Start of the journey
Monday, March 06, 2006
Monday, October 24, 2005
We went to this movie yesterday. Before watching this movie, i never dreamt of it to have boxing in it.
But even though, this movie had lots of boxing in it, its not just a boxing movie..rather it is the story of a middle-aged boxer with three kids at home and a wife he forever loved, and his struggle through tough financial conditions in a society that had played hard on him. It is the story of his struggle for his family.
It is the story of a husband who in order to sustain his family worked furiously on a dock without even caring for his broken hand.
It is the story of a father who had to sacrifice all his pride and beg for just 20 dollors to bring back his kids back his home.
Unbelievable..but its true ..
Ya..It is the story of Jimmy Braddock...the very famous Jimmy Braddock a heavy weight champion of yester years.
Before watchin this movie, i had no idea who this Jimmy Braddock was and the only boxing movie which i enjoyed till now was ROCKY and the only boxer i knew was Mohd. Ali. And after watchin this movie, I can safely say that CINDERELLA MAN had easily knocked ROCKY out in the first round itself.
Performance wise, Russel Crowe as Braddock was fabulous as ever..he seemed completely into the character of Jimmy Braddock.
I clearly remember, in the begining of the movie when his licence to box was taken away and when he returned home,he didnot utter even a single word but his silence spelled all his plights...his disappointments that he couldnot do for his family.
The scene where Crowe as Braddock with hat in hand and tears in his eyes, was begging for twenty dollars so that he could get his children back into his home, was the one which can make even the strongest heart on this earth melt.
The acting of braddock's wife and his coach were also awesome.
The direction was ultimate.
My Rating : *****/*****
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Team Outing@Mount Opera
Our Entire Development Team
Breakfast @Mount Opera
Out executive manager in a different role
Natural Beauty seen from the heights of Mount Opera
Threat given to us before the fun starts..but we were not to stop
Gaurav in the air;)
is it me ?
water water everywhere
Fun Fun and Only Fun
watch Gaurav carefully .. is he repenting on his sins ? :)
Trying to mimic hyderabad's traffic
Save Me From the wraths of Pranav
In order to kill the frustration of our daily,routined and boring corporate life,the Kid in all of us came out very strongly that day ; )
There are lot more snaps..but i m bored of uploading them on flickr.
Also kunal told me that if u get bored in the midst of post, just write
TBC..ie to be continued.
So TBC (will be continued ..when..i myself dont know ;) )
'You've got to find what you love'
This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
For PERL Lovers : FROM THE ARCHIVES OF CPAN
No...It's not that I found some perl modules at CPAN.
Quite surprisingly I found out a poem at CPAN;)
From: Tom Christiansen <email@example.com>
Subject: In Mountain View did Larry Wall
Date: 26 Jun 1999 16:45:41 -0700
In Mountain View did Larry Wall
Sedately launch a quiet plea:
That DOS, the ancient system, shall
On boxes pleasureless to all
Run Perl though lack they C.
His acolytes he gathered round
And led where tools were never found
Save but for those made dear by Bill's
Unkind--nay, cruel!--per-user fee
And visual glitz chock full of frills;
They barely worked, and were not free.
But now foul wretched pain was fast supplanted
With bright new Perl-wrought tools at last to cover
That savage place of which we long had ranted
Though some beneath a waning moon had chanted
To summon forth their sendmail-demon lover!
And in this place, long fleeced by Redmond's scheming
As if the hackers' gods were lost in dreaming
An honored program, great and open-sourced,
Which Unix hackers had long ago endorsed
Cruel schackles shattered, freeing from the jail
Where prisoners chafed beneath the Windows' flail.
Despite these joys, we paused and looked to see
Lone Larry muttering low but plaintively
He raised his arms to calm the frenzied motion
Of heartless hackers cursing systems small
That ran these boxes pleasureless to all
For struck was Larry with another notion:
'Twas not enough to bring Perl to this shore
His quiet voice he raised to ask for MORE!
This land was lacking still the pleasure
That comes from using simple glue
To join together native treasure,
And integrate COM objects, too.
Then came a miracle of rare device,
An Active Perl to lend its flair and spice
To friends trapped far from Paradise.
In a vision once I saw:
It was a Wisconsinian maid,
And with Perl Power Tools she played
Stringing puissant pipes together
Deftly weaving webs of power
Fingers dancing like a feather
Till in me deep delight did flower.
