OPINION

Gandhi Auction : Vijay Mallya Wins Auction, To Donate to India - Misplaced Priorities?

March 05, 2009
Amodini Sharma

It is indeed the week for stupidity. I refer of course to the efforts by the Government of India to save its “national heritage”. By “national heritage” I do not mean the beautiful, ancient buildings that lie neglected (the last time I visited the Taj Mahal, there were honeycombs on the high ceilings of the entrances – I am not sure if it has been cleaned up), or by the polluted river Ganges, or by the myriad number of things that stand out as being part of India’s national heritage. No, what they mean when they say “National heritage” are MK Gandhi’s possessions which were to be auctioned off.

I am not a great fan of Gandhiji’s beliefs, but I do know that the man stood for simplicity. Gandhi is no longer alive, but he is still alive among us, say many. Gandhi’s legacy is his high thinking; it is not material. The man preached and stood for basic human decency, the ability of each person to be good and to do good. For a man such as him, one of spartan habits, with not much desire of material possessions, would he care for the Government’s efforts? Would he even put his possessions ahead of the people ? Would he actually say – go save my glasses, my sandals, and let rot the real heritage of India – it’s people? I believe that the Government is missing the point.

But they went ahead full steam, missing the point as best as they could. As the “Times Now” channel so succinctly summed up, the GOI had a Game plan, and it was as follows :

- Buy items through direct bidding by the GOI
- Appeal to rich NRIs/American-Indians to buy and donate the items to India
- Negotiate/stop auction

The Government would have bid for the items, if all else failed.

Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni has told NDTV that the Indian government will do everything possible to ensure that Mahatma Gandhi's belongings are brought back to India with or without auction.

She said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has, in fact, authorised the government to bid for the items if all other efforts fail.

Wow ! As much as I respect Gandhi, I cannot see how the Indian Government could have thought of using up the Indian tax-payer’s money to buy up these items. Yes, you can get these effects and put them in a Museum where someone will, for a fee, be able to view them. But ask a villager, or a slum-dweller if they’d rather have a pucca house instead, and you’ll see. Ask women who have no access to toilets or basic sanitation if they’d rather have sanitary toilets instead of the ability to view Gandhi’s effects, and see what they say. Or why even go to the villages – ask a city-dweller if they’d rather have better roads, and electricity without load-shedding, than the ability to view Gandhiji’s effects – and you’ll see what I mean. Ask them if they would rather have public servants who treated them like human beings (as Gandhi insisted we all do), rather than the pompous, self-important bureacrats that now rule over India, and you’ll know.

The poor and the backward classes were a great concern of Gandhi’s – he called them Harijan. The GOI is effectively ignoring these very important people in it’s over-riding desire to save Gandhi’s possessions. And look at present day India – is it Gandhian in any sense of the word ? From men who attack women on the roads, and get away with it, in connivance with the police, to the everyday rampant corruption, to the rude, aggressive nature of people who share the same space as you – is it even remotely Gandhian? Is it?

The GOI’s frantic efforts to save India’s “precious national heritage” is not only a prime case of mis-placed priorities – it is also supremely ironical. I would laugh if I were not already so pissed off. When did the GOI last get in such a tizzy over the common-man’s priorities ? Yup – you may not have bijli-pani or sadak, you may not have a functioning judicial system (a backlog of cases which will take several hundred years to clear), or governing bodies who care, but what you do have is India’s pride – Gandhi’s glasses and chappals. Savor them and fill your stomachs.

Does the Government have nothing better to do, or is it so rolling in money that it fails to find better use of India’s limited resources? James Otis, the owner of these articles, seemed to have a better idea than the GOI:

On Monday, Otis had said that he was ready to give the precious articles to the Indian government for "free" if it decided to spend five per cent of its GDP on the poor.

Common sense from somebody at least. Or a slap on the face of the GOI. But apparently this remark of Otis’s didn’t wake it up to the fact that Gandhi’s few material possessions are meaningless when compared to the Gandhian principles – principles which are neither followed, nor observed. What the GOI and it’s bureaucrats do is pay lip-service (and hearing corrupt politicians mouthing empty Gandhisms is making my skin crawl) and now some big moolah to it. Wearing the Gandhi topi, or the Nehru jacket, or saving these “prized” possessions from going outside India, is not saving the “national heritage” in any way. If Gandhi is watching us from somewhere above, I am sure he’s wringing his hands in sheer disbelief.

