“On the Second of October Eighteen Sixty Nine,
Mohandas was born, so sweet and divine.
Nobody knew he was going to be great,
But he held in his hands, India’s fate.”
These were the lines from a poem written by my aunt Leela (Nair) Gautam, as a little school girl in Bangalore, many many years ago. The poem had several verses that my mom used to recite to us, but it is the first one that is firmly in my mind.
Whichever way you look at it, Gandhiji remains an integral part of our lives. Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road) is usually a popular hang-out in Indian cities. Every calendar in India has 2nd October marked as a holiday. We encounter Gandhiji every day as we exchange currency notes with people. His simple quotes and stories of his life, inevitably seen in school text books, are a quiet guiding force as we grow up. This not just in India, but all over the world. Apart from India, more than 100 countries have released postal stamps with Gandhi on them. Gandhi stamps make good souvenirs while travelling abroad. And I use them in my CapsToKeep India souvenir fridge magnets too!
The government would also do well to use Gandhiji’s simple check on the utility of its projects and policies – “Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him.”
Happy Gandhi Jayanti! “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”