2ndlook

India’s Biggest Success – Gandhiji

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on January 16, 2008

Gandhiji With His Grandson

Gandhiji with his grandson

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Gandhiji

The Jewish Question

Before WW2, news filtered to Gandhiji,  about Hitler’s persecution of the Jews – from Anglo Saxon sources. Gandhiji had put the British colonialists on the defensive – and the British colonialists attempting to show themselves as betters – compared to Hitler’s Germany, the French or the Dutch colonialists.

Gandhiji’s advice was simple

“… a war against Germany … would be completely justified … But I do not believe in any war … pros and cons of … war is … outside my … province … If I were a Jew … born in Germany … I would claim Germany as my home … as the tallest … German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment … I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If … Jews … cannot be worse off than now … no … sympathy … in the world outside Germany can (help)… even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany … the calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews …” (ellipsis and bold italics mine).

Jewish Frontier, a New York magazine, riddled Gandhi’s proposal in March, 1939, and sent him a copy. He quoted at length from the attack.

“I did not entertain the hope… that the Jews would be at once converted to my view,” Gandhi replied. “I should have been satisfied if even one Jew had been fully convinced and converted… It is highly probable that, as the [Jewish Frontier] writer says, ‘A Jewish Gandhi in Germany, should one arise, could function for about five minutes and would be promptly taken to the guillotine.’ (from Soul Force By Mahatma Gandhi, Mohandas Karmchand Gandhi)

Gandhiji At A Public Meeting

Gandhiji at a public meeting

Gandhiji’s reply was “… The method of violence gives no greater guarantee than that of non-violence…”

After Hitler’s death, Louis Fischer mentioned the Jewish death-toll to Gandhiji in 1946. Gandhiji response was,

“Hitler, killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs… It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany… As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.”

Gandhiji gave similar advice to the Palestinians. Both, the Jews and Palestinians ignored his advice. The rest is history. More than 10 million Jews and Palestinians killed till date – and the killing continues.

Nelson Mandela in traditional tribal dress  circa 1950. Originally named Dalibunga; family and close friends refer to him as Madiba  |  Image source & courtesy - dailymail.co.uk  |  Click for larger source image.

Nelson Mandela in traditional tribal dress circa 1950. Originally named Dalibunga; family and close friends refer to him as Madiba | Image source & courtesy - dailymail.co.uk | Click for larger source image.

100% Success

For all those who claim that Gandhiji’s success was unique should look at history again.

Martin Luther King used Gandhiji’s ideology – and the African Americans have made more progress in the last 30 years than in the previous 300 years. Nelson Mandela’s success is too recent and well known for me to repeat. But his neighbour Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkome did not follow Gandhiji – and Zimbabwe’s state of affairs is well known. Lech Walesa’s success in Poland is there for all to see.

For all those who claim that Gandhiji’s methods required benign despots (like the British colonialists?!) are mistaken. The blood spilled by the British colonialists in Kenya, Malaysia, Rhodesia, South Africa is unparalleled.

The myth of benign British rule in India is a carefully crafted propaganda – aided and abetted as much by India’s Congress Party and the British themselves. Similar whitewash of British colonialism and genocide has been successful in Malaysia and Kenya.

The 200 years of American history of legal, institutionalised white bigotry is unprecedented in scope and magnitude. The White Apartheid regime was no less brutal than Hitler. The Communists brooked no dissent and the totalitarian hold on power was defeated by a Union leader.

Looking at the success of Gandhi-ist struggles the world over, the chances of LTTE success, even if they win the battle against Sri Lankan Government, is dim. Can a nation born out of killings, bombings, terrorism remain peaceful thereafter? Violence begets violence. Success using Gandhiji’s methods are more likely against the Sri Lankan Government.

Lech Walesa

Afghanistan’s descent into Talibanic regression was certain. The imprisonment of the Gandhian Pathan /Pashtun leader, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan by Pakistan – an American client state left Afghanistan with shallow, uni directional non-leaders. After the deposition of Zahir Shah, the vacuum in leadership did Afghanistan in.

Hindraf, is going down the ‘external sympathy’ path that the Jews used and failed. Hindraf, talk to your fellow Malaysians. The Queen is too decrepit an institution to help you.

The One Success

Ho Chi Minh.

Like Haitian generals, time and again, Ho Chi Minh, drove back Western colonials – each time they went back on their word. The French had promised freedom and de-colonialisation after WW2. Thereafter, they tried wriggling.

The French created a mess – before leaving in 1956. Just like Britain did in India (by creating a Pakistan and Kashmir) in Malaysia by dividing Singapore and Malaysia. US decided that they could ‘clean up’ – and make Vietnam into another client state like the other SEATO (now ASEAN) members. 20 years later, the US admitted defeat and decided to slink away. The Chinese decided to take swipe.

