We have misunderstood Ahimsa and the Mahatma?
Updated: Feb 4, 2019
Writing the article Violent Saint was one of the most challenging articles I ever wrote.
It was an attempt to address a fundamental misunderstanding of Ahimsa as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi ji and its emasculation of the Indian people.
Aristotle once said, "Its the mark of an intelligent mind, to entertain a thought without judging it"
'Disagreement is not disrespect'. Why is it forbidden to even question Gandhi ji's actions, nor to learn anything from our freedom struggle?
For three decades I struggled with the following questions.
How come India and her people become so feeble that they were unable to resist almost all invasions by foreigners, and the the rape of her land and people?
Why did the residents of India allow more than a 100 million people to be massacred in the largest holocaust in history over a 600 year period?
As Robert Clive observed after the battle of Plassey as he marched towards the Nawab's palace the roads were lined with people that showered flowers on Clive. He said that if each one of those people had thrown a stone instead of a flower, he and his men would have been buried beneath a mountain of rubble.
Do we not see that the Mughal empire and its remnants were destroyed and driven out only after taking up arms by the Sikhs and the Marathas?
Why do we fail to observe and teach our children that the British were overpowered not by non violence but by threat of violence?
Why do we not see the genius of the Mahatma? Why do we mistake the style for the substance?
By cherry picking those qualities which the Mahatma demonstrated will it not undermine Indian sovereignty and self respect. Therefore are we not harming future generations of Indians?
At his first court appearance Gandhi ji developed such fear that he could not speak and he ran away from the court. If he a frail built man, with low self confidence and such great personal flaws and eccentricities flower into the Mahatma. Then is there not hope for each one of us?
The substance is that Gandhi ji was not a saint but a very clever politician.
I remain convinced that my article in spite of showing the negatives of Gandhi ji's nature actually makes him human like and not god like. Something that we can more easily relate to.
Most of us humans are weaklings. We need supports to hold ourselves up. We clutch people, thoughts, ideas, philosophies religious and political ideologies to prop ourselves up, within society. They seldom are ours we borrow them from others without really transforming ourselves.
We invest great energy and time in obtaining and maintaining these props and crutches. So whenever someone challenges any of our crutches especially the ones in which we have invested great emotion it is jarring. This is mainly with family, religion, and political beliefs.
In a condition called 'Cognitive Dissonance', people when presented facts, or opinions which run counter to what they have long believed, they become unstable, and even aggressive. Sometimes they withdraw into themselves.
By questioning we may learn, but o not do so, is to be doomed to ignorance for ever.
The choice is ours.
Even though Subhas Chandra Bose was the first to call Gandhi ji as 'father of the nation' and 'Mahatma' India and the world followed suit. Even Gandhi ji came to believe it.
The consequences were very severe for India then and the price is being paid by Indians even till this day.
Gandhi ji, continued not only to oversee political and policy activity, but dominated it without coming in the front.
'Mahatma' the great soul became a dictator. He became such a supreme political authority that he and his actions could not be questioned. Authority without accountability is dictatorship.