A Poem to Mahatma Gandhi by Jayanta Mahapatra by Bijay Kant Dubey SignUp
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Literary Shelf Share This Page
A Poem to Mahatma Gandhi by Jayanta Mahapatra
by Bijay Kant Dubey Bookmark and Share

I am afraid of the loneliness
I would share with you.
Some time
you must tell me,
so that I may know:
have you made me unjust?
As I complete the picture of a man
who calls his dog, pets it,
to make such things of life his own,
I hear again and again
a small explosion.
I try not to think of it at all,
but it keeps sounding
like a blare of my heartless laughter.

Let us see what is he saying to Gandhi and what is Gandhi hearing to? It seems to as if he were face to face, vis-a-vis with Gandhi. And even if he said to, what did he say to, whisper into his ears? Let us hear it. Did he say to personally? What does he want to share with Gandhi? It is definitely not Gandhism, Gandhian Studies not the thing of his concern. He is definitely complaining about the present times with which he is not at all satisfied. What did Gandhi say it about and what did the Gandhists follow it? Maybe it is about Gandhigiri. The poet is trying to understand Gandhi in his own way. Maybe it is his personal reflection upon the same. Sometimes too much of anything bores it and this can be with regard to Gandhi and Gandhism. So, rather than going deep into, reiterating the same thing, he tries to say it in a novel way his tryst with Gandhi and Gandhism even though he knows them not. The poem is just like George Orwell’s piece on Gandhi.

What did Gandhi think about and what did it happen to? Where his ideals? The other thing is this, to be a freedom fighter, a strict Gandhian is it not all. We have seen it all, the Khaddardharis be it the freedom fighters and the politicians, the so-called people of Gandhian studies department calling  themselves khadi-clad Gandhians, Bapujiji ke bandar. But they are not at all, this but we know it, they are after all after their ends. The other thing too is this, had the British not recognized Gandhi, he too would not have been so much famous. Who is for what, God knows? Who for the chair, who for power, who for position, who for money and prestige? But we find it not the simple-hearted fellows.

The poet is afraid of the loneliness he would share with Gandhi. Come some time when he might tell the poet letting him know. Now it is our turn to justify if our ways are just or not, are we true to our self? When he completes the picture of a man who keeps calling his dog, petting it, this is but his personal life and living. A modern man he has his own lifestyle, a modern urban man, a city man going by town culture abandoning morality, ethics and culture is the case. But lost in Gandhigiri, he comes to notice it that the explosions keep it raking us intermittently. Unmindful of that devilish activity, ripping it apart, he wants to avert his gaze from the sound of the explosion. But instead of that it keeps sounding like a blare of his heartless laughter. What sort of people are they who bombard to disturb us? They will certainly be moral less and principle less people. Those who do not have any principle or moral indulge in such a disruptive activity.

It is but a modern style to address in such a way. Can one not say one’s own things? If Gandhi is not before, why can one say to the life statue standing before us, to the bust of?

After reading the poem, several things come to our mind. Who a Gandhist? What is Gandhism? Is it hero-worship? Who Gandhi? How his principles? What his ideals? Was he a saint, a politician or a man? Several things come upon the mind’s plane. What for Gandhi and Gandhism? Are we Gandhian in our approach? How to take to Gandhism in modern times? This can be our self-examination. Now the question, do we follow Gandhi? Who a fighter? Definitions change from time to time. Nissim’s Gandhian patriot and Gregory’s Irish patriot can be put before as an example though Mahapatra says it not in that way. Patriots and fighters seen from close and from far have the clauses of their own. From the critical perspective everything can be critiqued which may go in our favour or may not.

Some want to take the stage as freedom fighters, some want to be the professors of Gandhian Studies and some as the disciples of Gandhi want to enjoy power. Who is for what? How to say that? Who is actually for Gandhism?

Had they been heartful, they would not have blasted. The balsts took place, the bombs went off as because they were not humanists, but misanthropists. Had they at least loved Gandhi, it could have been averted. How much heartless have we become now-a-days?

 A Poem to Mahatma Gandhi by Jayanta Mahapatra is exquisitely beautiful as for holding a dialogue with the Father of the Nation in such a lively way. It matters it not whether he is bodily present or not, but his spirit is definitely with us. We appreciate the conversation which is but in some way a reflection over Gandhi and Gandhism, Gandhigiri and Gandhian studies. But we cannot say it who is for what and what is what? Everything but changes with time so is the image of Gandhi and Gandhism. But Gandhigiri is but a new addition, a coinage.

But something maligns it the soul and spirit of the poet which is but a loneliness of a different type and tenor. What has it happened to the poet? Has freedom been restricted? Is it misgovernance? Is it people’s rights? But we must know it that we have some duties to do which is but obligatory on our part.

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23-Oct-2021
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