What Gandhi would have told  Tikait, farmers on Delhi border

What Gandhi would have told Tikait, farmers on Delhi border

One morning, India woke up to a tweet that created a storm across the world. IM Gandhi @TheforgottenBapu: “M returning to earth for a few hours to speak to farmers. See you there #farmersprotest.” Frenetic enquiries by the government revealed it wasn’t some Martyrs’-Day hoax. Gandhi had indeed found a Christopher Nolan-esque wormhole and was ready to travel through space and time to...

One morning, India woke up to a tweet that created a storm across the world.

IM Gandhi @TheforgottenBapu: “M returning to earth for a few hours to speak to farmers. See you there #farmersprotest.”

Frenetic enquiries by the government revealed it wasn’t some Martyrs’-Day hoax. Gandhi had indeed found a Christopher Nolan-esque wormhole and was ready to travel through space and time to speak to Indian farmers. On the morning of January 30, he would interact with farmers camping on the borders of Delhi.

When the worried government heard of Gandhi’s time travel plan, it summoned an emergency meeting of its counter-offensive department. After the IT Cell head, Panna Pramukhs and Hindu Vahini had spoken, the trouble-shooter-in-chief cleared his throat.

“Everybody stay calm and do zumba,” the man everyone feared said. “ Main hoon na!”

“Like always, I have a plan. Understand the chronology. We will first ask our IT Cell warriors to trend #AntiNationalMahatma. And then, once he is discredited, we will arrest him under UAPA as soon as he appears in the tesseract.”

But on the appointed day, nothing went according to the plan. A group of millennials who went by the name @Gamestopgang got wind of @TheforgottenBapu’s plan and put up a message board on Reddit: #GolongonMahatma.

Within minutes, they had broken the internet with news of Gandhi’s plan to return to earth and meet the farmers. As a result, thousands of people had gathered at the venue before @TheforgottenBapu’s arrival.

When they saw him in person, they started trending #TherealMahatma. Soon, the IT Cell abandoned its campaign, cursing the government in private for not having shut down the internet ahead of D-day.

The government, of course, was unfazed. It ordered the police to arrest Gandhi as soon as he appeared through the wormhole.

“Motihari again, minus the British,” chuckled the old man and followed the cops to a court.

What followed next could have been straight out of Rajkumar Hirani/Richard Attenborough’s script.


“Silence, silence,” the judge banged his gavel as a large crowd waived the tricolour and screamed, “Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro sa**on ko.” In response, another large group waived the tricolour and sang Faiz’s nazm “Hum Dekhenge” in a loud chorus.

For a moment, Gandhi thought the Savarakarites had gatecrashed the court. But the faces around him were unfamiliar. He turned to the magistrate.

Magistrate: You have been ordered out of the province on the grounds of disturbing the peace.

Gandhi (defiantly): With respect, I refuse to go.

The magistrate stared. The clerk swallowed. 

Magistrate: (sternly): I will have you arrested.

Gandhi: (not giving him an inch): On what charges? Traveling in my own country? 

Magistrate: (sternly): People are being arrested for lesser deeds—like plans to crack a joke. 

Gandhi: You must be joking!

Magistrate: (sternly): Do you want to go to jail?

Gandhi: (not giving him an inch): As you wish.

The clerk lowered his eyes to his pad. The magistrate searched the distant wall, the top of his desk, his twitching hands for an answer. 

Magistrate: (with as much sternness as he could muster): Alright, I will release you on bail of one hundred rupees until I reach a sentence.

Gandhi: I refuse to pay one hundred rupees.

Again the magistrate stared. Then he wet his lips—

Magistrate: Then I – I will grant release without bail – until I reach a decision.

Ten minutes later, Gandhi walked out of the court to chants of—Bapu! Bapu!

A young man with a tricolour in his hand, a mask on his face and a ‘Deshbhakt’ bandana on his head suddenly accosted Gandhi and slapped him smack on the nose.

“Bharat Mata ki…” he said.

“Jai,” the crowd shouted in unison.

“Hey, Ram! Forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing,” Gandhi picked up his glasses from the floor and made his way through the crowd.

A group of masked men blocked his way. “Go to Pakistan,” they screamed. Someone threw a bucket full of human faeces in front of him.

