Dishonor and Death

209 Comments

Taking a break from the attempted hilarity over here at RTDM , I present something serious—from an article published October 18, 1946 (I am assuming this is genuine)

[Update: Puneet points out a one typo in the piece which he feels calls into doubt its authenticity. So here, to support the above “suspect” article is another one (October 18, 1946 and containing essentially the same report about Gandhiji asking for women to commit suicide), written by one Preston Grover, whose bonafides as a correspondent for the Associated Press is attested to by this obit in the NY Times.I also now have the full scanned page of the front page of the newspaper where this article was published originally. If anyone else doubts the veracity of the piece, kindly email me.]

Mohandas K Gandhi advised women in the riot-torn areas of Noakhali tonight to commit suicide by poison or other means to avoid dishonor.

Later on in the article,

Gandhi addressing several hundred listeners in the untouchable’s colony here advised “everyone running the risk of dishonor to take poison before submission to dishonor. “

In the official version of his statement given out by his secretary, no reference was made to other forms of suicide, but listeners fluent in Hindustani said he advised women in imminent danger of dishonor to use knives or guns to kill themselves, or to throw themselves into the water to drown.

[Full article here posted on this blog] (Link via Utsav)

For those who may be unaware, here is what Noakhali was. I urge you to follow this link and read about it, if you don’t already know the facts.

I do not know about you but I found Gandhiji’s statement to be shocking to say the least. Here is the father of our nation articulating the belief that a woman’s sexual chastity is what solely defines her identity—-once that so-called ‘honor’ is gone, her staying alive is meaningless. Mind you it’s not the existence of the sentiment that’s shocking (after all, this mindset is what drives honor killings even today) but the identity of the person who is expressing the sentiment that is.

Or maybe I am wrong.

Maybe this is an extreme form of non-violence that the Mahatma is preaching, where rather than having a woman defend herself by shooting as many assailants as she can (if she be so lucky so as to get a gun) thus possibly saving herself from rape, it is preferable that she shoot herself, sparing her attacker from death, thus triggering a chain of remorse and introspection in the mind of her would-have-been rapist.

Of course even this interpretation does not make it any less shocking.

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209 thoughts on “Dishonor and Death

  1. Greatbong,

    That’s indeed shocking. Unfortunately, in India we have failed to do a dispassionate analysis of Gandhi. Despite all his undoubted greatness, some of the views Gandhi espoused were positively regressive as this particular post correctly points out. To advocate that a woman facing rape should commit suicide is to put it mildly, height of stupidity.

    Thanks for writing this. Only with such write ups, we can hope to see the real Gandhi, as human as anyone else and that would allow us to appreciate his greatness.

    Btw, it also brings out the importance of blogs. I am sure Gandhian scholars are aware of such things but you will never see them in MSM and if someone actually dares to, he would immediately be confronted by assorted followers adopting decidedly ‘non-Gandhian’ methods.

  2. I also noted that Gandhi wasn’t talking about helpless women but those who had access to weapons and such like. This is not non-violence but sheer stupidity.

  3. HI Greatbong ,
    I have come across your blog while searching for Mithun da trivia on the net, and I must say I had a very entertaining
    and enjoyable week , reading yours posts.
    All the best
    SR

  4. Pingback: DesiPundit » Archives » Gandhigiri?

  5. there is a saying
    let the dead bury the dead.

    This incident happened half a century ago. We simply have no right to pass judgement on a person like gandhi who tried in his unscientific way to find solutions.

    i mean as i read this iam sitting in an air conditioned cabin far away from the mass hysteria of 1946.

    lets learn from our mistakes. india is not a dream that erupted from churning of sacred waters.
    india has a voilent past like every other country.lets know our past and accept our mistakes.

    please lets not pass judgements on others who tried in every way to be proactive.

    life is got extremes of everything.our india is so much a better place than 1946’s . Gandhiji tried his best. gave up his life . he had his mistakes. but the important thing is that he embraced his destiny.

    iam sure if he were around today he would be so much more practical and scientific in his thoughts. and i am sure if we lived in 1946 most of us wouldn’t make any difference.

  6. Arnab,

    What this proves is that no one is perfect. Gandhi had numerous faults, and most are documented, if not widely known to the general public. That is because we like our national heroes to be unidimensionally good, without any grey areas at all.

    However, even though I know that a slew of anti-Gandhi comments will follow, it does not negate what good Gandhi has done for the nation. He was a mass leader in a time where there was no mass media to advertise him to the public. He was the voice of a nation, the conscience of the public.

    The point is that at the time, death was preferred to dishonour by many Indians, as it is still by many societies all over the world. Gandhi was just articulating what many men (yes, I do stress the word ‘men’) thought. In fact many, many men, and women still think that in the hinterlands of India. It is in the educated section of society that the thinking has changed – in most places we remain as feudal and regressive as we were when the Rajasthani women committed “Jauhar” by jumping into pyres when the Mughals approached.

    The same “die rather than be dishonored” suicides happened in other parts of the country during partition e.g. Punjab. There is en excellent delianation of this in the peerless novel “Tamas” by Bhisham Sahni, later made into a fine telefilm by Govind Nihalani.

    Obviously, there is nothing to recommend in that course of action or the fact that people, even national leaders condoned it. It is regressive, parochial, and misogynistic, cloaked in the garb of a false sense honour and pride.

    The larger issue is our treatment of icons. We need to have a dispassionate evaluation of their words and actions. In this regard, Gandhi has actually been more analysed than most. We know about his sleeping with naked young girls, we know about his neglect of family – there are plays and, now movies talking about that. We know of Nahru’s ambition, his dalliance with Edwina.

    But what about the other holy cows? What about Ambedkar? Savarkar? Patel? There we are still forced to imbibe one-sided hagiographies. Anything to the contrary is banned!!!

    Finally, this just reinforces my belief that the greatest reformer for India in the last few hundred years remains Raja Rammohun Roy. But that maybe because I haven’t yet read about any trysts with the widows he saved from the pyre…

  7. ….certainly a Gandhigiri worth condemning.but,is there any chance that he was misquoted??

    by the way,came across Jinnah’s proclamation in wiki

    “We shall have India divided or we shall have India destroyed”.

    this is absolutely outrageous,to say the least.

  8. w’ pov,

    What you are arguing is preposterous! Why should we bury what Gandhi said 50 years ago? It would make sense only if we buried Gandhi entirely and refused to listen to any of his views. But we are told, how this generation has failed Gandhi and how only by following his foot steps can India reach greatness and the world find peace. What Gandhi said here is so retrograde that by no means of judging history, it makes any sense. How different are these views from those who advocate honor killing just because a woman has been raped?

    History is important and it’s lessons must not be forgotten.

  9. Arnab,

    Iam sure he was misquoted. I don’t agree with the first part of your analysis. Gandhiji was a feminist. Chastity was not important for him. He laid importance on avoidance and I haven’t seen him treating men and women differently

    If I remember correctly, in this particular case he was answering a question whether a woman should kill the attacker if he is going to rape her. To this Gandhiji’s reply was that the woman should rather kill herself, rather than be violent. I agree that this is taking non-violence to the extreme, but the old man had his own way of looking at things. He even asked the jews to do collective suicide to arouse the world against Hitler’s tyranny. And after the war when he was asked to clarify, he said that the jews died anyway. That kind of nonviolence is probably unpractical, but it fits Gandhiji’s philosophy.

    Let me dig up the source now.

    ~Anoop

  10. @ Shan : i agree with you on all the points you have said . But the govt of india is too coward to bring out a unbiased report on Gandhi . Also not only Raja RamMohan Roy , but Vidysagar was also a gr8 social reformer , and so was Tagore in his own silent way ( reformist educationist , is one aspect of him bout which lot of ppl are not aware ) . Also Gandhi sidelined Bhagat and Subhas from mainstream politics , although it is now accepted that because of the guerilla tactics of the freedom fighters and thanks to 2nd World Ware the British were forced to leave india . Otherwise they would have happily ruled over us till now ( which again i think would have been better, than these rustic politicians )

  11. @Anirban”

    “…although it is now accepted that because of the guerilla tactics of the freedom fighters and thanks to 2nd World Ware the British were forced to leave india . Otherwise they would have happily ruled over us till now…”

    I’m afraid that I have difficulty agreeing with you on this. Where has it been accepted that the British left India because of guerilla tactics? 2nd WW yes, but I douibt that the insurgent movement inside India was powerful enough to remove the British.

    The only mass movement against the British (and I stress on the word “mass”, which means multitudes of people) was launched by Gandhi. Of course to be objective, our appreciation of that is tempered by the fact that his fealty towards non-violence (i.e. his ideology) used to supersede his desire for the independence of the nation. An example is when he withdrew the Quit India movement after the Chauri Chaura incident.

    Now each of us can take that in whatever way we like. We could decry his priorities, or admire his stedfast loyalty to his ideology. Good points to be made on both sides.

  12. “We should study history and learn its lessons so that we do not repeat our past mistakes. But the trick is to learn the right lessons from history unlike most of us who end up learning the wrong lessons” ….. thus spoke a great man (do not remember who, so no name)

    Let us take the right lessons from Gandhi as are applicable in today’s world. And Gandhi was human, after-all, so was not infalliable as has been mentioned. Let us take the lessons as applicable today. Obviously, honor killings and the like need to be condemned today but why pull out something said half a century back and wave it using today’s morals. Gandhi said what was applicable then, maybe it was not correct even at that time, but we will never know.

    Let us view Gandhi for the person he was (For all the pro-gandhians, yes he was only a “person”, no God or or even an unfalliable mahatma……) and definitely reject all that is wrong in today’s context (like extreme non-violence…. Non-violence was taken too far in the following link)

    http://www.indiadaily.org/entry/nehru-was-reluctant-to-maintain-indian-army/

    Similarly reject his views, but do not view the person from a 2007 caladeiscope, instead, from a 1947 one….

  13. Greatbong,

    On this one, even i have to disagree. I think we also have to appreciate the context and the period Gandhi himself lived in, before critiqueing him in the present, when it is a different world view altogether for even the most conservative amongst us.

    Plus, looking at some of the odder incidents in gandhi’s life, one has to think that the man was possibly so thoroughly horrified with violence, that at times he may have uttered the sort of advice he is said to have given here, out of sheer frustration too.

    Otherwise, it’s been a joy catching up with your posts. Keep it up!

    regards

  14. It appears shocking only if you think that he said it only about women. If a woman raping a man was as common as the other way round, I am sure he would have given the same advice to men too. Point is not that a woman is worthless once her chastity is gone, but according to Gandhi, any life, be that of a man or a woman, is not worth living if you have to compromise on your principles. So it comes from that view of life which places principles above life itself. And also, as he explains here (http://www.mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/Gandhi'sstruggle.htm scroll down to the section on “Criminal assaults”), once we start valuing our principles more than our life and stop fearing death, we will find ways to stand by those principles. So a woman who is even prepared to die to defend her honour will by her sheer courage make the assualter bow in shame according to Gandhi. But a lot of times, we fear death so much that we shortsell ourselves and compromise much earlier than we need to and that’s what Gandhi was warning those women against doing.