<b>Update:</b> The items went under the hammer despite earlier indications they would not. The auction was won by Dr. Vijay Mallya for $1.8 million, who plans to donate them to the Government.

Amodini Sharma, based in the US, works as a programmer. Besides watching films, which she does a lot of, she also enjoys reading and writing. She blogs at "Amodini's Movie Reviews" and the "Review Room".
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Gandhi Auction : Vijay Mallya Wins Auction, To Donate to India - Misplaced Priorities?

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#1
Deepti Lamba
URL
March 5, 2009
09:28 PM

Here is a question to be pondered over- Gandhi is called Father of the nation. Now if your fathers things were being auctioned what would you do?

We have billions in reserve. Not like we are starving a couple of villages to buy his things.

Its not so much about his few things but more about National pride. And these items were bought by a private individual. And its his business as to how he spends his millions- whether he wipes his ass with his rupees or buys Gandhi's possessions.

#2
VIJESHWAR KUMAR CHOHAN
March 5, 2009
10:03 PM

GANDHI JI'S PERSONAL "national heritage" items saved by an Indian Dr. Vijay Mallya proud of him.
The entire World is proud of him and all the Indians. Jay hoo!!

Thanks,
Vijay Chohan

#3
Kerty
March 5, 2009
10:33 PM

Deepti

How does one get to became the 'father' of nation? By scr*wing up mother India? Is that one of those Ratna and shri awards that government gives out to its cronies? How about GOI spending the money so more than couple of slumdog kids are saved? On second thought, it should leave them as they are so uncle Boyles can make more movies that win awards and titles.

This government has shown so much contempt for national heritage as well as Gandhian ideals, and mocked them in every policy it has pursued. It has no use of Gandhi except electoral politics of promoting a dynastic rule - in that sense, perhaps Gandhi is the 'father' of dynasty that rules India. Gandhi, to them is defined by last name. They are trying to claim Gandhihood by trying to be a savior of Gandhi's sandals and glasses. They have exclusive claim to them - they can not allow them to be auctioned or fall into unknown hands. Gandhi to them is defined by his sandals and glasses. It is rich in symbolism and that is enough for its votaries. I am sure businessman Vijay Mallay will get richly rewarded by government. If not lucrative business deals than some Bharat Ratna of India. These titles certainly are for sale.

#4
Amodini
URL
March 5, 2009
11:42 PM

Deepti,
If my father's things were being auctioned off and he no longer needed them, and I was in a position of either spending that money on helping needy people or buying up his personal effects for a museum, I would go build some roads or provide water/electricity to a few villages. And I respect my Dad and hold him in high regard - he is a very principled man and quite Gandhian in his beliefs. What gets me is the hypocrisy of these "saviors" who have no clue about what Gandhi stood for.
It's hard to tell that we have those billions in reserve when you see the desperate poverty in India. And what national pride ? Do you feel that national pride hearing hypocritical leaders talk about "Gandhi" while doing all the anti-Gandhian stuff they can ? No one follows Gandhi's principles - no one. All they do is talk. Is that all Gandhi means to us (the "saviors" of his legacy) - a plate, a bowl, a watch and his sandals ? Is that it ? What about what Gandi stood for ?
I saw a photo of Gandhi's plate and bowl on auction, and was moved - what a simple man ! And what they have done to his memory ! It's sacrilege !
Striving so hard to buy up his things at any cost ? Why do they not strive so hard to provide education or food (or even decent governance)? A whole lot of money to buy things of a man, whose principles we don't follow, and in reality have no regard for. National pride, yeah right !
Now, Mallya buying the items I have no problem - his money - he can do what he likes. When it is a hypocritical government trying to spend the tax-payer's money, and getting all virtuous about it, that is when it gets problematic.

#5
Citizen
March 5, 2009
11:52 PM

All:

What did you say, this?

"...let rot the real heritage of India - it's people? I believe that the Government is missing the point."

