Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gandhi Jayanti, Ramzaan Eid and … ?

This morning  I was dead tired and was pushing myself to stay awake till 12.00 Noon. They were airing Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi on TV today. I wouldn’t miss it for  anything.

While watching the movie, more than once I had to wipe away tears and more than once I felt that proverbial lump in the throat. Perhaps, I will never understand the enormity of the freedom struggle and some tears were the most I could shed. Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of India’s greatest champion of peace was simply stunning and it is an emotional exercise to watch the movie. And yes, you too, will feel that lump in the throat. Gandhi does that to you.

But the reason I am writing this is not to eulogise Gandhi or the Movie, it’s an event that transpired when watching the movie is what inspired me to write this.

I was watching the movie with my Mom and my Maid arrived (finally!). She went about her with chores brusquely and sat down to drink some tea. She saw that we both were intently watching the movie and she too joined us.

 “Aaj kaa din kuch toh hai naa?” She asked my Mom. Isn’t today some special day?

“Haan, Gandhi Jayanti hai.” Mother replied. Yes, it’s Gandhi Jayanti.

“Nahin Nahin, Gandhi Jayanti nahin kuch aur bhi hai..”  Not, Gandhi Jayanti, something else..

“Ahan! Aaj Ramzaan Eid hai.. Mussalmanon kaa” Mother said helpfully. Oh Yes, it’s Ramzaan Eid for the Muslims today.

Naah! Voh toh maloom hai. Aur bhi kuch hai… She wondered aloud. No, I know that too. It’s something else.

I was seriously interested in the conversation now.

“Aaj phir.., Lal Bahadur Shastri kaa bhi Janamdin hai…voh pooch rahe ho kyaa tum?” Mom asked. Today is Lal Bahadur Shastri’s birthday as well. Is that what you’re asking?

Haan! Shastri…Shastri!! voh ich yaad kar rahi thee main. Maloom hai sab mereko.. bas bolne ko aata nahin hain.”  She replied cheerfully. Oh Yes! Shastri! I just couldn't get the name right.

Then came her punch line.

“Toh aaj uske liye kyaa hai?” She asked. So, how is that celebrated?


I was wide eyed. And My Mom Speechless.

23 Grumblings:

Sikander F Khan said...

I watched 'Gandhi' too. It is a wonderful movie... I just have one problem....

Jinnah's portrayal in the film isn't what Jinnah was actually like. I think he has been demonized.

Gandhi was a personality par excellence... he was one of the greatest human beings sub-continent has ever seen.

And btw, about Shastri.... aaj uska ka kya?? :)

sidharth said...

Lal Bahadur Shastri deserves a lot more credit than he has got i feel... bas not being a part of the "Nehru-Gandhi" brigade has been his fault!!
Saala sanjay gandhi ko log zyaada pehchaante hai...
Similar is the case with Jai Prakash Narain... he is the god father of modern indian democracy but yet Rajiv Gandhi is the more famous face of modern india!!!

Usman said...

shastri who?:P

srikesh said...

"Then came her punch line.

“Toh aaj uske liye kyaa hai?” She asked. So, how is that celebrated?

I was wide eyed. And My Mom Speechless"..........

i say take a ride on LBS Marg :)

seriously does it matter ain't there too much of tokenism anyways!

Akash said...

Omg! Even I didn't know this.

There is too much tokenism, but a LOT of times, not for the right people. And it is our duty to eulogize people who made this country good enough for us to stay and live a happy life and who truly deserve it.

True. So how was the celebration?! =|

srikesh said...

It is not our DUTY to eulogize people.Sadly, we end up doing just that.It would be better if we understood and celebrated what these greats stood for rather celebrating their portraits and statues.Attenborough's Gandhi, relegiously telecast every year on oct 2 or Shastri National Awards to me are mere tokenisms which hardly serve a greater purpose.And I am sure Gandhi himself wouldn't have wanted his birthday celebrated the way it is!

ketki said...

Loved the way ur post ended!!!
I too wanted to watch that film Gandhi
but exams... u know.
the last line of ur post will keep lingering in my mind......

Akash said...

Precisely. You understood the problem
"Mere tokenisms which hardly serve a greater purpose. And I am sure Gandhi himself wouldn't have wanted his birthday celebrated the way it is!"