  15. confused,
    2006 is so far away from 1946.
    we cant equate what gandhi said then to what we think now.

    i dont think we need to hide this but cant we focus more on the present rather than find faults with things that have happened already.

    gandhiji was certainly a flawed person.but this half naked fakir with his excessive idealism was what India needed in the forties. he lived up to it to.

    and did he really sleep with naked girls? gosh!:)

  16. @Confused:

    “What you are arguing is preposterous! Why should we bury what Gandhi said 50 years ago? It would make sense only if we buried Gandhi entirely and refused to listen to any of his views.”

    What’s wrong about taking the good things about a person’s teachings and burying the rest?

    Aren’t we intelligent enough to do our own thinking? Do we have to accept a great man’s words in toto, or reject it in toto? Human nature isn’t black or white. Even in Gandhi. We’ve got to learn to accept that even in our national heroes.

    @Arnab: This article simply goes to show that Gandhi was not always consistent in his views, and we need to bury some of his teachings/advice as stupid, irrelevant and just plain ridiculous.

  17. Well Gandhi was as extreme as they get. Only he was a pacifist. His entire career as a politician and an activist was to gain attention. Getting attention, ridiculed or laughed at meant that someone would be listening.

    Had Mr. Gandhi lived to see buddhist monks lighting themselves on fire, he would not have been averse to use that as a method for resistance.

    He made similar comments regarding the plight of the jews.

    As for the feminist viewpoint, that’s was just the norm of the day, not apologizing for it or for him.

    Bong, you should watch the Penn & Teller Bullshit episode on gandhi called Holier than thou. It used to be on google video but it got taken down.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

  18. Arnab,

    Got the sources.
    Here are some of Gandhiji’s comments on chastity: mind.
    “…., if a woman’s mind is pure, her virtue is not violated and she is not stained by sin, even though she
    may have been raped. Neither will the world reproach her, nor will there be anything against her from the point of view of dharma. A pure woman, therefore, should never be afraid of her modesty being
    violated.”
    Source: http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL039.PDF

    “And why is there all this morbid anxiety about female purity? Have women any say in the matter of male purity? We hear nothing of women’s anxiety about men’s chastity. Why should men arrogate to themselves the right to regulate female purity? It cannot be superimposed from without.”

    There are many such references in cwmg, where Gandhiji scolds the differential treatment of women. It can be conclusively said that the original newspaper article was a lie and written with malice. Please clarify it on your blog.

  19. My Dear GB,

    A 24 carat pure gold medal studded with diamonds should be immediately awarded to you by the journalists association of India, if such a body exists that is, for highlighting such issues. No other Indian blogger would have dared to choose the subject …..and although some manipulative ones take potshots on Hindu fundamentalists…. they would not dare offend anyone by talking about organizations like SIMI or talk about the dark side of MKG. Such a gem of a post again reaffirms your undisputed status as India’s best blogger. By bringing up the Noakhali incident, you have done a great service to the youth of the nation. I am sure that there are many many youths in every nook and corner of our nation at this very moment who are getting insprired by your ‘calling a spade a spade’ like blogging – direct , tough, gritty, unbiased, logical, uncompromising, reflective, investigative, probing, philosophical, sardonic, detached, unemotional, thought-provoking, multi-layered, timeless, intrepid and simply brilliant. You are to the world of blogging what Ian Chappell is the world of cricket commentary. It is said that sparks literally flew off the Underwood typewriter of Raymond Chandler when he wrote those cynical detective stories – so brilliant was his writing, as was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s that their detective stories, the type which was otherwise branded as pulp, became elevated to the level of literature. Similarly, you have taken blogging, which other lesser mortals do like “xyz writes in the Washington Post” style, to the next higher level through innovative reasearch, wit, humour ,an inimitable style and most importantly, originality.

    Now coming to this post, it is really sad to read such stuff and yet it demystifies a lot about the father of our nation. As Shan Shan above says, no one is perfect. Gandhi’s non violence may have had some merits, but it resulted in the loss of many Hindu lives. When there is a riot, the only way to survive is by killing the enemy is by doing so without compunction and with sheer delight. I first heard of the Noakhali killings from my father and uncles, who saw the partition and the killings as a child. The funny thing with Gandhi was that when Muslims were beginning to feel the backlash of this incident, he started fasting. But if the veracity of the link that you’ve supplied is ascertained, this advice of Gandhiji to women is extremely sick and despicable. With that kind of philosophy, no wonder MKG and Netaji SC Bose had differences in opinion.

    @Shan- GB is not trying to negate the virtues of Gandhiji here. But similarly, his virtues don’t negate the mistakes he did and his foolishness at the cost of many lives. These kind of incidents show how full of flaws his famed non-violence theory was, although as Confused says……MSM will only highlight the positives of the theory.

  20. GB,Confused

    A thought experiment.

    A woman is in danger of being molested, she happens to be armed, but so are the attackers.There are two options

    1. Resist and risk death.
    2. Submit.

    Which one is better ? Why ?

  21. Gaurav,
    another interesting ‘thought’ experiment

    i am about to throw my chair on your face
    will you
    1. shutup
    2.come up with another ridiculous experiment

  22. @w’s pov

    When I mentioned “sleeping with naked girls, maybe I should have been clearer given the fact that you obviously have never heard of these incidents. He did not have sex with naked girls. He used to sleep beside them as experiments in an endeavour to control his own libido. It was an experiment for him. Sounds “eww” to us though in this age, I understand, but his purposes were different.

    He was trying to reach a stage where sex or sexuality did not have any effect on him at all. This is something all traditionally all yogis in India desire to achieve. In our tradition of yogis and gurus, there are several instances of writings where spiritual gurus have actually reached a stage where their penises actually almost recede into the body and they reach a state where their sex becomes immaterial.

    @Yourfan2

    Your ecomiums to GB was longer than your take on the subject. Nothing less expected. Well done. Although, much as I like his writing, I hardly think he’s the first to bring the “negative” side of Gandhi to light…

    “…his foolishness at the cost of many lives…”

    You mean to say that a violent uprising against the British would have resulted in lesser loss of life? Sounds counterintuitive to me. Besides, I am not even speaking about the fact that none of the violent protesters could gather even a smidgeon of the kind of support and love that Gandhi evoked. Is that a comment on our national character? Maybe, but that’s fine. Maybe nationally a majority of us are non-violent people.

    “…some manipulative ones take potshots on Hindu fundamentalists…. they would not dare offend anyone by talking about organizations like SIMI…”

    “…when Muslims were beginning to feel the backlash of this incident, he started fasting.”

    I was actually wondering when someone would bring a communal angle to this. By accusing Gandhi, the MSM, and myriad other imaginary foes of communalism, you have exposed your own. Without going into explanations of why Gandhi was not communal, let me just mention that he was a Hindu secular and there are plenty of his writings where he is extolling and propagating the Hindu religion over others. Where Muslims needed his help, he supported them as well. He was an equal opportunity do-gooder.

    But of course I don’t expect you to see him as anything other a communal, Muslim-loving, anti-women, experimenting pervert. It’s the fashion nowadays among intelligensia to bash Gandhi without reading about him or trying to understand him much.

  23. lets all hope that the experiment never failed. :)
    anyways thks for the clarification.

    gaurav:peace. and dont go about the internet with more thougth experiments involving armed/unarmed women about to be molested.some of us will be pmsing and wont take it very kindly.

  24. For those who may be unaware, here is what Noakhali was. I urge you to follow this link and read about it, if you don’t already know the facts.

    That you had to write like this itself is shameful. It speaks about our amazing sense and knowledge of history. But who cares, afterall people across the border are just like us – the cook sumptuous biriyani and love hindi films. Thye are just like us. They are our brothers. Our destinies are interwoven. Let there be a trillion trains and soft borders. Long live India.

  25. Sriram@ If you have your women raped and men folk cut into pieces, you’ll not talk about “people across the border are just like us” crap. Lets hear from you if due to some geological freak TamilNadu becomes a border state adjacent to Jihadi scumbags.

    Did Gandhi had other motives to mislead poor Bengalis? His dislike for Netaji? Did he offer similar advise to retaliating Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab? Didn’t even go there? Why not?

    Noakhali was not the first instance BTW, check out his equally mischievous comment on Moplah riots of Kerala.

    Gandhi’s comment is nothing different from Shivlal Yadav’s “such things happen” in Nithari case.

  26. @GB: Just trying to present my point of view. If a woman, or a person of any gender, is faced with a situation where he has two options either submit to the oppression or death, which one will that person take up? Gandhi, suggested to choose death instead of dishonor, under the above mentioned circumstances. Killing yourself should be seen as the last resort before submitting to dishonor.

    “Here is the father of our nation articulating the belief that a woman’s sexual chastity is what solely defines her identity—-once that so-called ‘honor’ is gone, her staying alive is meaningless.”

    I am assuming that you didnt mean to say that Gandhi is recommending women to commit suscide after they are raped. If that was what you intented, then I guess you are wrong. Gandhi would have asked woman to commit sucide instead of submitting herself for the feast to those devils. It is apparent from his statements that he does not mean to say that if a women is raped, she has no right to live.

    @yourfan2
    ” But if the veracity of the link that you’ve supplied is ascertained, this advice of Gandhiji to women is extremely sick and despicable. With that kind of philosophy, no wonder MKG and Netaji SC Bose had differences in opinion.”

    You mean to say, that if the integrity of the link is untrue, the difference in point of views of the two great men would be under question?

    @w’s pov,
    can you lift the chair once again?

  27. Assuming the report is correct, Gandhi made the statement 60 years ago. Customs and traditions change with time. Perhaps the suggestion was not as outrageous at that time as it is now.
    Think of it – there are many customs which look ridiculous, even shocking, today. e.g. 160 years ago sati was still prevalent in India. Arguably, a woman’s existence back then was defined not only by her moral chastity but inextricably intertwined with her husband’s existence. Yes, as time passes those practices become outdated and even wrong. And yes, we should try our best to weed them out. But looking back and pointing fingers at something that was said years ago, in an age vastly different to ours does no one any good.

  28. This is the same guy that felt the Jews should go to the concentration camps happily since that might soften the Nazis. In some respects, he was a deluded lunatic .

  29. Gandhi did/said some foolish/ridiculous things–after all, he was only TOO human.

    And to be utterly fair to the old boy, he was aware of his own fallibility and was forever questioning himself. One of the better traits in his character, I guess.

  30. I am really tired of reading and writing about Gandhi.

    I lost my faith in him when I read about how he forced Netaji Bose to resign from President post of congress. Congress party is always run by a dictator and not the people. Gandhi and his methods ..let them go to hell together. I complain that why Nathuram killed him so late?