You all indian hindian MORONS....you can not come out of your indian mentality...it's so cheap and not even worth for the toilet paper.

indian government is a criminal establishment run by TERRORISTS like sonia gandhi family, pranab muharjee, karunanithy family, man mohan singh and other crooks.

indian hindians are the sinners of india along with the brahmin caste that degrade the same HUMAN VALUES they are supposed to SAFE GUARD!!!!

DAMN INDIANS.....PLEASE GROW AND STOP YOUR TERRORISM IN THE NEIBORING COUNTRY SRI LANKA IMMEADIATLY...WORLD POWERS ARE WATCHING YOUR DIRTY WORK.....AND YOU INDIA.....NEVER EVER CAN BECOME A SUPER POWER....

Love,

Citizen.

#6
Kaiser_Soze
March 6, 2009
12:33 AM



India is not a poor country, but there is poverty. Why? Mismanagement.

Politicians are the last people I would trust my with money with. So much for diverting 5% of GDP to poverty related programs. Lol!

Billions get wasted in poverty related schemes. Billions more in Public Secto. We use less that 30% of electric power available to us, while infrastructure problems plague us. Thanks to mismanagement, corruption and theft.

With monumental waste at all levels and sectors of govt, should we be bothered about $1.8million on one of the most enduring symbols of 20th century? Whoop Dee Fucking Doo!!!

Mallya has made a successful bid for it, so where's the problem?

Now that money has not been wasted by GOI, cobwebs in Taj Mahal will be cleaned up and the slums will magically disappear from our urban landscapes. Lol!

Here's something more criminal, hoodwinking the nation and foreigners with the Gandhi surname.




#7
Deepti Lamba
URL
March 6, 2009
12:41 AM

But it wasn't the government who bought the goods a citizen did. So why beat up the politicians?

As it is I rather live in India with all its gamut of troubles than in any other countries of South Asia.


#8
Deepti Lamba
URL
March 6, 2009
01:00 AM

Amodhini, cultural pride is important. We have the money to help the nation prosper and safe guard our heritage. Museums, art, culture reflect the country's rich heritage and one of the best ways of binding citizens to their nation.

As far as politicians are concerned. We have ourselves to blame. They rise from the citizenry. The educated want the change without being part of the change.

If the gutter is to be we have to get dirty. The blame game is redundant.

#9
kaffir
March 6, 2009
02:13 AM

"But ask a villager, or a slum-dweller if they'd rather have a pucca house instead, and you'll see. Ask women who have no access to toilets or basic sanitation if they'd rather have sanitary toilets instead of the ability to view Gandhi's effects, and see what they say. Or why even go to the villages - ask a city-dweller if they'd rather have better roads, and electricity without load-shedding, than the ability to view Gandhiji's effects - and you'll see what I mean."



Amodini, how can you assume what a villager would want? Or women? Or city-dwellers? If you'd based your statements on some survey, then it'd make sense, but otherwise, it comes across as your projection. You seem to be ascribing your version of rational and logical thinking (in the sense of someone choosing between a pucca house and Gandhi artifacts being in India) on to other Indians without any proof.

I doubt that you can make the case that national symbols or heritage are irrelevant to a majority of Indian villagers or Indian city-dwellers, when Gandhi surname is used by the Nehru family for a very good reason.

By the way, have you read any books on India by Mark Tully?

#10
kaffir
March 6, 2009
02:33 AM

correction:
...in the sense of someone choosing between a pucca house or Gandhi artifacts being in India...

#11
kaffir
March 6, 2009
02:42 AM

scratch that correction in #10. I should go to bed. :)

#12
Ledzius
March 6, 2009
02:52 AM

How about this -

"Jai Ho 'cost Congress $200,000"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7926058.stm

#13
Ledzius
March 6, 2009
02:59 AM

Dee #1 - "And these items were bought by a private individual. And its his business as to how he spends his millions- whether he wipes his ass with his rupees or buys Gandhi's possessions."

At this point we are not even sure if it is Mallya's money. According to the TOI, he was used as an agent (since there was a stay order restraining the GOI from direct bidding), so it could be the tax payers' money after all.

