MOTHER TERESA OR MAHATMA GANDHI: GIVE THEM THE LIBERTY TO REMAIN HUMANS

Mother Teresa is probably the biggest humanitarian icon the 20th Century India has given to the world. And though her saintliness doesn’t need any endorsement like Mahatma Gandhi’s greatness doesn’t need a Nobel Prize, her Canonization on September 4, a day before her 19th death anniversary on September 5 and almost after a week of her 106th birth anniversary on August 26, is an event that the whole humanity should be looking up to, for it will further motivate the sisters and fathers of her Order, the Missionaries of Charity, and it will further entrench her legacy with a global footprint after the Vatican recognition.

Because there are many who continuously spew venom against her – on her means to raise and manage funds, like accepting donations from dictators or her firm religious/Catholic values on abortion or contraception or her hospices which she defined as the ‘houses of the dying’ which the critics say should have been replaced by hospitals much earlier or her support for Indira Gandhi and the Emergency of 1975.

Mother..

Such informed misinformation campaigns are run with no concern of or respect for rechecking and reconfirming the facts. Most of such ‘informed campaigns’ go without the ethical requirements of going out in the field to cross-verify the information and its context because the intent is biased mostly.

In case of cross-cultural critics, the methodologies of such campaigns are designed in cultural isolation and the folks never bother to know and understand the context associated with the place or attached with the person’s identity. They flimsily analyse and process the information based on their own cultural contexts and ethos looking at the facts from the spectacle of their own societies (or their own prejudices, that goes for the inland folks).

They simply don’t care about the contextual interpretation of ‘how, what and why’ of the ‘what they intend to do’.

They don’t care to understand the historical and the prevailing cultural context to get into the localized, contemporary context of a tradition/custom/activity/method/process of a place.

Instead, they go on criticising the Greats and sometimes go unrestricted in their choice of words to express their displeasures (anger or prejudice, alternatively or arbitrarily). They criticise the Greats even if they are no more present among us.

But does it matter? The Greats never believe in defending something that is so utterly misplaced or something that will obstruct them in their duty and responsibility to reach out and heal the humanity. The Greats don’t respond to because their emotive responses are concentrated on helping others.

Mother Teresa or the Mahatma, they kept on working for the well-being of the poorest of the poor. Souls like them who leave the aspirations of their material lives, how can they be blamed of being selfish or prejudiced or indulging in misappropriations? Almost of the Indians would not be aware of Mahatma Gandhi’s family tree after the Mahatma, the Great who got us Independence, the soul who kept on working for the last person of the society first. How can we see the Mother in a negative light when she spent her whole life in a small room without any material possession? After leaving her family at 18, she never saw her mother again.

Yes, the Greats, they can and they go wrong, for they are humans like you and me, but who are we, the living-beings of the material world, soaked up in our individual lives, absorbed by our own petty problems, who never venture out to feed even a single needy person, let alone helping the dying ones, to question the motives of the Greats?

Yes, the Greats, being humans like us, they all have their own limitations. Yes, they do win over them and manage them much more efficiently than us. But that doesn’t mean they cannot err. They are as much entitled to err like all of us are. They cannot be expected to be all-knowing or versatile.

But, then who is perfect? And don’t we criticise even God?

All the Greats who have walked so far, none of them was perfect, and never even claimed. In fact, being the human beings like you and me, they were always fallible, till the very end. Yes, they rose to become Great, but, intrinsically, they were the human beings who worked on their Good Self to dominate their Weak Self so effectively that they became God-like for us. Yes, but they were not Gods. The Weak Self was very much alive within them and that let the Greats remain among us, something they always aspired for.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began his journey to become the Mahatma as a fallible man, like all of us, and he remained fallible, like all of us, throughout his journey through life, from an early married boy to the Father of the nation, Bapu, to the Fatherly figure of the human conscience, he remained fallible.

But unlike almost of us, including the folks who run campaigns to discredit and dishonour the Humanity’s Greats, he always spoke of it, and he always atoned for it with his personal austerity and self-discipline, inflicting the severest pain on himself. All of the true Human Greats, the healers of the Humanity, were like him or he was like them, and all to come will be in the same league.

