One of the most common things to see in India are quotes like these by Gandhi:-
“Be the change you want to be in the world.”
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.”
And of course the ubiquitous images of him are spinning the charkha. But would the government and the ruling class whose shop runs on glorifying him could promote him as a Mahatma if his more sinister quotes were available more freely? Or that some uncomfortable opinions about him are included in the school curriculum? Like, when Clement Attlee had only one word to say when asked about what effects Gandhi had on the British empire- “Minimal”. Or when Lord Irwin, with whom Gandhi signed the Gandhi Irwin pact of 1931 to bring the civil disobedience movement to a close, said “Gandhi would never do and he would not allow the Congress to do anything which would cause difficulty to the British Government or the British Empire.”
There are megatons of skeletons in the closet. The purpose of this write up is not to indulge in pre-emptive mudslinging for sensationalism but to argue by citing his statements & quotes that is it justified by elevating someone to a god like status by glorifying his one half and completely hiding the other?
His arrival in India in 1915 was no mere coincidence. Tilak was released in 1914, and the British couldn’t afford to have him leading the Congress again. Also, they needed cannon fodder after the huge man and material losses in Somme and Verdun ,for the first world war , which they had understood , was not going to end for atleast a couple of more years. So one of the first things Mr Gandhi did , was to recruit Indians for his majesty to die like flies in the WWI ( more than 100000), for which he was awarded the title of Kaiser e Hind. http://indiafacts.org/deconstructing-gandhi-gandhi-recruited-indians-world-war/
On the other hand, he suspended the Non Cooperation movement because he was saddened by the mob burning alive policemen in Chauri Chaura in todays UP. Can you imagine the plight of people who had left their jobs and education for two years for supporting him? The lives of these policemen serving the British Raj were more precious than the lives of thousands of Indians soldiers who died in the WWI for burra sahib and the hundreds gunned down in Jalianwaala Bagh. Thats Satya and Ahinsa in a nutshell.
After all, its no coincidence that Indian National Congress party, which was formed by a retired civil servant AO Hume in 1885, has gone overboard in lionizing him.
At the end of the first world war, the Ottoman empire started crumbling, and was finally laid to rest in 1922. But the signs were evident much earlier, and the Khilafat movement started by the Muslims of the subcontinent for the reinstating of the Ottoman Caliphate was given full backing by Congress led by Gandhi. Its amusing to note that Mustafa Kemal Pasha who led the anti caliphate forces is regarded as Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Khilafat then became an anti British movement and then an anti Hindu movement . The cost of every grotesque Hindu Muslim unity by Mohandas Gandhi was to be borne by Hindus alone, with copious amount of blood and dishonour. Anti Hindu riots broke out in all parts of the country, and the most horrifying results were seen in Malabar, where Moplah Moplah riots in Malabar where thousands of Hindus were butchered. Did Gandhi condemn this violence? On the contrary , he called the Moplahs brave and patriotic for doing their duty! This sums it up:-
“…..The Moplah revolt is a test for Hindus and Mussulmans. Can Hindus friendship survive the strain put upon it? Can Mussulmans in the deepest recesses of their hearts approve of the conduct of the Moplahs?…….. The Hindus must have the courage and the faith to feel that they can protect their religion in spite of such fanatical eruptions………. The Mussulmans must naturally feel the shame and humiliation of the Moplah conduct about forcible conversions and looting, and they must work away so silently and effectively that such things might become impossible even on the part of the most fanatical among them. My belief is that the Hindus as a body have received the Moplah madness with equanimity and that the cultured Mussulmans are sincerely sorry for the Moplah’s perversion of the teachings of the Prophet.”
Khilafat also strengthened the Muslim League, making leaders of people like the Ali brothers who swore by his name, but abandoned him soon as a dirty Kafir the moment they didn’t need him to give them legitimacy, and fuelled separatist tendencies which would cause the partition of the country less than three decades later.