  31. I am surprised that you were surprised by these comments by Gandhi…everyone knows that Gandhi’s ideas pertaining to Society and relationships were indeed lots of times primitive….case in point his relationships with His son and netaji. The Man was great but not perfect…

  32. VonRunstedt –
    My comment was intended to be a satire. Its shame on the ‘elite Indians’ that someone like Greatbong has to tell them what happened in Noakhali. Ignorance of this history is what makes our ‘intelligentia’ tout the biriyani and brothers across the border line.

  33. This post raked up an issue close to my heart. Not Gandhi. It is regarding the threat faced by bengali-hindus… Meeting the same fate like sindhi hindus. No homeland. Cut-pasting an earlier mail of mine. I believe it is relevant to this post of GreatBong. I will love to hear comments at indatri at the rate of yahoo dot com

    Hi Ramananda,
    It seemed that your main concern is infiltration of terrorists/refugees. You have suggested sweetening measures (like reducing import tariffs) so that bangladesh government allows the fence-building. You also suggested tough measures to armtwist them (like choking by farakka).
    My agenda is something different than illegal immigrants. Mine is an agenda of bengali-hindu-homeland. My level of concern regarding bengali-hindu- becoming-a-minority is high. My goal is to maintain hindu majority in westbengal. Even if immigration happens, I will like to restrict it to hindu immigrants.
    I believe, bengali-hindus are still not sufficiently aware of this threat. In fact people like sunil-ganguli hate meRos/hindi-speakers more than muslim-bengalis in bangladesh. I feel exactly opposite. A hindi/meRo majority does not desecrate my durga-protimas, does not rape my sisters, does not beat up my father/brothers.
    Ramananda, I believe you have some influence as journalist. Can you use your influence in bengali press to highlight this issue? It will be difficult because ananda-publishers’ big market is in bangladesh. But this task has to be done. I don’t know how. We bengalis have to become a little less ‘sekyulaar’ and little more like gujjus. Well, we do not want to do anything like post godhra. But more of bengali-hindu-assertiveness is something I will love to have.

    Indatri

  34. @Abhijit

    After reading your thoughts, I only lament why your dad and mon didn’t practice birth control more assiduously.

    @Arnab

    Harsh words from me, I know, but not treasonous unlike someone who wishes the Father of the Nation were killed earlier. At least I wanted him unborn. I could have wished his parents killed him at birth, you know. Please moderate if you so wish if you find my words more offensive then his.

    @Indatri

    Wow! A double whammy! Commmunal and parochial at the same time! My guess is Bengali Hindus are more in danger from virulent people like you than Bangladeshi Muslims.

  35. I think whatever I wanted to say has been said very well by 1st comments of both Confused and Shan respectively. Nothing to add there. We must remember Gandhi was just a human. He even wrote a letter to Jews asking them to surrender to Hitler – 50 years hence we can make all sorts of deductions on his character, but rather than cribbing about what he did wrong, maybe we could learn from what he did right and move on.

    S

  36. Let me vent out my anger. Gandhi was a opportunist and wanted only his views to prevail. that is why he cleverly manipulated the annihilation of Subhasbabu. Many say he was promoted by the British to furthur their Hypocrasy.
    In what is he better than many dictators who fooled nations to dance to their tunes? Taking nonviolence to exterme end ?????. My foot.

  37. @Confused: Unfortunately, there are a lot of things MSM is not comfortable discussing. Also talking about the non-feel-good part of Gandhism makes no business sense.

    @Suman: Thanks

    @w’s POV: If we go by your logic, then there is no need of history. There is no need to evaluate and judge the past and analyze the grey areas. Mind you I am not saying that we should be taking action today based on history (like the Babri Masjid destroyers did). What is history cannot be undone. But there is no use in denying it. I am not trying to say that this lessens Gandhi’s contribution or “pro-activeness” in any way…but it merits mention because of the rather “feel good” ideal we have of his philosophy propagated by popular media and our unidimensional text books.

    @Shan: I totally agree with this comment of yours. There is always this tendency of Gandhi-bashing, a knee-jerk reaction against the idolizing of Gandhi. I stand against both extremes and as you said prefer looking at any historical figure in his totality…as a human being with good and not-so-good.

    Incidentally my favourite reformer is Iswarchandra Vidyasagar.

    @Arnab: This quote was made in 1946 at the time of Direct Action Day. By that time Jinnah had metamorphosed into a hate-driven bigot….but he was not always like that.

    @PJ: Again the problem comes because we make men into Gods and then any sign of human failing we find, we try to bring down everything about the man-turned-God.

    @Anoop: With respect to what you quoted, Gandhi’s statement at Noakhali appears at odds.  However as you may well know that Gandhi did tell Jews to march quietly into the night and dont you think is an extension of that principle? Now before you tarnish the veracity of the article, kindly do look at the supporting article I have put up. Of course this might all be an Associated Press conspiracy.

    @Mayuresh: I don’t think there was anything about that statement that made it “ok” in the 1940s. Asking someone to commit suicide rather than fight back does not seem to make any sense at any point of time. While non-violence is a powerful idea, taken to extremes it becomes essentially a kind of “fundamentalism”.

    @Prasanna: Again do not think there is any context that makes this acceptable.

    @Mohan:
    “So a woman who is even prepared to die to defend her honour will by her sheer courage make the assualter bow in shame according to Gandhi.”And that does not strike you as perhaps a little naive?

    @Sayon: True. However many people are not comfortable with anything that is less than perfect with their idol.

    @Anangbhai: I think that saying Gandhi did all this to “get attention” is unfair. He believed in something that was very powerful both as a means of political struggle and also as a philosophy for life. However he took it to extremes. And he had his biases.

    @Yourfan2: Yes it is true that when the Hindu backlash began he started fasting. Gandhi sincerely believed in treating minorities differently because as he said, they were our younger brothers and should be treated likewise.

    @Gaurav: Take the path that maximizes her chance of survival.

    @W’s POV: Nice to see your very un-Gandhian tolerance for contrary opinion.

    @Shan: In your reply to Yourfan2, I see you make points about Gandhi’s secularism. Again the last thing I want is to get into an argument on this with you (because this argument on Sulekha and on any Indian community has been done to death) but I would have serious reservations in calling him impartial with respect to religion. Not that it made him communal.

    @Sriram: I remember mentioning Noakhali to a “so-called liberal” friend and he had never heard of the place. When I told him what had happened, he said he did not believe such things could happen and that it was rightwing Hindu propaganda.

    @Crisp: Aaah the justifications from the so-called Gandhi-is-God brigade and then the calls for chair-throwing. Delicious ironies.

    @Sum: It was not as outrageous then? And you think that in those days women committed sati of their own volition, because of the context in which they were raised…a context we in 2007 cannot understand? Just remember how a Sati site used to be…people standing around and pushing the burning woman back into the fire as she sought to escape….kind of the same way a woman in 2007 would react if she was being set on fire by a whole villageful of men.

    @Jethro: Again extremes !

    @Swati: Except that people do not want to accept his humanity and will go to any lengths to justify everything he did or said.

    @Vulturo: Firstly, with due respect anyone who says Gandhi is an “ass” is also an “ass”. Kindly accord him the respect that is due. Secondly the point of the post was to lay before people some of the rather extreme ideas of Gandhi….ideas that have been buried underneath the feel-good carpet of Gandhigiri. By this I hope that people evaulate Gandhi as a human being (with failings) who propounded an enormously powerful political idea and not a God or an ass.

    @Abhijit: Your opinion.

    @Gourav: I was surprised about this statement in the context of Noakhali.

    @Indatri: The fate faced by Bengali Hindus in Bangladesh is alas an issue secularists would like us not to talk about. Maybe I will write a post on this later.

    @Shan: Harsh words indeed ! It is indeed sad that you stoop to this level of personal invective if you do not agree with someone’s POV.

    “Commmunal and parochial at the same time! My guess is Bengali Hindus are more in danger from virulent people like you than Bangladeshi Muslims.”

    Shan, are you wishing to deny the fact that Bangladeshi Hindus are being raped, killed and forcibly converted with the active collusion of Bangladeshi authorities? Because if you feel that “virulent people” are more of a threat than the Bangladeshi Islamic government then you are trivializing the atrocities on Bangladeshi Hindus.

    @Suyog: “Rather than cribbing about what he did wrong”

    Where do you find the cribbing? Does the mention of Gandhi’s not-so-great ideas amount to cribbing?

    @Kumar: “Many say he was promoted by the British to furthur their Hypocrasy.”

    Many? Name one please.

  38. ” rather than cribbing about what he did wrong, maybe we could learn from what he did right and move on.”- Suyog.

    My views exactly.

  39. hindsight is always 20/20. I’m sure that none of us would want to change anything that we said/did in the past.

    So let’s bring Gandhi down. Some good it’s going to do us.And if we could use some un-substantiated sources to do the same , well , all the better.

  40. @Rima: Again what I said in reply to Suyog is what I say to you.

    @Puneet: Sir? What is an unsubstantiated source? That is a scan of a newspaper article publishes in the 1940s. Now the reason why I even put that disclaimer was because since this is not a current event, I cannot cross verify through multiple news outlets. Just because something doesnt tally with your world view does not mean it is false. Also while hindsight is 20/20 what we are talking about is not a political decision that Gandhi took but a point of view. In other words, I am not being “wise after the event”.

    Bringing Gandhi down? Well whether this brings down Gandhi is a judgement you made…I dont think it does. It just presents a part of the truth.

  41. @GreatBong,

    This IS genuine. Not only that, there are many other incidents that are genuine. Many of which I have posted in other comments earlier in other older threads.

    In another incident he told Hindus – When the Muslims come to kill you, plead with them to spare your life.

    If ever he had said that to me, my reply would have been – Why dont you try it, Sir.

    But then, no need for muslims to kill me, his Congress sycophants would have killed me right there, if I ever made such a reply. Behind that facade of peace and non-violence and “peoples” movements, there was a significant element of autocratic behaviour (like his attitude towards other Congress leaders, going on hunger strikes to force his point of view, whether right or wrong, disregard for other’s opinions). No wonder, Nathuram Godse’s testimony in court has never been made public. I somehow think Godse was not a criminal per se, but was driven to do what he did. I think he had very good reasons to do so. Those who support Gandhi should have seen the millions of Hindus from Punjab and Bengal killed, and probably go and talk to the survivors of a holocaust(which is not even acknowledged). No, no need to blame the Partition, it was Gandhi’s non-violence-at-all-costs policy (even though the cost is more violence) that was responsible for millions of us killed.

    Gandhi should be called the founder of “non-violence through violence”, a real oxymoron if any.

  42. Am a newbie here, find this thread very interesting.

    The past is past and whatever Gandhi did has shaped our destiny, for good or bad.

