USHA GOKANI, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, has objected to the use of the word ‘Gandhigiri’ in the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’, saying Bapu too would not have approved of the language.
“I have heard about it, though I have not seen the film,” she said. “Bapuji was so particular about language. I am sure this word – Gandhigiri – he would not have approved of at all.”
Usha, who was here to participate in a function organised by Shri Madhya Bharat Hindi Sahitya Samiti, told Hindustan Times on Thursday that her earliest memories of the Father of Nation were as an eight-year-old girl growing up in different ashrams of the Mahatma. Usha, herself a grandparent, recalls with joy the time she spent with Bapuji and things she could learn from the great leader, whom she called ‘dadaji’.
“I remember spending more time with Ba than Bapuji. But whenever he was around, I used to look forward to spending more time with him,” she says.
“He was very particular about hygiene. He used to personally check if our nails were cut properly or not. He also insisted on discipline and punctuality,” said Usha, the eldest daughter of Ramdas, Gandhiji’s third son. “He tried to inculcate so many qualities in us. We did learn a lot from Bapuji, but then, to be frank, I don’t know if we have been able to implement these.”
The winner of the ‘Ba Puraskar’, given by Aga Khan Palace (Pune), claims that Indian values deat to the Mahatma were firmly etched in her. She heads the Mani Bhavan (in Mumbai) and is also a trustee of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust, an organisation dedicated to the uplift of women.
Ruing the fact that the Gandhian values were attracting less and less youngsters over the years, she says, “His thoughts and value system are still relevant today. But then, I do not blame the youngsters for it.”
“I would say, it is our generation which did not pass on the values to the youngsters. The youth today are a little disoriented. We have to give them proper direction,” was the candid words of the winner of the Woman of the Year Award (Mumbai).
She is optimistic that the young generation would realise the importance of what Bapu said. “Deeds speak more than words and if I am not going to practise what I say, I don’t have the right to preach anything to anyone,” she said.
Referring to the encashing of `Gandhi’s’ name by the Nehru family, she says, “there are many things objectionable today, many things that Bapuji would not have approved. But then, unfortunately, the question is who will throw the first stone?” (Referring to the Biblical story of Jesus asking the crowd to throw the stone on a woman only if that person has a clean character)