‘Restless As Mercury’ a perfect complement to Gandhi’s ‘The Story of My Experiments With Truth’ (Book Review)

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By Vishnu Makhijani
New Delhi, Feb 10 |
‘Original footage might be grainy and jerky but has a ring of truth because it is the ‘thing itself and not an image of it, Gopalkrishna Gandhi writes in the Preface of “Restless as Mercury – My Life As A Young Man” that knits together the autobiographical observations scattered over several pages of the “Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi” and seamlessly complements “The Story of My Experiments With Truth” to bring into focus the Father of the Nations descriptions of his life in its familial aspect.

“This autobiographical compilation does what it does for the sole reason that a story as first told is not a story, it is reality. ‘Original’ footage, howsoever grainy, jerky, starting and ending without notice, has the ring of truth. It is the ‘thing’ itself, not an image of it. A mint-fresh ‘feature’ film, for all its vivid fascination, is still a manufactured product.

“Gandhi’s life story in his own words and those of his contemporaries who quote him is heard best when heard directly. It is the organic truth. This book is not ‘Experiments with Truth’ taken further afield, nor is it a foil to the many remarkable biographies of him. It threads ‘Experiments’ into other autobiographical texts including, somewhat unprecedentedly, what he wrote within the fold of his family he so loved but did not privilege,” Gopalkrishna Gandhi writes in this scholarly 377-page book that has been published by Rupa.

To this end, “Restless as Mercury” is a candid and unflinching account of the struggles, experiences, and philosophies that informed and influenced the young Gandhi. It also details how he kept, not without stumbling, his love of family in step with his sense of public duties.

“Beginning at the beginning, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s autobiography moves rapidly from his recollections of his early years as a child, youth, husband, student, then enters real time. That is, the events he describes are happening around him as he writes about them. He includes events that are personal and ‘out there’ in the public sphere, as well as the seemingly small and the obviously momentous. Like two tracks of the many railway lines he travelled on, the events and his descriptions of them move together. And then, like a train that is stopped by the pull of a chain, the narrative stops, abruptly, at year 1920. Gandhi is just fifty-one at that point and his most climactic years — nearly three full decades’ long — was ahead of him.

“He brings ‘these chapters to a close’ at that point because, he says, his ‘experiments’ are now indistinguishable from the life stories of Congress leaders and propriety requires that he not bring those into the account. ‘In fact,’ he says in his farewell chapter, ‘my pen instinctively refuses to proceed further’,” Gopalkrishna Gandhi writes in the book.

“But the ‘self’ cannot really disappear. Gandhi continues to speak and write about his life, incidentally, as it were. Plunged in political work, organizing his mass campaigns of satyagraha, undertaking fasts for public and personal reasons, getting imprisoned, freed, imprisoned again, traversing the Indian countryside to spread awareness of his political goal — Swaraj, freedom, for India — and also his ‘constructive’ work such as hand-spinning, the eradication of untouchability, Hindu–Muslim amity, Gandhi yet finds the time- and the need—to look back to incidents from his life, about his family, himself,” says the Preface of the book, that is in six parts and covers the period 1869 to 1914.

Glimmers about his Gandhi’s life, his association with people and with his large and growing family, biological and ideological, slip through his public actions, speeches, letters, and other writings. “As do personal observations about his inner struggles, his relationships with people — both famous and not famous. With the same frankness as marks his autobiography, he shares in speeches, recorded conversations, articles, and in letters to the family and close friends, of the years ‘covered’ in his autobiography and beyond.”

“Those scattered narrations of his fill in and fill out the before-life, the real-time life, and of his autobiography’s story. Alongside ‘Experiments’, these cameos of his childhood, adolescence, student life, his mature years, show us the son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend in the man who was being hailed as a Mahatma. Starting from his early days, these go right up to what probably is the very last sentence –‘I hate being late’– spoken by him (in Gujarati) seconds before his assassin-to-be, Beretta in hand, stands facing him,” Gopalkrishna Gandhi writes.

