Friday, March 06, 2009

Restoring the nation’s pride

-By Swetha Amit
Sentimentality and the significance of memorable gifts given seem to no longer withhold a stance of merely being a token of appreciation, love and honour. Selfish and capital gains are what considered a priority over emotions sadly even if it means demeaning pride of a nation.

The Otis drama clearly exhibited the above aspect evidently. It was a shock to the nation to see the Gandhi Memorabilia displayed for auction by some foreign national collector. It proved to be even more of a disgrace to hear of the same items being purchased under an agreement signed between Peter Ruhe the chairman of Gandhiserve Foundation and the great niece in law of the revered Mahatma. Do gifts no longer hold a value sans the monetary gains? One fails to realize that such priceless objects cannot match any mere figure.

It is indeed understandable for the whole episode being labelled as Immoral by the great grandson Tushar Gandhi. It doesn’t cease to see the heritage which ideally depicts the pride of a country to be bargained for something like a GDP factor. This indeed depicts Otis’s double portrayal of fist being a rogue and then a saint for having stated his ‘cause’ for the poor. Many were enraged about the fact that the Indian Government not doing enough to curtail this drama from unfolding. “We are doing everything we can “was the usual monotonous statement that was uttered like a broken record which was pre recorded every time a hue and cry was raised.

Yet the auction did take place and it proved to be a blessing when none other than our liquor veteran Vijay Mallya bought the items back for the country. While many may dispute at his otherwise flamboyant ways and mannerisms, it did come in handy when it came to saving the sub continent from shame. It would have been insulting to see those very items belonging to our Father of the Nation under the clasp of a wealthy American or British national.

This episode raises pertinent questions in the minds of any patriotic Indian. We call Gandhi the father of our nation and yet obtain a meek stance of “doing our best”. Would one choose to take a back seat when seeing their own late father’s objects that are an embodiment of nostalgia being traded like a livestock? Was there nothing that our government could do except sound like a parrot echoing the same words? Could one only resort to prayers to restore our symbol of democracy hoping for a patriotic Indian to buy those items? It exhibited a great deal of irony where one hand we were celebrating August 15th and Jan 26th with show and splendour when the real essence of it is poorly portrayed in times of need.

Is this the gratitude we have for someone who was willing to imprison themselves innumerable times to gift us something called freedom? A martyr whose principles are ideals that are used only to make artistic cinema and nothing else? It’s a different thing altogether when such ideas aren’t considered practical in the present scenario.

It goes to show that chants of Jai Hind and Vande Mataram solely don’t show love for the country. It lies in the ability to tackle the bull by its horns, preserving our heritage and culture even if it means adopting a fierce stance irrespective of how strong the opponent may be. Like the Mahatma himself has said “
I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life. Especially when it comes to restoring the nation’s pride.
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