I remember reading this joke a little while ago in an SMS “I am collecting the photos of Mahatma Gandhi on this day of Gandhi Jayanti (Birthday of Gandhi), so please send me all the Indian currency notes you have” . Probably, that is what Gandhi means to most of the Indians, the guy who did something important enough that the Indian Govt. decided to put his photo on the notes. Of course, he did not only something but lots and lots of things that made him very important that he was named the Father of The Nation, though later due to a Public Interest Litigation, this title was rendered unconstitutional as the Constitution of India does not recognize any other titles than military and educational.
He, for me was a real good guy, unfortunately a bad political leader because he was pretty gullible and very stubborn about his view point. He was also not very good at negotiations. He could go to any length to prove a point, like if Gandhi had not been assassinated he might have settled in Pakistan, as he was against the partition.
Also, I don’t know why, during one of his speeches, he said that his heir would be Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru. Was his idea of s democracy too co-incident with that of monarchy because last time I checked heirs existed only in monarchy system of governance.
He was many a times very impractical like he could not tolerate the concept of reservation for backward classes or separate electorates for Muslims whereas probably it could have brought the required stability in the masses which in his opinion could come only from Satyagraha. Satyagraha was his idea of non violent protests to throw the Britishers away. Also, he said, while calling off one of his numerous movements after the Chauri-Chaura incident, where 22 policemen were killed by protesters in Chauri Chaura in Uttar Pradesh, India, that he was calling it off because he felt that Indians had to be trained to be non-violent and they still not have discovered the inner meaning of Satyagraha or Civil Disobedience. Was his idea of getting freedom, to train almost 1 crore people in the subject of Satyagraha and then fight for independence.
Also people started using his name to pull of their stunts that were pretty violent like that told above. Many also used this to make themselves popular and gain fame at that time. Like many fake sages with no knowledge of what was Gandhi and what he preached tried to take advantage and get their wishes fulfilled saying that it was Mahatma Gandhi’s wish. And the poor, illiterate people fell for these traps and many of these imposters succeeded.
He might also sometimes have been a hypocrite. He was staunchly against the caste system that divided people on the basis of the work they did and people could not change their line of work and even if they did they were not accepted. The lowest in this classification came Dalits. They were those who made straw baskets, cleaned toilets and did menial jobs. Gandhi preached that as god had created all of them as equal how could these people be side-lined.He called them Harijans or the people of God and made an ashram for them at a place in Gujarat called Sabarmati which is on the banks of river Sabarmati. Once when he was ill, he took to grinding wheat for the residents but a co-worker wanted to save him from more body work pulled water from the well, which was Gandhi’s daily job. Unhappy he picked up a child’s bath tub, filled it with water and carried it on his head. Also, he cleaned the toilets himself with the scavengers. But when Baba Saheb Ambedkar gave an idea to reimburse the Dalits to the main stream by a reservation for a short duration of time, he rejected it out-rightly.
He also with the Ali brothers started the Khilafat movement, so as to try and bring Hindus and Muslims together, but most of his symbolism was inspired by Hindu texts. Also he preached non-violence all his life but in the end he also in 1942 started Quit India Movement with the motto of “Do or Die”.
I would leave the rest to you.