Same story.

Ho Chi Minh from Time MagazineThree of the five permanent members of the Security Council, (supposed Super Powers or mini-Super Powers) tried their hand at Vietnam. All failed. And after defeating these ‘Super Powers’, the Viets did not flex their muscles with any of their neighbours.

Ho Chi Minh’s quiet leadership, his frugality, his unblemished personal life inspired the Viets to take on the world – and win. After becoming President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, he lived in a gardener’s cottage and then a peasant house built on stilts beside a pond. Just like Gandhiji, he died just before seeing his dream came true. Ho Chi died in 1969 – a few years before the last of the colonialists was thrown out.

His was the kind of war that Gandhiji always believed in – ethical, moral. Without hate, rancour, ill-will or subjugative ambitions. Ho Chi Minh was truly the second coming of Gandhiji – the predicted Kalki.

Lage Raho Munnabhai

The commercial success of Attenborough’s Gandhi (made with Indian Govt. financial help) proved the international appeal and power of Gandhiji’s message. Gandhiji’s relevance to the modern world was well interpreted in the movie Lage Raho Munnabhai. It’s commercial success further bolsters Gandhiji’s enduring message.

Much like Gandhiji said, ahimsa and satyagraha require strength. Few have the strength.

Post Script

A few months after this post, (Summer 2008), the Harvard International Security, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Summer 2008), pp. 7–44, published a ‘study’ – ‘Why Civil Resistance Works’ report by Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth.

Gandhiji at his spinning wheel - Photo - Life magazine

Gandhiji at his spinning wheel - Photo - Life magazine

Amazingly, this ‘report’ does not mention the Haiti’s War of Freedom (even once) which defeated all the European superpowers (France, Britain, Spain) of the time. Of course, the report has an excuse that the period under review is from 1900 onwards – but the most important, significant, freedom war of the last 200 years cannot be wished away.

What about Ho Chi Minh? Not mentioned even once. Vietnam is mentioned in a citation- and not once in the main report. Gandhiji is mentioned once – in the passing. And another time in a reference. Lech Walesa, who started the unwinding of the Russian East European Empire is not mentioned even once. Mandela is not mentioned even once. Martin Luther King is mentioned once.

But the Catholic Gusmao, who received help from the West, is taken as an epitome of non-violent success – is mentioned 9 times. The two successes that they talk about happened in ‘Catholic’ countries – East Timor and Philippines. The one failure that they analyse is Buddhist Burma.

Interesting.

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20 Responses

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  1. British History said, on January 16, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    […] Gandhiji … Irrelevant Today …? […]

    • Dinesh Chaturvedi said, on October 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm

      Gandhiji loved his ideals. What he said he practiced. Before criticizing anything, he prepared a remedy for it. Actually he lived his ideals. He lived what he said. He is always relevent.

  2. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk said, on October 4, 2009 at 9:37 am

    the West Asia and Africa are living testimony to the British gift to the modern world. The entire Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a creation of the Anglo-French-American

  3. Cuziyam said, on November 4, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Yes. Western leaders asked their countrymen to go into war, but Gandhi asked Indians ready to die voluntarily.

    Countries that went to war still continue with the war. But, India went in the path of Gandhi still gives crores of people dying without going to war.

    At least, the number of people who are dying in the battle field is less.

  4. Indian said, on November 29, 2009 at 8:02 am

    What about America?
    – America went to war with britts and won the war.

    what about India-Pakistan?
    – Indian didn’t had a war to stop seperation and Indians are still Dying.

  5. Incognito said, on December 2, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Read CWMG to understand Gandhi- http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/cwmg.html

    As for Gandhi’s ahimsa- http://estheppan.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/gandhian-ahimsa/

    dhanyavaad

  6. Sushmita said, on January 16, 2010 at 1:25 am

    For a good review on all of the wars west and east of India and their casualities, here is an excellent website http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm#30YrW

    so comment regarding concern over bloodshed either for their own or foreign countries, I don’t think is or ever was a concern for desert bloc; the more dead the more they conquered I think. Note to Ignoito I tried posting a comment on your blog re MF Hussain’s pictures of India’s Goddesses in pornographic poses — the pictures displayed on your blog are only two out of the countless pictures in which he portrays India’s goddesses in vulgar pornographic poses- the ones you selected are the decent ones out of bunch; see them online

  7. Anuraag Sanghi said, on January 28, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Sushmita –

    comment regarding concern over bloodshed either for their own or foreign countries, I don’t think is or ever was a concern for desert bloc; the more dead the more they conquered I think.

    This is a very important point you are making. I think you have highlighted the operating principle on which the Desert Bloc works.