I built myself a tool so fair
'Twould run on Bill's or Steve's device,
That she might know me if I dare.
My friends cry out: Beware! Beware!
Her singeing sighs, her stinging stare!
She knows me not, mistrusting vice.
My words of Unix bring her dread,
But I shall sooth her fears instead
And drink the milk of Paradise.
-- Just don't compare it with a real language, or you'll be unhappy... :-)
--Larry Wall in < 1992May12.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Lesson to Learn
I got this message from a spam but i believe this carries cent percent essence in our real life too. Often we are so engrossed in planning for our future that we forget to live our present.
WHAT YOU ARE IS GODS GIFT TO YOU, WHAT YOU WILL BE IS YOUR GIFT TO GOD
First I was dying to finish my school and start college. And then i was dying to finish my college and start working. And then i was dying to marry and have kids.And then I was dying for my kids to grow old enough so i could go back to work. But then I was dying to retire. And now i am dying.
And suddenly I realised I forgot to live
Please dont let this happen to you. Appreciate your current situation and enjoy each day.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Coincidence ++ ; Who was SHE ?
Today at around 3:00 pm when i was standing near Needs, I dont know why but I got an intution that some one was staring at me. I looked around and i found a girl was staring at me. Hmm..that was quite unusual..because it never happend to me before. At first I thought, she might be looking at someone behind me but no..there was noone behind me. Wild fragments of thoughts started whirling around me. I thought if being a girl she can stare at me, why couldn't I ? So i also started looking at her. yeah..believe me i was staring at her. She was good looking but she looked familiar too. Have i seen her before ? I don't know because i was not able to recall. All of a sudden, she started moving towards me. Now that was horrifying. I thought probably she minded my staring at her and i was going to be kicked in the middle of the road. I turned my back to her. But what is it ? I heard a girl's voice,"Excuse me, are you Pankaj from KV Baileyroad Patna ?."
I was shocked. Who the hell is she ? I looked at her again. She again looked very familiar but i cud not recall who she was ? I tried hard to explore each and every parts of my memory cell to find a name to map the image of her face, but all in vain. She told, " Dekha hum doston ko nahin bhulate..pehchaan liya na tumhein..itne saalon ke baad bhi ?. You havent changed much."
"But you have change a lot ", I broke out , "You have changed so much that in the first sight no one can identify you ?".
"Well , yeah, you know i have operated my eye by laser and i got rid of specs but wait, are you trying to say that you couldnot recognise me ?", she yelled.
"hmm..no..i mean..yeah", came out of my mug. And that was the most embarassing moment for me. Now i begged sorry and told her that actually her face looked familiar to me but i couldnot recall her name. "Were you also from KV Baileroad ?", I asked. Now for a moment she got a bit annoyed but then she smiled and said, "Well .. You find out who i am and then ring me at this number. I am in hyderabad till this month. And even if you are not able to find out who i am till this week call me at this number i will re-introduce myself to a bhulakkar." She wrote her number in a piece of paper and gave that to me. "Aur haan ab call karna mat bhul jaana.", she iterated. After that she took an auto and left and i as a dumb fool couldnot utter anything.
Now the worst part was yet to come. While returning to institute i took a bus, kept the tickets in my pocket and in the mean time a storm was goin on in my brain to mine the name of that girl. By the time i reached mehdipatnam, i was totally frustrated and i thought i would simply call her at the weekends and ask her name. And thinking that i tore out and threw the tickets of the bus by which we came to mehdipatnam and i took an auto for tolichowki. Now there to give the autowala some change i put my hands in my pocket, i felt as if some Rupee is there in my pocket. I took that out. It was the ticket of the bus. But as far as i remembered i had torn out the ticket. Oh my god, I checked in my other pocket. It was actually the paper, in which she gave me her number, i had torn out by mistake. Now I dont know who she was and i dont have her number to inquire about her and i was such a dumb fool that i even didnt tell her my mobile number.
Now I just know that she was a girl from patna ( most probably as she knew me and my school too ) and she once used to wear specs ( which she confessed ). But who the hell was she ?
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Gandhi - 'Mahatma' or Flawed Genius? National Leader or Manipulative Politician?