#14
Amodini
URL
March 6, 2009
10:32 AM

Deepti,
Ofcourse, National/cultural pride is important - I am not debating that at all. However when we believe that national pride is saving these artifacts, and nothing more - then I have a problem. Please understand that if India (and it's people/politicians) really was a true Gandhian state and we really revered Gandhi (instead of paying hypocritical lip-service), I would say go ahead - go get these important peices of heritage - more power to you.

Kaffir,
"You seem to be ascribing your version of rational and logical thinking on to other people"

You are right - I am. My doing so is not based upon surveys but on talks/emails and articles by women/women's orgs who fight domestic violence/atrocities against women. To me (my personal POV) the average voter is swayed pretty easily by the Gandhi family name - the currect crop of politicians who seem to want to "save his legacy" really do not deserve to utter his name at all.

No, I haven't read Tully.

Meanwhile are you keeping up on the post-auction drama with the Govt and Mallya both trying to take credit ? Nice Gandhian touch, don't you think ? :-)

#15
Anonymous
March 6, 2009
03:00 PM

Hi Amodini Sharma,

I respect your ideas regarding this auction. I would like to add a few of my arguments too. First of all I respect Gandhi and some of His ideas. The way the Indian government handled this situation should be applauded. Gandhi is the father of our nation and the father of each and every individual who believes that non-violence can do a greater good than violence.

You seen to say that, the government could have used the money on more constructive purposes like alleviating poverty rather than the items of Gandhi..

Well, I think in a different way. Humans in general are are devoted to something they like or something they patronize. Indians are no different. Gandhi's items will provoke patriotism and will reignite the sense of non-violence in our people's minds. It will seed the preachings of Gandhi into the people's minds. Moral pride, self-belief that one can achieve anything Great, being simple regardless of one's status, doing good to everyone including enemies, respecting others, etc are priceless and cannot be bought by anything. But such things can be put into our people's minds by idolizing things like Gandhi's items. Maybe not all, but atleast 1 out of 10 persons which leaves India with 110 million Gandhians. Vivekananda has told "Give my 10 proper people. I will change India". Imagine what can be done with 110 proper people.

Many of you have blamed the government, the politicians, businessmen etc for various reasons. It is time we accepted the blame on ourselves. It is us who need to change. Small small wrong doings like parking the car in a no parking area, disrespecting the signals, littering places, spitting in places, overtaking on the left side, not using the pedestrian path, not following queues, etc,.... accumulate and create complete chaos. We blame the government for putting bad roads. Have we all maintained it properly? Activities like spitting on the roads, littering on the roads, choking drainage with solid waste so that rain water damages the roads during rainy season, etc are done by us. I am not saying it is completely our fault. Nearly 60% of the fault lies with us.

Let us all follow good principles so that we change and dont expect others to change us.


Amodini Sharma, I like your post very much. You have expressed your views clearly. Thank you very much... :-)


(Sorry for my long post and my little off-topic discussion)


JAI HIND

#16
kerty
March 6, 2009
03:58 PM

Anon

"Gandhi is the father of our nation and the father of each and every individual who believes that non-violence can do a greater good than violence."

The only nation he fathered was Pakistan which never existed before even as a concept or civilization. And if I remember facts, it happened over dead bodies of millions of people. So you can not claim that Gandhi fathered Pakistan using non-violence. It is such intellectual dishonesty that has thrown Gandhi into dustbin of irrelevance, and people reduced to worshiping his Sandals and Glasses and his last name rather than his ideals. No the buck does not stop with the people. You can't keep blaming people and make them the scapegoats for failed ideals and policies that are intellectually bankrupt to begin with. Go ahead, make temples and tombs of his remains, but his ideas and ideals are long dead among his own followers. He is no father of India. He is the Mummy of India.

#17
Slime_id
March 6, 2009
04:34 PM

I drink only KingFisher as my home state Karnataka manufactures a brilliant beer. I feel Mallya knows how to spend the money he earned from customers like me.

Till the next drink...

Ambika Soni, you are another soft feminist leader who does not even know how to switch on a mike.. glad u atleast showed your press skills leave alone your negotiation and convincing skills.

#18
kerty
March 6, 2009
05:24 PM

Slime:

Isn't it ironic?

