This Gandhi Jayanti had a special significance for the country and the young generation. For most people, Gandhi Jayanti is synonymous with a public holiday (though this time it fell on a Sunday), with the ruling and opposition party leaders making the mandatory visit to the Rajghat and school students being reminded of the importance of Mahatma Gandhi. For years, Bapu has been confined to photographs in government offices and the history and textbooks.
This time, though, it was different for the younger generation and people of various age groups who had participated in the recent spontaneous nationwide stir, supporting Gandhian Anna Hazare. During the stir, the protesters had donned the Gandhi caps to assert their Gandhian way and there was not a single incident of stoning, arson or any other kind of violence in any part of the country during the fortnight-long stir.
The media showed a renewed interest in Gandhiji, the relevance of the principles of non-violence and satyagraha as Gandhi Jayanti came soon after the Anna Hazare-led stir for a strong lokpal bill. The media filled their columns and recorded bites on Gandhiji to meet the interests of the readers and viewers. The Mahatma, to the surprise of all, has certainly staged a comeback.
It was Richard Attenborough in 1980s, who produced his magnum opus film "Gandhi" and reintroduced Gandhiji to Indians and the people all over the world. Three decades later, relevance of Gandhism seems to have resurrected again. The techno-savvy, fun-loving and equally highly competitive younger generation has been attracted to the half-clad Bapu, thanks to Anna Hazare and his team. This interest in Gandhiji and his principles has not come all of sudden. A few years back, "Lage Raho Munnabhai" had played an important role in introducing the younger generation and others to Gandhiji and his ideas.
Bapu with his mischievous smile, portrayed so well by Dilip Prabhavalkar in "Munnabhai," had cast a deep spell on the filmgoers. In his crude and rustic style, Munnabhai showed that Gandhian methods were relevant even today as was seen in real life. There were many incidents of protesters offering flowers to those against who they protested. The young fans and supporters of Anna Hazare are acquainted with Bapu as revealed to Munnabhai. Therefore, it was easier for them to immediately identify or associate with Hazare and take up to sporting Gandhi caps. The transition of the Gennext to Mahatma Gandhi and Anna Hazare has been via Munnabhai.