But the solution is not to sit back at home and not remember these people. If we don't celebrate the identities of these people, they will be forgotten with time - something that is not debatable. We have the "World's AIDS Day", or "World's Women Day" for causes; for people to remember that such things exist, that we need rights for women and we need to solve the problem of AIDS (Sorry for using such distinct examples). That should be the gist of celebrating the identities of such people - a day to remember them, a day to remember their sayings, a day to remember that there existed people who gave up their lives for this country, a day to remember and emulate their teachings. That's where we fall short, as these days become mere formal tokens for everyone. But you know what? Even if you, me and 10 others could remember the reasons for these celebrations... well, I think that would be enough; that alone would justify their cause. :)

ayyo.... said...

True Jinnah is demonised a bit in the movie. It's sad and a neutral portrayal would've been better. Maybe it didn't fit the equations..
Watch the movie for Gandhi, I'd say!

ayyo.... said...

Leave credit aside, I am pained because people have simply Forgotten Shastri.
Credit is the last thing that Lal Bahadur Shastri would have wanted, but we certainly are doing him no justice ..

ayyo.... said...

Gee, thanks! The movie is a great watch! Grab a DVD ASAP!

ayyo.... said...

I feared that my post could be easily be confused with tokenism. What I meant was not for another LBS Marg or an MG Road. I was simply pained at so many of my peers being unaware of his birthday as well. And many more are subsequently unaware of his contribution to India's cause as well.
What I meant was, Remember India's only 'Homeless' Home Minister as well!

ayyo.... said...

Attenborough's Gandhi or the Shastri National awards are a poor reason to remember Gandhi and Shastri.
I wish the current generation get acquainted with Shastri and Gandhi. I wish they see the kind of morality our leaders espoused..

ayyo.... said...

"There is too much tokenism, but a LOT of times, not for the right people. And it is our duty to eulogize people who made this country good enough for us to stay and live a happy life and who truly deserve it.
No one could have come up with a better analogy!

ayyo.... said...

You seem to take the words out of my mouth.
Yes, if you , me and 10 people remember them and try to emulate them.. that'll be enough.

*A bigg Hug*
After going through what you had to say :)

ayyo.... said...

Lastly, If airing Attenborough's Gandhi on every 2nd October inspires even one person out of 100 crore ... the purpose if fulfilled.

This year, I actually went about telling everybody o watch the movie. I don't know how many did, but I'll do it again.. :)

srikesh said...

@ akash
I am glad we understand each other. Btw I have no problems with celebrating a leader as long as the reason for such celebrations are understood. However, when we say it’s our DUTY to eulogize a leader, the differentiation between a person and his ideals are blurred. Herein, to me, lies the problem. As I see it, no leader is perfect & many (including Gandhi) have professed ideas that are, for lack of a better word, incorrect. It is important for us to take only those ideas that we need to grow as a society while rejecting those (from whomsoever they may have come from) which are not needed. Hero-worshipping prevents this from happening. You might not equate eulogizing with Hero worshipping (depending on your definition of these terms) but I guess most people would! (Also jingoistic nationalism uses a very similar plank to prevent any criticism)

I guess it is too much ado over a single word. but I am sure u understand that a distinction between a leader and his personality w.r.t his work is a very vital one!

srikesh said...

@ ayyo
I guess u have both misinterpreted and misunderstood what I said.
Firstly, I was never implying that ur blog was for another LBS marg!
Secondly' I hope my above post (to akash) helps clarify what I meant.
Finally, I would rather have one AYYAPPAN than 10 or 10,000 more inspired clones of Gandhi:)

Btw People looking up to a person, film, book, etc for life altering inspiration wont find any coz inspiration comes from the collective sum of our life’s experiences.

srikesh said...

"Shastri National Awards to me are mere tokenisms"

Sorry for misleading u all. Shastri national award is an honest effort at celebrating LBS. just wanted to see if people knew about it or cared enough to find out. Guess I got my answer!

HeArTsT0|3R said...

WoW, So it was u r maid who reminded U about " Shastri " Kool man..!!!![:)]

meerasworld said...

i was thinking,your maid remebered that day!!hats off to her!
even though we see that movie a 100 times,every single time,we are moved by the scenes.similar thing with patriotic songs too.i cant listen to that-yeh mere vatan ki logon- without that lump in my throat and when i try to sing it,cos of this i cant sing it fully:( :)
i dont have a prob with celebrating imp days,as it means more school days off to kids:)so bring them onnnnnnnnnn;).

ayyo.... said...

I am a complete cry-baby.. I cried when I watched Swades, Gandhi, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Taare Zameen Par, Mudalvan (Nayak) .. Legend of Bhagat Singh, Rang De Basanti ..

My maid is awesome..! Hehehe!! Yeah, I am compiling a list of my patriotic songs.. it's almost finished..!

meerasworld said...

wow,iam waiting for that list of songs:)