“Noakhali,” Gandhi smiled, and swept the path with a broom.  Soon he was marching at the head of thousands of people, all screaming and shouting, “Azaadi”.


By dusk, he had made his way to a large group of farmers sitting at Ghazipur, a town on the border of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. On a make-shift stage, a middle-aged man was sobbing inconsolably.

“Who is he?” Gandhi asked.

“That’s Rakesh Tikait, leader of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh,” someone told him.

“Oh, I know his father. Let’s meet him,” Gandhi said and clambered up the dais.

“Beta,” Gandhi patted Tikait’s back, “Do you know your father brought lakhs of farmers to Delhi’s Boat Club in 1988 and didn’t budge till the government accepted his 35 demands? You’ve got to be brave like him,” Gandhi said.

“Bapu,” Tikait choked on his tears, “Their lackeys are calling us traitors, gaddars. One of their MLAs, the one we voted for, is asking the government to hang us in public. Is this how they will deal with farmers?” Tikait started sobbing again.

“Be a Tikait,” Gandhi admonished him. “The function of a civil resistance is to provoke response and you should continue to provoke until they respond or change the law. They are not in control; you are.”

“Their goons throw stones at us; their police threaten to arrest us for sitting in peace. What should we do?” Tikait implored for an answer.

“Remember my Sabarmati speech, a day before the Dandi march?” Gandhi asked.

When nobody replied, he smiled and continued: “I have faith in the righteousness of our cause and the purity of our weapons. And where the means are clean, there God is undoubtedly present with His blessings. And where these three combine, defeat is an impossibility. A Satyagrahi, whether free or incarcerated, is ever victorious. He is vanquished only when he forsakes truth and nonviolence and turns a deaf ear to the inner voice. If, therefore, there is such a thing as defeat for even a Satyagrahi, he alone is the cause of it. God bless you all and keep off all obstacles from the path in the struggle that begins tomorrow.”


By this time, Yogendra Yadav and several farmers from Punjab had come running to Ghazipur.

“Bapu,” Yogendra Yadav folded his hands and fell at Gandhi’s feet.

“All of you invoke my name in every protest. But I am just like a hashtag for you, something that’s trendy but has no real value. For you, ahimsa, satyagraha, fast, penitence are just jumlas,” Gandhi said to the Sikhs and Yadav in mock anger.

Yadav hung his neck in embarrassment.

“You should have called off the protest the moment it turned violent on January 26. You had no moral right to go on after your men attacked the police, rioted in Delhi.”

“But Bapu, those weren’t our men,” pleaded Yadav.

“What did you learn from Chauri Chaura? I will only repeat what I said to the court after the violence in Chauri Chaura and other parts during the 1922 non-cooperation movement:

‘I wish to endorse all the blame that the learned Advocate-General has thrown on my shoulders in connection with the Bombay occurrences, Madras occurrences and the Chauri Chaura occurrences. Thinking over these things deeply and sleeping over them night after night, it is impossible for me to dissociate myself from the diabolical crimes of Chauri Chaura or the mad outrages of Bombay. He is quite right when he says, that as a man of responsibility, a man having received a fair share of education, having had a fair share of experience of this world, I should have known the consequences of every one of my acts. I know them. I knew that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk and if I was set free I would still do the same. I felt it this morning that I would have failed in my duty, if I did not say what I said here just now.

I wanted to avoid violence. Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed… I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am deeply sorry for it and I am, therefore, here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest penalty. I do not ask for mercy…”

A Sikh from Sangrur raised a deprecatory hand.

“Gandhiji, the age of nonviolence and idealism is just a liberal fantasy. We know only one thing, if they slap you on the face, cut off their nose,” he said, and pulled out his kirpan for effect.

“An eye for an eye would make everyone but the state blind,” Gandhi laughed. “For every kripan you have, the state now has a Rafale—and a Hindu Sena. It can beat you in air, on earth, in water; and even on Twitter.”

Everyone around him laughed.

“On a serious note, remember that when you react violently, the state gets moral legitimacy as well as justification to use disproportionate and unjust force. Evil can only be sustained by violence. If you want to deprive evil of oxygen, completely abstain violence.,” Gandhi said.

“Bapu! Bapu!” the crowd cheered into the sunset.

Next Story