    What needs to be done now is important.
    It is imporant that, the virulent Pan-Islamic ideologies and their effects on Hindus in particular, and South Asians in general, is studied and understood.

    Methinks, Pan Islamism is a threat to humanity and Bengali Hindus, by virtue of their geographical location, are right up there in the cross-hairs (maybe after Kashmiri Hindus and Asomiya Hindus). A “non ostrich like” look at the past and the present actually makes a compelling case for a Hindu Bengali re-awakening.

    And its not just the policymakers and security agencies that have a role to play here. Every individual has the power to make a difference.

  43. @ Greatbong,

    I wonder if some govt authority would come around and arrest all of us for being perceivedly “anti-Gandhi”. After all, we have cut flesh from the Holy Cow.

  44. @Greatbong,

    I’m sure when you read the paper clipping you would have caught the subtle references which , though not news , bias the readers mind. Here are few I noticed :

    1. Spiritual leader of “Hindu-led” congress.
    2. “Muslim goverment” of Bengal.
    3. “Bengal providence is predominently muslim” etc.

    I do not want to bring a communal angle here , but the article certainly does. MK Gandhi and Mr. Ghosh are talking about “suicide” and “bomb the areas” respectively. However , “Premire” Sir Hassan talks about stopping the “opperssion and atrocities” .

    [Greatbong adds: As far as I see, Premier is NOT spelt as “Premire” but spelt as it should be spelt and “oppression” is not spelt as “opperssion”]

    Besides , what newspaper worth it’s salt would misspell (assuming King’s english)
    1. dishonor
    2. spreading
    etc.

    My point is that even if this article was published , this was not from the stables of a responsible press. Hence the entire credibility of the article can be questioned.

    My 2 cents.

  45. This does not make sense to me at all esp. after Gandhi’s stand post partition where he strongly urged all families
    to take back their daughters.

    http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/comparative_studies_of_south_asia_africa_and_the_middle_east/v024/24.1mookerjea-leonard.html

    “Responding to the problem of Hindu and Sikh families’ and communities’ refusal to reintegrate women sexually violated during the Partition riots and later repatriated from Pakistan, Mahatma Gandhi addressed the issue at a prayer meeting on 7 December 1947:

    It is being said that the families of the abducted women no longer want to receive them back. It would be a barbarian husband or a barbarian parent who would say that he would not take back his wife or daughter. I do not think the women concerned had done anything wrong. They had been subjected to violence. To put a blot on them and to say that they are no longer fit to be accepted in society is unjust.1
    On 26 December 1947, he urged his audience again:

    Even if the girl has been forced into marriage by a Muslim, even if she had been violated, I would still take her back with respect. I do not want that a single Hindu or Sikh should take up the attitude that if a girl has been abducted by a Muslim she is no longer acceptable to society…. If my daughter had been violated by a rascal and made pregnant, must I cast her and her child away? …Today we are in such an unfortunate situation that some girls say that they do not want to come back, for they know that if they return they will only face disgrace and humiliation. The parents will tell them to go away, so will the husbands.2 “

  46. @ Shampa:
    Agree with you.
    Its a shame even today, on one hand Hindus refuse to stand up to Islamic problem and prefer to escapist route under the garb of moral high ground.
    These very Hindus dive under the carpet of “honor” and ostracize their own when they need the most protection and support after violation by jihadis.

  47. @Puneet: I agree about one spelling mistake.I did not notice it and thanks for pointing it out.

    But as far I see, I do not see Premier being misspelt as “Premire” (as you stated) and I do not see where “oppression” has been misspelt. Am I making any mistake?
    Now as to the rest: on network news in the US even now, India is referred to as Hindu India (vis a vis Muslim Pakistan). Now “Muslim government” I presume comes from the government being in the hands of Suhrawardy…if Modi’s government can be called a Hindu government why not that of Suhrawardy?

    Also the fact that Gandhiji is on record asking for Jews to collectively commit suicide does seem in tune with he is being accused of saying?

    @Shampa: Thank you for the link. In total contradiction of what gandhi said here. As I said in my post, I could be wrong about Gandhi’s motives…maybe it was his extreme form of non-violence…after all this is an extension of his telling the Jews to let Hitler kill them without protest. Or it could also be that Gandhiji changed his stance. As an example he prevented pennicilin be administered to Kasturba Gandhi (he wanted God Almighty to heal her) but took Western medicines himself when he fell ill.

  48. like all great men, gandhi was in the habit of contradicting himself frequently (to be fair to him though, if each word that one utters is stored for posterity, every individual would be a mountain of contradictions). So it’s quite possible that he said both….i.e. your blog and my link may both be right.

    for instance he went on record saying that all indian women should have meerabai as their role model. and what was meerabai? a woman who refused to acknowledge her husband, or live with him; who wandered in and out of the kingdom as she desired. eventually she refused to participate in his last rites saying that she was never married to him. and if a proponent of patriachy wants indian women to emulate meerabai, it is quite a contradiction.

  49. @Greatbong: I did not mean you. I meant the people commenting on this post. I am sorry if you felt that it was targeted at you. It was not.

    Cheers,

    Suyog

  50. @Arnab: I don’t know what made you write this post – maybe you’re annoyed by the cloying hossannahs for Gandhigiri you see these days.

    Unfortunately, any negative comments about Gandhi is lapped up by right-wingers who hate Gandhi anyway (for not being right-wing like them, I guess). Your intent may have been to hold up a contradiction in the world-view of Gandhi-the-God, but instead your post just adds to their conviction that Gandhi is to be rejected in toto, including the good things that he advocated.

    Your blog – your right to post whatever you want to. But while this pseudo Gandhism (aka Gandhigiri) annoys me too, I do wish you did not have to fuel the Gandhi-hatred of the rabid right-wingers.

    Just my personal opinion, of course…

  51. GB,

    I take it you mean 2.

    So if a woman chooses , and dies, I suppose the logical conclusion is she was brainwashed by male dominated society to value honour over survival. Because we agree that honour is ofcourse a very sexist and offensive notion.

  52. @Suyog: No problem. It’s clear now.

    @Sayon: Yes the cloying pasteurized “Gandhigiri” which not only dilutes Gandhian teachings but also brushes under the carpet many of its darker sides is a reason. The other reason is simply to have a discussion. I do not make a case for rejection of him in toto….the people who want to do so will do it regardless of my post. This blog just has things which “interest” me…where people want to run with it is after all their choice.

    @Gaurav: No I mean what I said. If a woman feels she can stay alive by shooting (and the others will run away) she should fire. If she believes she cannot overpower the crowd with 2 shots, then she should try to do what she needs to do to stay alive. And if she knows that she will die no matter what she does, then she should try to mow down as many of the bastards as she can.

  53. @GB:
    Me a member of Gandhi-is-God brigade??? you got to be kidding. Honestly, I am not a big fan of Gandhi, infact I am a greater fan of yours compared to Gandhi. Also, I condemn him for many of his action. Just trying to make a valid point that flickered in my mind. Let us all give him a lil bit of space. I am glad that you found my ironies to be delicious. so am I gonna be popped up with the same question, that w’s pov raised to gaurav, by you ;) ?

  54. GB

    Ofcourse it is her choice. But if she chooses to die resisting because she valued her honour, , because she chose honour and did not act to ensure her survival and therefore according to you she was a sucker because she accepted roles and values forced upon her by a patriarchal society.

  55. @Greatbong,

    “Premier” and “opprssion” are mistakes of yours truly. I stand corrected.

    As some of us have pointed out that Gandhi’s views on Jews can be extrapolated to assume that this article must also be true , I would like to bring this article in defence of the man :

    http://www.gandhiserve.org/information/writings_online/articles/gandhi_jews_palestine.html

    (‘The Jews’, by Gandhi – From Harijan, November 26, 1938′)

    ps :
    You did expect that this post would mobilize a few of us to stand up and protest , did’nt you? However , all my arguments are not to bring disrespect to you or your readers. They are from a person who read “My experiments with truth” as a child and was profoundly touched by the experience. Cannot express it better than Nehru : Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi Also , here’s Time magazine’s take on the half naked fakir.

  56. @Arnab: Yes, I get what you mean. Unfortunately, the response you get can be divided into four categories:

    a) “Oh, that’s interesting! Did Gandhi say that? What exactly could have made him say that? What is the right thing to have advocated?” – I presume this is what you wanted.
    b) *Shrug of the shoulder* “Well,we knew that the old boy did say some damn-fool things!”
    c) “DID GANDHI SAY THAT? I TOLD YOU HE WAS A @%*&! DOWN WITH GANDHI! LONG LIVE NATHURAM GODSE/ SUBHASH BOSE!”
    d) “GANDHI COULD NEVER HAVE SAID THAT! THIS IS A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO ATTACK THE FATHER OF THE NATION! THE REPORT MUST BE A FAKE!”

    Tell me, of all the comments, just what percentage was in category (a)? Does that percentage satisfy your desire for a discussion?

    I’m not criticising you, just curious to know how a person who’s viewpoint is in public domain feels when an attempt at serious discussion is drowned in type c) and d) responses.

  57. @Gaurav: Can’t say what a woman would feel, but chosing to submit or not submit should be a woman’s choice. I imagine that some women would care more to live, others would consider a rape so humiliating to her personal identity (as opposed to what society thinks of her) that she would prefer to die resisting.

    I imagine that I could respect a woman who chose either path. But the point is that the woman should not be forced or persuaded by society or a leader to choose one of the paths.

  58. Dear Friends,
    We are disseminating information about Noakhali Massacre and plights of remaining Hindus of Bangladesh. What Mahatma Gandhi said is true.
    Please read this article from Time Magazine at:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,934711,00.html

    The whole Article is copied in the bottom of this email for your perusal.
    Know this, social rift that is created by Jinnah and his cohort is responsible for the social rift that exists in Indian subcontinent today and it will continue to grow for generations to come. Muslims in the subcontinent and Indian Congress party as a whole also need to understand their misdeeds and must act upon protecting humanity. Hindus were and are at the receiving end of malice of Islamists and Congress. Please visit http://truthofbengal.blogspot.com to understand Nehru politics against Hindus. You can count on http://truthofbengl.blogspot.com to bring you authentic news and evidence of an assertion as such.

