Monday, February 10, 2014
Reclaiming Sardar Patel's Legacy
I visit India every winter and each visit produces amazing sights which lift my spirits, inspire and humble me. On this occasion it was Sadar Patel's ancestral home in the village of Karamsad, Gujarat. A simple dwelling in the center of a modest village, for Indians it equal to a visit to Buckingham Palace, the home of one of the nations greatest founder. I was greeted by a woman, it's sole caretaker who lives next door, her upkeep services are at no charge, so entry was free and I was the only visitor.
Stepping into the house I felt I was walking on sacred ground, even though the floor was of cow dung. Photos of Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Pundit Nehru, various freedom fighters from the pre-independence movement adorn the walls in this simple tiny one story dwelling. But pictures of Sonia Gandhi (an Italian) and her son Rahul Gandhi seemed incongruous, for me the current leaders have lost the true spirit of the freedom fighters while accumulating billions of dollars. Memory of the fourth fighter, Mahamana (great mind) Malaviyaji has also been erased, instead the decedents of Indira Gandhi are laying personal claim to a heritage they have little link with, Gandhiji modeled his life on the Bhagavad Gita of which Mahamana was a scholar and renowned Sanskritist, he was also the Mahatma's "rock". I am hoping the next Modi government will reclaim their true legacy on behalf of India.