On being a 'Gandhian'

Following the demise of Nelson Mandela, one was more likely than not to run into some report somewhere referring to him a ‘Gandhian’.

A colleague points out the folly behind calling everyone a ‘Gandhian’. It seems all that is required is for someone to have praised Gandhi at least once in their life. Imagine this: You are someone of some fame and an eager Indian journalist asks you what you think of Gandhi. Will you ever say, “No man! I hate him!”?

You will say what most people would – that he was a great man and he did great things and so on and so forth. Congratulations! You have just become a ‘Gandhian’. Prepare to have that written on your tombstone.

Gandhi is one of the greatest cultural exports of India. He (or his likeness) have also come to define us as a people to a great extent. But the eagerness with which we rush to brand everything and everyone with the ‘Gandhian’ stamp is becoming ridiculous.