Chapter 28: You Can Only Be Yourself and Nothing Else
Naturally, Moses was in a tremendous anguish, a great turmoil. He had not thought that this was going to happen. He was not deceiving his people; he was very sincere, his intention was good. There was no way to get these people out of Egyptian slavery unless they were given a great hope that pulled them out of slavery.
But this happens to all great leaders: when they succeed, then comes the moment of their failure. It happened in India. Mahatma Gandhi led the country for forty years and made the people believe, “When independence comes all your problems are solved. There will be no poverty, no suffering, no riots, no violence. These Hindu-Mohammedan riots in which thousands of people are killed, burned alive, are created by the British rulers.” It was easy to dump it on the British rulers - dump everything on the British rulers: “You are suffering because you are in slavery. You are poor because they are exploiting you. You can never live a respectable life if you are under the shoes of the British Empire.”
People believed him, just the same way as Jews had believed Moses. They followed him. The independence came.and that was the great moment of failure for Mahatma Gandhi, because it is not such a simple affair that just by getting rid of British rule all your problems are going to disappear.
Your problems are millions of years old. The British were in India for only three hundred years. Before that you were poor, hungry, uneducated. In fact, the British Empire did everything to raise the standard of life in India. It introduced all kinds of technology, science, in every possible way. It introduced medicine, schools.. But nobody was going to thank them. Who is going to thank the person who is enslaving you? - they were the cause of all the riots, of all the murders, of all the butchery.
So, people were waiting: “When the British go back, we will be living for the first time as human beings - there will be no poverty, life will be a bed of roses.” But life not only remained the same, it became worse, because the British rulers knew how to rule. In three hundred years they had created a system to control, to keep discipline. Now all that disappeared with them, and the people who came into power had no idea what power was. What to do with power? How to use it? And suddenly there was a tremendous outburst of violence such as India had never seen before, perhaps no other country has seen ever before.
Gandhi was shattered. Now the British were gone, but the violence was a million times more, because the British had a certain discipline, power, and they had managed the country for three hundred years. Now there was nobody; everybody was free to do whatsoever he wanted. Thousands of people were killed, burned; trains were burned, stopped and completely burned, and nobody was allowed to get out of the trains. Houses were set on fire. The whole country was in a mess. In Pakistan, the Hindus were being killed; in India, the Mohammedans were being killed. And the leaders were at a loss as to what to do. Gandhi himself said, “Now nobody listens to me.” And he had been the absolute leader of the people for forty years. His voice was the voice of the country, and now he said, “Nobody listens to me. I have become a false coin - useless.”