    Thanks
    Truth of Bengal

    http://www.bengalvoice.com

    Help Hindu Minorities of Bangladesh visit http://www.hrcbm.org

    ============Mahatma Gandhi’s statement regarding Noakhali Massacre===
    Please read the sentences at the end of this article:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,934711,00.html

    “Walk Alone”
    Monday, Dec. 16, 1946 Article ToolsPrintEmail Correspondents assigned to the East Bengal tour of Mohandas K. Gandhi have been holed up for the past fortnight in the remote Moslem village of Shrirampore. To get to the nearest telegraph office, they had to walk 30 miles. Even after this extraordinary effort, most of their dispatches missed the point: while deadlock and deterioration attended Hindu-Moslem relations at the London Conference, at New Delhi and elsewhere, Gandhi had turned his back on politics, was seeking a solution on another plane. A few weeks ago he was quietly advising on every move of the Congress Party. Now he was so uninterested that no one bothered him with details of the momentous London talks. To a correspondent he said:

    “I find myself in the midst of exaggeration and falsity. I am unable to discover the truth. Truth and nonviolence, by which I swear and which have sustained me for 60 years, seem to fail to show the attributes I have ascribed to them. … I see no light through the impenetrable darkness. I find that my theories of nonviolence do not answer in the matter of Hindu-Moslem relations. I have come here to discover a new technique.”

    How to Cross a Bridge. At Shrirampore, in a region called Noakhali, he settled down in a small, tin-roofed cottage in a dense tropical forest surrounded by ponds, coconut and betel palm groves and paddy fields. He dismissed his retinue of ipo people except for a stenographer and a teacher, who thought Gandhi at 77 not too old to learn Bengali. Often at Shrirampore Gandhi sang Rabindranath Tagore’s Ekla Chalo (Walk Alone). Out one day for his afternoon walk, Gandhi tried to cross a bamboo-stick bridge, slipped and was saved from a splash by his teacher. Murmured Gandhi (who rarely misses a chance at homely symbolism): “Crossing bamboo bridges requires great skill. … I shall try to acquire it by practicing.”

    To bridge the gap between Hindu and Moslem, the Mahatma each day visited at least one Moslem family to discuss the spiritual causes behind communal strife. More & more Moslems (including 20 special bodyguards) were attending his prayer meetings. All the doctors in the section were Hindus and had fled during the rioting; Gandhi, whose medical theories include sunbaths, hip baths, milk and fruit-juice diets was tending the Moslem sick.

    Asked how long he would stay in this retirement, Gandhi said: “There is no limit. … It may even be a lifetime. My object is to make Hindus and Moslems brothers and sisters. I can but make an attempt, success can be granted only by God. I shall do or die in Noakhali . . . even if all the Hindus go away, I shall be the solitary Hindu in Noakhali.”

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  59. GB,

    From Wiki Link you gave.

    “During the massacre, the Hindu minority were killed and beaten, and their properties were destroyed. Many Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam and Hindu women were abducted and raped. Often, members of the Muslim mob who slaughtered the Hindus would forcibly marry the widows after converting them to Islam at point of weapon.
    Many Hindu temples were looted and destroyed. Hindus were forced to throw deities into the Ganges river and Muslim mobs forced them to consume beef, which is disallowed in Hinduism[3]

    The horror and the underlying conspiracy of this occurrence can best be described in the words of S. L. Ghosh of the A. B. Patrika, quoted below. Says S. L. Ghosh:

    “The horror of the Noakhali outrage is unique in modern history in that it was not a simple case of turbulent members of the majority community (Muslims) killing off helpless members of the minority Hindu community, but was one whose chief aim was mass conversion, accompanied by loot, arson and wholesale devastation… No section of the Hindu community has been spared, the wealthier classes being dealt with more drastically. Abduction and outrage of Hindu women and forcible marriages were also resorted. The slogans used and the methods employed indicate that it was all part of a plan for the simultaneous establishment of Pakistan.”

    So it was not merely matter of chastity but also becoming slave.

    PS. Those who are doubting the veracity of the account it is totally true. As far as I remember, Bapu advised Hindus to let themselves killed by the mob. He also gave the same advice to British and Jews.
    He was wrong ofcourse but it doesn’t diminishes his stature. The problem with Indians is that while our washing machines have become more and more fuzzy, we are still stuck on binary as far as public discussion goes

  60. yourfan2: Your analysis of the whole issue is despicable to say the least. This is a man who did lot for our country and now we are basking in the independent sunshine you dig up shoddy facts and engage in cheap mudslinging. He did commit mistakes. He was human. I ask you just one question. Did he commit those misakes (or blunders if you wanna call it that) for his own personal agenda or for what he thought was right for the country – not hindus, not muslims, but India? If you answer is “I don’t know” or “Yes for India” – thats the end of discussion. Learn to look at the bigger picture than trivialising the matter on certain decisions only.

    Vulturo: At least start by spelling out the name correctly rather than using the Americanized version – Ghandi. SAD!!!! And to call him an ass???

    Greatbong: Kudos for writing this post. But I am sure you have realised that it is pointless. Rather than engaging in debate about the issue in question, it has turned into an obvious case of Gandhi bashing. All these people will be lucky if even 5 people beyond their friends and family remember them after death.

  61. Forget the past…look at what is happening to the Hindus in Bagladesh.
    From being 37% in 1947, they have been reduced to 11% in 2006.

    Is anybody doing anything about it right now….
    We, the armchair experts
    can atlest provide lipservice….
    check out this link
    http://www.hrcbm.org

  62. I wonder what issue Maharashtrians have with Gandhi? Did Gandhi screw them somehow? What? Vulturo, Abhijit and the like.. what seems to be the issue?

    One says Gandhi is an ass and its common knowledge… what world is this? Another says he wished Godse killed him earlier…I second Shan’s thoughts.

  63. Regd Gaurav’s thought experiment: I might be wrong, but the quality of life that the woman is going to lead after she survives the attack is probably the deciding factor whether she should give in and survive, or kill herself. Now, given the scenario in 1940’s mindset – life without izzat is no life at all, and so more favourable choice was suicide. Unfortunately, this was projected as bravery, and also depicted in many old movies.
    GB says that a person will tolerate sodomy in prison but would prefer to live. This is because he can see a “life” after being released and an acceptance in a matured society for such a victim. But here we are talking of illiterate, poor, and hungry class of 1940s mostly – where death was easily acceptable and price of life was “less” compared to the present.
    Now I know that I may raise a lot of eyebrows on the last statement – but what I mean is totally on the relative context. For example, the statement by Shivlal Yadav’s “such things happen” in Nithari case would not have raised so much concern in 1940s as it is happening now. Although in the absolute sense both are equally bad.

    Moreover, what else could he have advised – he could not have asked them to join the war for self defense (which would have been misinterpreted by many and would have aggravated the situation).

  64. @OI- You have every right to feel my views on MKG as despicable. Also, I am sorry if my views have offended you. I understand that you have very high regards for Gandhiji. Now there is no doubt that Mahtma Gandhi has been the most prominent person in India’s freedom movement. If he wasnt such an influencial person, then people outside india would not have uttered him and India in the same breath and neither would have that 1982 Oscar winning movie Gandhi (although I thought it was quite an Anglo Saxon portrayal of Gandhi) by Richard Attenborough been made.

    I hope you will appreciate that the partition of India was a big big event – it was the greatest movement of population from one place to another in history. Can you imagine living in a place which you called home and then suddenly one day everything is consumed by riots, fires and you become a refugee in a refugee camp in another place, having to start off again brick by brick? That is what happened to many many people of Bengal and Punjab. I would not expect you to, just like you and I can never quite fathom what a disaster the Bhopal Gas disaster was. Similarly, you just cannot fathom what Indatri means when he says about the plight of Bangladeshi Hindus. We gave that country emancipation from the fucking Pakis in 1971, and still you will hear stories of how the India army did this wrong and that bad. You will never understand these things, like the mass murders and riot killings that took place before partition.

    So whenever Partition and Independence is mentioned, it is quite natural that certain names like Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, the British admin will come up. You just cant help but analyze the motives, the psychology and the thought processes that made these people to make the decisions that they took then as each of those decisions, big or small had a big impact on the people. The reason why scientific trails are perfomed on rats and not on humans directly is that a wrong decision, even though well intended can lead to a disaster. Here we find a man who was so revered and had such a vice like grip on the psyche of the country that people would have done what he had said. But so volatile were the times, that “Experiments with Truth” turned out to be experiments with human lives. Also the principles of non-violence are good as long as both the opposing parties adhere to it. Now the Muslims definitely didnt adhere to Gandhi’s adherence of Non violence during the riots. And Jinnah was a champion for safeguarding his own communities interests. So we look back at a situation where the minorities (Muslims) had a gala time killing the majority (Hindus). The Hindus too had their share of vengence, but it was not executed in the same scale and intensity as it should have been done due to quite a few factors, the primary one amongst them being Gandhiji’s fasting and his repeated pleas for peace. If you dislike the work vengeance in the above sentence, you still have to agree with me that many lives could have been saved by acts of self-defense rather than surrender and suicide by females in the name of non violence.

    “I ask you just one question. Did he commit those misakes (or blunders if you wanna call it that) for his own personal agenda or for what he thought was right for the country – not hindus, not muslims, but India? ”

    I am afraid to say when its a war time situation like the riot killings, when there is is no law and order, when the Muslims were going kill you, then its only a deeply morbid person who has no esteem for human life (Im sorry he had…for others lives that is) that can steadfastly hold on his own beliefs. Since he also knew of the vice like grip he help on the psyche of Hindus, in my book he behaved like a general in a war who directed his armies to lay down their weapons and gladly accepts the bullets emanating from their opponent’s guns. So whatever his intention may have been, the denouement did not help in any aspect. India got partitioned and Jinnah got what he wanted.

    Its precisely the horrible denouement of incidents like this and the Holocaust that causes people to revisit and analyze. The idea here is not to paint black over white (read Gandhi bad and not Gandhi good), but to examine various shades of gray. Otherwise we would have all been very happy with what we learnt in our history text books in school – “Gandhiji was the father of the nation. He gave us independence”.

    —–

    Read the wiki link which Gaurav gave above. The riot and the partition of India were no small things, and I am by no means looking at a “small picture” when I focus my attention to it.

    But I understand the trauma when someone tries to humanize a person whom you think as an unblemished hero. I have a deep respect for SC Bose too. Many people say he was a villain. You should therefore not take it personally when people say things about Gandhi.

  65. Are you placing the blame on Gandhiji for the partition or are you saying he should have given up his most revered principle of “non-violence” during the partition? If you are saying that one should give up on one’s principles in face of adversity, I completely disagree with you. I choose to live my life on certain principles and will not compromise on it depending on the situation. Yes, innocent people suffered and were killed and raped and maimed by demons. I will not characterize them as Hindus or Muslims. That is the exact characterization that educated people need to discard, once and for all.

    I have read- “War and Secession – Pakistan, India and the creation of Bangladesh” – a great book. I’d suggest that book for reading. It gives a chilling portrayal of the political manouevering and the human calamity before and during the 1971 Bangladeshi liberation. I know my history. For you to assume otherwise without any proof is not fair. You keep saying – “you will never understand this and that and this again…..”. Any particular reason you have started doubting my intellectual ability?