When i was in class 6th ( as far as i remember ), I read an article (editorial) in a newspaper (probably Navbharat times) where the author tried to figure out the human aspect of Gandhi jee. The author mentioned that Gandhi's legacy was being presented as something larger than the life and he begged to disagree on those. That article had several points on which author praised gandhi but there were many instances where gandhi jee was heavily criticized for his actions. Those were the times when my quest for the biography of gandhi jee and several other leaders of India namely bhagat singh, sardar vallabh bhai patel started. I started reading lots of books and articles on them. Though the books and articles i got was really awesome but at some point of time i felt that i was wasting my time as digging past was of no use. So i left. Then all of a sudden probably couple of years back, i saw a movie "The Legend of Bhagat Singh" and it again stirred me from my core. Basically this movie had also touched most of the points regarding gandhi which was in that article. Then recently i read two posts on blogspot, one by utkarsh's friend archana and other by none other than jayaram. Now these two posts again reminded me of the sentence of the article (which i mentioned earlier) that in the ppl's frame of mind even now the legacy of mahatma gandhi is still more than anything. They consider him as equivalent to god. I dont know, but what i feel is Gandhi Jee was no doubt a great HUMAN BEING but like humans , he also erred at many points.
Today while surfing on the net i found an article ( a very long article ) which critically figures out some aspects of Gandhi jee's thoughts,his ideologies and his life.So here goes the article..
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869 in a stately and handsome three-storied home in Porbandar, grandson of the chief administrator of the small Princely State in coastal Gujarat. Acknowledging that he was born into a family of politicians, always involved in secret alliances and mutual promotions, in one letter, he wrote: "I knew then, and know better now, that much of my father's time was taken up in mere intrigue." In another letter to his nephew, Chaganlal, he acknowledged the notoriety of his political family: "...that is, we are known to belong to a band of robbers". It is to Gandhi's credit that he saw his family for what it was, and attempted to transcend it's narrow Modh Bania outlook; but often, subconsciously learned behavior dies hard. The tendency towards backroom wheeling and dealing did not entirely escape Gandhi himself as he rose to become the Indian National Congress's most influential political leader. (See Collected Works, vol. 24, p.170, vol. 12, p.381)
Although most biographies of Gandhi focus on Gandhi's political career after he returned from England in early 1915, and begin with his involvement in the Civil Disobedience Movement from the early 1920s, it is important to note that Gandhi arrived on the National Scene rather late, and in the first half of his political life was considerably beholden to the Raj. At a time when literacy in British India was barely 8%, Gandhi enjoyed the rare option of studying in Britain and spent the years 1888-1893 in London before taking employment in South Africa. Although Gandhi became politically active in South Africa, and led 'Satyagrahas' against unjust laws, Gandhi was hardly yet an anti-imperialist radical or revolutionary. In fact, in 1914, he was still very much in awe of the British empire, and Martin Green in his biography of Gandhi describes his state of mind as follows: "When Gandhi left South Africa, he still believed in the British empire. though tentatively. "Though Empires have gone and fallen, this empire may perhaps be an exception....it is an empire not founded on material but on spiritual foundations....the British constitution. Tear away those ideals and you tear away my loyalty to the British constitution; keep those ideals and I am ever a bondsman"." (See Martin Green, Gandhi: Voice of a New Age Revolutionary, p. 208)
It is especially notable that at the age of 45, Gandhi saw in the British empire a "spiritual foundation" - a sentiment many in the Indian Freedom Movement would have found astounding, even nauseating. As early as 1884, the most advanced Indian intellectuals were already quite clear that British rule in India was built on a foundation of economic pillage and plunder - and was devoid of any high social or moral purpose. "Nadir Shah looted the country only once. But the British loot us every day. Every year wealth to the tune of 4.5 million dollar is being drained out, sucking our very blood. Britain should immediately quit India.'' So wrote the Sindh Times on May 20, 1884, a year before the Indian National Congress was born and 58 years before the ''Quit India'' movement of 1942 was launched.
But in 1914 Gandhi was quite far removed from the most radical elements of the Indian Freedom Movement. In 1913, poor emigrant farmers from the Punjab in California launched the Ghadar Party and released their manifesto calling for complete independence from British Rule. Several years earlier, before his internment, Tilak had cogently described the Indian condition under British colonial occupation as being utterly ruinous and degrading. Tilak, Ajit Singh, Chidambaram Pillai and their associates in the National Movement saw few redeeming qualities in the British dispensation, and saw colonial rule as being entirely inimical to India's progress, asserting that the contradictions between the British oppressors and the Indian people were completely irreconcilable.
