It was on Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October this year that I read a discussion regarding how the new age generation of ours has read Chetan Bhagat, Harry Potter, etc, and yet are absolutely oblivious to the larger-than-life character of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was one person who united people irrespective of their religion, region, or language. He spoke not for any particular kind but for all humans in totality. The book is a reflection of who Gandhi was, and how he became Mahatma. For every Indian, this book should be a must-read at least once in their lifetime. We must know and understand that why is Mahatma Gandhi so important and respected by the world. The book will also offer you the shortcomings of Gandhi in his own words of acceptance. He from my point of view was far away from being a good husband and a good father. His sense of service towards the downtrodden never allowed him to do justice towards his family. And in spite of that, the fact that Kasturba Gandhi stood rocksteady with him, speaks volumes about her giving nature too.
The sections where one reads about civil disobedience against the Rowlatt Act, Salt tax, etc bring another level of a rush of adrenaline. The grandeur of the enigmatic personality of Gandhiji pierces the reader deep inside. When Gandhiji asked for a day-long strike or hartal, where all Indians were to keep a fast and take out peaceful procession across the country, the whole of India ranging from Lahore to Chennai, Bombay to Delhi, followed him without a doubt. Today too we see leaders after whom massive sections blatantly go Gaga. But today there are all the necessary mediums available such as social media, print media, television, etc to popularise oneself and demean the other. Yet there is still only a section out of all Indians that adore one particular leadership. But back then, be it of any religion, region, or gender, everyone followed Gandhi’s command with utmost sincerity. I am not exaggerating when I say that I had goosebumps and a genuine sense of victory when I read about the love and devotion amongst all Indians to achieve their dream.
The book becomes particularly interesting and relevant to read at this time when almost the first time after independence, India witnessed a year-long Satyagrah by her farmers against three farm laws to which the farmers did not find resonance with the government’s outlook. And to the reader’s least surprise, the Satyagraha successfully achieved its goals with farmers now satisfactorily going back to their respective houses.
There are many passages I highlighted while reading the book. One of them is regarding the publishing of the journals “Navjivan” and “Young India” which were founded by Gandhi. These newspapers covered the voice of Indians, discussed the benefits of non-violence, ways of practicing Satyagraha, etc. One of the ideals of publishing in these journals is heavily and rightly being pitched in today’s era:
“From the very start, I set my face against taking advertisements in these journals. I do not think that they have lost anything thereby. On the contrary, it is my belief that it was in no small measure helped them to maintain their independence.”
The book must be read by everyone across the globe. It does not carry very high literary merit of being bolstered with heavy words, philosophy, or sentence making. But it does carry the merit of the character development of a person who became a massive country’s “Father of the Nation”.