Sunday, March 8, 2009

Symbols of Strength- One of the many ironies of our times

He did whatever he felt was important and did it well. The rest of us can quibble endlessly about who should own his possessions.

Vijay Mallya, chairman of the UB group, bought articles belonging to Gandhi which were being auctioned in New York. He paid 1.8M$ to get those items and then gave them to the government. A nice gesture no doubt.

When great leaders pass away, generations to come can pay homage to them in several ways through the years. I feel that the appropriate way to do that would be to 'understand' those principles that these Himalayan individuals stood for and to attempt them to constantly visit the relevance and applicability of values in the fast changing times.

According to me Mr Mallya is a complete irony to the values that Gandhi stood for as he leads a life of excess and indulgence and glorifies it by all possible means, but when it comes to enterprise, Mr Mallya may be a good example as well. Yes, his Kingfisher Airline does breath the words that 'customer is the king' and this was something which Gandhi believed in as well.

Having said that, the hollowness of certain events is at times too difficult to really accept. In NY probably these belongings might have gone to some rich businessman who again would have scant respect for Gandhian way of living but then what difference would it have made to treasure those possessions? What value do these items have if they don't bring along with them to the actual possessor, the principles which defined the life of the person.

If the keepers of these possessions of great people (Mallya or Mr/Ms X whosoever wanted but could not buy) really want to understand Gandhi and treasure his thoughts, a very simple way would be to get hold of his books which till today in an age of high priced books, still would barely cost anyone over 150Rs (approx 3 US$). There are books worth 5Rs (ya 10 cents) which may provide us more value than some non living objects which were those bare essentials which he could not do away with.

Slippers- for walking on rough earth

Specs- so that he could atleast see properly

Bowl- to have his meals and

a Timepiece- to keep track of his schedule which he observed religiously

Don't these items stand as tall symbols of what support system is actually needed for an individual who wants to move the world around him. Its a clear dictum against the relevance of a society which worships acquisitiveness.

What are we all waiting for?


Sunny said...

Brother...I wish to associate myself with an NGO on full time basis...

It'd be really nice if u could tell me how to go abt it...

God Bless..

Sunny +91 9920975064

Ujjwal said...

Sunny, please feel free to write to me at I am based out of Mumbai and can also meet you in case its called for.