  8. Incognito said, on June 14, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    The biggest what ?- http://www.scribd.com/doc/30729870/Gandhi-A-True-Mahatma-Complete

  9. Anuraag Sanghi said, on June 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Yes.

    1. I agree that the role of this Buddhist monk has probably been highly de-emphasized in the Confucian-Communist- Authoritarian Vietnam!

    2. And I have not done enough in terms of giving the ‘official’ history a 2ndlook!

    3. Thanks for bringing this to my notice.

  10. Rama said, on July 21, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Gandhi is responsible for all the ills facing India at present. He was the chief appeaser of Muslims, a policy still being carried on by the Govt of India. His non violence method was , to put it mildy, was useless and never ever practiced by anyone in our history. Lord Krishna did not ask Arjuna to throw away his weapons and do Sathyagraha. He urged him to fight when all other methods failed. Kshatrya sprit was killed by Gandhi. He was prepared to live under Muslim rule if it meant independence from the British.He was recruting men for the British war effort.Plus he was a weirdo.

    If he is a success story, then I want to know what is a failed story would be? I would like all to read Ms Radha Rajan’s book on Gandhi ” The eclipse of Hindu nation”. It is an eye opener.

    (This comment has been a rare comment that has been edited for being plain distasteful.). The 2ndlook forum has no objection whatsoever to disagreement, displeasure – especially against the author. But lack of taste and rectitude will not pass muster.

  11. answertoyourquestion said, on August 27, 2010 at 10:26 am

    gandhi was not a mahatma. mahatma does not mean great soul. it is supposed to be used only for enlightened souls. maha is superlative adjective in sanskrit.(this i heard from a sanskrit scholar) though in hindi we just use it for ‘great’ rather than ‘greatest’.
    gandhi didnt do anything that bad for hinduism as the above commentator says. stop reading bjp / rss propoganda. yes he was seriously flawed. and he didnt achieve independence for india single handedly as some try to portray but he still tried to do good in his own way. yaah and he was not responsible for partition. such things need many people behind it to work. one person cannot ensure india is partitioned. the bjp is making morons of you just as congress has made morons out of you.
    dont fall in for this gandhi-love or gandhi-hate. both
    are dangerous.

  12. Aneesa.a Shaikh said, on October 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Gandhiji was a great man

  13. Vyshali said, on October 11, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Good reading. Liked your article. Its high time we Indians demystify Gandhiji.

    http://wp.me/pV9Cw-dl

  14. saurav said, on January 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Another brilliant blog………..truly Gandhi was 1 man in a millenium.

  15. harry said, on February 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Interesting. Isn’t it quite obvious that the Indian sub-continent was not economically viable to the British post WWII? More so the British Indian Army couldn’t be trusted anymore to be loyal? Gandhiji did mobilize Indians, mostly hindus but also took away the kshatra spirit amongst the Hindus. There were many superlative positions Gandhi held when it came to his ideas of Gram Swaraj, but his concept of non-violence was overrated. will it work against heartless despots?
    More so, do you think the Jewish state of Isreal is a simplistic case as you seem to generalize. Would Islam and Judaism have existed without conflict? The initial Isreal territory was a bare 1/6th, most of the territory has been won when confronted with war by neighbors like syria, jordan etc. With such scorn the Islamic texts including the Quran and Hadiths have towards Jews its not a difficult guess what might have happened to the Jewish population if US/Britain had not interfered. The main issue here is with the US trying to be friends with both Isreal and the Arab world(oil), funding radical Islam on one side and trying to help out Isreal on the other. Consequences have to be disastrous for all hence.

  16. Anuraag Sanghi said, on February 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Isn’t it quite obvious that the Indian sub-continent was not economically viable to the British post WWII?

    Yes & No.

    Yes. India forgets: After Mughal-Raj India was still a leading economy. British-Raj left Indians begging for roti-kapda-makan: http://is.gd/ku37X. So, India, Indians, Indian economy were flat on the back after 100 years of British dominance -1840-1940.

    No. Remember, India still had the largest private reserves for gold in the world. India was a cheap source of raw materials and a protected market for British industry. British industry – coal, railways, shipbuilding, entertainment, automobile, engineering (electronics, electrical, mechanical), steel, metals – in short, everything, collapsed within 20 years of losing India.

    More so the British Indian Army couldn’t be trusted anymore to be loyal?

    Very major factor. I have covered the events in Feb 1946, which saw Indian Armed Forces under the British Raj raise the banner of Freedom. Search for February+British.

    Gandhiji did mobilize Indians, mostly hindus but also took away the kshatra spirit amongst the Hindus.

    I am sure that a lot of people in the world would wish, hope and believe that. What you are talking about is Congressi history. Read about more than 200 major armed, military, actions by Indians against the British mis-Rule in 2ndlook.

    1765-1800: Battles in America were tame compared to War in India. England had a choice; abandon America to keep India: http://is.gd/xWV5c8

    There were many superlative positions Gandhi held when it came to his ideas of Gram Swaraj, but his concept of non-violence was overrated.

