Gandhi Bot

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Yes, great conversations can take place over a beer, and sometimes the beer itself can be the conversation. Recently, a brewery came up with a India pale ale and decided to name it "Gandhi Bot." The beer is sold in an orange can with a sketch of Gandhi, robotic in features, which is why the name Gandhi Bot, as in, robot.

Mahatma Gandhi, the revered Indian leader, considered the father of the nation in India, is universally recognizable by his lean frame and trademark glasses depicted on the can. The beer was well received for its hoppy taste primarily, rather than the artwork on the can. But it raised the ire of some who considered it an insult to Gandhi, who remained abstinent from alcohol his entire life. The company has since apologized for the name.

But I doubt Gandhi himself would have objected. While on a ship to London to attend a conference, Gandhi was presented with a journal, sheets of paper pinned together, full of scandalous material, sure to be upsetting to this saintly man. Mahatma Gandhi read the papers, and removed the pin from the sheets. He returned the sheets and kept the pin. When asked for his reaction, he said he had kept what was worthy from what was given to him and returned the rest.

Gandhi lived his life by his principles and convictions. He didn’t ask others to bear the cost of those convictions, but accepted for himself the great personal sacrifice that came with them. And when he kept that pin he was practicing the art of taking from the universe around us what we find to be useful and positive. As for the rest, we will never agree with everything we see, hear and experience. And it is up to us whether we go through our lives being hurt and demanding apologies or taking what is worthy and building on it.

When confronted with a beer offending something other than our palette, we can choose to make controversy or share the questionable bottle and start a real conversation.


With a Perspective, I'm Sapna Singh.