A conversation with Mahatma Gandhi
Today, I met Mahatma Gandhi. Yes, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. No, not in the dreams, but in real. I am not kidding.
Mom didn’t believe me. I don’t know why she thinks, I still make stories.
I am not lying, it isn’t in my head. I ain’t clairvoyant. Nor any of those difficult named psychological illness. I witness his presence in real — a white dhoti, round spectacles, a stick in his hand and yes a white cloth draped over his body — with a smile on his face.
I asked him, Bapu, are you in real?
He replies, it is up to you to decide. There is nothing absolute in the world.
I think to myself, How these big people speak so intense and philosophical.
So the further conversation goes this way-
Me: Bapu, I have a couple of things to say.
MG: My pleasure listening to you.
Me: So, first I will start with my recent experience. Some months back, I watched a Marathi play on Nathuram Godse. Yes, the man who killed you. I wanted to know his voice on your murder. Of course, it wasn’t justified in any sense. But, some of his thoughts made me think..
I do respect your thoughts and the tremendous work towards our nation. But, Nathuram at least deserves to be heard and not just hated. May be I am sounding like a hypocrite, now.
MG: Every human deserves the right to justify himself. And also, every individual has a right to form a judgment. You may respect some of his thoughts. And you needn’t have to agree with all my thoughts & principles.
And yes, Nathuram killed me that day, with those 3 shots. But, he murdered my body. Yet, my thoughts & principles are still there — in you, at least in some way.
And, do you really think, my murder by Nathuram is of any importance to you, now? And if you want to know about my life or even that of Nathuram’s, you need to go deeper than what is said or written. There might be more in the history than what is being said to you.
Me: True. The difference in ideologies will always be there. It depends on us — how much we wish to dig deeper. One of the questions I wish to ask is —
when I read your autobiographical book — at one incident, when you went back to South Africa from India. You were attacked by a mob. They disagreed with your thoughts at that time. I don’t exactly remember the circumstance. But, they revolted violently. You almost faced a near-death experience. While reading, I was curious to know — what all went through your head in those moments? How did you mentally & emotionally cope up, when you & your family were attacked. And so many people were against you.
MG: Yes. it was a difficult situation. My family was with me. But, among those many people who were against me, there were a handful of my friends who saved me & my family through that incident. I am grateful to them. And, upon all, I believed that I was righteous. Even if I wasn’t among the majority, the belief was there in my core. And this one thing is going to take you forward.
Dear child, you have to believe in yourself first. Only then others will believe in you and your thoughts. It might take some time. But, eventually, they will.
Me: Bapu. Thank you for listening & answering all my questions. Some time back, I did form some not so good opinions about you — through what I read & listened on the surface. I apologize.
But, yes, as you said, I need to go deeper and also needn’t have to agree with you on all your thoughts & principles. I bow in front of you with reverence.
One last question. How do you see our country’s future, seeing it now?
MG: I know, what makes you ask this. I also know, that you’re quite optimistic of the current government. See, in any democracy, the future of the nation doesn’t just depend on the government. Rather on its citizens as well. It depends on all of you, who is going to make our nation great Bharat. Democracy has to be participative and not receptive. No leaders of the nation can do wonders without its people’s involvement.
Me: Hmm… I get it, Bapu. I have to absorb all these thoughts & introspect.
MG: I need to go now. Time for evening prayer.
I wake up with a Bhajan in the background — Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram……