First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win


"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win "
M.K Gandhi

Today is Mahatma Gandhi's birthday... the father of our Nation and the nation will render hommage to him... articles will be published and read, some may go to his samadhi and pray, TV cameras will ensure that everyone is informed..

Personally, I never truly understood Gandhi till very recnetly.. though he was present through out my life in the stories lovingly told by a mother who knew him.. yet as I grew up locked in the selfish state that childhood is, such stories seemed far away..

Years went by and Gandhi remained this elusive romantic notion that had brought us freedom.. but to my rebellious mind it remained confined to the past, having no relevance to my reality..

Yet as I look back, I am convinced that the seed of what I was to ultimately do with my life must have been sown while listening to these very accounts ...

It is only very recently, when India came alive for me, as I discovered its true meaning in the eyes of the children of project why that Gandhi's relevance hit me... As I battled each day with new realities, and failed many a times, a friend showed me the Gandhian way, the one where you looked for alternatives rather than bang against doors that would not open. From that day on, things began to change.

There was ho hard and fast rule, with every challenge had to come a new solution provided you were clear in your mind about the goal you wanted to reach, and sadly, wearing a different garb, the goal reamined the same: free India from the shackles of the new masters that bound her.. intolerance, caste , creed, greed, ignorance...

Every day is a battle renewed, a battle against a new invisble enemy and the wisdom lies in your capacity to find the right weapon... therein lies the wisdom of Gandhi for me..

I will end this by recounting the latest and still nascent foe that is slowly conquering the simple minds of theGiri nagar slum dweller ...

For the past few weeks there has been a buzz in the lanes of Giri Nagar.. a new way of making quick money. All you have to do is part with 7200 rupees - yes seven thousand two hundred rupees or two months salary for a project why teacher - and then get some more people to do the same, and lo and behold you will become rich.. everyone is talking about this... some hesitantly, others with bravado.. look at R.. he even has a barnd new yellow motorcycle..

At first I did not pay any heed to this, but when one of my staff members asked me for advise, I decided to find ot more. I fell of my chair as I learnt that the 7200 rs were for purchasing a e- learning programme...

Now I have great respect for e-learning and net based activities but what I ask you is how do you expect Soni a semi-literate slum woman, Radhey Shyam my autorickshaw driver or Ram Prashad, the juice vendor to benefit from the CD rom and access code he gets in return for his precious rupees and moreover how do you imagine him being able to sell the same to more of his peers..

The sad thing is that the desire for quick money aptly fuelled by the excellent marketing ploys, has led to many people falling into the trap, some even borrowing the 7200 rs @ of 10% a month from the local moneylender..

True that the urban poor is a huge market for anyone as is substantiated by the pouches that hang in every tea stall - shampoos, sauces, shaving foams.. and much else - but computer learning for those who can barely pay their children school fees is something beyond comprehension..

We all know that many of the unsupecting buyers will never get any return of this huge investment...just the burden of an unpaid debt
I can understand the need for new and emerging markets, but at this price..

I wonder what Mohandad Karamchand Gandhi would have to say...

I know we have a new battle to win....