Senthil's post about Temple for Gandhi reminded me of a childhood conversation I had with my mother. It was around the time when my history lessons talked about the different religions, their founders etc. It embarrassed me that all other religions had a founder, a history etc. whereas Hinduism didn't. My mother, to pacify me, told me that probably Rama, Krishna were Kings who lived so long ago that no documentation exists to prove their existence. She went ahead to say that I need not look upto them as Gods, but as human beings from whose life we can learn morals and lessons. She added, "For all you know, after 'n' thousand years, people may not believe that a person called Gandhi existed!".
The above I had started soon after I commented in that post. But even before I could finish mine there have been many comments and more posts on the same topic! As most of you know that I am a 'confused Desi' and an 'aadha'! So, just pouring out all those that are in my head. I never imagined that one day I would be on this side of a 'religion' argument!!
Definitely a library full of books on Gandhi or a theatre screening archival footages and movies made on him would have been a better option than building him a temple. But like I said in my comment, "In our country, worshipping a person is the way to show their respect, devotion etc." A temple will surely attract more people than a library or a theatre(ofcourse if it does not show 'thalaivar' films). If Mr. Vaiyapuri is genuinely interested in spreading Gandhi's messages and teachings, he could arrange for guest lectures, story recitals, paint the walls with his messages etc. That kid who prays to Gandhi for help with Math paper will in due course realise that no Gandhi, no Krishna, no Jesus is waiting by the door ready to grant boons!
IMO, religions, castes must have been created to bring some sort of order, discipline. Though in the years, with little or no documentation, the interpretations(and interpreters) have taken it in different directions. Stories are told to drive some point, to present morals in an interesting way. We are free to read anything and everything now. We may not agree with everything, follow everything. I am sure we are able enough to absorb the good and discard the bad. In the glorious past, Monarchs might have forced their subjects to worship them. They are still happening in this 21st century, in African countries, in dictatorships (in some state governments in our own India)!
Also, religions were built around fear. Probably with a good intention to make people follow righteousness. Especially, with human beings of that time being more aggressive, less thoughtful this might have been a great way to bring them in line(Like with kids, until they start thinking by themselves, we can scare them into not going hay-wire!). From the kids stage, the human community has probably reached the adolescent (thinking) stage now that th(w)ey are questioning the not-understandables, not-followables.