I wrote about the visit in a mournful vein, noting that Indians and other South Africans no longer believed that Gandhian passive resistance could accomplish anything in their land. “Passive resistance doesn’t stand a chance against this government,” a trustee of the settlement said. “It’s too brutal and persevering.”
The sad truth is, nobody wants to be Gandhi anymore nowadays. We want to be Mukesh Ambani. We want to be Shahrukh Khan. Or Barack Obama; maybe Justin Bieber. And yes, Osama bin Laden. But not that bald, semi-naked, scrawny old man.
Many people might see this book as defaming or smearing his reputation and legacy, but for me it’s just the complete opposite: It makes us, force us, realize once again, that to be a better person is to suffer.
To be saints is to be terribly sad. It will torture your spouse and children. And sages are just flesh and bones, full of vices exactly like you and me. Sugarcoated myths aren’t needed, this is gritty reality.
Then, if you want to give your loved ones a good fulfilling life, be an automaton. Make your parents proud, make your family smile. Be normal. Fight for your country, kill for your religion. Don’t be a Gandhi.
You just want to be happy. You just want to die and go to heaven. You don’t need a great soul.