“Gandhi was not a good father to his sons, he was not perfect”
I was reading this article about Gandhi recently, the man who is hailed no short of a god in India, the father of the nation, the person who played a pivotal role in our independence, the creator of the idea of non violence and so many more accolades that speak of character at every turn. I guess when a person gets that big and prominent in the society, it is natural for people to start digging more about them, worshiping them and there are a set of clever few who want to find some flaws in them. I guess this was an article in a similar fashion which talked about Gandhi as the father of our nation but a poor father for his own sons!
So what? What if he was not perfect?
I was a little annoyed, dismayed, irritated, surprised, shocked… a lot more adjectives I can use here but you get what I am trying to say. I was not shocked about the details of the story, they might all be true, I was shocked at the message the post was trying to convey. They made sure to pick on every minor detail and seemed hell bent on proving why he was a bad father, a bad person and some may even go the extent saying that he is highly overrated. Well that’s another debate and I certainly do not want to open that can of worms today.
Who are our idols in the society?
I was wondering about our ideals in the society, the men and women we aspire to, the divas in their own way, the ideologies of life and the people who we want to be. There seems to be an inexplicable joy in proving them wrong, in seeing that they too have made some mistakes in life. When it was Tiger Woods people talked about his affair, when it was Tendulkar it was that he was not a match winner, when it was Dravid it was that he was too slow and there have been plenty more examples like that!
Why do we need to nit pick on their flaws?
But my questions have always been why?! I mean each of these personalities have something extraordinary in them, they have been amazing people all through, the ones who have gained our respect and become our heroes. And once they are, there seems to be an obsession in making them perfect or assuming that they are perfect and any flaw or anything that is against our assumed perception goes haywire, emotions go high, people are on a flare and start fighting about the same.
So what if they are not perfect?
So what if they are not perfect! That doesn’t make all those things they did any smaller. Gandhi fought for our freedom, just cos some theorists say that he did not do a few things properly and even if he didn’t do a few things properly, so what? He did the things that really mattered right. He made a difference. He is a man of values who stood up to everything he believed in, every moral, every righteousness that he preached, he made an effort to live that. Isn’t that sufficient for us? Why do we want to put them in a cloak of perfection and search for reasons to be disappointed.
They never said they were!
It was not their fault that they were like that, it was ours, it was us who made those assumptions and expectations about them. They never asked us to do this. And people find it extremely easy to point fingers!
– To tell everyone else that even their ideals could be wrong?
– To find an escape route saying that Even Gandhi was wrong, why can’t I be?
– To say that it is ok to make mistakes cos even those big people did it?
– To feel comfortable in a utopian world?
They didn’t intend to be perfect either!
Why is it actually that we need them to be perfect. They are not, and neither are you; Deal with it! They are wrong, let them be. But they were also amazing for a lot of things and that is what is important for us. Start recongnizing what you want out of people and try to emulate that instead of being stuck in an intellectual battle as to who is more wrong.
As for the answer…
As for the answer whether Gandhi was a perfect man, my straight forward answer is NO, but he certainly was an amazing man and that is an outstanding achievement to emulate and a moral to uphold ourselves too. If you don’t like his parenting skills, find a different model to emulate, there is no point in cribbing that he was wrong there.