Indulge me today! I'd like to dream that a rich Indian has purchased Gandhiji’s spectacles and flies home with it to a rousing reception at the Delhi airport. A naval band is there to greet the hero buyer as he walks down the airplane ramp. All the political leaders are there as TV cameras zoom on his smiling, triumphant face and as a TV anchor asks, “Sir, what do you plan to do with the Mahatma's spectacles?"
"Ah!" says the purchaser of the spectacles, smiling at the TV anchor and then looking at the netas who have lined up to shake his hand, "I was hoping you'd ask. What I plan to do is to allow our beloved leaders to wear these glasses for a few moments, before it goes into my collection. You sir,” he says to a ruling party politician, “you may wear them first! Tell us what you see!"
"Whoa! Whoa!" cries the politician as he stares through the glasses, "I see a masjid and mandir fading away on a disputed piece of land! Instead I see millions of people pleading, "Bread! Jobs! Water! Bread! Jobs! Water! I see myself feeding the people, giving them jobs and catering to their wants! But no, no, I cannot fight the elections without mandir and masjid issues! Take off these silly glasses! Take them off this very instant!"
"Gently sir, gently! I have paid a fortune for these spectacles. I notice you do not agree with the vision the Mahatma had! Now madamji will you put on these glasses for a while?"
"Yes of course! I am not afraid like the ruling party leaders! Ah they fit well!"
"What do you see madamji?"
"I see myself and my son building local leaders throughout the country. I see these leaders taking over the party and leading it. But that is impossible! Take these glasses off my face! The Congress belongs to my family! After me it is my son! Throw these glasses away!"
"Careful madam careful, please handle them with care! Tut! Tut! I see you do not agree with the dreams of the Father of the Nation! Now who would like to wear these glasses? Come now sir, put them on awhile will you! They go well with your white beard, don't they? Now sir, what is it you see?"
"My vision has always been right, as all the industrialists will agree! But, horror of horrors, what is this I see? Hindus, Muslims and Christians smiling at me. I see myself defending the weak and defenseless! I see myself speaking not being silent, whether it's a fault of the majority or the minority!"
"Why sir do you cry horror of horrors?"
"I cannot win elections doing this! Take these glasses away! Take them away!"
The purchaser of the round- rimmed spectacles takes the pair of glasses and wipes the tears suddenly formed on them, "Don't cry Bapu, don't cry..!"
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org