This compilation, says the writer, “may be said to carry one distinguishing mark: it brings into focus Gandhi’s descriptions of his life in its familial aspect. His life in the epic domain of actions for public causes has been and will continue to be written about. His life as lived within the fold of domesticities has had fewer tellings. And that cannot ring truer than in his own and his intimates’ words”.

Apart from selected borrowings from ‘Experiments’, mainly from the Gujarati original, and Gandhi’s own words occurring elsewhere, the narrations of five of his contemporaries – Prabhudas Chhaganlal Gandhi (1901-1992), Gandhi’s grand-nephew, who ran from Sabarmati Ashram a journal Madhpudo (Honeycomb) during Gandhi’s lifetime; Joseph J. Doke (1861-1913) his first biographer; Millie Polak (1881-1962), author of “Mr Gandhi, The Man”, described as a remarkable work of first-hand observation; and the writings of his secretaries, Mahadev Desai (1892-1942) and Pyarelal (1899-1982) – have been incorporated in the book. Notes at the end direct the reader to the specific works and pages where these words appear.

“Restless As Mercury” is truly a treasure-trove of knowledge for the present and future generations and is a valuable contribution to the never-ending studies on the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi.

(Vishnu Makhijani can be reached at vishnu.makhijani@ians.in)

Source: IANS

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Meet Gurmeet singh Shunty A New Superhero With Turban

Meet Gurmeet singh Shunty A New Superhero With Turban

In the last year, the whole world was struck by a large pandemic. The year 2020 came with a pandemic called coronavirus which affected the whole world badly. Coronavirus in India resulted in great downfalls in health, economy, unemployment, and so on. Lakhs of People Lost their lives, jobs, and their loved ones. The whole year was very disturbing for each section of society. Coronavirus in India resulted in great downfalls of health, economy, unemployment, and so on. The whole year passed with a large Tension and fear for all the peoples. In the hard times of coronavirus spread, a lot of peoples came out and helped the person in need and It is one of the very few positive effects of Covid-19.

During the blast of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world our volunteers have demonstrated an exceptional display of solidarity across the world and our society. However, this is also the year which witnessed the world coming together to fight coronavirus. The year with its share of trials and tribulations threw up some exemplary work being done by organisations and individuals in this difficult time as the pandemic spread, a new breed of warriors with an indomitable spirit stood up bravely against it to take on the challenge head on.

In the hard times of lockdown, a lot of peoples came out and helped the person in need and It helped the society to live again with a hope of being helped in bad time. During the Large spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world our leaders of the society have demonstrated an exceptional display of solidarity across the world and in our society too. They did a Great work in every aspect needed at that time, from Responding to calls for help from their local communities to help them by going on roads, they are everyday heroes who came as a preserver for them.

They do wear masks and face shields to protect themselves and spread awareness in the society to follow each rule and regulation. We can say that there are many things which has spread faster than the coronavirus during the pandemic, it has been the noble works, fearless steps, selfless service and recognition of Gurmeet Ji and his supporters who continued to work day and night to save other’s lives. He also set up camps and volunteer help alongside highways and by roadsides, just to provide relief and support the migrant workers going back to their places all over India.

Among the Great hidden heroes who worked day and night to fight during lockdown, one such person is Gurmeet Singh shunty ji, who is the ex general secretary of delhi sikh gurudwara committee.Being at such great post he always learned to do sewa and that teaching has been always with him which dedicated him towards the society to work for the people of his own nation and humanity. Gurmeet Ji worked 24×7 , without caring of himself. He is the person who have been stepping in to help during the pandemic and they all have been a portrait of selflessness and optimism to this society.

Gurmeet Ji believe that our selfless acts or Sewa in any form must be done to save humanity, Sewa require a true heart and helping nature which will bring both helper and victim happy. During the tough times of coronavirus, Gurmeet Ji and his volunteers came out of their comfort zones to help lakhs of migrants workers who wanted to go back to their hometown during the COVID-19 lockdown. So in that  time  when the world undergoes such vast pandemics which affects all the person Whether it’s a small or large donation of money, resource or humanity, each things matter.

