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The Tushar Gandhi Chat

Tushar Gandhi appeared on Rediff Chat, fifty years after the assassination of the Mahatma. And, as he fielded questions both about his great-grandfather and himself, Tushar made it amply clear that he, for one, was not going to turn the other cheek. Read on...

Shree (Fri Jan 30 1998 8:26 IST)
Hello Everybody

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:9 IST)
Hi, folks! Wish you all a happy Eid.

today (Fri Jan 30 1998 8:31 IST)
So what do you think of Gandhi's legacy?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:12 IST)
Today: Fifty years to the day he was murdered, his legacy is something that is thriving in certain places where it has been allowed to evolve. Unfortunately, in India, his memory has been ritualised. But non-violence and his idea of decentralised development and human-friendly technology and small is beautiful is providing a lot of solutions to problems faced by the over-industrialised West. That's where his legacy is really thriving.

Varun (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:7 IST)
Mr Gandhi: What made you join the party of thugs like Mulayam Singh???

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:17 IST)
Varun: It's better than a party of murderers like the BJP. I hold the BJP responsible for the murder of my great-grandfather. Then, in the recent past, in Uttar Pradesh they are the ones who've made murderers into ministers. What I admire about the SP is that it is a strong grassroot party and its leadership acknowledges and gives due importance to its grassroot work force. In Maharashtra, in Bombay, the SP is a fledgling party. I can grow with and shape its future. With a big, established party, I would be a hanger-on.

Deepak (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:9 IST)
Mr Gandhi: Do you think Mahatma's policy has any relevance today??

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:24 IST)
Deepak: Bapuji's philosophy is eternal and it was practised even before his time. The fact that non-violence works in today's nuclear age of mass destruction is proved by the fact that, in the recent past, at least five of the Nobel Peace Prize winners have admittedly been influenced by Bapuji's non-violence. South Africa is a glowing example. It was supposed to be heading for a bloodbath. But one man, influenced deeply by Bapuji, took his country through a very delicate transition period and found a way for fierce adversaries to peacefully co-exist. That's the relevance of non-violence today. Today when the over-industrialised world is groaning under the adverse effects of mega projects, Bapuji's idea of small macro-economies co-existing together and trading their surpluses is being considered as the most non-violative way of life, in harmony with nature.

Deepak (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:11 IST)
Mr Gandhi: Your grandfather appeased Muslims all his life. And even you are doing the same? I guess you need votes???? Yeah!!!

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:26 IST)
Deepak: My great-grandfather appeased human beings. To him, it did not matter whether they were Hindus or Muslims. It's his murderers and those who wished to murder his memory who have spread these vicious lies. I don't need to appease anybody to get votes.

srinivasan (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:13 IST)
Hi Tushar, Srinivasan here. You had told me in Dr Jawahar Shah's office that u are planning to come out with a CD on Mahatma Gandhi. What is the progress of that project?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:28 IST)
Srinivasan: I'm in the process of setting up a website dedicated to the Mahatma and everything we planned to put on the CD will be available at the site in a few days time.

Indian too (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:16 IST)
Mr Gandhi Two, how can people choose between so many Gandhi s we have one from US absconding Election fund investigation

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:31 IST)
Indian too: The one in the US is a Kothari -- Yogesh Kothari to be precise, who is a distant relative who changed his last name after the success of the film Gandhi and cashed in on its appeal, finally getting in the election fund gimmick. You don't have to absorb any more Gandhis if you don't wish to.

Suresh Choksi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:16 IST)
Mr. Gandhi, what is your manifesto for the coming election? If you were elected, do you think you can bring back the India with great integrity, honesty & trust of the people which used to be in your grandfather's time where people would die on his word?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:36 IST)
Suresh: My manifesto will be the manifesto of the United Front. My personal manifesto is that people who have the strength of character, who can think of the future of the country without looking at votes and who can walk away from it all rather than compromise on their principles need to come into active politics and block places that have been occupied in the recent past by undesirable elements. If we do this, we will have won half the battle. Politics needs to be cleaned from within as well as from without. And my reason for joining politics is guided by this principle. My mission is to put the interests of India and Indians above everything else and if, by my actions, I'm able to inspire ten more people with the same convictions, I will feel that I have succeeded in starting India on the path to glory.

Ajay (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:32 IST)
Mr Gandhi: How can you defend Mahatma? I have seen his films and read a lot about him. He advised Hindus not to attack Muslims even if they attack them. How could he say that? We are not eunuchs.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:40 IST)
Ajay: Please study the Mahatma before you make up your mind -- and not merely by watching films. The Mahatma did not ask anybody who was not convinced about non-violence to practise it. But when people seeked his advice, he advised them to follow the non-violent path. Killing people is really not a method of proving one's machismo.

Kavita (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:29 IST)
Mr Gandhi: One personal question: Are you a vegetarian, khadi wearing and travel like Mahatma in third class compartments and buses???

