As Gandhi said: ‘I wish to wrestle with the snake’

As money becomes the mantra of our lives, “power” and “status” have attained very material dimensions for the elite.

How many crores is his house worth? On which exotic hill station does she have a cottage? Which VVIP attended his party? How often does she “change” her car? How many credit cards does his wallet have? Does her cellphone call read “Private Number” when he calls? Which IPL team does he have a stake in? Y-category or Z?

Etcetera. All of which mean the same thing: how disconnected are you from the reality you have created, the reality you lord over, the reality you inhabit—and the reality you would run away from if only it weren’t so useful and so profitable to you and your khandaan?

Salute Gopalakrishna Gandhi.

Grandson of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on his father’s side. Grandson of Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari on his mother’s side. An IAS officer who went on to serve as secretary to President K.R. Narayanan. Former governor of West Bengal, who declined a second term.

In his column in today’s Hindustan Times on whether the world is a good place or a bad one, Gopal Gandhi has this telling passage:

“We have heard it said, ‘Life goes on’. Does it? Only those affected know how it ‘goes’.

“There is one intersection of life in metropolitan India where ‘life’ indeed goes on. It flows in a ribbon of continuous movement that is required, every now and then, to take pause at what are called ‘traffic junctions’ or ‘traffic signals’.

“In the topsy-turvyness of our lives, these traffic signals are also the scene of another activity. Some months ago, in Chennai, my three-wheeler had stopped at one of these junctions….”

Read that again: “…my three-wheeler….”

In other words: “…my autorickshaw….”

And now ask yourself the obvious questions.

Image: courtesy Time magazine

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