Today I read a very irreverent and damaging article on Gandhi in a local newspaper. The authors strove to 'prove' the underlying premises, what they felt hypocrisies in Gandhi's thoughts and actions. I also wondered, why it needed two of them to write this highly provocative article. One is enough to provoke people to raise them out of somnolence.
Premise one. Gandhi was nominated five times for the Nobel Prize.But he did not get it? So what, I say the Nobel Prize is not the ultimate in human history. The very fact that Barrack Obama has got it, has reduced it to a farce. How do we know, that it was not at time also, a tool for British and Western jingoism?
The second premise. Gandhi did not practice what he preached. Though he was ostensibly against caste, he upheld Sanatan Dharma, and the Hindu concept of caste division. So what, again. The original concept of caste was division of labour. The article goes on to say that Gandhi ridiculed Ambedkar. Is there any concrete evidence against this charge?
Third premise. Gandhi fought for the Indians in South Africa, and not the 'Blacks' whose conditions were worse. So what again? He was fighting for specific nationalist causes. He was concerned with supercilious British dominion and ousting them from the country. He was nationalist to the core.
Fourth premise. The term 'Harijan' is untenable, and many including the so called Harijans protested against it. Gandhi used the expression to give dignity to the human condition. There was no disparity between what he thought and did. He did uphold the main tenets of Hindu thought, but he abrogated internal divisions, including Hindu Muslim Division. He was 'cheated' when the country was divided on explicit religious lines. That hurt him the most. He must have died a despondent and very sad person.
The fifth premise is repugnant. Gandhi's so called experiments with 'sex' were purely at the personal level to test his limitations as a human being. It was a form of moral challenge, there is no need to make this a public discourse and issue.
Indians have a proclivity to bad mouth people, after they are gone and dead. They did it to Nehru, they did it to Jiddu Krishnamuthi, the philosopher, they even did it to Ramakrishna, by calling him a homo sexual. Gratitude is certainly not our forte. But sensationalism, and yellow journalism is!
God help us, and of course forgive us!!
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Ananya S Guha
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