Tuesday, 2 October 2012

What Would Gandhi Do?

Today at a supermarket, I saw that the entire freezer section was covered in newspaper. A sign on it said, “Due to Gandhi Jayanthi, non-veg not for sales.”

 A “foreign hand” wanted to know if this was normal for India.   

It is. India saw a “beef-eating festival” earlier this year to counter this anti-meat-eating movement (fielded by the right wing, supposedly for religious reasons and/or animal rights and/or “good nationalism,” but accused of doing it to push around an anti-non-Hindu feeling. Many negatives will not make a positive in this country.)

(The beef-eating festival is for real, and truly I imagine, a day will come when Falafel will be banned in schools.)

I had not noticed the meat-moratorium earlier, but it is possibly because I never went grocery shopping on Gandhi Jayanthi (ie: today, Gandhi’s 143rd birthday). Gandhi ate no evil and drank no evil and as such, his home-state of Gujarat is now a “dry-state” and his newest “avatar,” Anna Hazare, apparently follows this approach in his hometown of Ralegan Siddhi, which Ramchandra Guha writes about, “he found the approach of Anna Hazare“deeply brahmanical”. Liquor, tobacco, even cable TV were forbidden. Dalitfamilies were compelled to adopt a vegetarian diet. Those who violated theserules — or orders — were tied to a post and flogged.”

What would Gandhi do?

Gandhi is widely quoted to have said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” 

I am widely quoted to have said, “You can’t/ shouldn’t care about environment and stuff if you don't first care about humans.” (This is open to misinterpretation.)

And as Gandhians, we treat his words in a static way, even while our sentiments are ironically pasted on a backdrop of newspapers. Keep with the times, G. Stay ahead of it even. 


Sunil Noronha said...

You're back :) Stay back for longer and why am I not surprised at what you quoted yourself saying? :P

That being said, Gandhi wouldn't have done any of these dry deeds. He also would not have us obsessed about his own person and personality the way we do less than we healthily obsess about most of the things and principles he propagated, which we also do.

kicking.and.screaming said...


Sunil Noronha said...

Gandhi would do nothing. He would compel us to do a lot like he does a lot more, but without really doing anything. He would do nothing. He would just sit there and go about his day.