    By distorted modern history, which has over-emphasized Gandhiji’s significant contribution – and completely ignored the stupendous 200 year war against British mis-Rule.

    will it work against heartless despots?

    You are implying that the British were decent! Taimur-Leng and Sir Churchill-champions at genocide. Churchill is respected by modern history. Taimur-Leng derided!: http://is.gd/ku37X

    Taimur was a Hindu-hating Islamic plunderer. Churchill and the British Raj oozed the milk of human kindness?: http://dlvr.it/CQTYh

    More so, do you think the Jewish state of Isreal is a simplistic case as you seem to generalize.

    Israel forgot history|Wrote new chapters in persecution|Palestinians made 2nd class people in their home of centuries: http://is.gd/jS5wa.

    Would Islam and Judaism have existed without conflict? The initial Isreal territory was a bare 1/6th, most of the territory has been won when confronted with war by neighbors like syria, jordan etc.

    Must Asia’s Muslim Palestinians pay the price for Christian persecution of Jews in Europe|Roots of Global Terrorism: http://is.gd/C9eGNP

    With such scorn the Islamic texts including the Quran and Hadiths have towards Jews its not a difficult guess what might have happened to the Jewish population if US/Britain had not interfered.

    The Desert Bloc has scorn for everyone – including other factions of the Desert Bloc.

    The main issue here is with the US trying to be friends with both Isreal and the Arab world(oil), funding radical Islam on one side and trying to help out Isreal on the other. Consequences have to be disastrous for all hence.

    No State helps out anyone else – unless it is in their interest! Israel is the USA’s cat’s paw in the oil-rich Middle East. A simple search on 2ndlook and Quicktake using Israel will get you extensive posts on Israel with hyper-links.

  17. Dr.N.Ramkumar. said, on September 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    An Alternate Model for WORLD
    The Governments of different countries almost cent percent reflect the aspiration of rich and affluent urban section of the country. The Villages all over the world are facing extinction. The culture, economy, life style are forced by urban few to be removed and forced to live an Urban life style. The Urban people across the countries are knowingly or unknowingly help in removing the village culture from the surface of Earth . Earlier only 10 % persons were Urbanized, but now we are reaching a stage of 10% village persons. This will result in extinction of all village related culture, values and diversities.
    The Ancient Indus Valley System of Panchayathi Raj is the ideal system of Governance in Villages. Peoples will select 5 persons from among themselves . This can be the basic unit of Social fabric all over the world. The Panchayath will rejuvenate the traditions of each land as followed by hundreds and thousands of years in each land. The agricultural, finance, employment, housing, land, water, food, medicines, etc will be managed and developed by each Panchayaths. They will have functional autonomy. It will be countries within countries.
    These Panchayaths will help the urban areas by giving food. The Panchayaths will be separated from Urban areas by Green belt of minimum 100 meters thick Green Belt. These green belt will absorb the Carbon pollution from cities. The Urban areas will have Metro trains and Mass rapid Transport System. The villages will have own electricity generation from non renewable sources. They will use waste from Urban area for agricultural works.
    All works identified by Gandhiji will be used by Villages. Monthly, half yearly and Yearly confluences of Panchayaths at World Level can be planned. They can promote village products and culture by these events. The actions needed to protect world from Global warming, Terrorism, New deceases can be planned and executed more effectively by the village conglomeration.
    In this way , the present Governments will control the urban areas, while giving Autonomy to Villages. The village will have functional autonomy.The world Village body will be formed like UN for discussion and planning world affairs.

  18. Dr.N.Ramkumar. said, on September 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    The future is bright , please be BOLD |||
    When cryogenic engine Technology was denied to India, we decided to indigenously develop it and the rest is history. India is now having better space Technology than those in developed. Indians are responsible for the major developments now in Developed countries and still we doubt ourself. This self doubt is destroying us. Hence if we decide to do away with Nuclear energy and go for Solar we will be leading in this area and this is what the developed countries fear. If we have Solar power, our cost for energy for transportation, housing, offices, factories will be met and there will be surplus resources to feed the need of all our people. Hence the future is bright. India, please be BOLD.
    IF WE HAVE SHOWN BOLDNESS AT TIMES OF INDEPENDENCE AND FOLLOWED GANDHIAN VILLAGE MODEL DEVELOPMENT WE WOULD HAVE BEEN NOW A MODEL DEVELOPED COUNTRY WHICH LOOKAFTER ALL ITS PERSONS AS WELL AS AN ALTERNATE DEVELOPMENT MODEL WHICH NOT CREATE GLOBAL WARMING BUT AN IDEAL GLOBAL CIVILISATION. SHORTCUTS ALWAYS PRODUCE MORE DIFFICUTS.


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