- Gandhi who stood for total prohibition and picketed alcohol establishment in his lifetime is being rescued by a Booze Baron Vijay Mallya?

- People who swear by Gandhi have no use of swadeshi or anything Indian but like everything western, including their rulers?

- Gandhigiri being championed by likes of Munnabhai, ak-47 trotting underworld thugs, and Pub Bharao freedom movement for loose women who see freedom from Indian values as freedom and vice culture as empowerment.

- People who swear by Gandhi care only for his last name, that too for amassing goodwill and power for a certain dynasty who has nothing in common with Gandhi or Gandhism.

- Gandhi fought to free India from being ruled by foreign ideas and foreign rulers. His followers want to free India from being ruled by Indian values and Indian rulers. They are packing the re-colonization as freedom struggle and empowerment. Thus turning Gandhi upside down.

#19
Slime_id
March 6, 2009
05:35 PM

Vijay Mallya has business interests in sports , airlines plus he is enjoying doing it.

Gandhi enjoyed in spreading love and peace and he said "One ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching"

I dare not compare Mallya to Gandhi, but the common factor in both of them is their enthusiasm in what they do, they back it up. They practice what they preach.

I too drink Kingfisher as I feel its a nice drink . Why practice swadeshi then drink firangi?

#20
Kerty
March 6, 2009
06:27 PM

Slime

Vijay built his business empire from Booze industry, no? His stock in political field will sky rocket too after this fetching job for the ruling dynasty.

"I dare not compare Mallya to Gandhi, but the common factor in both of them is their enthusiasm in what they do, they back it up. They practice what they preach."

Would you compare Kasab and Gandhi too in a similar vain? They too practice what they believe and back it up with actions. I guess ideals and principles need not match with Gandhi to wear Gandhian mantle. No wonder people who have nothing to do with Gandhism have hijacked Gandhi.

#21
Citizen
March 6, 2009
11:08 PM

[BLATHERING]

#22
Ledzius
March 7, 2009
01:25 AM

Gandhism is overrated and an anachronism. The patriotic among us who trumpet India Shining don't realise that it is the exact anti-thesis of Gandhian values. We like to project our new found consumerism and Westernisation (including luxury items like cars, LCD TVs, pubbing, Armani suits, and what not) as catching up with the West (as though that in itself is a sign of advancement), when Gandhi believed in simplicity. Gandhi shunned technology, including refrigerators, which would have forced women to cook twice every day while the menfolk were happily spinning away khadi. Forget any mention of TVs, or any kind of Western wear. I wonder how many of the young urban professionials (esp the women) would have really fit into the scheme of the Gandhian way of living. I think they would feel suffocated as much as the women under the Taliban.

#23
KK
March 7, 2009
03:16 AM

There is much more to Gandhism than his shunning of Western technology. His principles should be viewed in the context of the times he lived in.(some of his other concepts such as non-violence are eternal).

For Gandhi khadi spinning was a way of relating to the common man because what was required during those times was the creation of a national sentiment of common brotherhood (when India seemed divided on religious, casteist lines) and he viewed khadi spinning as an effective way of uniting people while at the same time rejecting foreign made mill cloth which signifed acceptance of Western imperialism (we all know how the West developed their industries).This has nothing to do with him rejecting technology, more to do with rejecting the makers of the technology.

Gandhi would have never forcibly imposed his view of simplicity on others (the way some organisations are doing now,that was not the way he worked), people followed his austerity willingly(during independence and afterwards).

So no, Gandhism is miles away from Talibanism or any other ism for that matter. Holding Gandhi completely responsible for partition is highly idiotic. There is only so much a single man can do.

#24
kerty
March 7, 2009
12:23 PM

KK

"Gandhi would have never forcibly imposed his view of simplicity on others"

And that is one of the clinching flaws of Gandhism. That it is all voluntary. That one need not follow anything about Gandhi or Gandhism to be a Gandhian. When it exempts its own votaries, why would it remain relevant for those who are not his votaries or rest of humanity?

