Monday, January 30, 2017


A 2005 movie directed by Jahnu Barua, explores the downward spiral of a retired professor, Uttam Chaudhary (portrayed by Anupam Kher) as he falls victim to dementia. He begins to insist that he killed Gandhi by accidentally playing with a toy gun into which someone else had placed real bullets. He keeps repeating the line which is the title of the film: Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (I Did Not Kill Gandhi)!

The roots of his illusion are in a childhood incident of playing darts on balloons filled with red water and placed on someone's picture. That day someone placed Gandhi's picture on the balloon that 8-year old Uttam popped just as his father arrived. The same evening, Gandhi was assassinated. Uttam’s father’s blaming created a permanent scar on the young child’s sub conscious mind.

Uttam’s psychiatrist and daughter use a mock court trial to point to him that he is not the culprit. A gun expert says that a toy gun (which Uttam believes he killed Gandhi with) cannot kill anyone. A relieved and liberated Uttam turns track to ask everyone, ‘aren’t we responsible for the killing of Gandhi on a daily basis?’

While the film deals with the fear and uncertainty that a victim of dementia goes through, it is also a metaphor for Gandhi who is reviled by some. Falsehoods are repeated to tarnish the one who inspires so many across the world. It is pertinent to note that many who justify the assassination of a great man are ignorant of his writings or are fuelled by hate.

How did Gandhi get reduced to just a road, a stamp, and a statue? 'You remember me only on two days, October 2 and January 30,' cries Chaudary on behalf of his beloved leader. We must emulate the one who is worth emulating in terms of his simplicity, courage, and love for all. We can be better human beings by keeping alive the thinking and actions of Mahatma!

It is wonderful to keep the Mahatma alive
His thoughts ensure humanity will thrive!

- Pravin K. Sabnis

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