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:43 IST)
Kavita: I am not a vegetarian. I wear khadi as well as other textiles and Indian as well as Western clothes. I travel by bus and other means of public transport since I don't own a car. I don't make a fetish about travelling second class by train because I don't ape Bapuji. I am my own person and whatever I do, I do publicly.

Bindu Sahadev (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:41 IST)
There is a popular view among NRIs, no doubt promoted by the VHP, that Gandhi sold out India's interests. Please comment.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:45 IST)
Bindu: The VHP is also a part of the gang of Bapuji's murderers and is actively trying to eradicate his memory. So it's natural that people who want to redivide India on the lines of religion would first try and finish off the memory of someone who they are scared of from beyond his funeral pyre.

srikanth (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:32 IST)
Hi Tushar, When will the Mahatma site be up and running

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:46 IST)
Srikanth: In a month's time...

Ajay (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:23 IST)
Mr Gandhi: How can you say that BJP is responsible for the murder of your grandfather. They openly praise Mahatma's economic policy of self reliance. Moreover, it is the Shiv Sena who praise Mahatma's killer and not the BJP, isn't it?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:51 IST)
Ajay: NO! The BJP's principles are like that of a rudderless ship. They talk about Swadeshi, yet their Internet site is hosted in America with an American address. They talk about Swadeshi in India, and tell the multinationals not to worry. The BJP has adopted Bapuji only after they realised that it was impossible for them to eradicate his memory. The Shiv Sena is merely mouthing oft-repeated Sangh Parivar statements since the Shiv Sena lacks the ability of original thought.

LoisLane (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:28 IST)
Greetings from South Africa Hello Mr Gandhi...

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:51 IST)
Lois: Hi! Thanks for your greetings.

Shamsher Singh (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:45 IST)
Mr Gandhi: I think you have played into the hands of the anti-Mahatma gang, the scum who think he was no good, by joining hands with Mulayam Singh Yadav. Now if there was a man who was no good, that is Yadav. Could you not have joined some other party? Can you deny that some of the funds for your campaign are coming from underworld sources?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:53 IST)
Shamsher: I will not try to convert your opinion about my leader. But please tell me where those funds are so that I can at least find out who's cornering them. Please be assured that I would rather not stand for elections than use tainted money.

LoisLane (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:35 IST)
MR GANDHI> r u in contact with your relatives here....Ms Ela Gandhi.. who also played a major role in our fight to freedom?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:55 IST)
Lois: Yes, I keep in touch with my relatives whenever I can. Ela foiba is always close to my heart.

Ajay (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:38 IST)
Mr Gandhi: Let us talk about Mulayam Singh, how can u contest from his party. Firstly, he looks like thug, secondly he can't speak English and last but not least he, like you, is an opportunist because you all are going for a seat adjustment with the Congress party who are responsible for the demolition of the Babri masjid??? Isn't it?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:59 IST)
Ajay: Looks are deceptive. For too long have we been fooled by sauve-looking politicians. And I don't think it is necessary to know English to be a good person. The Babri masjid was demolished by the Sangh parivar and if they are ashamed of it, they better apologise publicly rather than find scapegoats.

Kavita (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:45 IST)
Mr Gandhi: So what do you do for your living???

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:0 IST)
Kavita: I've married a banker.

Jayesh Shah (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:46 IST)
Mr Gandhi: I agree with Shamsher that the funds for the Samajwadi party comes from underworld. Without naming I can tell you that one of a very senior leader in your party was detained under TADA? Isn't it???

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:3 IST)
Jayesh Shah: The same senior leader of our party was declared not guilty by the same court that let Advani go free saying that the evidence against Advani was insufficient.

rang (Fri Jan 30 1998 9:56 IST)
Mr Tushar, you talk about Gandhi. Was he not responsible for the death of lakhs of Hindus during partition? Did he not order the govt to surrender 55 crores to Pak when India was itself facing probs? Did he not order Hindus refugees out of mosques? You call all these as secularism. Come on, I find Balasaheb's vision a better one than Gandhi's. I think that is the reason the BJP is growing.

rang (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:7 IST)
Mr Tushar, why have most of the people in India forgotten Gandhi? Don't you think they are coming to know the truth about him? All those dirty truths. How he was more a Muslim, supported them always. Do you remember NAOKALI. How the Hindus there were butchered! What he told them -- fold your hands and just die! Crazy man.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:7 IST)
Rang: You haven't done your homework, Bapuji was not responsible for the partition, he opposed it. The parties who claim to be the upholders of the 'Akhand Hindu Rashtra' did not do anything to avert the partition of the country. Bapuji did not order the government of India to give Pakistan Rs 55 crores, this was only something that was already agreed upon when the talks of the division of the country was going on. By reneging on previously agreed term, we would have set an immoral precedent. Bapuji went to Noakhali, first to save the victims of the riots there. If you study your history, you will know that in Noakhali, Hindus were being massacred.

rang (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:4 IST)
Mr Tushar, Why you hate the BJP? They are winning so many seats, all the people who vote for him are communal. So all the Hindus who vote BJP are communal. I think such policies are pushing more and more people to the BJP. If India becomes a Hindu rashtra then it is the so-called secularists who are responsible for being so insensible to the Hindus.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:11 IST)
Rang: Whatever, the electorate decides will be accepted by me. But I refuse to compromise on my basic principles to woo the electorate. Today, the BJP is bending over backwards to win the Muslim vote bank. Fortunately, they have not been able to fool the Muslims.