"For Gandhi khadi spinning was a way of relating to the common man because what was required during those times was the creation of a national sentiment of common brotherhood"

Why would Khadi spinning relate to common man across India? There was nothing common or national about it. It was neither common profession or vocation across India nor national passion. What it symbolized to common man was spirit of swadeshi, self-reliance, assertion of cottage/village/home-based economic paradigm, rejection of western economic model that was integral to colonialism.

"Holding Gandhi completely responsible for partition is highly idiotic. There is only so much a single man can do."

If he gets the credit for success of his ideas, than he has to accept the blame for its failures also.

Failure of people is ultimately failure of leadership. Buck stops there - with leaders who are entrusted to lead the people. It is ultimately the failure of people - but only when one also accepts that it is foremost a failure of leadership to lead the people and forge suitable policies. One can not put the leadership on high pedestal and make people into scapegoat for failures.

Gandhi was the undisputed leader of the movement. His visions, ideas and policies got full play. As a leader, he was expected to formulate suitable ideas and policies. Why shouldn't his ideas and policies be held accountable? You can't have leadership role without accountability and responsibility towards people you are trying to lead. People who disagreed with his policies were never offered debates or inclusion in his policies - he pretty much acted like a self-righteous dictator listening to none and used all the manipulative tricks on the book to get his way. He surrounded himself with a small band of yes-men, sycophants and cronies and rejected all dissenting voices, and refused to debate anybody who had differing opinion. When he said India will be divided only over his dead body, he cornered people's trust and confidence and people expected him to follow right course of policies. But for over 2 decades, he relentlessly pursued politics of competitive appeasement that culminated in a partition, never bothering to introspect at the fall out his dogmas were creating. It wasn't something unexpected that hit India out of the blue - his distractors had been forewarning him every step of the way for years, but he had no ears for second opinions or informed debates. Sadly, price of his follies were paid by millions in blood and tears.

#25
kaffir
March 7, 2009
12:45 PM

KK wrote: "Holding Gandhi completely responsible for partition is highly idiotic. There is only so much a single man can do."
***********

KK, I agree that holding Gandhi completely responsible for partition is idiotic. But do you think he bore some responsibility? Should that be discussed, or remain taboo?

Similarly and by your standards, is calling Gandhi "Father of the Nation" when so many others contributed to the freedom struggle and formation of India, also idiotic? Surely, no single man can be given that honor. :)

By the way, why didn't Gandhi go on one of his famous until-death fasts to persuade Jinnah and Muslims to give up the idea of partition?

#26
Slime_id
March 7, 2009
02:06 PM

Kerty, Gandhi gave us freedom. It was the freedom exercised by Mallya to bring back Gandhi items. Such things were unheard of pre-independence.
And we are not even 70 years old as nation!

You asked me if Kasab and Gandhi have common things. Sure they have. Why not, both are willing to give up their lives for a cause. Just that Kasab is non violent and Gandhi understood due his studies of law, and his greatness that non violence is meaningless. If Kasab was given proper guidance and education , he could have been a great follower of Gandhian principles.

Gandhi always respected everyone. Thats why I am a true believer in his principles and hold Kasab as a human being.

The real terror is not Pakistan , its a social trend among the conservative moderate Pakistanis who are not spreading non violence among poor. Please respect Kasab the same way you respect any other criminal, i.e: Raj Thackeray or Charles Sobraj.

Kasab holds an advantage as he was poor and misguided. Gandhiji would have forgiven him morally if Kasab understood his mistake and regretted it.


#27
kerty
March 7, 2009
02:39 PM

Slime

"You asked me if Kasab and Gandhi have common things. Sure they have. Why not, both are willing to give up their lives for a cause. Just that Kasab is non violent and Gandhi understood due his studies of law, and his greatness that non violence is meaningless."

You mean one has to follow non-violence in order to be a Gandhian? How come? We hear that you do not have to follow anything of Gandhi in order to be a Gandhian. Gandhi believed in freedom and he gave to you and Kasab, and therefore, anybody who enjoys freedom is a Gandhian no matter how that freedom is used. So Kasab is truly a Gandhian, not a criminal. He only violated laws the the thought were unjust for his cause.

