Mahatma Gandhi is one of the grayest characters for me. The more you try to know this man, the more you can’t figure him out. His efforts for the county leave you spellbound, but his ignorance towards his family and political reforms leaves you with despise for him. But even after 69 years of his assassination, he is still loved and prayed as equal as God in our country. But is it all really worth it? Do we really know the man who gave up everything for his love for the country?
Rajmohan Gandhi, a noted intellectual and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, has now come out with a text that explores deeper into this mysterious man. He says that an all demanding effort to rid the country of Britishers came at a great price, and he should have devoted more time and attention to his wife and sons. In a recent interview to IANS, he said that “He should have given more time and attention to his wife and sons, and listened more to them. A flawless Gandhi would have been a superb husband and a superb father, in addition to being the astonishing friend and inspirer he was to Indians of every kind.”
Why Gandhi Still Matters by Rajmohan Gandhi appraises his legacy by examining his most famous and controversial ideas, beliefs, success, and failures as well. His commitment to democracy and creating a self-serving nation by singing “Everything Swadeshi” can be seen in the book as well. The opposition caste is also there, Winston Churchill, Jinnah and surprisingly (for me at least), B.R. Ambedkar.
Now, coming to the essence of the book, with Why Gandhi Still Matters, Rajmohan Gandhi has done a deep comparison between the old times and the modern times, and he makes a valid point that nobody can be like Gandhi, and he was one and only. A person who gave up his comfortable life and family for the betterment of our country, people like that are not born anymore.
A person who came who came from a well established high-class family, backpacked all around the country in a train to understand what the country is lacking, how can he develop them to be self-sufficient and help them in getting rid of being dependent on foreign goods and Britishers. If you wanted to represent common people of India, you had to understand their plight and live with them.
Somewhere, Rajmohan Gandhi has also shared how Mahatma lacked the devotion towards his family. A great man would have managed both, but Gandhi chose country over family every single time. Did that bother the family? The answer is a mixed one. Some of the grandkids questioned his devotion that kept him away from them, his wife followed him everywhere without asking anything is return. Maybe that is how Great Men are made, but was he really that great? What about the policies that have hurt his beloved country also?
The answers are somewhere in Why Gandhi Still Matters, but they are not that clear. Gandhi still remains a gray character for me, just like the color of the book. But yes, the book has made me want to pick up more and know Mahatma Gandhi a bit more. And make sure you pick this copy because such thought provoking books should be definitely devoured.