The world is not going to be moved, to be swept emotively or ideologically by a single soul and the true Greats never intended so. They all did and would be doing what the Humanity needs the most, caring for the billions of the needy, taking care of the emotional poverty and the chronic hunger.

We elect leader even after knowing their follies. And we blame them who work selflessly for the issues that we create from nowhere. A research study criticising Mother Teresa after 16 years of her death in 2013 based on interpretation of a 1981 incident blaming her supporting the Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, while comfortably forgetting what she did for Humanity tells us this only, and bewares of such a mindset.

Give the Greats the liberty to remain humans . They crave for it in their private moments. Give them their freedom to remain fallible. Give them their moments to introspect. They deserve it after committing their lives for others, to us. Stop criticising her for her hypocrisy as some of her letters speak about her disenchantment from her belief in God. Doesn’t it happen with all of us?

©SantoshChaubey

YES, HE WAS THE MAHATMA..

Communal riots date back to the ancient times in the history of India. Hindu-Muslims riots began during the medieval period. And since then the travesty has been unabated – with varying degrees of terror and its aftermath.

And that is a major reason among some defining elements due to which India is still not among the most forward nations in the world – in spite of being the world’s largest democracy.

In fact, India’s independence, its partition and the birth of Pakistan in 1947 saw the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in India – unparalleled so far then – a massacre that remains unparalleled still.

And these riots that preceded and followed India’s independence and Pakistan’s birth tell why Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was revered as the ‘Mahatma’ or ‘Bapu’ – the ascetic, the sage, the father figure.

Yes, there are varying accounts and there are historical records and claims about what happened to the Hindu-Muslim riots, especially the most heinous of them in Noakhali in Bengal where the Mahatma camped for around four months touring villages to calm down tempers.

We know, on the whole, the warring factions, that then included the whole population of an aspiring Pakistan and an equally sizeable chunk in India could never be reconciled and one nation became two and ultimately three in 1971.

But one fact is indisputable clear – that – the Mahatma did calm down the tempers there. Yes, he could not bring the warring factions to the final solution of reconciliation but he stopped something that could easily have become one of the worst human massacres in the history of civilizations.

And we know that is a rare feat – in fact an unparalleled sentiment he commanded. Hindu-Muslim riots have continued even in the independent India – but right from its beginnings in the medieval India – there never was a person like the Mahatma who could stand among those ready to kill and be killed to ask them to stop and in fact convinced them to do so. And there will no else like him in that sense we can say. Yes, he was the Mahatma who did this unthinkable job because history again tells us that the people blinded by faith refuse to listen to anyone. 

These are difficult times. Bapu was questioned even then. But now is the time when history is being worked upon. Ideologies are clashing. And we need our Mahatma – his thoughts, his teachings, his vision, and the spirit that he embodied. India, in fact, always needed it. And now is the time when the need is desperate. Now is the time when we need to reach out to say yes he was the Mahatma who set us on the path to independence and the best tribute to him would be to be make an India where we all would be ‘really free souls’. 

Bapu

October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ON CRITICISM OF HUMANITY’GREATS: LIKE MOTHER TERESA OR MAHATMA GANDHI OR ALL IN THEIR LEAGUE

The sources of information behind such ‘campaigns’ are interesting stuff the way they are dug into and collected.

Such informed campaigns are run with no concern of or respect for rechecking and reconfirming the facts. Most of such ‘informed campaigns’ go without the ethical requirements of going out in the field to cross-verify the information, because the intent is pre-fixed mostly.

In case of cross-cultural critics, the methodologies of such campaigns are designed in cultural isolation and the folks never bother to know and understand the context associated with the place or attached with the person’s identity. They flimsily analyse and process the information based on their own cultural contexts and ethos looking at the facts from the spectacle of their own societies (or their own prejudices, that goes for the inland folks).

They simply don’t care about the contextual interpretation of ‘how, what and why’ of the ‘what they intend to do’.

They don’t care to understand the historical and the prevailing cultural context to get into the localized, contemporary context of a tradition/custom/activity/method/process of a place.

And all ‘makes’ of critics, they criticise the Greats and sometimes go unrestricted in their choice of words to express their displeasures (anger or prejudice, alternatively or arbitrarily). They criticise the Greats even if they are no more physically present among us.