#28
Slime_id
March 7, 2009
02:47 PM

Kerty, dont be obsessed with Gandhian principles. I am not supporting non violence or espousing violence. I am just telling you Gandhi had the ability to understand why non violence was meaningless and violence so prevalent in society. He understood what makes a man violent. Thats all

#29
kerty
March 7, 2009
04:41 PM

Slime

"dont be obsessed with Gandhian principles."

Good advice. We should limit our obsession to his Sandals and Glasses and personal trivia.

#30
Ayan Roy
March 7, 2009
05:14 PM

Nice Article. Yep, the priorities of G.o.I. are screwed up badly. But then again, was there any time in the last 60 years when they were not?

It seems quite hollow to crave for ownership of symbols when you care two hoots for the ideology behind them, and you have many more pressing problems at hand.

As for Gandhi himself, I have no right to criticize him at all since I personally have not done or achieved a fraction of what he did; neither have I experimented with his ideologies and found them wanting.

#31
kerty
March 7, 2009
05:16 PM

Swapan Dasgupta's comments:

"To begin with, the absence of the Mahatma's old pair of spectacles and his wooden bowl has never been a serious impediment to appreciating the man's worth. These pieces of memorabilia are about as central to Gandhian studies as the mummified relic of the goat which travelled with the Mahatma to London for the second Round Table Conference in 1931. They have no significance whatsoever.

Since governments are driven by media hype in the run-up to elections, it is understandable that the Congress sought to insulate itself from charges of unconcern for the Father of the Nation. However, in its desperation to salvage what the Mahatma had bequeathed to the dog-loving Nawab of Junagadh and his grand-niece, the government overlooked the delicious irony of Gandhian relics being paid for from liquor profits.

Vijay Mallya's bailout package (which could earn him the elusive berth in the Rajya Sabha) was projected as a UPA achievement. According to the vice chairman of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, "The Union Government handled the whole issue of acquiring the belongings of Mahatma Gandhi in the most dignified and commendable manner." Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi, too, admitted that the government had managed the bid by the liquor baron. He berated sceptics for "sensationalising" the mix of Gandhi and booze."

#32
kaffir
March 7, 2009
06:22 PM

Amodini, when you get a chance, do read a book or two by Tully. He knows India better than most of us do, and I certainly learned much by reading his essays, and got new insights and perspectives.

#33
commonsense
March 7, 2009
07:59 PM

Kaffir:

"Tully. He knows India better than most of us do"

it's usually a good idea to speak for oneself and to avoid flamboyant thekedaari for others. "usually" i said...

#34
commonsense
March 7, 2009
08:09 PM

Kaffir:

"By the way, have you read any books on India by Mark Tully?"

Amodini:

"No, I haven't read Tully."

Too bad, since you have no clue about what India is REALLY about, since:

Kaffir:

"Amodini, when you get a chance, do read a book or two by Tully. He knows India better than most of us do"

Go figure!!

Kaffir, when YOU get a chance, go figure one more time!! Mark Tully, IMHO understands India one way and a billion other people in billions of other ways. So, by what metric does he understand India "better than most of us"? Hmmm...a rhetorical question that no metric can measure.


#35
kaffir
March 7, 2009
08:39 PM

Oh, the joker is back. :)

#36
kaffir
March 7, 2009
08:46 PM

cs, don't worry - I wasn't including you in those who understand India not as well as Mark Tully. That's why I used "most" and not "all".

I don't need to prefix each and every comment of mine with "In my opinion" - in conversations, that's a given, unless stated otherwise. ?

You might want to consider retiring the word "thekedaari" from your conversations here, because you do it as much as anyone else, and it's just useless the way you use it.

#37
commonsense
March 7, 2009
09:02 PM

Kaffir:

"By the way, have you read any books on India by Mark Tully?"

Amodini:

"No, I haven't read Tully."

Too bad, since you have no clue about what India is REALLY about, since:

Kaffir:

"Amodini, when you get a chance, do read a book or two by Tully. He knows India better than most of us do"

Go figure!!

Kaffir, when YOU get a chance, go figure one more time!! Mark Tully, IMHO understands India one way and a billion other people in billions of other ways. So, by what metric does he understand India "better than most of us"? Hmmm...a rhetorical question that no metric can measure.


