Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm a Gandhi, not a Gandhian

Recently, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Professor Ramchandra Gandhi, 70, was found dead in Delhi's India International Center. It was reported that he was inside the room no. 15 of the IIC and the room was locked from inside.

Sanjay Baru, media advisor to India's prime minister, has written a beautiful piece in the memory of Prof Gandhi in The Hindustan Times (June 15). Obits like these are rarely so well-written:

Like millions of Indians, I was brought up to revere Mahatma Gandhi. So I was not prepared for my first encounter with his grandson in a seedy bar in Hyderabad. It was the winter of 1979. I had just joined the faculty of the University of Hyderabad. My colleagues, the historian Gyanendra Pandey and the writer Alok Bhalla, and I walked into the dim-lit Three Castles Bar down the road from the University. Alok found a friend who waved to him. We joined him at the table and ordered our beers.

“Have you met Ramu?” Gyan asked, introducing me to the professor of philosophy. “Bhai, teen beer lao aur Don ka gaana lagao,” shouted Ramu to the bearer. A university don humming Kishore Kumar’s ‘... main hoon Don’? I was amused. Alok whispered into my ear, “He’s Gandhiji’s grandson.” I fell off my chair!

Read the full piece. It only gets more interesting.

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