Gandhi: Did You Answer Everything?

Pravat Pandeyji from Kolkata sent me the letter that goes as follows:

Appended is an excerpt from the article ‘In the name of the Mahatma …’ written by Santosh Desai and published in Times of India of 21.10.2009 –

In an interview, Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, reportedly told this story about his grandfather.

One day when he was coming back from school, he threw away a small pencil that had almost been used up and asked his grandfather for a new one. Instead of giving him one, Gandhi asked him a lot of searching questions. He wanted to know how the pencil became small, where he threw it away and finally asked him – to his utter disbelief – to go out and look for it in the dark, equipping him with a flashlight. After two hours, the pencil stub was found and the Mahatma was satisfied.

His point to his grandson – throwing away natural resources was tantamount to violence against nature and over-consuming resources when there are so many deprived people in the world, violence against humanity.

I thought sharing this with you.
I think you would love thinking over the story.
I hope you will not hesitate sharing your thoughts with me.

I replied as follows:

For health reasons, I didn’t respond to your mail in time. Mahatma was different quite unlike many others among the Indian leaders. He was disciplinarian. I don’t think what Mahatma did with his grand child was absolutely right. Many a times it doesn’t build the expected values in the child. Sometimes, it is taken even in negative by a child. I think that was the reason of the rebellion of one of his sons.

I was myself a disciplinarian with my children in their school days. But now I feel that was not right on my part. I would have been softer.

Perhaps Mahatma would not have made the child search the small pencil butt in darkness of the night. He could have got the same result with a good conversation with him.

His grand child will be the best to tell if he did require that unpleasant task for changing his attitude to the unnecessary wastage or irresponsible work.

I hope I have put my views properly.

Thanking you for asking for my views.

PS: Why should we try to find answers for all our problems from Mahatma’s life and what he did or said? It was amazing to read Amartya Sen’s remark on Gandhi, globalization and climate problem.

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