But does it matter? The Greats never believe in defending something that is so utterly misplaced or something that will obstruct them in their duty and responsibility to reach out and heal the humanity. The Greats don’t respond because their emotive responses are concentrated on helping others.

Mother Teresa or the Mahatma, they kept on working for the well-being of the poorest of the poor. Souls like them who leave the aspirations of their material lives, how can they be blamed of being selfish or prejudiced or indulging in misappropriations? Almost of the Indians would not be aware of the Mahatma Gandhi’s family tree after the Mahatma, the Great who got us Independence, the soul who kept on working for the last person of the society first. How can we see the Mother in a negative light when she spent her whole life in a small room without any material possessions? After leaving her family at 18, she never saw her mother again.

Yes, the Greats, they can and they go wrong, for they are humans like you and me, but who are we, the men of the material world, soaked up in our individual lives, absorbed by our own petty problems, who never venture out to feed even a single needy person, let alone helping the dying ones, to question the motives of the Greats?

Yes, the Greats, being humans like us, they all have their own limitations. Yes, they do win over them and manage them much more efficiently than us. But that doesn’t mean they cannot err. They are as much entitled to err like all of us are. They cannot expected to be all-knowing or versatile.

But, then who is perfect? And don’t we criticise even God?
All the Greats who have walked so far, none of them was perfect, and never even claimed. In fact, being the human beings like you and me, they were always fallible, till the very end. Yes, they rose to become Great, but, intrinsically, they were the human beings who worked on their Good Self to dominate their Weak Self so effectively that they became God-like for us. Yes, but they were not Gods. The Weak Self was very much alive within them and that let the Greats remain among us, something they always aspired for.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began as a fallible man, like all of us, and he remained fallible, like all of us, through his journey with life, from an early married boy to the Father of the nation, Bapu, to the Fatherly figure of the human conscience, he remained fallible.

But unlike almost of us, including the folks who run campaigns to discredit and dishonour the Humanity’s Greats, he always spoke of it, and he always atoned for it with his personal austerity and self-discipline, inflicting the severest pain on himself.

All of the true Human Greats, the healers of the Humanity, were like him or he was like them, and all to come will be in the same league.

The world is not going to be moved, to be swept emotively or ideologically by a single soul and the true Greats never intended so. They all did and would be doing what the Humanity needs the most, caring for the billions of the needy, taking care of the emotional poverty and the chronic hunger. We elect leader even after knowing their follies. And we blame them who work selflessly for the issues that we create from nowhere. A research study criticising Mother Teresa after 16 years of her death in 2013 based on interpretation of a 1981 incident blaming her supporting the Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier who passed away last week, while comfortably forgetting what she did for Humanity tells us this only, and bewares of such a mindset.

Give the Greats the liberty to remain humans . They crave for it in their private moments. Give them their freedom to remain fallible. Give them their moments to introspect. They deserve it after committing their lives for others, to us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MAHATMA GANDHI: FATHERLY FIGURE OF HUMAN CONSCIENCE

Gandhi copy


MAHATMA GANDHI: FATHERLY FIGURE OF HUMAN CONSCIENCE


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began as a fallible man, like all of us, and he remained fallible, like all of us, through his journey with life – from an early married boy – to a confused young man – to a maturing adult looking for the meaning of life beyond his professional legal practice – to a man making the cause of other Indians to claim a dignified life his own – to an Indian freedom movement activist coming of age – to the central figure of the Indian freedom struggle starting to write a new and definitive chapter introducing non-violence and Satyagraha – to the Father of the nation, Bapu – to the Fatherly figure of the human conscience – he remained fallible – like all of us – but unlike almost of us – he always spoke of it – and he always had atonements for it – with his personal austerity and self-discipline – he remained fallible like all of us – but he overcame it every time, unlike most of us – and he did it all while remaining one of us, within the reach of everyone, with no strings attached – he cared for all – he spoke to all – and all looked up to him – and that is what made him the Father of the Human Conscience – that is what made him the Mahatma.