Gandhism is an ideology of convenience where there is an escape route available at the last moment. It made tokenism and symbolism as our national character. Lofty words with little or absent action. So, him going shirtless to show solidarity with India’s poor didn’t solve poverty. Him calling depressed castes as Harijan did nothing to elevate them (If you call any person of scheduled castes as harijan today, you are certain to get a good beating). Calling manual scavenging “highest of work” did not improve their status. And of course, all the yarn he spun from his charkha did not clothe one poor man nor could cover the body of a raped woman in partition riots.
His thoughts on the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Shivram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar, whose lives he did little to save while signing the Gandhi Irwin pact:-
“The government certainly had the right to hang these men. However, there are some rights which do credit to those who possess them only if they are enjoyed in name only.”
“Brave Bhagat Singh and his two associates have been hanged. Many attempts were made to save their lives, and even some hopes were entertained, but all was in vain. Bhagat Singh did not wish to live. He refused to apologize; declined to file an appeal. These heroes had conquered the fear of death. Let us bow to them a thousand times for their heroism. But we should not imitate their act. I am not prepared to believe that the country has benefitted from their action. I can see only the harm that has been done. We could have won swaraj long ago if that line of action had not been pursued and we could have waged a purely non-violent struggle. By making a dharma of violence, we shall be reaping the fruit of our own actions. Hence though we praise the courage of these brave men, we should never countenance their activities.”
“There can be therefore no excuse for suspicion that I did not want to save Bhagat Singh. But I want you also to realize Bhagat Singh’s error.I declare that we cannot win swaraj for our famishing millions, for our deaf and dumb, for our lame and crippled, by the way of the sword.”
The experiments with truth were nothing but distortions with truth. Of promoting Sanatana Dharma as pacifism and surrender. He and his followers parroted “Ahinsa parmo Dharmaha” whereas the entire shloka is “Ahinsa Paramo Dharmaha, Dharmo Hinsa yathev ch” (Non violence is a duty but so is righteous violence). Didnt it occur to them there is hardly any Hindu god or goddess who isn’t armed, or that sanatana dharma never shies away from glorifying bravery or advocating to fight till the end to the cause of truth and justice?
Another lie is that Gandhi gave us freedom. Single handedly, against an empire which was ruling over one fourth of the world and kept 300 million Indians under their thumb with less than a force of one hundred thousand of their citizens. Is there even any logic in it, if you think about it for a moment? The British encouraged Gandhi to travel around the country because he did a great job in pacifying the anger in the masses. The British empire mercilessly destroyed all those who posed a real danger to them , may it be the armed revolutionaries or armed uprisings. The Savarkar brothers were kept in cellular jail in solitary confinement and tortured every day, Surya Sen was bludgeoned to death just to give a few examples. The conditions which Savarkar brothers or Jatin Das endured would have killed Gandhi within a day. All his fasts and marches were weekend getaways compared to the unimaginable and inhuman tortures that our real freedom fighters went through. Anyone can be a philosopher sitting in Aga Khan palace, Anand bhawan or in Sabarmati Ashram built by Birla.
What do we say about his experiments with celibacy, something that is not even decent to be discussed on a family or public atmosphere:-
His views about rape victims are something which makes the word shameful inadequate
“I have always held that it is physically impossible to violate a woman against her will. The outrage takes place only when she gives way to fear or does not realize her moral strength. If she cannot meet the assailant’s physical might, her purity will give her the strength to die before he succeeds in violating her…It is my firm conviction that a fearless woman, who knows that her purity is her best shield can never be dishonored. However beastly the man, he will bow in shame before the flame of her dazzling purity.”
For someone who advocated that a pious woman cannot be raped, this was the defence plan for women faced with rape by rioters:-
Just before the partition, both Hindu and Sikh women were being raped by the Muslims in large numbers. Gandhi advised them that if a Muslim expressed his desire to rape a Hindu or a Sikh lady, she should never refuse him but cooperate with him. She should lie down like a dead with her tongue in between her teeth. Thus the rapist Muslim will be satisfied soon and sooner he leave her. (D Lapierre and L Collins, Freedom at Midnight, Vikas, 1997, p-479).
