Thursday, February 17, 2011

Telescopic/Microscopic

This morning me, Nimo, and Nimo's Dad were in the kitchen having breakfast when Jayeshbhai appeared at the door. White kurta pressed perfectly, big smile, warm demeanor. I had the only reaction one can have when seeing him: joy. But especially this time since I hadn't seen him in several weeks as he has been busily stepping into his new life as Iswar 2.0. He came in, we exchanged hugs, and we started chit chatting. Quickly the conversational topic turned to Gandhi. Jayeshbhai said Gandhi had two parallel types of sight: telescopic and microscopic. He could always see the big picture and zoom into the little. He told some stories to illustrate.

When India first gained independence the new Parliament gathered to vote for the first Prime Minister. All votes but one were cast for Sardar Patel. Nehru was crestfallen, his heart was set on it. Gandhi knew both his proteg├ęs well: Sardar Patel was an Iron Man of determination and discipline. His relationship with Gandhi was of unflinching respect, he would always do what Gandhi asked him. But Gandhi's relationship with Nehru was more fitful. Nehru would constantly challenge and argue with Gandhi. Knowing their natures Gandhi made the decision to request Sardar to remove his name from consideration, so Nehru would win by one vote. Why? Because if Sardar were to lose the Prime Minister-ship, he would pocket the disappointment and move on. If Nehru lost, Gandhi knew it would be a constant source of trouble down the road. Telescopic vision.

Another telescopic vision story that Nimo loved: The location of the Sabermati Ashram in Ahmedabad was not chosen randomly by Gandhi. First, he wanted the Ashram on the banks of a river, because the river is like a Mother. Second, he wanted the Ashram close to a jail. Which it was, the Sabermati jail was walking distance. Why? Because they were in the middle of the Quit India Movement, and it would be a lot less fuss for Gandhi and posse to not have to go so far every time they got arrested. Also closer for the Britishers who were doing the arresting. Just made things more convenient all around.

Finally Jayeshbhai told of a time in 1946 when Sardar, Nehru, some British Lords, blokes, and other stiffs were meeting at the Ashram with Gandhiji. As they were there, a child brings an injured goat over to Gandhi. He gets up in the middle of the meeting and takes the goat over with the child to apply a mud pack to the goat's injured leg. All meeting participants were flabbergasted, especially the British stiffs. Bad form and what not. Legend has it Gandhiji replied by simply saying that tending to the goat's pain was of greater importance than anything being discussed in that meeting. Not only did it ruffle feathers, it likely left a lasting impression. The suffering of a lowly animal at that moment was of greater concern than all the heady affairs of global politics. That's why he was Mahatma, and that's microscopic sight.

1 comment:

  1. This was a really nice story, I enjoy reading ur words....

    ReplyDelete