Published: 02nd October 2021
Gandhi with Gen Z: Remember this Varanasi boy whose speech on Gandhi went viral? He thinks that Bapu would be imprisoned in 2021
Ayush first read Gandhi's autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, when he was in Class VII. That was when his admiration for the Mahatma began
Gandhi would still have been behind the bars, an otherwise calm Ayush Chaturvedi says, rather firmly. He's 18, fresh out of high school and browsing good colleges in the country to study either Political Science or History and to get to know Mahatma Gandhi closer, deeper.
Two years ago, as a 16-year-old, Ayush's speech at his school's assembly on the Father of the Nation went viral. "There was no bigger Hindu than Gandhi. But those from other religions didn’t feel fear when he said ‘Hey Ram’ because Gandhi was a symbol of secularism in India," Ayush said in his speech. "Gandhi's Hinduism respected secularism. But today, people are killed in the name of God and religion. They are scared of Hindutva, but not Hinduism," he added.
Two years down the line, Ayush's admiration for Gandhi has only increased. The curiosity came flooding in, he says. "Also, I read a lot on Gandhi, particularly, the work of Ramachandra Guha," he says. In fact, during the lockdown, he revived his old YouTube account to create more video content on Gandhi to educate and create awareness among the young. "Social media and the internet are what made me popular. So, I felt that there was no better medium for me to help more people from my generation learn about the greatness of Gandhi," says Ayush. His popularity soared — former Varanasi MLA Ajay Rai, who went head to head with Narendra Modi in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, shot a video with him. Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Kumar Jha too was part of another discussion with Ayush, who is an alumnus of Varanasi's Central Hindu Boys School.
Ayush first read Gandhi's autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, when he was in Class VII. That was when his admiration for the Mahatma began. Now, why does Ayush think that Gandhi would be imprisoned in 2021? He says, "He always stood with the minorities and the oppressed. So much that has been happening in the country is not what Gandhiji would have envisioned. And he would not have stayed quiet. He would have fought against the injustice, even from behind bars," he concludes.