    “…..Also the principles of non-violence are good as long as both the opposing parties adhere to it. “

    This is where you are fundamentally wrong. Gandhi didn’t want to take the easy way out. What is so great about the principle if both parties are willing to adhere to it? He wanted to us to adhere to non-violence even when facing “violence”. That was the greatness of it. I am not saying that I would adhere to non-violence, but I respect the people who have the guts and conviction to follow through on it. No offense, but me and you are too small to even understand the greatness of this man. I wasn’t such a big fan either and just thought he had been glorified a bit too much. I started reading some of his writings and his quotes. Read his quotes – ponder over it. It seems he was light years ahead of his time in his thinking. I don’t think he had the ill interests of people at heart in whatever decisions he took. He may have committed blunders. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    ….India got partitioned and Jinnah got what he wanted.”

    If Gandhi had asked the Indians (once again, I won’t go into religious characterizations) not to lay down their arms, what would have happened? Less people would have died? Less children would have been orphaned? Oh yes, maybe more people on thier side might have died and that would have made everything alright. I am sorry I just don’t see it.

    Its very hard to change people’s opinions on such threads. The least i wanted to do is express my own point of view and provide some food for thought without name calling or getting into petty mudslinging. I hope none of my commnets above have seemed such. If they have, I truly apologize. This will be my last comment as time is a big issue. I’ll make sure I do read your reply…though.

    Peace! – “There is no road to peace; peace is the road – Mahatma”

  66. @GB: A bit naive perhaps, but then he had made two governments bow in shame through his sheer courage to stand by his principles, so it is somewhat understandable if he thought it could be used against anyone. But my point was that, the statement wasn’t in any sense demeaning or insulting to women. He wasn’t suggesting that their life is worthless without chastity, but that they should be willing to give up their life for the sake of principles and in his opinion it was a weapon which could even help them stick to those principles. So in that sense, the statement quoted by Shampa about accepting raped women back isn’t in contradiction to this Noakhali statement. In Noakhali, Gandhi wasn’t suggesting that women should commit suicide *after* being raped, but that they should do so to avoid being raped.

  67. Dear GB,

    We all know what stature MK Gandhi has in this country. No doubts about !!

    He ‘engineered’ most of the events that ultimately accelerated our freedom, so that definitely proves he was a great thinker and planner !!

    But giving every word he ever said.. or preached would be taking it too far !!
    Thats a problem we have in our blood..

    We like someone.. we put him up as a saint..
    we dont like someone or his ideology.. we would label him demonic…
    (find other references of this in Sports, notably cricket, without much research !!)

    So, giving Gandhiji due credit of his sacrifices and his role in the freedom struggle, it still would be incorrect to take every word he said as holy grail !!

  68. After my earlier comment, I read a few other comments.

    Just my two cents…

    I think the biggest weapon that Gandhiji utilized and IMO what really worked in our freedom struggle was not NON-VIOLENCE !!
    It was NON-COOPERATION !! and that too in mass !!

    So Gandhiji’s victory was mobilizing mass support to the concept of freedom and driving a wave on non-cooperation towards British rulers.. When Brits, the shrewd businessmen that they were, realized that they wouldnt be able to continue making profits in this ‘colony’, they HAD to take the decision to make retreat !!

  69. Gandhi and his actions were always suspect. That India got freedom was because the British after the War could not afford to continue the occupation of India. Gandhi and his role in our freedom struggle is very limited. Thanks for a serious article.

  70. oi@

    It is an one sided view maintained by the ruling Congress for decades, that Gandhi alone was responsible for British departure. History and politics of post WW-II world will provide a wholesome pictures.

    Gandhi’s greatness lies in his ability to organize and lead a hetergenous mass called India. Add to this, his personal example of simplicity, integrity and honesty; that made him readily acceptable by numerous groups (sometimes at cross purpose with each other).

    But, his understanding of history was poor. He underestimated the Hindu capacity to preserve their culture and territory. No, he actually discouraged them from being pro-active with their drive towards self-preservation.

    Noakhali is not the only example, try to read about the Moplah riots of Kerala and Gandhi’s advice to the Hindu victims there. He was man with inferiority complex of being a Hindu.

    Partition was unavoidable after a certain point. Gandhi accepted that grudgingly, but it was his poor understanding of sub-continental history that prevented him from making best out of the situation.
    Plea of likes of Patel, Ambedkar fell on his deaf ears and millions paid with their blood due to his grand delusion.

    Leader, philosopher and staunch nationalist he was. Statesman and visionary he was not.

    A man of his stature ought to know our Brahmin/Kshatriya tradition. You cannot be both at the same time.

  71. @Oi:
    “That is the exact characterization that educated people need to discard, once and for all.”

    Alas in a perfect world, such would have been the case. But had that been the case in this imperfect world, then the world today would be ruled by tyrants and despots and civilization would have been at the brink of a disaster as ‘principled’ people would always sacrifice their lives to the aggressors adhering to the maxim of non- violence.

    “He wanted to us to adhere to non-violence even when facing “violence”. That was the greatness of it. I am not saying that I would adhere to non-violence, but I respect the people who have the guts and conviction to follow through on it. No offense, but me and you are too small to even understand the greatness of this man.”

    It is this sacrosanct and saint-making attitude which is precisely impeding you to see both sides of the story. There may or may not be a dark side- but you are passing your verdict before examining. Now you are saying that the examination is a futile process as the test is too tough to pass. Also, it is ok to maintain ones principles – but its was not one then, it was millions of people and their lives….and its the whim and belief and fancies and principles of 1 person which is affecting those lives.

    Also repeating what Von Runstedt said: “He was man with inferiority complex of being a Hindu.Partition was unavoidable after a certain point. Gandhi accepted that grudgingly, but it was his poor understanding of sub-continental history that prevented him from making best out of the situation.
    Plea of likes of Patel, Ambedkar fell on his deaf ears and millions paid with their blood due to his grand delusion.”

    That is exactly my thought too. But thanks for your time and inputs…and peace.

  72. @greatbong
    Gandhiji did NOT tell the jews to “to march quietly into the night”. He said that the jews should do collective suicide to “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence”.
    Note the importance of the words, “arouse the world”. The suicide ought to be a very public affair, to be seen by the entire world, to be able to arouse all of them. It would be an extreme measure, but hitler was an extreme nutcase who had a tremendous hold over german people. Extreme situations demand extreme measures. Gandhiji never backtracked from his comment, and after the war when asked for clarification he repeated the same thing, saying “the jews died anyway”. Probably it is difficult for us to understand his views but when you put it in his philosophical frame, it fits.

    Gandhiji’s nonviolence was not quietly succumbing in the face of oppression. It was never that. That’s why I still doubt the veracity of the article, where he says that women should kill themselves to prevent dishonour. At best he might have been misquoted, or understood incorrectly.

  73. GB, your ‘so called liberal’ friend has reasons to believe that all this is hateful right wing Hindu propaganda. Such is the grip on history which our ‘eminent historians’ from JNU have!

  74. @Sriram – Sorry I did not read through the lines of your earlier tongue in check post. Good going!

    Regarding the politics of History, we should ask our JNU bred ‘liberal friends’ as why they don’t teach/read likes of RC Mazumdar and Jadunath Sarkar for neutral opinions.

    Likes Romila Thapar and Irfan Habibs have done irrepairable damage to the psyche of post Independance generation of us Indians.

    Our ‘liberal friends’ fail to tell us that the Hindu right does not even have a presence in the academia and media to present an alternative commentry on history. Oh well, the Stalinist mindset does not allow for an alternative opinion. Right or worong is a different question.

    @Genuine Gandhians: Pity on you folks that the legacy of Gandhi has been hijacked by JNU bred anarchists. Under liberal garb, sheltered behind Gandhian facade they feel no shame marching upto Wagah border post lighting candles when mutilated bodies of our soldiers are flung across LoC or when slain BSF soldiers are sent back hung on bamboo poles like culled cattles.

  75. pls remember suicide has not always been look down upon espically in Asia. this is primarily b cause of the concept of rebirth.

    In Japan, the samurai warriors commited suicide. In fact it was the suicidal tactics of Japanese(Kamikaze) which forced the US to drop atomic bombs. so we need to appreciate this comment in light of the then prevaling ideas.

  76. @ OI,

    >> I wonder what issue Maharashtrians have with Gandhi?

    You would be amazed to find that he gets the maximum abuse from Gujarat. Even the secular types in my college were no fans of Ghandi. Its not about any community having problem with Ghandi. Most Hindus have a problem with him. And for obvious reasons.

    I find it strange that people defend Ghandi on the issue of him asking Hindus to allow themselves to be slaughtered, as also British and Jews. Surprisingly, note that Ghandi never said such a thing to muslims. In fact, when muslims faced reprisals, Ghandi preached peace and even went on to hunger strikes for them, held meetings asking Hindus to stop violence etc. Note the double standards. Ghandi did that many a times. Why?

    The seeds of muslim appeasement and pseudo-secularism were sown by Ghandi. We are facing it till today. Maybe nobody amongst us or our immediate family have ever died in a jehadi terror attack or bomb blast, and hence our secularism.

    A quote I read somewhere – A liberal is a person whose interests are not at stake.

  77. Being a rabid right winger I am a great admirer of violence.Of course I have no objections if others prefer dying over defending. Leaves more space for me.

    “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”
    Al Capone

  78. @Arnab

    I am saddened as well. You have problems with my “personal invective” against someone with a “different pov”, but you have no problem with someone who wishes Gandhi had been killed earlier.

    Well…

  79. @Shan,
    >> He was the voice of a nation, the conscience of the public.

    He was the voice of the Congress, and he had no conscience.

    Congress is not the nation, and Bhagat Singh, Azad, Veer Savarkar and others were not Congressis.
    I really find it funny that the people who blindly followed Gandhi to fill up jails are called freedom-fighters.. :) Amusing indeed.

    >> the Rajasthani women committed “Jauhar” by jumping into pyres when the Mughals approached.

    So you acknowledge that muslims did all that, unlike our secular history textbooks. :) Amusing again. You just have to keep reading in between the lines, to find that “secular progressives” themselves confirm what they deny shouting hoarsely from the rooftops. The truth always comes out, doesnt it?

    >>But what about the other holy cows? What about Ambedkar? Savarkar? Patel?

    The point is – there is no muck to dig up on these men, while Gandhi and Nehru were rolling in it.

    BTW, Havent Ambedkar and Savarkar been vilified enough. Patel, IMHO, was the best person to lead India. he even won the prime-ministerial candidate election against Nehroo, but was forced to retreat by .. who else.. Gandhi!! Another mistake.
    Hey All, Stop defending Gandhi saying he made a *Few* mistakes. No, not few, he made many more mistakes. A lot of them. We cannot even list them down here.

    I agree about Raja RamMohan Roy.

    @ Anoop Saha,

    >> And after the war when he was asked to clarify, he said that the jews died anyway.

