Are We Willing to Go an Extra Mile: A Question On the Eve of Gandhi Jayanti

When searched – Gandhi teachings and values on Google, it shows – Bapu taught to work hard with truth and perseverance to achieve our goals as a nation and individual self. He believed in a nation based on equality, free of any disparities based on religion or caste. These teachings are just a few drops in the ocean of knowledge, that is the exemplary life of Mahatma Gandhi.

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The 2014 movie ‘PK’ was controversial for many reasons for it raised questions that made many uncomfortable. There is one scene in particular where PK is observing the society to try and fit in it. He steals clothes from the “dancing cars”, wears ghagras and what not and then he notices an interesting thing – when people give a paper with a print of face of some old person they get different stuff in return. PK, observing this, goes around and collects all the things containing the picture of this older person. He collects notebooks, stamps, posters and much more. Then, he goes to a vegetable vendor and starts handing him the photos, expecting something in return but the vendor is irritated. At last though PK hands him a small rectangular piece of paper with a picture of this person and the vendor immediately hands him a bunch of carrots. This rectangular piece of paper is of course a Rs.100 note containing Mahatma Gandhi’s face. The voiceover in this scene is, ‘iss photo ki kimat sirf ek hi kagaz par hai’ (this photo only has value on one particular paper).
This, often overlooked scene raised a question in my mind, is it really the only place where the face of whom we call “father of nation” has value? The sad part is, the answer is mostly yes…
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi, a name which has become a symbol of peace and synonym to non-violence. Named “man of the century”, the father of our nation, a man who earned a freedom of this country without a single act of violence. We all listen to this famous song ‘De di humein azadi bina khadag bina dhal, Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamal’ but do we really follow in his footsteps? Are we really proud of this man? Are we willing to do even the little bit of what he did his whole life?
A movie like ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ is released and suddenly we are all hyped-up about “Gandhigiri”. We will talk about cleaning our roads clean, be “vinamra” and everything else in between. But what happens when the trend fades away? The roads are back to being their dirty selves, our language is once again aggressive rather than “vinamra” and we still look down our “high standard” noses to those who clean our roads or collect garbage.
Many may argue that walking down the road led by Mahatma Gandhi can be a difficult, but is it? Can we not be a bit politer? Bit more compassionate? Bit more patient? Bit more aware about our surrounding and ourselves? Or just walk down the aisle and put our used paper cups in a dustbin ourselves?
Every person has two sides to them, a good and a bad side, strong yet warm side, right and wrong side; it depends on us, our perspectives and our priorities which makes us register one side more than the other. But that does not mean we cannot change. Taking a good habit from someone else does not mean we are going to follow that person till the end of time, it just means we are willing to accept good over bad for the betterment of ourselves and our society.
So, what say, are you willing to take some good habits from father of our nation? Or is Mahatma Gandhi’s worth limited to that of Rs.100 note? Choice is ours…