Although Gandhi was critical of specific aspects of colonial rule, in 1914, his general outlook towards the British was more akin to that of the loyalist Princes than the most advanced of India's national leaders. Particularly onerous was his support of the British during World War I. Even as the Ghadar Party correctly saw in WWI a great opportunity for India to deepen its opposition to the British, and liberate itself from the colonial yoke, Gandhi instead tried to mobilize Indians on behalf of the British war effort. Although many biographers of Gandhi have studiously omitted making any mention of such dishonorable aspects of Gandhi's political life, Martin Green makes a brief reference to Gandhi's attitude towards WWI when he was in England: "To return to London in wartime: Gandhi quickly raised his ambulance corps amongst the Indians in England. As before, he had offered his volunteers for any kind of military duty, but the authorities preferred medical workers". Martin Green also observes: "Many of his friends did not approve the project. Olive Schreiner, who was in London, wrote him that she was struck to the heart with sorrow to hear that he had offered to serve the English government in this evil war - this wicked cause". (See Martin Green, Gandhi: Voice of a New Age Revolutionary, p. 247)
Gandhi's ideas on non-violence did not then extend to the British Imperial War and upon his return to India in 1915, attempted to recruit Indians for the British War effort. Gandhi's position echoed that of the Maharajas, many of whom (like the Maharaja of Bikaner) played a pivotal role in supporting the British, both in terms of propaganda and providing troops. Gandhi's attitude towards the empire emerges quite clearly from this statement of Martin Green: "Gandhi himself had twice volunteered for service in this war, in France and in Mesopotamia, because he had convinced himself that he owed the empire that sacrifice in return for it's military protection." (See Martin Green, Gandhi: Voice of a New Age Revolutionary, p. 267)
Gandhi's role in championing the British War effort did not however go unchallenged. At a time when Gandhi was still addressing "War Recruitment Melas'', Dr. Tuljaram Khilnani of Nawabshah publicly campaigned against War Loan Bonds. When Gandhi sought election to the AICC from Bombay PCC, the delegate from Sindh opposed his election in view of his support to the British war effort. The Ghadar Party was especially acerbic in it's criticism of Gandhi and other such political leaders in the Congress who had not yet been able to sever their umbilical chord to the British Raj.
But even as Gandhi was able to justify in his mind support for the imperial war, his attitude towards the revolt of Chauri Chaura (1921) brought about a very different and very harsh assessment. Labeling it a crime, he wrote thus: "God has been abundantly kind to me. He has warned me the third time that there is not yet in India that truthful and non-violent atmosphere which and which alone can justify mass disobedience....which means gentle, truthful, humble, knowing, never criminal and hateful. He warned me in 1919 when the Rowlatt Act agitation was started. Ahmedabad, Viramgam, and Kheda erred. Amritsar and Kasur erred. I retraced my steps, called it a Himalayan miscalculation, humbled myself before God and man, and stopped not merely mass civil disobedience but even my own which I knew to be civil and non-violent" . (See Collected Works, vol. 22, p.415-21)
Gandhi's Chauri Chaura decision created deep consternation in Congress circles. Subhash Chandra Bose wrote: "To sound the order of retreat just when public enthusiasm was reaching the boiling point was nothing short of a national calamity. The principal lieutenants of the Mahatma, Deshbandhu Das, Pandit Motilal Nehru and Lala Lajpat Rai, who were all in prison, shared the popular resentment. I was with the Deshbandu at the time, and I could see that he was beside himself with anger and sorrow." (quoted from The Indian Struggle, p.90)
To describe Gandhi's decision as a "national calamity" was indeed right on the mark. To lay such stress on non-violence - that too only three years after he had been encouraging Indians to enroll in the British Army was not only shocking, it showed little sympathy towards the Indian masses who against all odds had become energized against their alien oppressors.
For Gandhi to demand of the poor downtrodden bitterly exploited Indian masses to first demonstrate their unmistakable commitment to non-violence before their struggle could receive with Gandhi's approval (just a few years after he had unapologetically defended an imperial war) was simply unconscionable. Clearly, Gandhi had one standard for the Indian masses, and quite another for the nation's colonial overlords. But this was not to be the first occasion for Gandhi to engage in such tactical and ideological hypocrisy.
