There might be a difference of opinion in calling Mahatma Gandhi the ‘Father of Nation’ but Gandhiji’s pitch for the eternal value system in Indian civilization, the spirit of non-violence, stress on purifying personal character, his firmness on cleanliness, his determination for simplicity and nature-friendly lifestyle effortlessly connects Gandhi with the common man in any smallest village in India or for that matter any person on the earth living the same lifestyle. This is the reason that even after 150 years Gandhi and his messages are still relevant when the world is facing challenges from climate change to poverty eradication via global menace of radical Islamic terrorism.
It was never anything formal about him
In a video interview, the reporter asks Mahatma Gandhi,"If the Queen invites you for a dinner, would you change your Indian attire and visit her in polished British suit?" Gandhi answers, "Never! If i did so, i would feel artificial!" This is the Gandhi for India and the world, there is nothing formal about him.
Hindusthan never saw him as "Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi". There was no formality between the common man in India and their "Bapu"! For each Indian, Gandhi Ji... Mahatma.. the great soul .. was the one personality which raised from the divides of language, caste and religion. Bapu was the one and only whom everyone had faith and trust. There was no univocal leadership in India after Lokamanya Tilak to take a firm stand against the British oppression and lead the masses waiting for a direction. Gandhiji naturally filled that void by his thoughts, acts and deeds.
Gandhiji's teaching of Non-violence and non-cooperation, the easiest and feasible way of venting anger against the British Raaj allowed everyone to participate in the fight for freedom.
Every Indian still misses 'that' Gandhi
Every Indian still misses that Mahatma Gandhi who sacrificed every comfort on the earth and embraced the simplest lifestyle like crores of Indians were living. Every Indian misses that Bapu who challenged the continuation of "Congress" as a political entity in the post-independence era. By this stance, Bapu actually invited the wrath and disrespectful treatment by his that great disciple who prioritised personal ambitions over the deplorable situation in India post-partition phase of India. But staying himself aloof from the power centre of Delhi, Gandhiji ignored that mean-minded approach and always thought about the wellbeing of his crores of fellow nationals who were witnessing grave poverty and worst socio-economic conditions. Gandhi started writing a draft of a new political entity which he named as – “Lok Sevak Sangh”.
The LSS resembles with RSS which is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Let us discuss this some other time.
Conceptual difference: Lok Sevak Sangh VS Congress
Lok Sevak Sangh was a deliberate attempt of Gandhiji to make the independence- the Swaraj in its literal terms: Swa-raaj, that means "Self Rule", that also means every concept of nationhood should be ‘Swa'- Self. The only challenger of Gandhiji's this concept was his dear and near one- India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
It is unfortunate that Gandhiji was assassinated while writing the constitution of the Lok Sevak Sangh, the new indigenous political entity, by disbanding the Congress which he called a ‘propaganda vehicle’ that has ‘outlived’ its use.
"His Last Will And Testament" published after Bapu's assassination present the constitution of Lok Sevak Sangh drafted by the Mahatma on January 29, 1948, just one day before his assassination. The preface says - This constitution was drafted by Gandhiji for the Congress on the eve of his assassination. He intended to show how the Congress which was till now mainly concerned with achieving political independence might convert itself into an association for the Service of the People (Lok Sevak Sangh), and work for the establishment of a nonviolent society.
What Gandhi says about LSS
In the draft constitution of LSS Gandhiji Says-
"Though split into two, India having attained political independence through means devised by the Indian National Congress, the Congress in its present shape and form, i.e., as a propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine, has outlived its use. India has still to' attain social, moral and economic independence in terms of its seven hundred thousand villages as distinguished from its cities and towns. The struggle for the ascendency of 'civil over military power is bound to take place in India's progress towards its democratic goat It must be kept out of unhealthy competition with political parties and communal bodies. For these and other similar reasons, the A. I. C. C. resolves to disband the existing Congress organization and flower into a Lok Sevak Sangh under the following rules with power to alter them as occasion may demand."
After the goal of achieving Swa Raaj, Gandhiji thought that Congress was a mere instrument, a ‘propaganda vehicle' to achieve that short term goal. Like many freedom fighters and nationalist thinkers, Gandhiji was strongly convinced and believed that ousting the Britishers and gaining self-rule is not enough.
The idea of an outfit to serve People.. not Loot!
Always thinking of the poorest and deprived class of India who lives in most adverse conditions in his gloomy village unnoticed from the glossy cities, Gandhi writes: "India has still to' attain social, moral and economic independence in terms of its seven hundred thousand villages as distinguished from its cities and towns".
Gandhiji wanted to make the village a small unit from where the development of the nation commences. Every panchayat of five adult men or women being villagers or village-minded shall form a unit. Gandhi said that every worker of the LSS shall be a habitual wearer of khadi made from self-spun yarn.
Bapu presents the concept of a performer and task abided social worker. Gandhi in his LSS draft says: He (local leader) shall keep a record of his work from day-to-day and shall organize the villages to make them self-contained and self-supporting through their agriculture and handicrafts.
Just consider Nehru and his greedy gang of Congress leaders behaving according to Bapu's concept of a novel worker, the activist who is a catalyst of social upliftment and social transformation with keeping the village as a unit of development.
Bapu sets a condition on the LSS that it shall affiliate the All-India Spinners Association, the all-India Village Industries Association, the Hindustani Talimi Sangh (Society for Basic Education based on Indian Ethos, the Harijan Sevak Sangh (Society for service' of "untouchables") and final was affiliation with the Goseva Sangh (Society for Cow-protection and Improvement).
Two Gandhis in one person
When we look back we feel that it is confusing to see two Gandhis in one person.
One Gandhi had an awful obsession about Jawaharlal Nehru.. the same Nehru pressurized the old man for his personal greeds. Gandhi always thought that the struggle of Independence is incomplete without the appeasement of Muslims. Gandhi whose Muslim fear and weakening Hindus went to that extent when he ‘advised Hindus' that "if the Muslims want to kill us all we should face death bravely. If they established their rule after killing Hindus we would be ushering in a new world by sacrificing our lives!" Gandhi hated revolutionaries. He made the elected Netaji Subhash resign from the Congress Presidentship.
The other Gandhi talks about Ram Rajya and presents a noble concept of indigenous development agenda and empowering the villages and common Indian living in it.
India needs the other Gandhi free from the endearment of any person. We need that Bapu who is Bapu of all… who is equidistant for every Indian. The Mahatma whose concept of Non-violence will not make the society feel weak and hapless.
We need that Gandhiji who declared: "If the Congress wishes to accept partition, it will be over my dead body. So long as I am alive, I will never agree to the partition of India. Nor will I, if I can help it, allow the Congress to accept it."
Bapu.. come again.. reincarnate .. come with that your own concept of ‘Lok Sevak Sangh', your indigenous outlook and vision of the empowered villages!