Kavita (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:7 IST)
"It is a straight fight between the killers of the Mahatma and those who stand by Bapu's principles. It is crucial that Gandhi's grandson should win" Isn't this kind of statement ridiculous. One, they don't even know you are Gandhi's GREAT-grandson. Two, they are going piggyback on the Mahatma's memory. So what's wrong if the Congress does that?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:13 IST)
Kavita: People tend to make mistakes while they are being interviewed. WE should not consider it as their ignorance. The Mahatma's legacy is such that political parties from all spectrums have used him to further their goals.

Jayesh Shah (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:9 IST)
Tell me, what do you know about the Mahatma? Where were you all these years when his memory was being vilified? When it was stalwart Gandhians like Ushaben Mehta who protected his memory? What right does that give an upstart like you to misuse his memory for your benefit?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:16 IST)
Jayesh: For too long, Gandhians have turned the other cheek when malicious lies about the Mahatma being spread. When lies are oft repeated and are not countered, equally strongly people tend to start believing them as truth. Ushaben has been my mentor and has supported me through all my actions.

Kavita (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:13 IST)
Do you honestly feel that the Mahatma was good leader? He blackmailed people into accepting his decisions by going on a fast at the drop of a hat. History is witness to this.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:18 IST)
Kavita: Bapuji never went on a fast at the drop of a hat. The fast was used as the last resort when every thing else failed. Please study Bapuji before making up your mind.

Kavita (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:19 IST)
I agree with you totally. It was a last resort -- but the aim was the same -- to make people bend to his will.

Indian too (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:16 IST)
I notice a BUG in the latest Gandhi release. if India is so close to his heart he should have started by fast unto death for massacre of pundits in Kashmir.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:20 IST)
Indian too: The BUG has been ironed out. The terrorist problem in Kashmir calls for stern military action and not a fast unto death.

Jayesh Shah (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:14 IST)
Don't you feel a good leader should be a good father and husband? Gandhi was neither.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:24 IST)
Jayesh: Good fathers collect monies for their progeny which leads them to corrupt practices. None of the politicians of today have feathered their nests solely for themselves. Whether Bapuji was a good husband or not can only be answered by Kasturba. None of her children felt that Kasturba in her later life was unhappy. She married a boy of 13 and lived through his transition in to a westernised barrister and then in to a leader of masses and a 'Mahatma'. That phase could have been a bit traumatic. But Kasturba never let her will be broken. AS far as Bapuji being a good father is concerned, if he had pandered to being a family man first, he would not have been able to achieve what he did.

Ajay (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:24 IST)
You hate the people you refer to as the 'murderers' of the Mahatma. Isn't that against your great-grandfather's principles?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:25 IST)
Ajay: I hate them that doesn't mean, I want revenge. And I have said initially that I do not ape Bapuji.

Jayesh Shah (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:25 IST)
Gopal Godse says Gandhiji was killed because they were sick and tired of his imposing his own will all the time. What do you have to say about that?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:31 IST)
Jayesh: Bapuji was killed because the gang of killers were afraid that if Bapuji succeeded in his crusade, the social dominance of the Brahmins would end. The same gang were involved in three previous unsuccessful attempts on his life, when there was no question of the partition of India or 55 crores to Pakistan. After the massacres of innocent refugees in Pakistan, Bapuji had in anguish said that it is no longer Pakistan but Papisthan.

Kavita (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:26 IST)
Why did Gandhi hate Subhas Chandra Bose?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:33 IST)
Kavita: He did not hate Netaji. They shared a very good equation personally. It was only that Bapuji disagreed with Netaji's methods and so he opposed him.

Kavita (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:27 IST)
Don't you think Subhas was the kind of leader India needed, both then and now?

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:36 IST)
Kavita: Netaji would be a good leader at any time. There is no doubt about it. But would the Japanese have really handed over liberated India? Look at what they did in the Andamans.

Indian too (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:32 IST)
Best of luck once again hope you get back your E (c) D. E (c) D means Election (certificate of ) Deposit.

Mr Tushar Gandhi (Fri Jan 30 1998 10:38 IST)
It's been nice talking to you. I hope I get another chance. My e-mail address is Good-bye and DO VOTE! It's your democratic duty. 1