There was a time when I enjoyed hating Mahatma Gandhi as it was something which social media made me believe in. I use to start my morning scrolling through and reading posts on my feed filled with content bashing Gandhi. With every passing day, my hate for Mahatma Gandhi kept increasing, and I developed a sense of outrage. Unfortunately, in my friend circles, most people put the blame on Gandhi for everything- from partition to the hanging of Bhagat Singh. The crowd around me convinced me that Gandhi somehow got Bhagat Singh and others killed by the British and it resulted in only increasing my hate for Gandhi.
For a long time, I believed in all these stories and kept my hatred for Gandhi intact, and the crowd around me supported this narrative. I was among those who questioned Gandhi’s greatness and blamed him for every issue which India is facing today. But these days for some reason, I feel liberated to rediscover Gandhi for myself. I started reading history books and I was taken aback as I turned pages after pages, I was surprised after knowing the real Gandhi whom I had never been introduced to before. All the myths which I had earlier heard about Gandhi started collapsing, and I was ashamed.
For a long time, I blamed Gandhi for the death of Bhagat Singh, but later I realised that it was Gandhi who pleaded with the British to save his life. And it was only Gandhi who always thought of a unified India. While rediscovering Gandhi, I found that he never advocated dividing India as I had been told earlier and he held talks with the Muslim League and Congress but Gandhi was isolated, and no one listened to him despite his best efforts.
When I see people bashing Gandhi today, I feel like they too lack a knowledge in history as me and instead of learning more about the man, they fall for the hatred being circulated on social media. I remember people around me who had made fun of Gandhi’s approach to non-violence, but they were ignorant as the weapon of non-violence had shackled the Britishers and Gandhi was able to achieve many demands without indulging in bloodshed. His non-violent approach influenced many like Nelson Mandela who followed the path of Gandhi in Africa.
For a long time, I blamed Gandhi for indulging in appeasement, but it was only a few days back when I came to know that he used appeasement for uniting all religions. When Gandhi came to India, he saw people divided and fighting for their personal causes, but he integrated and unified people of all religions to fight against Britishers. I am not saying that Gandhi did everything right, he may have his own flaws but taking everything wrong with the country and pinning it on Gandhi sounds unfair.
It is difficult to say what has brought about this change in attitude towards Gandhi today. Why did we suddenly start hating the man we had lauded decades ago? There is nothing wrong in admitting that now I am in love with the man whom I had hated earlier. Indeed, he was a man with his own flaws which honestly looks negligible in front of his mass achievements. The youth of this nation needs to rediscover the real Gandhi and not criticise him for the heck of it.