 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


ATTENBOROUGH’S GANDHI – EPITOME OF MEANINGFUL CINEMA

Sir Richard Attenborough – The Right Honourable – or the Attenborough who gave us, the Indians, and the world the timeless biopic, the movie GANHDI, his dream project, a historical achievement, a creation for the global humankind to serve as one of the primary introductions to the 20th Century great who is to remain the icon of the humanity in the centuries to come – Rest in Peace Sir (August 29, 1923 to August 24, 2014)

I am reproducing here, with some changes, my article on ‘Attenborough’s Gandhi’ written on the birth anniversary of the Mahatma (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) on October 3, 2012.

ATTENBOROUGH’S GANDHI – EPITOME OF MEANINGFUL CINEMA

Yesterday’s (October 2) the Times of India had a small write up on Sir Richard Attenborough reminiscing about the making of the world cinema milestone ‘Gandhi’ on the birth anniversary of the Mahatma. He focused mainly on his selection as the director of the project as well as the casting of the movie. He said Naseeruddin Shah was the most recommended name for the role of the Mahatma but his search took him to Sir Ben Kingsley.

And Kingsley proved him right.

I am not a film-buff but I love cinema when it comes to the shades of the visual language. My collection is made of good stuff from the world cinema and I enjoy the quality time watching and thinking over the masterpieces. And I can say ‘Gandhi’ is the movie I have watched the maximum number of times. It is one of the prized possessions in my library. The movie is a ‘must have’ for anyone who cares for values and teachings of the Mahatma and prides in having his works as collectibles.

The movie is unique. In spite of the ensemble cast and thousands of extras (with Guinness Book record making 3,00,000 extras in the funeral scene of the Mahatama), the movie delivers extraordinarily well. Very few movies with such a scale of production in the world cinema have done so.

Much has been written on the Mahatma and much is being written. There have been many movies made and being made on him. His teachings and views have been translated into many languages. He reaches to the world fraternity of the day through the words, written and spoken. And for the world audience, the ‘movie’ Gandhi features prominently there, as the gateway to introduce the Mahatma to them who are still not aware of him but want to know about him. It is true of many Indians as well.

The film is an example of the craftsmanship by a master storyteller. Every shot is an inseparable part as if the movie could not have been made about it. Its every frame is a study in point. You can study the use of lighting, of camera angles, of the dress designing, of the sets and locales, of the props used to support characters in every frame, and a brilliant use of the background music. It is a management case study on Epic filmmaking. But two aspects stand out, the aspects that had the most direct bearing on making the movie a masterpiece.

Gandhi The Movie CollageImage courtesy: BBC, Wikipedia, IMDB, Frank Connor

One is the use of specific incidents from almost four decades of Mahatma’s life in India after his return from South Africa. Four decades is a long period and given the fact that India’s freedom struggle had become synonymous with the Mahatma, it was really a task like finding the needles in the haystack of multiple defining moments of the then Indian history. And Sir Attenborough has done it with such a craftsmanship that we never feel jumbled up when a frame transitions to the other. Remember, every frame in this movie had to be a meticulous selection of consistency and relevance of different time-frames spread, sometimes, over the years.

The other important aspect is the way the characters relay the visual language. Everyone is perfect in the role given but Kingsley mesmerises. Not even for a moment we realize the actor playing the role of the Mahatma is a British and not an Indian. Use of silence, sounds and body language enhance a skilfully written script well.

Gandhi standing up, sitting down and standing up again before he addresses the first public gathering in India or the way Nehru’s friends at Champaran convey their acceptance to do what Mahatma asks them to do – simply amazing.

I would say use of silence and the sound of props of the frames are the amplifiers of performances here. Gandhi travels by the train and the film travels on the wheels of the sound generated by the train and the surroundings. Gandhi’s silence speaks through his tears when his life-partner and soulmate Kasturba Gandhi departs.

Symbolism and leitmotifs, we can find many of them in the movie. It’s a multiple time must watch for anyone who believes in the Mahatma and who believes in the transcendentalism of the meaningful cinema.

I watch and enjoy the movie scene by scene every time, sometimes going back to a scene more than once. Here is the YouTube link to the one of my favuorite scenes from the movie where the British Justice, in reverence of the Mahatma’s stature, bows down to him as he enters the courtroom.

Thanks for giving us ‘GANDHI’ Sir. You’ll always remain there as long as the Mahatma remains there to stir the human conscience.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/