    Hahahaha.. LOL. Is this man Gandhi real. Einstein was right – we would never believe such a man ever walked this earth.
    Probably Einstein was being satirical.

    @ Anirban,

    >>so was Tagore in his own silent way ( reformist educationist , is one aspect of him bout which lot of ppl are not aware )

    True. I recall a speech by Osho. Tagore did not want Gandhi to involve students in strikes and hartals that Gandhi liked. Tagore said that it would create lot of problems if students were involved. But Gandhi was autocratic, he would have none of it, of course.

    @ Sayon,

    >>What’s wrong about taking the good things about a person’s teachings and burying the rest?

    Absolutely nothing wrong. But to force me to respect him… naah.
    I can be jailed if I make fun of him. Why so?

    @ Shan,

    >>He used to sleep beside them as experiments in an endeavour to control his own libido.

    A secretary of his said the contrary. He slept with naked young women to do satisfy his libido, not control it. His interview was published in India Today magazine some years ago.

    But why not his own wife? Why such experiments with someone else? What you said is not a good reason or justification for his wrongdoings.

  80. @Shadows:

    “Absolutely nothing wrong. But to force me to respect him… naah.
    I can be jailed if I make fun of him. Why so?”

    Forcing you to respect Gandhi? Why would I waste my time trying to do so? What do I get out of your respecting Gandhi?

    I would have liked it if you could see the good in Gandhi (rather than only the bad parts of him), and respecting him for the good he did. But that’s a wish only, and I do understand that there are many who are incapable of respecting him in any way.

    I do hope you don’t get jailed for insulting or making fun of Gandhi. I detest those who see Gandhi-the-man as Gandhi-the-God.

    Conversely, there are many people who would gladly jail people who admire Gandhi (oh, there are enough excuses to draw on – Muslim appeasers, traitors to the honour of the country, anti-Hindu, etc. etc. – those in power have curious ways to get their will done), if they were in a position to do so. I don’t find the right-wing parties any less sycophantic than the Congress-wallahs. Sad!

    Incidentally, thank you for changing your spelling of Gandhi – in your previous comment, you had written “Ghandi” – which is as enjoyable as the screeching of chalk on a blackboard.

    @Gaurav: “Sayon, But where did Bapu force anyone ?”

    No, Gandhi may not have – which is why I said “forced or persuaded”. Unfortunately, a demi-god of a leader persuades – his followers enforce his teachings, interpreting it to their advantage… That’s how the tyranny of tradition takes root. And the liberality of the leader’s original teachings are forgotten.

  81. @Shan,

    >>It’s the fashion nowadays among intelligensia to bash Gandhi without reading about him or trying to understand him much.

    In fact, its the contrary :) It’s the fashion nowadays among intelligensia to *praise* Gandhi without reading about him or trying to understand him much.

    @crisp,

    It is not about committing suicide before or after. Gandhi said – If you have knives and guns, kill yourself rather than the muslim who wants to rape you. We are not misunderstanding Gandhi, you are blinded by Gandhi and the Godlike status accorded to him.

    @ Sum,
    >> Think of it – there are many customs which look ridiculous, even shocking, today.

    maaf kar yaar. Kuch to soch kar bolo. The point is NOT about the customs and traditions 60 years ago. It is about Gandhi asking women to commit suicide rather than fight. All ye Gandhians, come to the point, please dont obfuscate the real issue at hand.

    @Swati
    >>he was aware of his own fallibility and was forever questioning himself.

    Very wrong, he wasnt. If he were, he would have been more democratic and open to ideas. Nonviolent and narrow-minded at the same time. Somewhat strange, isnt it? Nooo he preached non-violence to Hindus and Jews only. Why?

    @Shan
    >>I only lament why your dad and mon didn’t practice birth control more assiduously.

    Tsk tsk.. such harsh comments from a Gandhian. Not good :)

    @ OI,

    >> This is a man who did lot for our country and now we are basking in the independent sunshine you dig up shoddy facts and engage in cheap mudslinging.

    I wish we had won our freedom by Bhagat Singh’s and Netaji SC Bose’s way.

    @ OI,

    >>Did he commit those misakes (or blunders if you wanna call it that) for his own personal agenda or for what he thought was right for the country – not hindus, not muslims, but India?

    Answer – For Muslims.

    >>What is so great about the principle if both parties are willing to adhere to it?
    LOL… And you call yourself the Objective Indian. Amusing..

    @ Mohan,

    >>he had made two governments bow in shame

    Who, Nehru and Jinnah.. Yep, you are naive.

    >>In Noakhali, Gandhi wasn’t suggesting that women should commit suicide *after* being raped, but that they should do so to avoid being raped.

    Dont you think its insensitive to ask a woman to kill herself to avoid being raped? Its like blaming the woman on her dressing, if she is eve-teased.

    @Krishna,
    >>He ‘engineered’ most of the events that ultimately accelerated our freedom

    Like what? The WW2? Please enumerate.

    >>It was NON-COOPERATION !! and that too in mass !!
    At what cost? Why his blatant favouring of muslims? Is it not a misuse of power, a typical politicians trait. Stop making gandhi a saint, he was just a politician, and a wily one at that, like Nehru.

    By the way, non-cooperation was a failure. British just had to loosen the purse-strings and its all over. Hell, we even had our soldiers fighting in WW2 on British side. We won many major battles for them.

    @All Ye Gandhians,

    Accept this – Gandhi did not win us freedom *singlehandedly*. He played a role, no doubt, but he was not so big as made out to be. The British were not going to leave. (Eg. They left Lanka in 1960 or something). They were weakened by the war and had no inclination or strength to hold a country as big as India.
    He made too many mistakes and too many times he has shown his hypocrisy, to deserve any respect. You are a minority, most people do not believe in Gandhi, because his ideology, though he had good intentions, was very flawed.

  82. >> I do hope you don’t get jailed for insulting or making fun of Gandhi

    Sayon,

    Well I will. And they call India a democratic country. In fact, Gandhis party, Congress, is quite oppressive.

    I find it most ironic, that to the virtues of Gandhi were added sacrifice and living an austere life, and his face if found on every currency note of India. Amusing indeed :)

  83. >>.I do hope you don’t get jailed for insulting or making fun of Gandhi

    Sayon,

    That was the whole point of my reply to you. Why are we told to parrot the virtues of Gandhi throughout school. He is a holy cow, if we abuse him publicly, we would be jailed. Such oppression by the Gandhi followers to force others to follow Gandhi. As I said – Gandhi was ok with any means to achieve non-violence, even though it meant more violence. Isnt this self-defeating.

    BTW, nobody hates Gandhi more than the wine shop owners. :) because of the dry days.

    Once the owner of a wine shop told me – Gandhi loses three days of business for us. The day he was born, some 10 days after his death, and even the day he died.

    See, the saint is responsible for snatching the livelihood of wine sellers for three days. :D Well, of course, drinking wine is anti-Gandhi, isnt it. How many of you now are Gandhians. :P

  84. @Shadows: Peace! You’ve made your view on Gandhi, Gandhism and Gandhi-wadis quite clear – and historically you’ve shown that you’re not willing to consider the viewpoint of anyone else. OK – for the sake of making my quota of Isabgul recommendations, I can live with that.

    But do believe, my dear fellow, your over-aggressive insulting style is unlikely to persuade anyone to your viewpoint. And if you don’t care, why are you wasting your rant in this blog? Do you so love being called a blogwhore? (I notice you haven’t removed the link to your blog, despite provocations in another thread.)

  85. >> Being a rabid right winger I am a great admirer of violence

    @Gaurav,

    You imply rightwingers admire violence. :) Well, not necessarily. I dont. In fact, Leftists claim to represent the “people” , but they are the most violent people around.

  86. Sayon,

    “No, Gandhi may not have – which is why I said “forced or persuaded”. Unfortunately, a demi-god of a leader persuades – his followers enforce his teachings, interpreting it to their advantage… That’s how the tyranny of tradition takes root. And the liberality of the leader’s original teachings are forgotten. ”

    Do you have any data on how many women were forced to commit suicide by Gandhi’s followers.

    Frankly speaking I find the whole arguement kind of tedious. Those who are getting self -righteous over what Gandhi said are under illusion that there was any high principle involved, there were none the only options being either dying or becoming slave

  87. Shadows,

    Then you can’t be a right winger.

    Remember all rightwingers are violent nazis and but for our compassionate secular overlords would have sent Muslims to gas chambers.

  88. @Gaurav: No – and I hope that the number is a big zero. What I’m saying is that if we allow ourselves to be led by every advice of a great man without using our own brains, the result could be as bad as from following an evil person.

    There one high principle involved – a woman’s right to chose what she would prefer – sexual assault, slavery or death. I wouldn’t presume to advise a woman on what she should do in such a tragic circumstance. Maybe Gandhi too shouldn’t have…

    @Arnab: In actuality, most women in these circumstances do not have the time to decide what to do when surrounded by a rampaging mob, let alone have time to kill herself. And do you think a woman could figure out if a rapist would let her go away alive if she let him rape her? Quite often the killing is part of the orgasm (At least that’s what books on the subject say), so even a compliant woman would be killed in the end. It’s easy for us to suggest what we could have done in a victims shoes, but at the moment of the crime, logic hardly helps, does it?

  89. Here’s an interesting detail on the report. It appeared in The Daily Times of Oct 18. The Daily Times comes out of several cities, but I can’t recall any newspaper by that name in India. In Pakistan, The Daily Times is an important paper. It’s a fair assumption that this report appeared in the Pakistani Daily Times. The second detail is that this report is an agency report (from the image file, it seems to be AP). In other words, it was a foreign news agency reporting at a time when the battle lines had been drawn in India and journalism was pretty partisan (you might call it ‘committed’) depending on whether it was Indian or western. The headline of the report was, ‘Gandhi Urges His Subjects To End Life’. These little details show the possibility of bias. It certainly shows ignorance (‘Gandhi’s subjects’, of instance). The possibility of Gandhi being quoted out of context also can’t be ruled out.

    But having said all this, the sentence attributed to Gandhi, irrespective of its context, seems to indicate a world view. I am surprised with it. Rumours of rape was one of the most potent weapons to fan communal passion in Bengal right through the 20s (when the first big riots broke out) and in the 40s, esp in 1946-47. The newspapers too were full of these rumours. The Amrita Bazar Patrika, a ‘nationalist’ paper, makes very interesting reading in this context. Rape signified to the people the ultimate humiliation which is worse than death (altho’ like GB I too would submit to sodomy in jail if that meant I would live). Gandhi, mind you, was in Noakhali, at fair risk to his life, trying to stop the riots. I wonder if he would be dabbling in the same idiom that would actually heighten communal feelings. Gandhi, above all, was a supreme politician who understood the importance of symbols and symbolism and used them to near perfection. I wonder how he failed to grasp the symbolic significance of impending rape when he allegedly uttered these words.

