Of brutality, tenderness and Gandhi

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Intimacy is strange. But you don’t know when intimacy can turn into brutality. With deep pain in my heart, I felt this. It was a bright, blazing sun outside. The swanky coffee shop of a star hotel was cool though. Three tall glasses of juices sat prettily on the table. And then I saw the face of brutality unfolding in front of me. It was painful to see a person whom I loved dissecting emotions in a clinical way. It ripped apart my heart. I couldn’t sleep that night.

I woke up with a heavy heart. It was a Sunday but I had office to attend to. I was desperate to feel tenderness. I wanted to run away from that memory.

Earlier, in my moments of pain and anguish, I used to always turn to my parents. Sometimes to my father. Sometimes to my mother. Now, I can’t afford that luxury. So, I thought of reading something on Gandhiji for human tenderness. For reposing my faith in life. And this is what I found. In the words of late Madhu Dandavate (an astute politician) on ‘Gandhi’s Human Touch’. As I read this piece, tears flowed down and my heart felt lighter.

For me, Gandhi is the healer. So, if you are feeling desolate, read this beautiful, soul-elevating piece on Gandhi. Or you can just read this for the sheer tenderness. Life will feel beautiful, large.

Dark Calcutta, Glittering Delhi and Gandhi

1947. There was darkness of Calcutta, where Gandhi was giving the healing touch to the society that was torn by Hindu-Muslim riots. And the second flash back would have been the glittering lights of Delhi on the midnight of 14th August 1947, awaiting the dawn of freedom on 15th August 1947. Glittering lights, loud slogans and a poetic assertion of Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who said: “At the stroke of the midnight hour when the world sleeps India will awake to life and freedom and a soul of a nation long suppressed will find utterance.” I remember the darkness of Calcutta. I remember the agony of Gandhi. A few weeks prior to Independence Day of 1947, an emissary of Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel was sent to Gandhi at Calcutta, who was working for peace and harmony among the Hindus and Muslims. The emissary reached at midnight. He said: “I have brought an important letter for you from Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel.” “Have you taken your food?”, asked Gandhi. When the emissary said ” No”, Gandhi served him food. And after food, Gandhi opened the letter from Nehru and Patel. They had written: “Bapu you are the father of the nation. 15th August 1947, will be the first Independence Day and we want you to come to Delhi to give us the blessings.” Gandhi said: ” How stupid!. When Bengal is burning, Hindus and Muslims are killing each other and I hear the cries of their agony in the darkness of Calcutta, how can I go to Delhi with the glittering lights?” These were the heart-rending words of Gandhi. He said “I have to live here for the establishment of peace in Bengal and if need be, I have to give up my life for ensuring that there is harmony and peace.” The emissary started for his return journey in the morning. It was a moving sight, full of human touch. Gandhi gave the emissary a sendoff. He was standing below a tree. A dry leaf fell from the tree. Gandhi picked it up and put it on his palm and said: ” My friend, you are going back to Delhi. What gift can Gandhi give to Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel? I am a man without power and wealth. Give this dry leaf to Nehru and Patel, as my first Independence day gift.” And when he was saying this, tears came from the eyes of the emissary. And with a sense of humour Gandhi said: ” How great is God? He did not want Gandhi to send that dry leaf. He made it wet. It is glistening with laughter. Carry this leaf as a gift full of your tears.” That was Gandhi’s human touch.