Photo: Indian schoolkids dress like Gandhi

AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday, Indian students dressed as members of India's independence movement for a program marking the 138th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birth. Earlier this year, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 2, Gandhi's birthday, as the International Day of Non-Violence (I guess they didn't get the memo in Iraq and Burma).

Interestingly, in a survey published last year by the Economic Times newspaper, 37 percent of Indian management students and young business leaders said today's biggest icon was Bill Gates. Gandhi trailed at 30 percent. Seventy-four percent of the young business leaders and 61 percent of the students said people of their generation could not relate to the father of the nation. Fifty-six percent said it was time to reinvent Gandhi.


Spanish monarchy in peril?


Looks like Spain's royal family would have been a valiant contender for FP's list of monarchies in peril. King Juan Carlos, who has been atop the royal throne since the monarchy's creation in 1975, has found himself in the hot seat a few times as of late. Last month, Carlos finally relented to critics and agreed to hire an auditor to disclose how the royal family spends its annual €8 million budget. Then, Spanish satire magazine El Juevez was pulled off the shelves by officials after several cartoon covers poked fun at the monarch, inciting debates over freedom of speech in the country. Most recently, Catalan nationalists set pictures of King Juan Carlos and his Queen Sofia aflame. While the king's role is mostly ceremonial in practice, there have also been calls by a Catalan political party for Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to take over the position of commander in chief of the Spanish Armed Forces.

So what does the almost 70-year old monarch have to say about this? In a rare speech this week, Carlos stepped up to defend his crown:

[The monarchy] has provided the longest period of stability and prosperity that Spain has ever experienced under democratic rule.

I wouldn't expect any sort of mass popular revolution coming out of the Iberian peninsula anytime soon. Opinion polls show that a good chunk of the public still favors the royal family. If anything, recent attacks on the king have given the conservative opposition another reason to attack Zapatero and his socialist government, chiding them for not doing enough stick up for his royal highness.