Thursday, May 30, 2024

Government has painted a negative picture of Rahul Gandhi – Tushar Gandhi in an exclusive interview

Interviewed by – Robin Tyagi 

Edited by – Robin Bhuyan 

Written by – Nupur Jha 

Tushar Arun Gandhi is an Indian author and social activist, who is also the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. He took the lead in re-enacting his great-grandfather’s Dandi March from 2007 – 2012.

In our exclusive interview with him, he talked about Gandhian ideology and shared some insights into Bapu’s life. During the conversation, Tushar Gandhi shed light on today’s critical issues like the Ram Mandir and the education system and also shared his thoughts on the current government.

Gandhi stated in his autobiography that he would never consume cow meat even in death; what’s the truth behind it?

That’s correct. Gandhi Ji followed Vaishnavism and would refrain from consuming cow meat even if it meant sacrificing his own life. Similarly, he wouldn’t take a human life to save a cow, as both lives held equal importance to him.

What’s your opinion on instances of mob lynching in India that occur under the pretext of protecting cows?

We have the right to worship cows because they are considered holy in our religion and they hold significance in tradition. Similarly, I feel those who view them as ordinary animals also have the right to consume them. If they had to follow what we practice, it would become a dictatorship rather than a democracy.

Gandhi ji raised a strong voice for Swadeshi and Swaraj. Do you see parallels between his ideology and our Government’s “Make in India” campaign?

Gandhi’s version of Swadeshi Andolan focused on enhancing the productivity of our villages. What they grow, we consume. But the government’s “Make in India” is different. The initiative invites international companies to manufacture goods within the country using our land and natural resources and selling them in the international market. This profits mainly the rich people in cities rather than the poor village people. It’s not what Bapu had envisioned.

Following Gandhi, Rajiv Dixit started the campaign again. Do we need another figure like Rajiv Dixit in this era?

We need honesty within ourselves. There should be consistency between our words and actions. I believe we should prioritize the truth in our behavior and align our actions with our words, which will naturally bring change.  Then, we don’t need someone like Gandhi or someone else like him.

If Gandhiji were alive in today’s era, do you believe he would suggest selling our goods to other countries? What will be his viewpoint on globalization at this time?

Gandhi ji never advocated not increasing production. He did advocate for distributing the benefits among others, like providing employment opportunities to our people. While our industry’s growth is indeed increasing, it’s not affecting the unemployment rate. Companies are switching to automation, leaving more people without jobs.

Comparing the present modern education system to the old gurukul system, which one was better?

The old method was helpful in the old times. But since times are changing, we have to change as well. Unfortunately, our current education system is not effective. People are not getting jobs after graduating. There is a decline in the quality of education to the extent that people can’t secure jobs even after having a degree, and our government is even encouraging them to start tea stalls for their livelihood.

If we talk about suicide attempts in studies, how big a contribution does our education system have? Are we becoming a factory, forced to give results, or if we fail, do they have to take such steps?

In Maharashtra, the highest figures in studies include farmers, which is followed by students. The reason is their frustration; the farmer works hard and farms his land but doesn’t get the profit. And he goes into a debt trap. Similarly, our failed education system puts pressure on our students rather than empowering them. The frustration makes them believe ending life is better than continuing.

Do you believe our government is taking steps to prevent this?

The most important thing is to educate the population. It is not only the students or graduates but all people, who need to be educated. Until then, all practices are meaningless.

Gandhi was known to be Sri Ram’s ardent devotee; even his last word was ‘Hey Ram.’ Can you add more emphasis on that?

Gandhi ji believed in Ram and called himself Sanatani Hindu. But he was not like today’s intolerant Hindus, who might lynch someone for refusing to praise Sri Ram. In fact, due to this intolerance among Hindus, I prefer to call myself an atheist.

Talking about Ram Mandir, it was a long battle, and now the construction of the temple will be complete. What do you think about it?

I believe everything has a price tag. The temple had a price of human lives. After COVID-19, I feel we realized we needed more hospitals; our villages needed schools. Instead, the Government spent lots of money and cost people’s lives to build the Ram Mandir, which is not worth it, in my opinion.

What, in your opinion, is the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva?

Hinduism is a religion; it’s a way of living, which Gandhi believed in. But Hindutva is a political tool and strategy for manipulating and gaining power.

Are you against Brahmins as per the book you have written?

No, I have never been against Brahmins. The book was marketed in the wrong way. While I did mention that individuals involved in Gandhi’s murder were Brahmins, it does not imply that all Brahmins were part of the conspiracy to kill Gandhi.

You rejuvenated Dandi March; what was the reason?

Dandi March was an important historical event to remember, not because of my great-grandfather but for the people who sacrificed their time and their secure lives. That is why, on the 75th anniversary, we once again started Dandi March. Future generations need to remember that it was not only Gandhi but also these people as well.

Do you think there are some good things about our present government?

It’s difficult to find one, but if we take successful marketing and gaining popularity as a measure, they succeed.

What do you think is the biggest flaw in today’s government?

I will say lack of truth is their biggest flaw. They don’t consider it as a fundamental element. The second will be the way they have been normalizing hatred, which is a dangerous sign.

Do you believe we lack an opposition leader to tell people the truth?

Rahul Gandhi has been talking about these issues for the past year. People are not ready to listen because our government painted a poor picture of him. People are becoming blindly devoted, which is dangerous on its own. It’s not healthy for democracy.

Today’s youth have difficulty accepting Gandhi’s ideology; what do you think has changed over time?

Gandhi’s ideology provides a practical application for making everyday life easier. However, people have forgotten the application and only remember the philosophical aspects. Today, people don’t consider his actions but his words, which makes them naturally less effective.

You have also participated in Bharat Jodo Yatra. Do you believe it was a success?

If we consider only election results, it may not be a success. But the idea was not just to win elections. The biggest message was to bring awareness and love to society. And I feel that have achieved that.

Will spirituality and yoga break the spread of hatred in society?

Yoga and spirituality are personal; they should not be linked with patriotism. Yoga contributes to happiness, health, and spiritual development. It’s not something to be publicized.

What’s your opinion on RSS?

Their ideology is very destructive and dangerous for the country. Even Gandhi ji, Sardar Patel, and Nehru felt the same.

What do you see as the future of Congress?

If we talk about political parties, it’s important to have multiple ones to keep democracy healthy. Congress has its weaknesses and problems, and it is very important important to fix them.

You recently became a part of the Save Palestine movement; elaborate on that.

I have always been involved in the rights of common people. The people of Palestine have rights to their motherland, and their current situation is a serious crime against humanity. It’s essential to provide justice, and that’s why I am standing with them!

(The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of Mr Tushar Gandhi, and do not reflect the official stance or endorsement of Enigmatic Horizon. Enigmatic Horizon is a platform where people from different fields can share their perspectives. Readers and viewers are encouraged to form their own conclusions based on the information provided.)

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