HARISH MOTWANI laments that he has forgotten Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy and prays that he can make a fresh start in practising his teachings
Most of the people around, including me, have forgotten you or your values ― in most cases, both. And of course, no one cares for the long struggle you led for us, giving us freedom, which we have now taken for granted, like it usually happens with gifts we got as children.
Your values of honesty and ahimsa is loosely interpreted and selectively practised by individuals and society. So irresponsible have been our governments that I don’t think my kids have even been exposed to your three monkeys propagating not to speak, see or hear evil – a teaching that we from earlier generations got as a necessary vaccine.
The only place you are seen in today are on currency notes. Your presence is merely felt on your birthday which happens to be a national holiday when half the nation sulks about a closure day for liquor vends.
It is each of us individually, Bapu, who is responsible for uprooting what you sowed. The Gandhian philosophy of minimalism, which focused on simplifying one’s life by implementing a philosophy of de-cluttering, removal of distractions and reduction in possessions that don’t add value to life, is long buried and forgotten.
We crave for more than what we need. We want to be loved but refuse to give love. We lie to our near and dear ones, but then we expect them to be upright and honest every single time. We want money to secure ourselves and put in bank lockers, but we refuse to help the famished and starving, though we see so many of them around.
We don’t care about our parents but invest time and effort in our kids so that they take care of us, when we grow older. Our entire society is inclined to grab more and give less, mindlessly pursuing our mean objectives. It is painful, Bapu, awfully painful, when people step on each other with no concern of the hurt they cause.
Our society en masse is running after wealth creation, while values are constantly deteriorating. The divide between the rich and the poor is at an all-time high. As monetary benefits and burning desires to become rich, fulfilled and famous, are our priority, we have long abandoned the feeling of cultural pride and nationalism. Personal and political agendas are rising above national interest.
Dear Bapu, it’s no longer a case of a few rotten apples. All of us have collectively become rotten ― at work, at leisure, in our personal lives and in all other aspects of life. Violence, meanness, dishonesty, all manner of negativism rules the roost. It is increasingly becoming difficult for us to survive in such a vicious milieu.
You are now only a mere name ― not an epitome of virtue anymore. But, I still love to repeatedly sketch you, for the simple reason that it soothes my guilt and gives relief to my nerves. I confess, that along with others, I have failed to remember and practice everything you expected the generations born on this soil to do.
I know you must be upset and disturbed up there in heaven, to see what remains of the legacy you left. You must be feeling completely helpless. But then, neither can I change the way you feel nor the way the world is going, as people cease to remember you.
I got lost, Bapu. Only sketching you, saves me a tiny bit from the punishment of being unlike you.
I hope you are reading my letter to you and I am praying that you will help me to make a small start in following your teachings again and to begin practising them, a little.
Harish Motwani is the CEO of Evolve Brands, a leading loyalty consulting company. He is also on the Board of two other start-ups ― an emerging FMCG company and a non-profit, Joy Story Foundation, both of these which he co-founded. He is a passionate marketer and strategy consultant by profession and lives in New Delhi.
Featured Image Courtesy: New Indian Express