"Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth." (July 1944)
Renowned scientist Albert Einstein once said this referring to the Father of the Nation Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Definitely there was a reason behind this saying. People's memory is very short. They may forget. Often people, particularly we Indians forget our heroes (with due regards to a few exceptional ones) soon. We never remember our history; don't know our geography and are least bothered about our culture and heritage. Whenever you visit any historic monuments anywhere in India you will know this.
People often spit on the walls and floors, scribble on the walls and pillars (usually indecent things). They throw empty packets of chips, gutkha and cigarettes etc. No civilized person can visit public toilets and urinals. Walls are full of vulgar drawings and graffiti. We just don't know how to pay respect to our culture and heritage.
More than 50 years have passed since Mahatma Gandhi passed away. Gandhi was someone whose works and activities are not only beyond the capacity of the aam admi but also an impossible task for dedicated social workers. His virtues and abilities are more or less are hard acts to follow. Apart for the documentation, there are several novels, fiction and short stories on Gandhiji, written during his life time or after his death.
There are many exaggerated truths in these novels. Sometimes authors' imagination has crossed the barriers of logic and they have tried to portray him as superhuman. I can cite a quote of a noted person on Gandhi here. Once Romaine Rolland said:
"For many, he was like a return of Christ. For others, for independent thinkers, Gandhi was a new incarnation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and of Tolstoy, denouncing the illusions and the crimes of civilization, and preaching to men the return to nature, to the simple life, to health."
As Gandhiji spoke of Ramrajya, many in his generation never hesitated to compare him with the great Indian mythological idol Rama. There are many write-ups on him describing him as a prophet. Gandhiji was lucky that he born in an era where documentation technologies had just started developing.
Explorers very recently recovered some monuments in Gujarat Bay, under the sea, which gives some substantial evidence of the presence of Dwarka, hence of Lord Krishna and his times as described in another Indian epic Mahabharata. In Assam there is a popular story about King Naraka and goddess Kamakhya. Asura King Naraka proposed Mother Goddess Kamakhya to marry him. He was a very powerful ruler in Pragjyotishpur (ancient name of the more or less the present Assam region).Kamakhya Devi asked him to build a staircase to her place (on the top of Nilachal hill in present-day Guwahati) within a night and said that if he did that, she would marry him. He failed and thus mother Kamakhya saved herself from Naraka.
There is a very little scientific evidence about the presence of King Naraka or Pragjyotishpur. But still remains of a half-done staircase in Nilachal Hill towards Kamakhya temple exist, which locals believe was built by King Naraka. It may be difficult to believe that Narakasura was really there, who dared to propose the Mother Goddess. But as there is a Tajmahal in Agra there is a Kamakhya temple at Guwahati.
Hundreds or thousands of years later some one many find it hard to believe that there was a king who built a Tajmahal in his wife's memory by bringing white marble from thousands of miles away. A hundred or a couple of hundred years later some enthusiastic researcher will definitely raise questions about the truthfulness or existence of Gandhiji's works.
As we have little or no proof about the existence of the Mahabharata, we don't have of Ramayana too. But most of us believe it. There may be some exaggeration, may be some or more imagination while narrating the stories of Rama, because it is pre-historic and prior to the invention of documentation gadgets.
The stories may have passed over orally from one generation to another. It has been seen that all mythological writers tried their best to impose divinity on their characters. Thus Rama, his time and works may have been distorted and chances are very much there that they got reshaped. But it is very difficult to believe that the Pancha Pandavas (five Pandavas) visited Manipur thousand of miles away. Logically it was impossible. Just as King Ghatotkacha of Pragjyotishpur took part in the Kurukshetra war.
But our government did a fantastic job by rejecting the existence of Lord Rama while filing a court affidavit regarding the existence of a Ramsetu in Setusamudram.
Mounting protests by people may have forced the government to step back from the affidavit, but it still remains a cause of concern for every proud Indian.
If government can deny Ram today, they may possibly deny Gandhiji tomorrow.
Logically it is possible, as feared by Albert Einstein couple of decades ago.
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Shamit Kumar Tomar on 2009-04-23 08:51:01 wrote,
Great thought and great article.