Writing about Gandhi is a passion for some. It is a fashion for some. But there is another class that has emerged on the scene, the Gandhi baiters. Though still insignificant in numbers, the group is aggressive, vocal and kind of social media activist who believe that a storm can be created in a tea cup. For such activists attempts to demean Gandhi is a pastime they enjoy. Whether it is a perception or a propaganda, misinformation or disinformation, the campaign is more impulsive than objective. But there is need to let the right knowledge reach the vast young population who get carried away by social media. Maybe, the recent research publication by an authentic source like the Sage throw some light on the nature of social media misinformation and serve as an eye opener. The study has rightly found that India is one of the most misinformation affected country and also produces the largest amount of misinformation. Obviously, because social media is a full time pastime for a large number of people. Against this backdrop, and even at risk of coming in the firing range of the troll brigade let’s talk about Gandhi on his yet another birthday. More so, because we are celebrating 75 years of Indian independence in a big way. Though it must be acknowledged that there were many who fought for and contributed towards India’s freedom, yet it was Gandhi who played the stellar role. Many before his advent on the scene tried to make the British Government listen, but it was Gandhi who succeeded. It was Gandhi who proved that the British were not invincible. It was Gandhi who converted the Congress into an organ of mass movement from a motley group of passionate people dominated by lawyers. And it was Gandhi who influenced the world’s opinion against the British that ultimately paved way for their retreat. From Champaran to Dandi it was Gandhi who involved the common Indian in the fight against the British. The greatest misstatement on Gandhi is about his Hindu credentials. The fact is that he was a more devout Hindu than the many who are championing the cause today. Gandhi not only understood Hinduism in its real sense, but he also practiced it religiously. He followed the principles of Geeta and believed in the philosophy of the religion so lucidly advocated by Swami Vivekananda. His understanding of Ram was much better than many of the claimants of Ram’s legacy today. A perfect blend of tradition and modernity, Gandhi was an example of ethical leadership, so popular in Management classrooms today. In fact, no course on ethics can be complete without a mention of Gandhi. He not only preached ethical conduct, but he epitomised it. Ethics for him was not about right behaviour when you are in temple, but also when you are alone and no one is watching. He believed in truth and nonviolence, he believed in upliftment of the poorest, he believed in cleanliness as Godliness. For him simple living and high thinking was the credo and he practiced what he preached. For him means and ends were interchangeable. His economic ideas were endorsed by the World Bank time and again. Little wonder, he still is one of our most popular global brands. Rightly was he adjudged man of the millennium in the year 2000. For those who still not understand him: forgive them O’lord, for they know not what they do.
Pathak is a professor of management, writer, and an acclaimed public speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org