Gandhi and Ba (Image courtesy: Wiki)
Here is my most favourite Gandhi site on the net — Gandhiserve: you can be lost in the site hours and hours — browsing through the writings by and about Gandhi (including the 100 volume collected works), looking through the photos, listening to the audio, and watching the videos.
Some years ago, in an interview to this newspaper, the novelist Amitav Ghosh observed (and I quote here from memory) that “classical musicians are the only people in India who strive for perfection, and achieve it.” I think the qualifier is crucial — it is not only that they seek perfection, but that they achieve it. Most Indians in public life, and many in business, set their standards very low — one is not certain that they even know what “perfection” means. Indians who are sportsmen, or writers or craftsmen, do seek to attain higher standards of quality and proficiency. However, their respective arts, although difficult to master, are yet not of the order of refinement as classical music. Amitav Ghosh is right — our classical musicians are simply the greatest of Indians.
So, I believe that the best tribute to Gandhi is a musical tribute — to one of the greatest Indians who also tried to achieve perfection from the other greatest Indians, who, like him, tried and even achieved perfection: Ariyakudi’s Vaishnava Janato; K B Sundaramabal singing Gandhi: Or parama Ezhai and Uthamaram Gandhi; MS’ Manilaththai Vaazhzvaikka; Latha’s Vaishnava Janato; and, Ustad Bismillah Khan’s Raghupati Raghava.
Happy Gandhi Jayanti.
PS: I forgot to mention first time around: Pandit Ravi Shankar paid his homage to Mahatma Gandhi too; unfortunately, no place I know of online, where you might be able to hear it, though.