Friday, January 30, 2009

Remembering 30 January

"If I am to die by the bullet of a mad man, I must do so smiling. There must be no anger within me. God must be in my heart and on my lips."
Mohandas K. Gandhi - 28 January 1948

30 January 1948. 5:17 p.m.. Birla House, Delhi.
A wire thin, white clad figure makes his way across the temple's garden surrounded by his followers, and his enemies.

A trio of shots echoes against the stones, and the man who was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi crumples to the ground mortally wounded.

A stricken nation listens in silent shock or wailing anguish as the static ridden, tearful voice of Jawarhalal Nehru solemnly announces,
"Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere, and I do not quite know what to tell you or how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that. Nevertheless, we will not see him again, as we have seen him for these many years. We will not run to him for advice or seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow, not for me only, but for millions and millions in this country."

As I pondered what to write on this anniversary date, I wondered what I might add to the story. What can I say that hasn't already been said? What homage can I pay to a man on whom so many honors have already been bestowed?

Then I recalled a scene in the movie Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Mara (I Did Not Kill Gandhi) in which Anupam Kher details his "conversations" with Bapu. His monologue, while fictional, struck a chord with me the first time I heard it, and still does.
"But every day he would say, 'Uttam, my son, I live no longer in the minds of people. Everywhere else, I am. In political offices, governments, courts. This country has even stamped me into currency bills and coins. I am everywhere except in the minds of men."

And at that moment it occurred to me that there is, in fact, one honor I can pay to Gandhiji. One that would matter more to him, I suspect, than all the flowery prose I can offer here.

I can remember.

Rest well Bapu.
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magiceye said...

a beautiful tribute..

Indrani said...

Touching tribute!
I am yet to see this movie.

Asha said...

What a great post paying tribute to Bapu. I bet most Indians abroad don't even remember this day and do the routine things without a pause. Thanks for this. He did go with God's name on his lips in the end and he is in our minds so far! :)

Carmi said...

Wanted to thank you for sharing the poem on my blog today. Our local paper carried a short story/photo/cutline on the anniversary, and I found myself hovering over it for a while, also thinking about how I needed to remember.

His life and passing predate my own life, yet I find his message so fundamental to who I've become. He truly did want to repair the world, and I'd like to believe that his message rings louder than ever. Yeah, I'm an optimist. But as long as I surround myself with folks like you, it's all good.

Annie said...

I was 10 weeks old on this date. By the time I was in junior high school, his life was in the history books.

Asha said...


I replied to your comment at FH. I recommend you to try this simple south Indian Sambhar(dal in North Indian style but very different) first and then move to complex and wonderful World of Southie cuisine! Once you get to used to the taste, you will love to have this Sambhar with very South Indian Masala Dosa or Idlis or just rice if you have tried them in the restaurants. Hope you do! :)

Doctor Err said...


dot said...

Beautiful post!

maryt/theteach said...

A wonderful, great, holy man, Mojo! Thanks for reminding me! :)