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ONLINE BOOKS > SPITTING AT THE SUN Epilogue
 

Epilogue

Ramesh Dave

Gandhi's life story is an epic of great magnitude, a rare human phenomenon. What is revealed here is just a ripple of the waves reaching out for the shores of light. The writer of this tract, every inch a Gandhian in his eighties, felt impelled to apply his mind to a sort of research in his cottage at Sabarmati Ashram, the project that could be possible only at a university. The play to him was just a catalyst in his lifelong quest of the Mahatma; and we have a human document.

The play on Godse does not at all merit any attention. It deserves to be ignored and discarded. Truth alone prevails, not falsehood, no matter how cunningly concocted. But a moment like this has one advantage: an opportunity to speak out the truth and save the innocent and uncritical audiences from being trapped into untruth. The wholesale distortion of facts does hardly any damage to Gandhi. He is far above all petty squabbling. But if all this goes unchallenged, the silent response affords an immense, hushed scope for the lies to thrive; and the mist of misunderstanding might blur our own view, leaving us all the poorer in human worth. The play is mere perversity, not art.

It is our moral responsibility, hence, to acquaint ourselves and the world with truth and nothing but the truth. Why did we not awake earlier in the face of such a nefarious propaganda of lies? Half a century has rolled away across falsehood. Should we not discharge our debt to both truth and Gandhi by taking facts to the doorsteps of the people?

In Gandhi's vision there was no place for communalism. The people of India—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs—were to him all God's children and destined to be one nation. How stupid and merciless are the forces that tend to mar this irrevocable destiny! This is a moment of reckoning. How untenable and untrue is the argument that Gandhi was so very pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu that he deserved to be sacrificed? To try to stick any label to the hero of humanity is patently absurd. He was far above all creeds and cults. His religion was humanity, his aim truth. And when he was confronted with the violent scenario where humanity was being uprooted, what option did he have other than to walk alone even to the end of life in the pursuit of humanity and truth? So far as his endeavour to achieve communal harmony was concerned, the efforts were also afoot to bring the Muslims into the mainstream of the nation even prior to his return from South Africa. The idea of partition in fact, arose out of the Pandora's box of narrow and self-centred politics fostered by the imperial policy: "Divide and rule". One truth, however, stands out like a light house to lead us out of ignorance. In all there were about ten attempts on the life of the Mahatma out of which eight took place years before any idea either of partition or payment of fifty-five crores of rupees to Pakistan had at all arisen.

The game to kill Gandhi had started off while Pakistan did not even exist in anyone's wildest fantasy. As for fifty-five crores of rupees, what was all the money worth as against the pursuit of restoring humanity, peace, and love in a world fractured by widespread violence and hatred? 'Gandhivadh', Gandhi's sacrifice, was a myth invented to justify the ways of evil, a fabric without facts and substance. That Gandhi found the money trash against the value of non-violence and truth was not an 'offence' meriting murder. It was a ray of light for us who were lost like the babes in a darkling wood. He was ever ready to sacrifice everything, even his own life to maintain integrity and unity of the country. The assassination of Gandhi was not an individual act. It was the waste of good involved in the process of expulsion of unbridled violence and evil as a result of mass madness. It was a great human tragedy. The light that guided us for years was put out on the flimsy excuses devoid of all truth.

Mankind had to wait for nearly two thousand years since Jesus. But when Gandhi came to 'lead kindly light,' he, too, was crucified. It is hard not to re-echo Saint Joan's words: "O God, that made this beautiful earth, when will it be fit to receive thy saints? How long, O Lord, how long?"