................."Father of the Nation"?
VICHARAMALA no. 76 Oct 25, 2004
Thoughts on issues of current interest [my comments - as an Indian citizen - within square brackets], including instances of some double standards of our public figures, especially in the construction of Indian identity (all those Macaulayan myths, and the hypocrisy that is Nehruvian secularism) - Krishen Kak
[Another Gandhi Jayanti came and went, the newspapers full of government advertisements about the "Father of the Nation". Yes, how many generations of Indians have grown up believing the Mahatma forged us into a nation and secured us our independence. And yet, how much of a myth this is, sedulously fostered by Nehruvian secularism.
This offering analyses the popular title our textbooks repeat for the Mahatma - and you decide for yourself to what extent he truthfully deserves it.
First, "nation" (or "nation-state") - a European invention in the 16th century that steadily matured and peaked in the 19th, and then, at least in the West, began to disintegrate in the 20th - "a continuous, stable territory with an increasingly homogeneous population" and "one source of [centralized] authority" (J Barzun, "From Dawn to Decadence", HarperCollins 2001:239,241,774). Note the parallel to an exclusivism (such as Christianity and Islam). Note too the complete irrelevance of application of this invention to us and our dharma.
Okay, "nation" used loosely and colloquially. The Mahatma still irrelevant, because such "nation" antedates him by thousands of years. By the time of the Mahabharata 5,000 years ago, the Indian "nation" - a spiritual-cultural complex, a civilization - was well in place (only it was then called Bharatavarsha). Recall the Vishnupurana: uttarananyat samudrasya himadrashchaiva dakshinam / varsh tad bharat naam bharati yatra santatih.
Bharatvarsha suffered its ups and downs and, in 1947, thanks in good part to the Mahatma, it suffered a major down in that large portions of it were formally and bloodily cut away from it. Bharatavarsha officially became the Republic of India, and we are taught that we owe our "freedom" to Gandhi who forged us into a nation (and to Nehru, rather than Patel). Hence, Rashtrapita - or Father of the Nation. But, as you can see, patently untrue.
And that he got rid of our British rulers too is as much a myth as that of his fathering our identity. As are myths that ahimsa and satyagraha drove the angrez out.
The British, who should know, went because of Netaji Bose, not Mahatma Gandhi (V'mala 45, 71). Indeed, the British, again who should know, recognize Savarkar as an "Indian patriot" (municipal plaque outside India House in London - BP Singhal, letter, The Pioneer, Oct 7, 2004). As Ram Kumar says, "It is significant that at times the British easily released Gandhi and Nehru unlike Savarkar, who underwent rigorous imprisonment of 11 years. This only goes to show the danger Savarkar posed to the British" (letter, The Pioneer, Sept 23, 2004) - unlike Gandhi and Nehru who weren't much of a danger.
And Roopa Kaushal explains, "Significantly, on Gandhi’s assuming charge of the Congress in 1920 and launching the Khilafat movement, DG Tendulkar writes in his famous treatise, Mahatma (Vol I, p 343): `Around Gandhi, new forces were gathering. The ulema felt that the Muslim divines of India whose collective power and influence had been shattered after the Revolt of 1857 should again come together. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad entered the field...' Gandhi and Nehru were well aware of the real aim of the Maulanas. Even if in doubt, the declaration of Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic rule) by the Moplahs in Kerala, the genocide of Hindus, their forcible conversions, and the manner in which the Maulanas defended the Moplahs, were more than enough to dispel it" (letter, The Pioneer, Sept 24, 2004).
But dispel it, it didn't - witness, for example, the unquestioning and total acceptance by the Mahatma of Maulana Muhammad Ali's interpretation of Indian history - that the British were responsible for the Hindu-Muslim "quarrel", and that "we have chapter and verse given to us by Hindu historians and by Mussulman historians that we were living in comparative peace" and that, prior to British rule in India, Hindus and Muslims "in the villages...were not known to quarrel at all" (speech at the Round Table Conference in England on 30-11-1931, quoted in The Pioneer, Sept 26, 2004). One Hindu historian the Mahatma obviously couldn't have read was SR Goel who cites Mussulman chapter and verse extensively that irrefutably establishes the Mussulman understanding of "comparative peace" was very different from that that the Mahatma claimed ("Hindu Temples" , Voice of India, 1998).
The Hindu, Oct 22, 2004 carried a report by Sunny Sebastian that "Author denies link with RSS". Shri Dharampal, now settled in Wardha, found it necessary to "confess" to Gandhian Shri Siddhraj Dhadda and others of the "Gandhian Sarvodaya fraternity" that "hobnobbing" with Shri Govindacharya does not mean "any ideological or organizational relation with RSS".
Wah! Our Nehruvian secularists can hobnob with communists and their helmsmen, with padres and their pope, and with mujahids and their mullahs - three ideologies/organizations whose history is soaked with the blood they shed of millions of nonbelievers - but to meet an RSSwala is to invite excommunication?
The Mahatma was contemptuous of South African Blacks (http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/gandhi.html). That's okay. The Mahatma called Hitler his "beloved brother". That's okay. The Mahatma exculpated Muslim violence against Hindus. That's okay. The Mahatma invited Hindus to glory in their destruction by Muslims. That's okay. But Dharampal meets Govindacharya - and Gandhism rears its secular head in horror.
