Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Knowing Gandhi.

One day while reading the newspaper, I came across a clipping about a course on Gandhian philosophy being offered in a University. I felt that was the right opportunity for me to seek the answers to all my questions I had in my mind for all these years. I got myself enrolled for the course. It was the first day of the course and when I entered the classroom, I realized that I was the youngest student in the class. All the others were in their sixties. They might have joined in order to get rid of the boredom of their retired lives. The class was quite interesting. The professor who came to teach us was a person with an appearance that demanded respect. His name was Professor Ranga Rao. He was a man in his fifties, with a pleasant smile on his face. He started the class putting forward a question for all the students in the class. The question was very simple. “What do you know about Gandhi and why did you join this course?” The answer that most of them gave was that they knew Gandhi as a freedom fighter and that they came here because they admired him and his principles. Finally, it was my turn to answer. I stood up and said, “I know Gandhi as a freedom fighter and as the father of this nation. But that is not all that we have got to talk about him. The reason why I am here today is, I want to know who Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was and how this Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became Mahatma. Through this course, I intend to find the answer to all those questions I had in my mind since my childhood”. Listening to this, Professor Ranga Rao bore an expression on his face that said that he was both surprised and also pleased to hear to something different than the routine responses from the other students. After a moment, he asked what my questions were. I said “ what would have happened to our country if Gandhiji was not thrown out of the train? Would he still fight for the freedom of our country?” There was a mysterious silence in the room.  My question left everyone amazed and some gave me a stern look which said “have you lost your mind!!” I ignored them and sat down and waited for Professor Ranga Rao to speak. He appreciated my interest to find out the real man within Gandhi and said that I would get all the answers by the end of the course. The course started with a brief introduction about Gandhiji’s family and his childhood. I must say that it was through Gandhiji’s life story that I learned that no one is born great but their deeds make them great. As a kid, he was no different from the other kids of his age. Though he was not interested in sports and physical education, his desire to stay with his father and serve him was a unique quality he possessed. After we were done with the first day’s class, Professor gave me a book “The story of my experiments with Truth”, the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi. I started reading it as soon as I reached home. I was totally in love with that book. It gave me an insight of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the person I was in search of. I was amazed by the way Gandhiji had accepted and written in the book, all the mistakes he had made throughout his life. It needs lots of guts and great courage to tell the world who you actually are and what kind of personality you possess. Throughout the course, I have known and understood a person who had a diverse personality that could make a nation fight with its mighty enemy. The honesty with which he confessed his mistakes, let it be his eating non-vegetarian food without the knowledge of his parents or be the forceful behavior that he showed towards his wife to educate her and to convince her to adopt the Western culture of dressing and dining, each and every instance shows that he is a man who has made truth as his language and honesty as his religion. As a man with great will power, incredible charisma and undeterred belief in the truth, Gandhi has risen to be the Father of the biggest democratic country in the world freeing it from the clutches of the tyrants. These qualities made him grow from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to MAHATMA. My experience of learning the real man within Gandhi answered every single question I had in my mind.