During the tough times of coronavirus, when everyone was thinking of themselves First, Gurmeet Ji and his volunteers came out of their comfort zones to help lakhs of migrants workers who wanted to go back to their hometown during the COVID-19 lockdown.Despite of being older in age,He did not let himself to be inside house and watch news of the suffering surroundings but he helped as many people as he could during the crisis by arranging food, buses, trains and most importantly by giving a warmth of love and care.He created a large team just to help the peoples in problem and inspired many others to do so. We can say that there are many things which has spread faster than the coronavirus during the pandemic, it has been the noble works, fearless steps, selfless service and recognition of Gurmeet Ji and his supporters who continued to work day and night to save other’s lives by risking his own and his family’s health. They didn’t even meet their family members and specially children for months,for their Safety and some even spend nights in their vehicles and outside home to assure that the virus doesn’t spread further to their loved ones and family members. Government took various steps to save our nation from the bad impacts of corona spread and one of them was lockdown. Lockdown was done to stop the spread the corona in nation but it resulted in great losses.when lots of People were on Roads, lots have nothing to eat and some were not having anyone for their care, without any money and food thousands of People covered thousands of kms on their feets, with their families and whatever they had earned in their lifetime, there comes some unknown super heroes of our society who helped them selflessly.

Their faces get rashed by the mask marks, they continuously took medicines to save themselves and others too. They maintain distance from their own members in order to help other persons to reach their destinations. In the bad times we get to know about many such People and These are the people who are helping in restoring humanity’s faith by coming up with novel ideas and their great works which inspires whole society to come ahead. That was the time when a number of labourers, their children and other family members were forced to return back to their places but Gurmeet Ji risked his life to save theirs.He started his service with providing cooked food as langar sewa and later switched to dry rations too, with the objective that people in need should not go to sleep on an empty stomach and they must not loose their hearts and continue their journey with less problems. It’s very hard to find such person in this crucial time when everyone put themselves first but Gurmeet Ji believe in his teachings and said “our panth has taught us the lesson of jan sewa, and we will continue this legacy till our last breathe.”

All the people who helped any of the person in need will be in their memory for forever as they made them believe on brotherhood and humanity in such a Crisis. It is beleived that in when some person get trapped in trouble even your shadow leave your side but the persons like Gurmeet Ji taught each and every person of society that we Must help each other to maintain love and care in society which will make then believe in the existence of god. If God has given you the power and resources to help others you must move forward as your one step can change anybody’s life.Gurmeet ji said that “our great sangat give us the teachings of sharing whatever less or more you have and These teachings which I started learning since my childhood inspired me to help my brothers and sisters of this society. ” He further added that he feel so happy and blessed that he could be the reason of anyone’s little smile. He requested everyone that even Your small step can save someone’s life and make them beleive into humanity and brotherhood.He started his service with providing cooked food as langar sewa and later

 

switched to dry rations too, with the objective that people in need should not go to sleep on an empty stomach and they must not loose their hearts and continue their journey with less problems.

He also set up camps and volunteer help alongside highways and by roadsides, just to provide relief and support the migrant workers going back to their places in UP, Bihar and even farther. It was clearly seen during the pandemic when thousands of people were going towards their villages with their small children and had nothing to feed them, at that time Gurmeet Ji provided them food ,water and other necessary items which brought  beautiful smiles and tears of happiness in their eyes as they never expected that in this crucial time there could be someone who will act as a survival medium for them.

At that time many warriors came in the front line to help the society. Despite being senior in age Gurmeet singh Shunty ji, was the Person who came out of the house when everyone was locked. He was standing in the crowd to help them reach their houses and made  very hard decisions at the right time.

We need to Recognise these Heroes so that they could work more and more for the welfare of this society. We need to Recognise these unsung Heroes so that they could work more and more for this society as “this society is all about give and take.”  They have given millions of smiles and its our time.They must be appreciated for their noble works to boost such works of brotherhood. They have given millions of smiles and its our time to pay them back.

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