#38
commonsense
March 7, 2009
09:07 PM

Kaffir:

"cs, don't worry - I wasn't including you in those who understand India not as well as Mark Tully. That's why I used "most" and not "all"."

thanks for stating the obvious. but i think even you understand India, albeit not better or worse than Tully. To understand India "better" or "worse" is a non-starter. Unless you have a metric but are unwilling to share it with the rest of us...

#39
commonsense
March 7, 2009
09:12 PM

Kaffir, ok if it makes you happy, i agree with your statement/overstatement:

"Tully. He knows India better than most of us do"

Non-Indians, particularly the British, always understood India "better" than Indians, and there's no reason to believe that the situation is any better now.

Which book would you recommend? "No Colons for India"?

#40
commonsense
March 7, 2009
09:19 PM

Amodini,

Before reading Tully, I suggest you read James Mills' _History of British India_, all of the six volumes. All you ever wanted to know about India, but were always afraid to find out, was always figured out by the Brits; actually anyone except "most Indians"

#41
commonsense
March 8, 2009
08:10 AM

citizen, try smoking charminar cigarettes

#42
Citizen
March 8, 2009
11:44 AM

[EDITED]

#43
Citizen
March 8, 2009
11:54 AM

All,

hindian india will learn its lesson form his unforgettable past....bullying its neibors and terrorizing the innocents...it's time is OVER!!!!

NAZI INDIA IS UNDER WATCH!!!!!

Almighty USA will be in TAMIL AREAS shortly in hindian india's back yard....SUPER!!!!!

Why TAMILS NEED HINDIAN ARMY MEDICAL UNIT AFTER GETTING HURT AND KILLED BY THE NAZI HINDIAN INDIAN NAZI CRIMINALS man mohan singh, RAW AGENTS OF HINDIA, sonia ghandhi family, pranab muharjee, karunanithi family, nasty woman jeyalalitha madam...you all must be sentenced to DEATH under GENOCIDE ACT of THE WORLD COURTS along with you sri lankan, japanese, chinese, israeli, iranian, pakistani counter parts.

Love,

Citizen.

#44
kaffir
March 8, 2009
01:27 PM

"Non-Indians, particularly the British, always understood India "better" than Indians, and there's no reason to believe that the situation is any better now."
==
cs, I don't think I said that, but you're welcome to extrapolate that from my comment. *shrug*

#45
KK
March 8, 2009
02:07 PM

"By the way, why didn't Gandhi go on one of his famous until-death fasts to persuade Jinnah and Muslims to give up the idea of partition?"

They'd have let him die. That's what would have happened. I agree the INC did do a lot of damage by conceding to the demands of the Muslim League (remember how the Muslim League gradually gained a foothold by bargaining for self determination of Muslim majority provinces and a separate electorate), once the process (of communalisation) was set in motion it was hard to stop.

Muslims did give the Muslim League landslide victories in their reserved constituencies because by that time ML managed to acquire the characterisitcs of a party wholly committed for the welfare of Muslims and there was nothing Gandhi or INC could do to stop that feeling from spreading. The communalisation of the 1920s and 30s was different from that of the 1940s. Now it was an all out effort for an assertive "Muslim nation".

In my opinion partition was necessary but the manner in which it was done wholly avoidable.

#46
commonsense
March 8, 2009
03:05 PM

hey kaffir,

Tully actually understands some hindi too. heck, he can even get by in broken hindi. isn't that simply amazing?! no wonder he understands india "better than most indians". just like someone who can barely speak or understand French, can no doubt understand France better than "most french". Nothing better than Mark Tully and a cup of Tully's coffee for a deeper understanding of India!

#47
kaffir
March 8, 2009
03:35 PM

hey commonsense,

OK. Good for you.

#48
BHUPATHI
March 9, 2009
08:39 AM

Bullying by a nation born out of non-violence?
All Indians are doing now is to feel proud of some bogus superior racial descent and interpolate themselves among the more humane societies.
History is proof that jingoistic states have failed utterly in the past.Someday this nation of sinners and hooligans will face the wrath of poor.

#49
Rama
URL
March 10, 2009
12:41 AM

Good post.

Here is my take on the whole issue --

http://bale-blog-ia.blogspot.com/2009/03/m-k-gandhi-gone-oncetwice.html

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