The hypocrisy for minority appeasement to promote Hindu Muslim unity is sickening. The upholding of Hindu Muslim unity meant that Hindu lives didn’t matter. Moplahs were brave and patriotic but there was no word about their victims. He called Abdul Rashid who killed Swami Shraddhanand as Bhai but didn’t make any effort for Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Not a word about the hundreds of Muslim engineered riots which rocked the country from Khilafat to partition. He denied that anything was happening in Noakhali while thousands of Hindus were being butchered there and you went there only when the situation was calmed. After direct action day, he went around preaching communal harmony with Bengal Premier HS Suhrawardy, the man who was behind it all. And needless to say, it was him who brought a spoilt playboy to politics because the party needed his daddy’s money, who hadn’t done an honest day’s work in his life and yet was called as Pandit and was given the country on a silver platter to ruin for seventeen years after independence. Who gave Qaid e Azam title to Mohammad Ali Jinnah ? Mr Gandhi.
Here are some more gems:-
“I am grieved to learn that people are running away from the West Punjab and I am told that Lahore is being evacuated by the non-Muslims. I must say that this is what it should not be. If you think Lahore is dead or is dying, do not run away from it, but die with what you think is the dying Lahore.”
“I would tell the Hindus to face death cheerfully if the Muslims are out to kill them. I would be a real sinner if after being stabbed I wished in my last moment that my son should seek revenge. I must die without rancour. … You may turn round and ask whether all Hindus and all Sikhs should die. Yes, I would say. Such martyrdom will not be in vain.”.
“Hindus should not harbor anger in their hearts against Muslims even if the latter wanted to destroy them. Even if the Muslims want to kill us all we should face death bravely. If they established their rule after killing Hindus we would be ushering in a new world by sacrificing our lives. None should fear death. Birth and death are inevitable for every human being. Why should we then rejoice or grieve? If we die with a smile we shall enter into a new life, we shall be ushering in a new India. (Prayer meeting, April 6, 1947, New Delhi, CWMG Vol. 94 page 249)
“The few gentlemen from Rawalpindi who called upon me, asked me, “What about those who still remain in Pakistan?” I asked, why they all came here (Delhi)? Why they did not die there? I still hold on to the belief that we should stick to the place where we happen to live, even if we are cruelly treated, and even killed. Let us die if the people kill us, but we should die bravely with the name of God on our tongue.” He also said, “Even if our men are killed, why should we feel angry with anybody? You should realize that even if they are killed, they have had a good and proper end” (speech delivered on November 23, 1947)
“If those killed have died bravely, they have not lost anything but earned something. … They should not be afraid of death. After all, the killers will be none other than our Muslim brothers.”
“If all the Punjabis were to die to the last man without killing (a single Muslim), Punjab will be immortal. Offer yourselves as nonviolent willing sacrifices.” (Collins and Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight, p-385)
On the other hand, he asked Hindus of Noakhali to flee if they wanted to stay alive.
For unity, many distortions had to be done, such as adding “Ishwar Allah tero naam” into Narsi Mehta’s bhajan Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, strengthening Muslim League and people like Ali brothers who would be vital in the Pakistan movement, promoting Hindustani ie a ghastly mishmash of Urdu and Hindi with terms like Badshah Ram and Begum Sita, holding quran reading sessions in temples (but never geeta reading sessions in mosques), forcing Hindu refugees out of the mosque where they had taken shelter…the list is endless. What would have been his reaction in Oct 1948 when Sardar Patel took Hyderabad from the clutches of the Nizam into the Indian union with an iron hand? Its anybody’s guess. Afterall, he did go on a hunger strike to give those Rs 55 crore to Pakistan which came a lot handy to it for bulking itself up against India.
Can a person with absolutely zero vision for a strong and modern India be called as a Mahatma and named its father?
India is an eternal land , not made by a mandate or a signature hence no person can be called its father. But what does this society of little men care to think about this, who will not think twice before voting for Dawood Ibrahim or Osama bin Laden if they are promised reservations and freebies.