History Channel came up with the results of the, "Greatest Indian after Gandhi" survey (its Gandhi and not Ghandi.) But why was Gandhi excluded from the survey? Gandhi always travelled third class then why was he given a special treatment here? In fact, he is given a special treatment everywhere. All of that started, tragically, after his tragical death. And is he truly the Greatest Indian ever?
What about Aryabhatta? Aryabhatta invented the zero. Zero, a magical number that when added or subtracted takes you to nowhere; when multiplied, it takes away all that you have; when divided by it, gives you everything that you ever wanted. A number that, while you are reading this piece of mastery, is being ripped apart by your processor a million times in a second, and by the time you finish reading this, it would have been tickled a stunning 1000,000,000,000 times. Processors are everywhere today, imagine a world without zeros. You'd have imagined a world without zero only when you’d have got a big zero in your test. Bhaskaracharya's work on calculus predicates Newton and Leibtniz by over half a millennium. If I go on writing, this post would never finish.
What about the great rulers? The Maurya kings – Chandragupta, who stopped Alexander the Great, a king who has ‘Great’ tagged with his name; Ashoka, who was even greater than Chadragupta. The Gupta kings – Samudra Gupta and Vikramaditya. Aryabhatta and the great Kalidas worked in Vikramaditya's time. What about the Mughals? Babur once owned the Kohinoor valued enough to feed all of the world for one and a half day (source: some documentary on NGC.) Yeah I know what you are thinking, "Go and rob it off from the British Crown and sell it!" Akbar needs no explanation. Shah Jahan built so many monuments that even after four and a half centuries later, his monuments bring pride to us and more importantly, provide livelihood to innumerable sculptors, guides, and the tourism industry. I could go on but…
Gandhi's gift to us are Independence, Khadi and Satyagraha. Independence - that resulted in India, East Pakistan and West Pakistan (both as one Pakistan) and hundreds of Princely States. Had there not been a Gujarati, referred to as a Sardar, I don't know what would have been my nationality today but I am sure that I would not have been Indian. Khadi. What does it mean? Cotton? Or even better Homemade Cotton? No. It means nationalism, love for one's own country, using products made our countrymen, we very well know what has happened to it now. As of writing this I have a Chinese watch on my wrist, and America made shorts. But that was bound to happen in globalized world, ain’t it? *Satyagraha – a magical thing whose existence, even today after many decades, is unbelievable for me. The asterisk there is not a typo. "* Applicable only if applied with a hundred percent dedication, and straight from the heart, otherwise it is not applicable onto Indians, it won’t be effective." It is not a Satyagraha when you flee off in a woman's clothes or when you fast for a couple of days. It is easy to fast for a couple of days – just eat strategically and prepare yourselves for some days and you are ready to fast. In fact, if this becomes a trend I might try it out and write a 'Dummy's guide to fasting.' He has made a place on something that he despised the most – money – Currency Notes. We have forgotten his principles, his values and morals. Today MC and BC are said as if one is remembering the Gods (Atheists stay out of this.) Just promise to strip if a team wins a tournament that has the participation of only ten nations out of over two hundred and you become a national phenomenon. I have nothing against it but one should not tell a lie, and the one should not make someone a national phenomenon only because they have never seen a nude woman, which is not true. You need not show your middle finger to the crowd or abuse the out-going player in the name of patriotism and uncontrolled anger. Roadies have become the youth icons. Fools don't realise that one need not be young and abuse in order to be a youth icon. If Gandhi was the greatest ever then why have we forgotten the true Gandhi? And what about the only Gandhi with us? No not Tushar Gandhi and no, not Sonia Gandhi either. I am talking about... no not even Rahul Gandhi. We come out on streets when he fights against corruption but would we support him in his movement to ban alcohol? Double standards. You would say that you'd support what you find right. It is not about YOU or what you feel, it is about morality and truth.
Greatness of a person or any nation can be decided by the events and the acts that one remembers. Now, man, unlike the storage infrastructures of cloud computing, does not have a memory that never fades. What can be done? Yup, we can record all of it. But for a thousands of years old civilisation what you'd do? Is it possible to collect every single piece of document? And how you'd recover the annals that were lost in floods, quakes, fires, and destroyed by the Kings from other dynasties who dethroned the others. What about the civilisational activities that happened in Pakistan and Afghanistan? The present Pakistan had been the epicentre of the Indian Civilisation for millennia. Much of the development of our civilisation also happened in Afghanistan. It is a no-brainer as to from where the Hindukush Mountain ranges in Afghanistan got their name from. Most of the above must have got lost or could not be entered into the annals. You can not just become a thousands of years old civilisation without any great men, and innumerable of them could not make it to the present history books. What about that man in Tipu Sultan's R&D department who invented Rockets that were used in wars? Any mention of him? What about the others? What about the architects who planned the city of Mohen jodaro, advanced even for present day cities? We have had Chanakya, Rajendra Chola, Krishna Deva Rai, the Rajputana Kings, The Great Shivaji, and many other kings who have given us legacies that we, so much feel proud of. No King, who united the entire country, had mass media of communication. For them a news to reach took days and weeks. Gandhi had the advantage of being able to get into the records in one of the best possible manner - newspapers, radios, radios, photographs and even documentaries.
So who is the only Greatest Indian in a thousands of years old civilisation? Even if you dedicate your entire life in studying ‘The Great Indian History’ you would not come to a conclusion. And even if do you consider Gandhi the Greatest ever Indian then please keep him alive in your heart and actions. I am not asking you to follow his footsteps but try to follow his principles in the best possible way your heart can do. Don’t abuse or disrespect your enemies. “Remember you are what you make of your enemies.” Don’t waste the resources. Don’t break rules. Tiny bits would take you ahead and make you a better person That’s all folks. Its your (and even my) call now.
PS. I thought of giving Wikipedia links to some of the men above but I don’t want to over do it. And most importantly it would never finish.
PPS. The last quote was by me. :P
PPPS. If you have read and reached till here then express your feelings in the comments.
PPPPS. I love adding Post post … Scripts. :P
PPPPPS. Edit: I saw the finalists for the Greatest Indian. And it's name should have been 'The Greatest Indian of the Twentieth Century.'