islamic state …well we seem to be headed for a rogue Hindu state the way things are going….and it s only a matter fo time before things get out of hand…

    This is why the anguish is so important !!SO we never become careless and lackadaisical…

  6. Indyeah permalink
    January 30, 2009 4:24 am

    Indian Home Maker:-SOmetimes just to pep oneself up and to boost sagging spirits I need to write/hear the words..:)
    Yes,He was indeed a great leader..no doubts about it….
    and today also as you say there are people…wise ones who carry his lessons…one can only hope India does the same and carry his lessons forward like you said…
    hoping against hope..

    Ana Cristina:-You are most welcome.It was a pleasure to share his words..:)
    This is what all of us in the world need to realize and specially here in India…

    Indian Yarn:-”gandhism means rebel against oppression of all kinds” EXACTLY!any opression…woman/man/child/animal/ any living being in short…..But look at who is busy taking credit for it these days…
    A criminal with a past record who says that on the basis of a MOVIE we should believe he is Gandhiji’s most ardent and devout follower…
    YEAH RIGHT!
    thsi is the state of India.

    One can only hope…

    Of course, you can use the pic…:)I took it courtesy GAndhi Museum site…

  7. Pixie permalink
    January 30, 2009 5:28 am

    awesome post… very informative 🙂

  8. Ajit permalink
    January 30, 2009 5:39 am

    Superb…..
    we need to remember Mahatma Gandhi for all the right reasons….
    we need him more than ever now..

  9. Solilo permalink
    January 30, 2009 6:01 am

    “This generation finds it unbelievable,they cannot comprehend how or why a man would voluntarily use non-violence as a tool ,as a weapon no less!”

    This generation is forced to believe that only a Rang-De-Basanti can bring in the change. Gandhigiri is believed to be for the weaker because in that you are forced to apologize.

    Wonderfully written yet again Indyeah!

  10. Indian Home Maker permalink
    January 30, 2009 2:18 pm

    Back again Indyeah, You should read this. these same violent extremists groups who excuse sexual harassment in a Mangalore pub as Moral Policing are responsible for killing Gandhi.

    What happened in Mangalore was, Annie says, harassment. Not moral policing. Harassment. Violent, and deeply sexist harassment. It was a form of terror, actually. Using violence in the name of nation/religion/ideology. The attack was political and deserves to be treated as premeditated political violence.

  11. Usha Pisharody permalink
    January 30, 2009 9:10 pm

    “We must become the change we want to see in the world.”
    ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    And talisman that was quoted at the beginning is just so apt!

    Today this is what needs to be dinned into all heads, however, and in whatever manner, intensely!

    Why can we not take the simple lesson from this great soul. Which indeed he was. There was never force to follow his ideals anytime. People only rejoiced in doing so!

    And yet, today, one has to explain and explain as to why he is still a great soul.

    As you say rightly, it is because of their not having known about the times he lived in, the context, politically, socially and economically. Not to mention spiritually!

    What a tragedy we lost him when we did. And how! Just read about it a little more, from IHM’s link.

    The reverberations of the gun shot are now echoing again, it would seem!

    A thinking post, as always, Meg 🙂

  12. Indyeah permalink
    January 31, 2009 4:52 am

    Pixie:-Thanks:)we won’t ever be scared!:)

    Ajit:-Thanks:)we really need a leader of his stature ….He really was something!We don’t take any lessons from our own past….

    Solilo:-Well put Solilo!A rang De basanti as good as it was is still a radical solution…
    Yes,and that’s what they see…look at the goondaraj!Everyone’s started believing in might is right!
    This is what they are learning!don’t like someone?or somthing?bash them up!

    and Thank you so much Solilo!:)

    IHM:-Yes,IHM the day the Mahatma was killed alarm bells should have started ringing!here we stand today with the bloody legacy of that day….

    I loved Annie’s blog!She writes sense!and about what so many women go through everyday….She’s on my blogroll now..Thanks IHM!:)

    Usha Pisharody:-Yes,and see what we have become as a nation today:(

    Such a great soul was born here and we go against all he believed in!Yes,we lost him. and in such a bloody manner just because of a fanatic….one thinks of what could have been..
    I really pray for one leader who can take India forward..just one ,someone we ALL can believe in…
    And Thank you so much:):)
    I however, loved your Martyrdom post!
    🙂

  13. Charakan permalink
    January 31, 2009 10:18 am

    Great Post.Those who follow the ideology of Gandh Assassins are there very much in our midst.Himani Savarkar,niece of Nathuram Godse and a member of ‘Abhinav Bharat’was present at the meeting in which Malegaon conspiracy was hatched.
    But do not loose heart.Keeping Gandhiji very much alive in our political discourse is important in thwarting the rise of fundamentalism.

  14. Indyeah permalink
    January 31, 2009 11:12 pm

    Charakan:-Welcome here:)and thank you.
    yes,like I said earlier in a comment alarm bells should have started ringing that day itself when this ideology of hatred led to the first and worst crime ever.

    ”Keeping Gandhiji very much alive in our political discourse is important in thwarting the rise of fundamentalism.”This indeed is the need of the hour.Thats the only thing that keeps me hoping.

  15. Kislay permalink
    February 1, 2009 11:23 pm

    “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” It is a pity that it has to be labeled as a radical notion . As my teenage ended , I realized it is a natural notion . Women should not be treated as equals, they ARE equals , is what I always say . That is what any rational thinker would conclude . The differences between the sexes is a part of the larger diversity we are exposed to , racial , religious , linguistic , geographical and so on and so forth ; and if we cannot learn to live within its realms , then we will perish .

  16. Indyeah permalink
    February 3, 2009 11:00 pm

    Kislay:- ”As my teenage ended , I realized it is a natural notion . Women should not be treated as equals, they ARE equals , is what I always say . That is what any rational thinker would conclude .”
    This is why you rock and are such an important addition to India and all that we can be!

    This radical notion is being termed thus precisely because to so many men (and some women)it indeed is radical….go and see on Vinod sir’s latest post,the video he has posted there……I couldnt watch it…it was traumatic…i wanted to cry…who does this?who???

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