Before going to see the film Gandhi, My Father this afternoon, I hadn’t really heard the tragic story of his eldest son Harilal’s life.
According to the comment in Unlimited, the Cineworld Cinemas magazine, Gandhi could transform the soul of a nation but he could not save the troubled soul of his own son. The story of Harilal’s life as portrayed in Feroz Khan’s brilliant film is deeply moving. It’s really well worth seeing in all its bilingual simplicity and length.
I knew that great men like Mahatma Gandhi can pay a great price for their unyielding commitment to nation building. He, in particular, paid the ultimate price in 1948. What I didn’t know was the price his eldest son paid roaming the streets of India like a beggar dying a few short months after his father’s assassination. He couldn’t cope with being Gandhi’s son.
Men and women prone to putting their principles before anything else would do well to watch this film. Giving birth to a nation is a significant responsibility: bringing a child into the world is a far greater responsibility.
None of us should possess our children in the name of any cause other than their own and we should never ask them to make sacrifices that they cannot shoulder. What was asked of Harilal Gandhi was far too much for him.
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