I’ve never met you or seen you in person… that’s one big truth..but that’s also one side of the coin. Your ‘experiments with truth’ never died and hence ‘we’ came into the picture…the new picture of India..the painter of which was you.
The other side of the coin has me and many like me whose imprints are there very much, with your strong influence on this other side…the other side of this coin is because of you and the ones who followed you…because of whom this ‘other side of the coin’ came into being…came into existence….and the fruits of which we fortunate beings are enjoying and even taking advantage and for granted too.
My Amma and Nanna (my parents)seriously thought that they had this huge responsibility on their shoulders to keep ‘you’ alive in me along with learning and contributing and taking care of this new side of the coin which was a gift from you to me. They instilled deep into me that it’s my responsibility further to keep you alive.
‘Keeping you alive’ … that’s the biggest challenge.
How can I do this without the slightest disrespect or mockery shown towards you.
During my childhood days I felt it was far more easy.
I could feel and find you everywhere Bapu…you were at home..you were there in our neighbours Srivastava aunty’s house, the simple and true beings..you were very much evident at Babulal Kanaujiya’s family..our immediate neighbours , who were very much part of my growing up years without any qualms. You were at our school ‘Gandhi Corner Club’. I could even see you in the memories of my grandparents who believed in your ‘khadi’…who faced the brunt of ‘lathis’…went to jail…got away with their valuables. One of the most amazing memory of you was this maternal aunt Maya of mine who was my Amma’s cousin. She was born in the jail as her parents were kept behind bars, even in such a condition for the only reason that they simply followed your ways and principles. I remember as a child that Aunt Maya was ‘little Lord Krishna’ for me . I was simply awestruck by seeing her… asking her repeatedly…”peddamma…were you really born in a jail?”
Bapu… I could even find you in the charkhas..your ‘gol’ chashmas…your ‘chainwali ghadi’ … your ‘teen bandars’ and many more things which Amma taught me to draw…thanks to the born ‘art and craft teacher’ in her.
You were not limited till there…thanks to my musical family… I got to know you through your
‘Vaisho- va- jan- to and Raghupati Raghav’ like eternal bhajans…these two renditions are ‘you’ personified, my dear Bapu.
Days passed…but you were always there.
You were there so strongly felt in one of my school principal Mr Arvindakshan. He brought me so close to you when he took most of we senior kids to Delhi…where I found and got to know you in a much deeper way. At ‘Raj Ghat’…those words ‘Hey Ram’ inscribed on that piece of stone there.. were forever inscribed on my soul…and the visit to the National Gandhi Museum was indeed a defining moment in my life.
Bapu..you and your memories were so vivid at your museum…my visit made me so sombre.
My Delhi visit made me learn to understand you…for which I’ll be always indebted to my principal.
It was all good till then and further too.
It was good till I became a mother myself and when I had to completely shoulder this responsibility… which is and has made me so weiry.
The two most unfortunate incidents have always made me feel so hurt and helpless…one when I was not there so heard this all through that on January 30th ,1948 this man named Nathuram Godse walked up to you at the grounds of Birla House and showed his ‘act of bravery’ and sheer hatred by pumping three bullets into you at point blank range…but what makes me personally feel so helpless and small is that now after 70 years of this incident..a few more from the Godse brigade showed their audacity by trying to re-enact this episode and make an effigy of you Bapu…and fired bullets into it…my heart broke and deeply condemned this show of hatred and absolute insensitivity and this level of disrespect.. which is unbelievable, unacceptable and unethical. Once again I failed to save you Bapu… standing here feeling so feeble and just being a mere mute spectator.
It is difficult to make my children see you, find you, discover you, understand you, follow you and live you Bapu….you don’t seem to be around …as much as you were during my younger days. My children don’t have neighbours like Srivastava aunty… no schools or teachers helping in seeing and feeling you and atleast trying to contribute in knowing you a little.
They don’t like to read your experiments and know your truth.
Their books in school introduce them to the autobiographies of Helen Keller etc…but Bapu you’re nowhere.
In whatever way I see you around in my life today I feel we’re not able to talk…feel or remember you without showing disrespect and sheer mockery towards the stalwart what you’ve been and still are.
Bapu… I’m sorry for bringing you down to mere cartoons in newspapers. For trying to remember you through the mediums available so crass.
You are there in baseless fancy dress competitions and many such events.
For seeing your picture and mention on the fifth page of the country’s oldest newspaper daily..as the first page is being alloted to advertise in a glorified way some upcoming violent web series… I feel it’s such mockery in the name of ‘International Day Of Non violence’
I’m disappointed but have not given up yet. It seems to be a lonely journey but it’s ok… I’ll not stop to experiment as I know truth is not easy to find and later walk with it all through…but what I know is it’s tremendously difficult to tread on this path but eventually it’s truth which will triumph.’Satyamev Jayate’ as mentioned in the Mundaka Upanishad and later reintroduced by our reverred Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya as a powerful freedom slogan will finally prevail.
Dear Bapu, our Nation India’s only Father… you’ll always be alive… you’ll be eternal ever in me and generations to come. I’m overwhelmed to celebrate you and your legacy for the past
150 years and more delighted that you and your legacy is still going strong.
I just want to tell you today that I love you and will hold you always on the highest pedestal.
I thank you and all who were with you.. for giving me this free day.
Bapu..I’m proud to be an Indian but more proud to be a Gandhian.
Love you Bapu and will always respect you…the least I can offer.
Long Live Bapu…hope my great grandchildren celebrate and ‘live you’ from within and be more proud of you and your eternal legacy,than me…..and more importantly I hope and pray that your birth date October 2nd, should not just be an International Day of Nonviolence on some page of a newspaper daily but actually be one…and on the other hand January 30th..the day cowards thought they’d ‘kill’ you forever, should actually be a day for a befitting reply to those…as our future children will be ‘celebrating’ you as ‘The Living Martyr’ and be known as Bapu’s ‘Messengers of Peace’
You will never die Bapu.. till I’m alive and many like me who have and will.. continue to keep you alive.
One of your daughters of India.
S Usha Cherukupalli
Usha is an enthusiastic observant, who records her experiences in the form of beautiful tales. She builds a connection with her readers through her story telling attribute.
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