Some critics saw in Gandhi's Chauri Chaura turnaround as indicative of his deep fear and distrust of the Indian masses - that Gandhi feared the spontaneous energy of the poor and the downtrodden more than the injustice of British rule. Certainly, the conservatism of Gandhi's tactics lends credence to such views. As late as 1928, Gandhi resisted Nehru and Bose, and campaigned for the rejection of a resolution calling for complete independence at the session of the Indian National Congress. And unlike other leaders in the freedom struggle, Gandhi often entertained false hopes about the British. In a 1930 letter, Motilal Nehru chided Gandhi for resting his hopes on the Labor Government and the sincerity of the Viceroy.
In much of Motilal Nehru's correspondence with his son, (and with others in the Congress), there are expressions of frustration with Gandhi's tendency towards moderation and compromise with the British authorities, and his reluctance to broaden and accelerate the civil disobedience movement. There are also references in Motilal Nehru's letters to how large contributions from the Birlas were enabling certain political cliques (led by Madan Mohan Malviya - a close confidante of Gandhi) to "capture" the Congress. That Gandhi was close to the Birlas is now widely acknowledged, and it is not unlikely that his conservatism was either encouraged by them, or may have been coincidental, but was compatible with their desire for restrained and moderate resistance to the British.
Motilal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose, both complained of Gandhi's tendency to ignore party resolutions when they went against his wishes, and to work with cliques rather than consult and cooperate with all party members. In a letter dated March 28, 1939, from Manbhum, Bihar - Bose complained bitterly to Nehru of Gandhi's quiet campaign of non-cooperation with him. Bose had just won the Presidency of the Indian National Congress, defeating Gandhi's chosen nominee, Dr Pattabhi. At first, Gandhi had tried to talk Bose out of running for the post, and tried to work out a backroom deal for Dr Pattabhi's ascension (as he had done on many earlier occasions). But Bose was determined to seek the mandate of Congress activists, and won by a handsome margin in an election where the official machinery of the Congress had put all it's weight behind Gandhi's hand-picked nominee.
Bose's historic election signified the mood of the Indian masses, who were becoming increasingly impatient with Gandhi's tepid nationalism. Bose had always strived to accelerate the freedom struggle, and the mass of Congress Party workers appreciated his sincerity and unswerving commitment to the national cause. In many ways, he was the best person to lead the Congress, with intellect and vision that exceeded Gandhi.
One of the most problematical aspects of Gandhi's philosophical disposition was his emphasis on matters religious over practical. In a 1918 speech concerning India's future he espoused a position that truly secular Indians ought to find rather troubling: "I feel that India's mission is different from that of other countries, India is fitted for the religious supremacy of the world....India can conquer all by soul-force". (See Collected Works, vol. 14, p.53)
To this day, Western analysts continue to evaluate India as though it's only contribution to world civilization is in matters of religious exotica and spirituality. And many Indians unquestioningly accept such one-sided formulations. But to pigeon-hole India as this exotic land - full of religious devotion and piety does great injustice not only to India's rich history of secular pursuits, but it also leaves many rational, scientific and technologically-oriented Indians bereft of any philosophical affirmation and intellectual leadership.
On more than one occasion, Gandhi would begin with statements such as "God has warned me", or "...spoken as such.....". Coming from any ordinary person, such claims would normally be viewed with great suspicion and skepticism because they can only be accepted on faith, never independently verified. In fact, any ordinary person who claimed as often to have a 'hotline' to 'God' might even be seen as a lunatic, as someone prone to hallucinations. But from Gandhi, such utterances were quietly tolerated or accepted.
That Gandhi espoused such religious-centric views is not surprising considering the milieu in which he was raised and educated. Most British-educated Indians were kept completely ignorant of India's rich history of rational thought and (pre-industrial) scientific endeavour. So it was inevitable that Indians would seek inspiration from religious texts, Hindus from the Gita, Muslims from the Quran, Sikhs from the Granth Sahib. But unlike Tilak who derived from the Gita, a call to action, a call to rise against injustice, Gandhi found in the Gita an appeal to pacifist idealism. In a world that was rife with violence, Gandhi's insistence on non-violent purity was, in practical terms, an exercise in infantile futility. Not only did it delay the onset of freedom, it led to particularly disastrous consequences during partition, and in Kashmir.
