'Gandhi least understood in his own country'

A worker cleans a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai on October 1, 2019, ahead of Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary. (AFP Photo)

A student of humanities at a Varanasi school, which was established by theosophist Annie Besant, wondered why anyone would want to kill Mahatma Gandhi, who fought the mighty Britishers and helped the country attain freedom.

Ayush Chaturvedi, the Class 11 student of Central Boys who is an ardent admirer of Gandhi and has studied him deeply, comes out with an explanation.

Amid the raging controversy arising out of US President Donald Trump calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi "Father of India", Ayush says that in our country, people have formed an opinion about Gandhi on the basis of information gathered from Facebook.

"For many other countries in the world Mahatma Gandhi may be ideal but he is least understood in his own country. It is an irony that we try to understand Gandhi through Facebook," Ayush said in a speech at his school.

The stirring speech has gone viral.

"If those, who devoted a lot of time reading Harry Potter and Chetan Bhagat, had bothered to study Mahatma Gandhi, the situation in our country would have been different," he said.

"Many people say that Gandhi was pro-Muslim, which is incorrect... No one was more Hindu than Gandhi," he said.

"But the other communities never got scared, when Gandhi uttered Hey Ram,'' Ayush added.

Speaking to DH from Varanasi over the phone, he rued that attempts were being made to replace Gandhi as the "Father of the Nation" though he is certain it will not succeed.

"Gandhi never dies as he is not a person but an ideology and that always lives," he remarks.

Ayush ended his stirring speech with a couplet of famous Hindi poet Dushyant Kumar.

"Khuda nahina na sahi admi ka khwab sahi, Koi Haseen nazara to hai nazar ke liye, Woh mutmain hai ke pathar pighal nahin sakta, Mai bekarar hoon awaz mein asar ke liye (God may only be in the dreams... There is still a good sight for our eyes... He is sure that the stone can not melt, I am anxious for an impact made by my voice)."

The young boy, who has studied many books on Gandhi, was now busy reading the biography of Dr Rajendra Prasad, India's first president. 

Ayush also got trolled by some netizens over his speech.

"I can understand the criticism... They do not understand Gandhi," he says.

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