Revolution of the Mass

This fragment of engagement of my thoughts stemmed about two and a half years back. I got my new desktop at home, and rented Gharey Bairey, a Bengalee movie, directed by Satyajit Ray, based on Rabindranath Tagore's 1915 work that goes by the same name. It is set against the backdrop of the Swadeshi Movement, it posed a very novel question : Is a 'nation' ready for a revolution, even if it meant to be for/of the mass?

I had traditionally held the belief that Gandhi's methods were targeted towards the 'mass' and always had a broader appeal than the more aggressive alternative that existed for the junta. This was a reason, I, in all my naivety, thought of Gandhi as a public manipulator, who welded the public will for his own political agenda. Well this is another story that I reserve for a future occasion. But, this movie, drove an important point home : Could Gandhi truly rope in the broader 'Indian' public?

It leaves little doubt that he could do it more than all other leaders of India. But, there always remained a chunk whose feeble livelihood was in serious jeopardy by such "Bourgeois" ideas. There were people who found it easier to live off Manchester than native (cottage) industrial production. The primary point of dissent was the issue of taking down a fence without the provisions of a substitution. This was Tagore's most important criticism against such mass movements. In any case, Gandhi pressed on with his ideas, and he did have non-trivial impact on the psyche of both his countrymen as well as the Englishmen. But, at no instance did any of his movements become a complete success, nor did post 1947 India adopt his ideas of industry and economy.

Probably none of the mass revolutions in the history of the world bear any resemblance to Tagore's ideas, which naturally implies the impracticability of the Utopian ideals of a poet. But, then why do we still dream of a day when the oppressed shall rise against the oppressor and beget a revolution of the mass? Can there really be a phenomenon that is true to the phrase? 

                                                                  to be continued...

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