Today, in our country, above the PMO there is a Super PMO, and above that there is the Supreme PMO. The Supreme PMO is controlled by those whose administration and police killed "thousands" in 1979 in Morichjhapi in West Bengal. Belonging to this ilk is the Speaker of our Lok Sabha who declared he is proud to be a Stalinist. Stalin was a mass murderer before whom even Hitler pales in comparison (U Namboodiri, "Unmask Red terror", The Pioneer, Oct 14, 2004). That's okay. For Gandhians and Nehruvian secularism, the only villain is one who is proudly a Hindu.
That satyagraha and ahimsa obliged the British to leave is now revealed to be a well-executed Nehruvian-secular hoax perpetrated on generations of Indians, especially schoolchildren. That the Mahatma's descendants parrot this hoax is only to be expected, as glory reflecting on them and providing them with an easy means of livelihood.
So that for grandson Arun Gandhi to go to Palestine and recommend this strategy against Israel is a delicious irony, seeing that the grandfather had earlier recommended it to the Jews against the Muslims! Indeed, that the Mahatma's moral stance ("inner voice", "conscience") was often a pretence of his ego and political ambition, supported by the "Gandhi-Nehru camp", is sufficiently evidenced in B Punj, "Remember Jatindra Nath Das?" The Pioneer, Sept 10, 2004.
And grandson Rajmohan Gandhi has "the same commitment " as his grandfather - "For Hindu-Muslim amity I am prepared to pay any price" (The Hindu, MetroPlus supplement, Oct 2, 2004). Like his grandfather did? Read on.....
The Mahatma was a bully in politics (and a bully at home too - V'mala 45, and now his great-granddaughter Uma Dhuphelia-Mesthrie's book, "Gandhi's Prisoner?"). There was no morality about the Mahatma's fasts-unto-death: they were sheer political blackmail. And were given up as soon as those who disagreed with the Mahatma gave in to his coercion. And if indeed there was any morality involved, the Mahatma had no hesitation abandoning it for the sake of political expediency.
Witness the Mahatma deliberately and coldly ignoring the death of Jatin Das, the sole example in the entire Gandhian freedom struggle of the Gandhian fast-unto-death being taken to its logical conclusion (B Punj, op.cit.). Why? Because it would show up the Mahatma's own hypocrisy? You don't believe me?
Witness then the Mahatma's declaration that "Pakistan will be created on my dead body" and thereafter (Nehru and) Gandhi making a total somersault. "While justifying the creation of Pakistan, Nehru said: "We have solved the Muslim problem for all times to come." Gandhi said, "If two brothers cannot live together, let them live separately." They also did not agree to the demand for exchange of population as was visualised earlier. In fact, one of the demands Gandhi made when he went on fast on January 11, 1948, was to stop the migration of Muslims from India to Pakistan, besides giving Rs 55 crore to Pakistan" (V Sagar, "Dangers of appeasement", The Pioneer, Sept 22, 2004).
It is Godse who reminded the country of the Mahatma's bold "on my dead body" declaration - and is now reviled for holding the Mahatma to his self-professed morality.
Ram Gopal quotes Nirad C Chaudhuri, "Partition of India took place because of a combination of three factors: Hindu stupidity in the first instance and Hindu cowardice afterwards; British opportunism; and Muslim fanaticism" ("Fresh look at Partition", The Pioneer, Sept 20, 2004). And to which Hindu does this topi best fit? - why, he who gave his name to it: the Gandhi topi.
Such Hindu stupidity and cowardice continue - manipulated now by the Super PMO and the Supreme PMO. The hollowness of Gandhian ahimsa was on this Gandhi Jayanti itself exploded in the northeast in a devastating dance of death and destruction directly traceable to Nehruvian-secular "votebank politics brazenly practised in the North East but especially in Assam" (http://www.sulekha.com/news/nhc.aspx?cid=405221).
It is therefore that NS Rajaram re-titles the political Gandhi "MAHA-TAMAS (great ignoramus)" (email, Aug 14, 2004).
The epithet is singularly apt because it is Gandhi himself who connected his sexuality (and sex is tamasik, isn't it?) to his politics. He enjoys the intimate ministrations of a woman other than his wife, ministrations earlier performed by Kasturba as "wifely devotion and duty" but allowed now by him to be performed by the other woman even as his wife sits there and "watches mutely" (A Jaiman, "A tale of devotion", The Hindu, Magazine supplement, Oct 17, 2004). He regularly watches "innocent young girls" at their bath. He shares his bed with a young girl. He is "cradled" by middle-aged women and "by having (sometimes naked) women near him at night". If he could control himself, "If I can master this,' the Mahatma is said to have remarked, `I can still beat Jinnah' - that is, prevent the partition of India" (E Erikson, "Gandhi's Truth", Norton: 1969:237,403-404). There is a technical term for this - "shunamitism". Psychoanalysts go to elaborate lengths to rationalize and exculpate Gandhi's shunamitism because, after all, he is the Mahatma. But you try doing what he did, and how much will you bet that you will not just be called "sick" and "a dirty old man", but that you might even end up in a complaint to the National Commission for Women ("Dirty-old peeping Tom harassing women", The Pioneer, Oct 25, 2004).
And, of course, unlike his preaching to others to die for a basic belief, he preferred Partition (and hundreds of thousands of others dying in consequence) to his keeping his word of his own death first.
Finally, check out http://members.tripod.com/nsrajaram/gandhi.html . "Father of the Nation" indeed! My case rests.]