Whereas the Muslim League was armed, the Congress was not and entirely dependant on the British police and military apparatus. When the partition riots first began in West Punjab and East Bengal, the Congress had no means to defend the hapless victims. Being unable to prevent the slaughter and rape, or protect the stream of Hindu and Sikh refugees, it lost the moral authority to prevent a communal backlash in India. A similiar situation prevailed in Kashmir. The Muslim League sent in it's armed hooligans even as Kashmir's most popular political party, the National Conference had decided to throw in it's lot with secular India. In Baluchistan and the Frontier Province, majority sentiment was in favor of unity with India. Had the Congress been armed, it could have at least held out for for a better deal, and at least some of the horrors of partition may have been averted.
There were many other serious incongruities in Gandhi's world view. As one reads through Gandhi's letters and sundry writings, time and time again, he uses the term 'Dharma 'in the context of how Indians should behave vis-a-vis the British, and the term "right" in the context of what the British could do to their Indian subjects. In Gandhi's ethical framework, not only did the conquered have very limited rights, they were burdened with all types of duties under the rubric of 'Dharma '. Conquered Indians were repeatedly lectured on how they must be concerned with the highest morality when dealing with their British oppressors - even as the British conquerors were little restricted by any 'Dharmic' pressures, and enjoyed the ultimate authority to take away the life of Indians they chose to put on trial for 'sedition'.
In all other theories of democratic liberation, ethical and moral codes emanated from one essential principle - which is the fundamental right of enslaved people to be free from alien exploitation. But in Gandhi's moral framework, the need of the Indian masses to liberate themselves from a brutally unjust colonial occupation did not come first, it was subject to all kinds of one-sided conditionalities.
For instance, in the context of Bhagat Singh's hanging, even as Gandhi condemned the British government, he observed: "The government certainly had the right to hang these men. However, there are some rights which do credit to those who possess them only if they are enjoyed in name only." (See Collected Works, vol. 45, p.359-61, in Gujarati)
Whether Gandhi was confusing the term "right" with the term authority or might, or he actually granted the colonial government the "right" to execute Indian freedom fighters is hard to tell. But in general, it appears that Gandhi had not worked out in his mind the true essence of natural human rights, and desirable human duties in a civilized society. Nor had he come to realize that in any democratic dispensation, governments cannot be assigned any inherent rights, for they are only the proxies of the people who elect them, and they only have duties and obligations to ensure the rights of the people, and to prevent the exercise of those individual rights that might violate, restrict or inveigh on the rights of others.
In the context of Bhagat Singh, the British government was under no popular obligation to execute him. On the contrary. His actions had widespread support, and there were fervent appeals for the commutation of his sentence. In such a context, Gandhi could have only spoken of British authority - and that too a stolen and usurped authority to execute Bhagat Singh. Had he been truly moved against Bhagat Singh's death sentence, he would have spoken of how the British were able to execute him only because of their military might - that their action had no ethical or moral sanction.
A true revolutionary - (such as Bhagat Singh) would not have granted the exploitative colonial regime any "rights" whatsoever. In fact, it would have been the right of the Indian revolutionary to resist colonial rule by any means necessary. If Indians obeyed British orders, it was only out of practical necessity, out of an instinct to survive. But if some were prepared to risk their lives in confronting the British military occupation, it was their inalienable right to do so. Indians had duties and obligations towards each other, but none to the British occupiers and exploiters. From a revolutionary, moral, ethical, or national perspective, there was no necessity to grant the British colonial authorities any rights whatsoever, because their very presence was illegal and obtained without the democratic consent of the Indian masses. Indians, therefore, had no moral duty, or 'Dharma', obliging them towards obeying their orders, or respecting the lives of the Britishers who had occupied Indian territory by force.
But Gandhi was never completely able to overcome a deeply ingrained tendency towards tolerating or accepting the "rights" he saw intrinsically bound with authority figures. In the feudal order that Gandhi was born in, the masses had no inherent rights, only duties towards the sovereign. And Gandhi was never able to completely reject this iniquitous paradigm. He was never fully able to complete the transition to a democratic order in which citizens enjoyed inalienable rights in addition to bearing duties towards each other. He did not fathom that in a democratic society, the role of the state was to ensure the rights of the people, not to exercise any arbitrary hegemony over them. Moreover, in a democratic state, the masses could not be burdened with unnecessary duties, only those that obliged them to respect the rights of others, and required them to provide services in exchange for what they received from the state, or others in society.
While many of the qualities Gandhi sought to elicit from the masses were commendable and desirable qualities to strive for - one could not make such qualities conditions for grant.
courtsey :South Asian Voice