But I my using the place, Gujarat as his birthplace, because people and the ideology, about which I am narrating, relates to this state only. No I was not in Porbander and Ahmedabad, for the recently held assembly elections. But for a cause. Not that I had gone to cover the assignment, just because elections in the state were round the corner. This cause related to the heart of Mahatma Gandhi and the millions of his followers--including those who have never read his autobiography, 'My Experiments with Truth'.
I was astonished to meet the 'so-called' Gandhians of the state. Those Gandhians who feel proud to be labeled as 'Gandhian-followers', who are heading the societies founded by Gandhiji or were formed later in his memories.
....But, does heading these societies or learning by heart the Gandhi's collected works or other studies qualify them to be called Gandhians. No. Absolutely no. A person who follows Gandhian ideology in his personal and professional life could only be termed as a true follower of Gandhiji.A person who can stand among the thousands or speak against the wrongdoers, against what is wrong in our society is fit to be labeled as 'Gandhian'.
I am saying this because during my Gujarat tour I found such numerous pseudo-Gandhians, who feel terrified in speaking against those who have doctored Mahatma's Autobiography. It’s not only a book but a historical document on Gandhiji's life. A book which narrates how an ordinary man became apostle of truth, non-violence and peace. Story of a man who became the torch-bearer of the freedom of movement, not in India but other countries, too.
Some people in Porbander, in connivance with the local administration and some politicians, have fabricated the Mahatma’s Autobiography, ‘My Experiments with Truth’, to take possession of a shipwreck lying at the city-port. This is the very ship (S S Khedive) by which Mahatma Gandhi had returned from South Africa. Moreover this is the ship, which belonged to Dada Abdullah Company, which had sent Gandhiji to fight a legal case in South Africa. This ship, built by the king of Egypt, was owners’ pride and neighbour’s envy. The Queen of England wanted to buy this ship from the King of Egypt, Khedive. But reasons not known to the people, Khedive sold this ship, worth eight lakh pounds, to Dada Abdullah Company in 8000 thousands pounds. Gandhiji has mentioned about his trip to South Africa and about the Dada Abdullah company in detail in his autobiography. As the story goes down the lane, the
....British raj had sank S S Khedive ship at Porbander port, along with three other ships of Dada Abdullah company in different parts of the world, for the company was found to be supporting the freedom movement. The partners of this company—Abdullah Haji Adam Jhaveri, popularly known as Dada Abdullah, and his younger brother Abdul Karim Haji Adam Jhaveri--were instrumental in founding the Natal Indian Congress in South Africa, of which Gandhiji was the first secretary. The first two presidents of the Natal Indian Congress were none other than the business partners cum brothers of the Dada Abdullah Company.
But, now the
.descendants of the founders of the Dada Abdullah Company are fighting a long legal battle for the ownership of this ship, known as S S Khedive.... In the year 1992, the Porbander District Magistrate handed over the ownership of this ship, which is still said to be worth crores, to a lesser known Surya family of the city. When the descendants of the Jhaveri family, who had migrated to Madurai (Tamilnadu) in 1970, came to know about this they lodged a case in the Gujarat High Court. But to their dismay, they had delayed in approaching the High Court. Ten years had already passed when they had filed a suite, so court dismissed their petition. But they didn’t loss hope and again approached the High Court and the Porbander local court. In 2004, the Porbander local court accepted that the Surya family had cheated the Porbander Collector’s office while claiming as the owner of the Dada Abdullah Company as well as the S S Khedive ship. It came to light that the Surya family had doctored the Mahatma’s autobiography—they had deleted the portion from the zeroxed copy of the book where Gandhiji had mentioned about the Jhaveri brothers—and submitted it in the Collector’s office. So much so that even other books of Gandhiji, which were presented in the Collector’s office to prove the claim on the ship, were also doctored and fabricated.
Even after the court’s order, the Porbander Collector’s office has not changed the 1992 order—that Surya Family is the owner of the S S Khedive ship. Thus, the Jhaveri family is still fighting a legal battle in the Gujarat High Court against the Surya family, the Collector’s office and the Gujarat administration, who have turned the eye from this ‘biggest’ fraud and cheating of the independent India. The question is not about the worth of the ship or such a crime has occurred in Gujarat. Question is also not that the crime has been committed in the name of Gandhiji. Bu
...the bigger question is Gandhiji’s historical document i.e. ‘My Experiments with Truth’ has been doctored. The attempt has been made to change history.t . It’s not mere a history, but a glorious past, which had been shaped by Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. The attempt has been made in the document which is the only historical evidence of the Mahatma’s early life—because Mahatma’s later life i.e. after the Non-cooperation Movement in 1921, has been largely known to the masses and the classes.
Now about the present day Gandhians. As I have already stated that I had gone to Gujarat to unearth this fraud, I met a lot of Gandhians. Working in T.V needs sound bites on this topic from the well-known Gandhians. Although many were unaware of this biggest (un)truth, those who knew also did not dare to come on camera. They trembled, not because of facing camera but, for ‘indulging in controversy’ relating to Gandhiji.
I was disheartened to know about their versions on this issue. I was contemplating why these so-called Gandhians fear to speak on it. Was it really a controversy. Not at all. This was an attempt to bring to the public arena, a fraud committed by some scoundrels, hand in glove with the administration and some politicians—during my tour to Gujarat, some sources on the condition of anonymity disclosed that the Surya family is just a puppet in this whole issue, a leading politician of Gujarat is behind this whole cheating. The Surya family has been made the front-man because, it is said that the fore-fathers of this family were employees of the Dada Abdullah Company.
Do the Gandhians of today are nothing but just some office-bearers of the societies founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Everybody in Gujarat told me that there is one person who is an authority on Gandhiji, but somehow I could not meet him. According to them, the son of Mahadev Desai, a closed aide of Gandhiji, Narayan Desai could speak on this matter because ‘Gandhi-gatha’ is known to him by heart. I also came to know that he orgainses ‘Gandhi-katha’, like sadhus, mahant and seers recites Ram, Krishna or Shiv Katha in temples and elsewhere in satsangs. May be one day I would get chance to meet this great follower of Gandhiji. Till then I would have a dismayed picture of most of the Gandhians of this land.