Brand Mahatma Gandhi selling like hotcakes and for a price tag

Brand Mahatma Gandhi selling like hotcakes and for a price tag 

Whether you are a Mahatma Gandhi ardent or adhere to his ideals of Swadeshi, Satyagraha and Self-sufficiency, now you can channel the Spirit of Gandhi by remodeling your home after the “man”.

That’s right! A home-designing website called RedModelista is endorsing Gandhi-inspired interiors and homes for those wanting to experience the life of the ascetic.

Featuring a guesthouse called “The Kraal” in South Africa, where Gandhi lodged up more than hundred years ago, today the property has become the resort of a wealthy class wanting to recoil away from the frantic pace of life. Famously called as the “Satyagraha House”, this place was originally build by the German architect Hermann Kallenbach and overhauled by French company Voyageurs du Monde years later. The guest house in Johannesburg, SA, today stands as a homage to the Mahatma and tries to encapsulate his real spirit and you will be shocked to find how?

Divided into Comfort, Superior Room, Suite and Family Cottage, a night-stay at the guesthouse comes at a hefty price tag that stretches from Euros 175 to Euros 510. Yes, that’s how much the guests shell out to lodge up at this no-Wifi, no smoking or alcohol and pure vegetarian house that is all about minimalistic living and Gandhian principles. Really?

Gandhi, as we know, was obsessed with living a modest life, so much so that he wouldn’t board a train unless it was the third class coach. Renouncing all material possessions or Aparigraha was a key part of Gandhi’s Satyagraha philosophy. Gandhi always believed that humans should not attach importance to hoard goods or materials things.

While the motives behind preserving the Satyagraha House might be good, one glance at the interiors and you would bet that it’s good enough to give a modern day spa a run for money. The pricey stay itself is an assertion of the fact that living the life of Gandhi in today’s world don’t come cheap.

 

And, these aren’t the first Gandhi-inspired products to come for that big a price. Mont Blanc launched a limited edition pen inspired by Gandi in 2009, priced at a whopping Rs 14 lakh only.

Dilip R. Doshi, chairman of Entrack, Montblanc’s distributor in India had said during the launch, “We are creating a thing of simplicity and beauty that will last for centuries.” And Gandhi’s own descendants justified that.

Speaking on the launch, Bapu’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi had said, “I know there is a contradiction between the man they are commemorating and the product they are commemorating him with, but you can’t expect a company like Montblanc to come out with a cheap thing.”


The world’s obsession with the Gandhi brand is so strong that now we frequently read reports of his original possessions are going under the hammer.

From his glasses to his letters to his drop of blood, everything involving Gandhi has fetched a grand price at the auction table.

In April 2012, a drop of his blood was auctioned for more than £100,000 at Ludlow Racecourse in Shropshire.

A pair of Gandhi’s glasses was sold for £34,000, his prayer went for £10,500, and his wooden charka was sold for £26,500.

This year, a letter penned by Gandhi in June 1935, accusing his own son of raping his daughter went under the hammer for 60,000 pounds.

Ironically in 2009, Tushar Gandhi had vehemently protested against the auctioning of some of his great-grandfather’s possessions. “It’s not just about Bapu’s (as Mahatma Gandhi was affectionately called) personal items, but I think it’s time that the government formulated a comprehensive law to protect our national heritage,” he told.


66 years post his death, much has changed. India no longer identifies or associates itself with Gandhi’s ideals — nonviolence is no more the best policy, the middle and upper middle-class have ditched Swadeshi for cars and gourmet foods, and Indian don’t believe in self-sufficiency anymore. It’s only the idea of Gandhi that now lives.

Thanks to Globalisation, the ideals of Gandhi has now become a commodity, Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, has graduated from being a man of philosophy to a brand name that sells like hot cakes.

In the West, Gandhi’s name serves as an antidote to its rapacious capitalism. Ironically, for those in quest for serenity, the journey ends in high-end Gandhi inspired bedroom or guesthouse, that’s only meant for those for whom the thread count on their sheets matter.

Gandhi would have shunned those comforts, but some rich Indian just might just feel virtuous by doing exactly the opposite — spending thousands to live a life of Gandhi.

AW: Suchorita Choudhury

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