H C Singh

To Me Mahatma Gandhi

As young and immature man of below 12 years I used to follow Gandhi and considered him real mahatma. I was very much impressed since 1942 Quit India movement in which I had little bit participated as a lad of under 12 years. But going to college, studying politics and history independently I came to conclusion that Gandhi was not either very intelligent or very honest or upright. By his so called non violence, which suited the British rulers of India before independence in comparison to demand and fight for independence come what may be Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh and many other revolutionaries, Gandhi was made an icon of non violence and a mahatma.

As M.K. Gandhi’s performance as an advocate was not only below expectations from a Bar-at-law but poor, as has been described by POLAK in Great Men of India. It will be pertinent to reproduce below his comments on Gandhi’s ability and courage.
“On return from England after being Bar-at-law he continued practise in Bombay high court. His first case was a trial, not so much of his knowledge and ability as of his courage. To speak in public had always been an ordeal for him and now to have to conduct a case, even the placing of bare facts of it before the court, was more than he could do. He rose to speak but became tongue-tied. Baffled he begged to be relieved of his case and hastened from the court in shame and anguish, vowing never to appear again until he had learned to master himself and could use his brain and body as the instrument of his will.”

So to start with despite of having lived in England and having been called to Bar he was an utter failure as an advocate. So he first joined his brother in business and thereafter went to South Africa at the request of an Indian businessman, where it was more politics than law.

Though from 1942 to 1949 I considered Gandhi as Mahatma and Father of Nation and raised slogans like ‘Inqilab Zindabad’ and ‘Mahatma Gandhi Zindabad’ and on hearing that he had been assassinated by a Hindu fanatic because Gandhi was instrumental in the payment of Rs. 55 crore (Rs 550 Million) to Pakistan though Pakistan had waged a war against India in Kashmir, I kept fast for full 24 hours, not drinking even water and attended condolence meeting at the bank of Satluj river near Sardar Bhagat Singh’s smadhi.

Till 1949 I had not read and known about Gandhi’s high handedness not befitting a Mahatma or Father of nation in forcing rightfully elected Subhash Chandra Bose who defeated Gandhi’s candidate Patabhi Sitaramya. Instead of accepting the verdict of people and allowing S C Bose to function he indirectly made all the earlier members of congress working committee not to cooperate with Subhash Bose and not to join his Working Committee. It is to credit of Subhash Bose who was not yet ‘Netaji’ to resign instead of dividing the party. In this connection I reproduce below once again extracts from an article by POLAK expressed in an article in Greatmen of India.

“After the re-election of Subhash Chandra Bose as president of the congress… inspite of Gandhi’s support for another candidate the annual session of the congress that followed expressed complete confidence in him, resolved to support his politics and virtually instructed Mr. Bose to appoint a Working Committee that would enjoy Gandhi’s confidence: Mr. Bose however failed to get support of Gandhi’s nominees and resigned the Presidentship, the new President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, being an old colleague of the Mahatma’s and the new working committee being composed entirely of his supporters.”

In the face of Bose’s demand to present Britain with an ultimatum in the prevailing international arena in order to compel her to grant India’s freedom Gandhi’s view was that “it would not be proper or generous on her part to take advantage of Britain’s embarrassment in the international field….”

… “In the following passage from a letter from Gandhi to Bose, in reply to later’s proposed ultimatum, under a threat of new intensive civil disobedience campaign, just before his resignation, expressing Gandhi’s profound disbelief that such a campaign (as pointed out by Bose) could be conducted without Violence”

“To many he (Gandhi) is a strange enigma, an aggregate of inconsistencies, and his subtilty of argument is often uncomprehending and baffling. But of his courage, his integrity of purpose, the splendors of his idealism his deep patriotism and his fine example of public conduct and personal sacrifice there is an all but universal recognition.”

This is how Mahatma Gandhi who worked for India’s Independence all through his life refused to celebrate Independence because of large scale riots from July to September 1947. Because of partitions riots which were instigated and initiated by Muslim League in August – September 1946 in Bengal particularly in Calcutta, it is pertinent to quote Ram Chandra Guha from his book India after Gandhi: “By starting a riot in Calcutta in August 46 Jinnah and the League hoped to polarize the two communities further and thus force the British to divide India when they finally quit. In this endeavor they richly succeeded.”

Mahatma Gandhi was hardly secular as he was a staunch Hindu and considered India after partition to be a Hindu country. It is significant to quote what Gandhi ji said on December 4, 1947 hardly a couple of months before his assassination by a fanatic Hindu Nathu Ram Godse.

“Even Guru Nanak never said that he was not a Hindu nor did any other Guru. It can not be said that Sikhism, Hinduism. Buddhism and Jainism are separate religions. All these four faiths and their off shoots are one. Hinduism is an ocean into which all the rivers run. It can absorb Islam and Christianity and all other religions and only then can it become ocean” (Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publication of Government of India of various years, volume 90 p 177)

In the words of Nirad C Chaudhary , ‘Gandhi had the capacity for prevarication of a Hindu Bania and Hindu Guru combined and like both he think that what he desired must be necessarily right’ (C Chaudhary ‘The Hand of Great Anarch’ India 1921-52 , Laden 1987 p 792)

After talks with and influenced by Suhrawardy Gandhi became more pro-Muslim and anti-Sikh. He started calling Muslims as a separate religion but continued to call Sikhs (Sheekh) as culprits and criminals who killed Muslims (in retaliation so as to stop killing of Hindu and Sikhs in Pakistan.)

Because of large scale riots Gandhi did not take part in celebrations of Independence day on 15th August 1947 but instead undertook a 24 hour fast saying ‘Do you wish to hold celebrations in the midst of this devastation’

This proved that Mahatma Gandhi truly believed and propagated non-violence. This also proves that M K Gandhi had become a Mahatma in real sense and rightly known throughout India and the world as Mahatma Gandhi – apostle of Non – Violence.

To conclude, we cannot forget or minimize Mahatma Gandhi’s emphasis on non-violent struggle for independence, which was adopted by many leaders of America and Africa. In USA, Martin Luther King’s struggle for racial equality and end of discrimination against colored people particularly Africans was crowned with great and unique success. In South Africa, the South African leader NELSON MANDELA who had been imprisoned for 30 years by colonial government and that, too, in a solitary confinement for many years in a far off island of south of South Africa, emulated Gandhi’s non-violence and though after independence of South Africa he became the first African (non-white) President of South Africa he did not harbor any grudge against the erstwhile white rulers.

Highest tribute was paid by great scientist Albert Einstein, recognizing Gandhi’s contribution to peace, brotherhood of mankind, absence of hatred and above all non-violent struggle for attaining independence with truth honesty and sacrifice, all rolled into one. It is very pertinent to quote Einstein: “generations to come will scarcely believe that such a man as this (Gandhi) walked the earth in flesh and blood”

August 25, 2009 - Posted by | India, Indian History | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Good reading. Its high time we demystify Gandhiji.

    Read: http://wp.me/pV9Cw-dl

    Comment by Vyshali | October 11, 2010 | Reply

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