Whether it is Ayodhya’s Lord Rama or Porbandar’s Gandhi — both are the most similar of reflections of each other across aeons.
He was born as a special child of destiny. There was great responsibility, of living a perfect life, becoming an exemplar of an ideal man and showcasing how virtue could supersede power at every step. His father had a path in mind, but circumstances sent him away from home, to perfect his understanding of his values. He made promises to his mother and kept them, against any and every temptation.
His decisions throughout his life’s work could be contested — and would be — in times to come, but every other great soul and contemporary hailed him as a divine incarnate. He saw his most treasured value kidnapped and imprisoned by a monstrous force, to fight which he created a most unusual army, who most would give little chance.
He saved his highest value after an incredible and peerless battle, in which he showed the values he lived for were as important as victory. But when he won the most precious treasure back, it had to be broken, face an unfair test and be burnt. He paid a heavy price for living up to his ideals and values, especially in public life. And although he won the war against a mighty kingdom, did not himself take the throne.
He still lives on, long after he is mortally no more, in the greatest idea that defines us, our country, Bharat. His name still inspires, invoking unparalleled emotion among millions and even those, who don't believe him or his ideas, have to bow to him.
This could be the life and story of the Ramayana, of Lord Rama, who defeated the mighty Ravana with an army of vanaras. Or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who defeated the mighty British empire with an army of ‘satyagrahis’. Sita walked into the holy pyre at the exact moment of his win, as India partitioned and suffered collective insanity and bloodshed at the exact moment of Independence.
Whether it is Ayodhya’s Lord Rama or Porbandar’s Gandhi — both are the most similar of reflections of each other across aeons: One, an avatar back from deep history, an icon of faith, maryadapursha, and the other, a contemporary political idea that is destined to be relevant across borders and centuries ahead, a Mahatma.
India, which is Bharat, is forever going to be a reflection of the ideas, virtues and values of the maryadapursha and the Mahatma; no demonic force can distort our collective understanding of what they mean or deviate us from their central teachings, and path, for too long.
One was so simple that he could be drawn as a single stroke of the brush, another, so strongly entwined into Bharat’s psyche that we have a thousand variations of his name in our salutations, in our names for our children, in our prayers and hopes.
In bleak times, Lord Rama might feel like merely a slogan and Gandhi might erroneously seem as only a picture on a currency note, but they are living attributes. No matter what any power might do, or not do, it is their most direct connection with the souls of an average Indian that keeps them as the most vibrant force, as an idea, as an ideal. And they will always guide the children of Bharat to keep on the path of dharma and defeat any monster.
Always! And together.