The prompt on the Indiblogger site by Durgaprasad Dash, the reading of the riveting fictional piece The Madhigattan Encounter and yours own truly's repeated blogs on Gandhi having settled into the deep sub conscious with the remark that Godse was a patriot brought sweet slumber to the thoughts.
It was an emotional connect as Gandhi walked up with his stick in hand and asked with a toothless smile, "Would you like to travel around the Mahaan Bharat?" Affably holding his hand, I asked him which place should I book the flight and for what time. He smiled and said, "You should learn to walk with the multitude to appreciate our nation". Soon we were on our way and desperate to keep upto his pace as we wandered down the urban streets, we ambled into a street cum cricket pitch. One of the boys was pleading that it was time to go home while the other remarked, "Oh this great Gandhi wants to study to the mirthful laughter of the boys. The young lad first got wild and then sobbed. Gandhi walked up to him and said, "Be brave my boy. Learn to do the right things without hurting others". The boy flew into a rage and said, " It is easy for you to play act Gandhi but do you know they are insulting me by calling me Gandhi?".
Perplexed, I told him that Gandhi was the Father of the nation to a quick repartee "That is fine for a history exam but not to be called one by your friends". Reprimanding the boy for not knowing that he was called by a legend and apologizing to the toothless grin of the aged man, we moved forward.
We neared a gathering which was debating the issues that plague the country. Their was an unanimity in the youth gathered that Gandhi partitioned the country to give the crown to Nehru. The cause for the Kashmir imbroglio, the partition of Punjab and Bengal was laid at Gandhi's door. Embarrassed that the people were talking ill of him without recognizing the man beside me, I ventured to correct course telling them- "History can be analysed in hindsight but to decide as contemporaries would be a different ball game". The retort came with a huge dollop of sarcasm " We have had enough of that Gandhi and the subsequent Gandhis - they will be wiped out of history books"
Unknowingly, I exchanged a glance with the Mahatma. He smiled and said, " I agree that there is a time and place for everything. Today, Gandhi is not needed anymore. We do not have the British too. So let us move on."
At an election rally, "Godse is a patriot." Gandhi was the lone voice to say "I agree". A quizzical look elicited the gentle response, " Do not get emotional. He felt that I created the Pakistan and gave them too much. Bharatmata was in his mind as he only used his weapon to slay the person causing damage to her in his perspective."
I asked him, "Hey Ram. How can you say that of him?". He said, "The British thought they were good for India. We thought they cannot rule over us. One is always on one side of the divide. To be a visionary one must be able to see both sides of the divide. Partition became inevitable since the British hastened the Independence process when the Muslim League and the Congress were not on the same page. When one gets the credit for leadership the failures also should be in his account. We did succeed in getting political Independence but we have yet to get the cultural Independence as we have forgotten our roots. We need to appreciate everyone's view but take an appropriate balanced decision."
We moved into a village and soon Gandhi wanted to relieve himself. I took him to a swacch toilet which was constructed with his fundamental ideology. He smiled and said, " So India still needs Gandhi to clean it". He went in and did not return. As I banged the door of the toilet, it swung open and I closed my eyes and shouted, "Sorry, Gandhiji" only to be told not to shout in the middle of the night.
Thank Lord. Gandhi only wanted a walk through in my dream and not in real life as the walk in the dream itself had my joints aching. "What a man!" I thought to myself "still looming large after 70 years of his demise while we find it difficult to make even a small dent anywhere. Perspective differs over time!!!