History is a funny thing. It keeps getting revised every time someone feels uncomfortable with the version they have been taught. A perfect example of revisionist history would be how within the twenty year span of my education (yep, I did study that long taking into account school, college, college, college and.. you get the idea) M K Gandhi has gone from Mahatma to villain in the popular discourse or should I say in online discourse. The general public, the ones who don’t have always-on internet at their finger tips don’t much seem to care for this Gandhi bashing, excepting a few dyed in the wool revisionist historians. But online? That’s a different story.
Gandhi has been accused of everything- from favoring minorities (by the hindutva group), to favoring the majority community (by extremist minority parties), to being a closet communist (by the progressive business barons or robber barons in the old west parlance), to being a closet capitalist ( by the still unreformed dregs of communism persisting), to being a sexual deviant (by those with perverted fantasies), to having hogged all the fame of the freedom movement (by bong devotees of netaji), of being an radical at heart (by the nehruvian crowd), to being a pacifist to the core (by the bhagat singh worshippers), of being an anti-dalit (by the ambedkarites), to being a pro-dalit (by the orthodox Brahmins). History, properly read suggest that Gandhi might have been all this, but also indisputably he was a cut above the rest of the freedom fighting crowd.
Without that man Gandhi, being thrown out of that South African train, the course of modern Indian history would have been so very different. The constitutional methods of the then Congress party and the acts of extremism by the radicals group would have together achieved precisely- Zero. We would all still be saluting the Union Jack and admiring Kate Middleton and Prince Harry instead of our very own princelings –Priyanka Vadera and Rahul Gandhi. A fact which will not be admitted publicly by the Nehruvites, the Ambedkarites, the Sardar Patelites, the Jinnahites, the Netaji Bose’ites and all those ites try to pull down that towering figure Gandhi for the precise reason that gunslingers in the old westerns used to challenge the biggest man in town to a gunfight- to make a name for themselves by beating the heavyweight in the room.
Without that old man from a small town in Gujarat, Nehru would have had no country to rule and leave to his offspring, ambedkar would have had no chance to even think, leave alone get the opportunity to draft as important an article as the constitution, sardar patel would have had no chance to show his steel frame in uniting the country, and I could go on and on. Gandhi alone gave them that chance, the chance to show their caliber. He gave them that chance by refusing to take injustice anymore and standing up for himself and the people of his country. Not for the hindus, not for the muslims, not for the dalits, not for the bengalis, not for the landed gentry. FOR EVERYONE. If that doesn’t make him a great man, I don’t know what will.
To conclude with Einsteins eulogy “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a man once walked among us”. And Gandhi, if he were alive today, would be the first person to enjoy the jokes at his expense, plus he would have been very active on facebook/twitter and all, offering his views there, unlike the current bunch of leaders we are saddled with. So don’t knock what you don’t understand.