    Nor do I doubt Gandhi’s commitment. Remember he was in Calcutta on fast, trying to stop riots, in August 1947 when he might have been basking in glory in Delhi with the tricolour being unfurled. While it’s true that people and their words must be judged in the context of their times and the historical imperatives then, this sentence still seems out of whack with what Gandhi otherwise propagated and believed in. But congrats to you GB for finding this old clipping. It has sparked a good debate on Gandhi.

  90. @Karim: “But congrats to you GB for finding this old clipping. It has sparked a good debate on Gandhi.”

    It is not an obscure old clipping. Perhaps something of shock/surprise value to GenX types.

    But the people who had to flee Pakistan know it.
    All RSS/Jan Sangh cadre worth their salt know it.
    Historians know it.
    Common folks me with even a passing interest in cultural-political-regional history too know it.

  91. Typo in above post : “Common folks me with even a passing interest”.

    It should read “Common folks like, me even with a passing interest”

    BTW, Arnab did you deliberately timed this Gandhi related post of yours? I just saw on news that some NRI bloke enacted a parody of Gandhi. The great man has been depicted engaging in a strip tease act, rubbing his ***, against a pole.

  92. @VonRunstedt: Don’t know why you think what GB has quoted is a fairly well known speech of Gandhi and not an obscure old clipping? It’s precisely because the statement attributed to Gandhi seems so out of whack with what is known of Gandhi that it has generated so many comments. And I wonder why you are so angry? Perhaps you don’t like my name? Whatever it is, it’s your prerogative. In any case, since you seem to KNOW a lot, why don’t you share it with us? People can judge how much of it is knowledge and how much is bullshit.

  93. Karim,

    What exactly was out of character ? Gandhi asked Jews to submit, he asked british to submit, why he couldn’t have said what he said.

    And there was no question of fanning any communal riots, because communal riots were very much in progress in Noakhali, Gandhi was afraid that Hidnus will retaliate (as they did in Kolkata) and since he did what any appeaser in that situation will do, appease.

  94. @Karim: “And I wonder why you are so angry? Perhaps you don’t like my name? Whatever it is, it’s your prerogative. In any case, since you seem to KNOW a lot, why don’t you share it with us?”

    Yours is a mighty good name dear fellow :) Why the particular conclusion? My prerogative or not, you sure have a complex.

    What else? Yeah, I’ve heard that Gandhi’s missive at Noakhali from my parents many times as a kid. What is surprising here?
    My folks are from erstwhile East Pakistan, so lot of ‘shock’ value info for you is of normal knowledge to me/many.

  95. @Shadows

    So you think Ambedkar has been villified enough? Where? How? He is the holiest cow in India for the last 3-4 decades. He and his ‘buddhist’ followers are eveready to come out oon the streets and burn trains at the slight provocation.

    As for your other comments, each and every of them are opinions so I will not waste time trying to answer them one by one. Suffice it to say that I neither view Gandhi as a demigod nor as a knave who slept with virgins. The truth, as always, is somewhere in between. And I am definitely not a Gandhian. It’s typical of reactionaries like you that you assume and label me a Gandhian just because I happen to hold Gandhi in high (at least higher than you) esteem.

    But yes, his contribution to the independence struggle is massive and undeniable and regardless of your personal views, if you still deny his enormous contribution, that is as deliberately silly or ignorant as denying the Holocaust.

    As for the RSS/VHP et al, their entire existence is based on opposition to tolarance, temperance, and of course, Gandhi, so their view hardly counts as objective. Most of the commenters here, right wing or otherwise are far more balanced, educated and erudite than the majority of the murderous, lumpen, neanderthals that make up communal (Muslim League or the VHP/RSS), or for that matter, extremist parties (CPI-ML).

  96. >> your over-aggressive insulting style is unlikely to persuade anyone to your viewpoint.

    @Sayon,

    What over agressive .. ?? Now, I feel like getting aggressive, but you will then exactly say what you are saying now – I am over aggressive.

  97. @VonRunstedt: With an assumed name like this, how can anyone guess you are a good, old Bangaal? :) But that’s neither here nor there like my name. More two the point is the evidence that you’ve cited: 1) that your parents are from East Bengal and they have told you about Noakhali and Gandhi’s “missive”. A missive, my dear man, is a letter, and what we are talking about here is a speech Gandhi reportedly gave, not any letter of his. (Unless, of course, your language is as imprecise as your understanding of history.) Relying on parent’s stories alone is a rather a-historic approach. There are any number of noted historians from East Bengal, who have since moved to India, and they tell you a somewhat different story. By the way, my parents too were from Dhaka and moved in to India. They didn’t tell me such stories. Ah, I know what you are thinking – how can this sod Karim’s parents tell him the same stories. Well, like yours, mine too is an assumed name. All said and done, you’ve just proved what I suspected – you’re throwing an awful lot of bullshit.

  98. @shadows: I guess, there is some confusion regarding the point of view that I am trying to make. In a situation where you have one of the options to choose from Death or Dishonor, what will be your choice? Gandhi, as I said ealier, suggested to choose death. So if a women is going to be raped by a muslim and she has guns and/or knives with her, as per the scenario described by you, what should be her choice? Either she can kill herself or submit to the evil sexual desires of those bastards or, as an additional option, kill those bastards instead. Practically, the third option sounds to be the most easiest of all. But if Gandhi recommends to kill yourself rather than getting raped, I am fine with his opinion and that statement doesnt sound devilish to me. What I found disappointing is GB’s extrapolation by making a statement that I quoted in my first comment. Even I agree to many of the comments made on Gandhi for being communally biased or Gandhi being over rated in the Indian struggle for freedom, by the media, by sidelining the contributions of SC Bose, Patel and others. But that is not the point in debate and I refrain myself from making any comments on that. The debate is on Gandhi’s view on chosing death instead of dishonor. His opinion on this subject is quite acceptable to me.

  99. >> Then you can’t be a right winger.

    @Gaurav,
    :) LOLz.. Maybe I am not, but nobody calls me a left winger. I am more happy about that.
    You mentioned Nazism, but missed Modism. Dont forget the Desi Godwins Laws – its the same but Modi replaces the Fuhrer.

    >> Quite often the killing is part of the orgasm
    @Sayon,

    Interesting. You make it sound so easy and normal. Seems like its ok to kill to achieve the orgasm.

    By the way, Sayon, you still have not replied to the real questions of mine – Like why did he not try to test his libido (assuming that was it, though i doubt it) with his wife, rather than someone else’s daughters.
    Why did he not preach peace to the muslims, but instead went to fast when muslims faced the heat. Doesnt it not indicate where his loyalties lie?
    Why did he betray Bose and Sardar Patel?
    His actions hint at autocracy, dont they?
    Do you think his asking Hindus to surrender rather than fight, even if they had weapons, was a mark of a great man?

    Ok, I know he had a major role to play in India’s independence, but he had far too many faults to deserve respect. In fact, Churchill gets far more respect than Gandhi, even though he did have many faults – he had tried drugs in college, was a habitual smoker and drinker, had a mistress, etc. Its not about how good a person appears to himself(like Gandhi, who went by his own rules about good and bad), its about how good a person is to others.

  100. Shadows,

    I know you are no fan of Gandhi but get some perspective.
    Churchill as far Indians are concerned was a racist pig and rabid imperialist. If he had his way Indians would still be compared to dogs.

    Sayon

    I doubt Rapes and sexual atrocities , especially during riots are committed for primarily sexual pleasure, rather the primary objective is domination and control while sexual pleasure is secondary motive [1]   [2]

  101. >> So you think Ambedkar has been villified enough? Where

    @Shan,

    First of all, Why villify Ambedkar? If the man is clean enough, he wont be vilified, am I right? For that matter, there is hardly any criticism of Patel or Bose.

    If you criticize Gandhi, others should be criticized too – doesnt really make much sense?

    Ambedkar statues have been desecrated (not because he has muck on him), yes, but he hasnt been criticised by the media as such, like Gandhi. The others like Ambedkar or Patel are not so much of holy cows like Gandhi.

    The kind of things Gandhi did, do not even qualify as genuine mistakes. He repeated them again and again. He seemed like a hypocrite, in fact. Though he played a major role in our independence, he had far too many faults to be deserving any respect.

    Gandhi has been criticized very discreetly, lest the Congressis unleash the bureaucratic and police machinery. Remember the ban on the Nathuram Godse play, arrest of the director and controversy over HeyRam.

    BTW, Nehru was far worse than Gandhi. You can now imagine what we started out with. No wonder we are in such state.

  102. well if u honestly look around india we are all surrounded by military dictators. atleast we are a democracry. but then some people have romatic ideas abt military dictatorships. dont you think nehru played a role in maintaining the democratic format of the country

  103. Hey, Shadows, we are in a rather good state, thank you. Ever heard of the `irrational exuberance’ in the West about India? Heard about India’s growth rates? That it is dubbed as a new economic power in the making? What are you cribbing about? That we had Gandhi and Nehru instead of Hitler? Man, you live in another world!

  104. Mangoose,

    Nehru’s idea of democracy was to allow others to speak as long as they agreed with him.

    1. He gifted gilgit to “land of pure”
    2. He internationalized Kashmir, despite advice of Patel.
    3. He sidelined Rajaji and others.
    4. He betrayed Tibetans and committed a Himalayan blunder
    5. He was responsible for humiliation of 1962 by refusing to consider communist china as threat.
    6. He was responsible for disastarous economic policies.
    7. He was responsible for death of Shyama Prasad Mukherji.

  105. Karim,

    We are in a good state! May be you are too young, but I remeber a time where we had to wait for years for a telephone or scooter or gas connection. And where we had to bribe for something as common as cement. And where does Hitler come from ? Are you saying that S C Bose, Patel, Rajaji etc were like Hitler ?

  106. @Karim:There is one thing I needed to tell you. Try to understand that there have been at various points of time various newspapers with the name “Daily Times”—-just like for instance there are different Karims…(I am sure you are not the one after which the famous biriyani chain is named) [yes I know that’s not your name] Just because there is a Daily Times now being published from Pakistan does not mean there was never any other kinds of “Daily Times” before ! This “Daily Times” is a now defunct newspaper that used to be published from Burlington, North Carolina. I have been sent the first page scanned and there is no Pakistan in it.

  107. >> Churchill as far Indians are concerned was a racist pig and rabid imperialist. If he had his way Indians would still be compared to dogs.

    @Gaurav,

    My point was that he is respected by the British public because of what he did for them (not us). For the British, Churchill did a lot for the country, doesnt matter what he thought of anybody else in the world. Which Gandhi did not.

    By the way, I am much ok with living with racism, rather than being killed in the name of religion, or led to slaughter by the likes of Gandhi. Thought experiment, eh ? :)

  108. @shadows

    I stopped reading your comment as soon as I saw “Ghandi” and not “Gandhi”. Take off this American cloak….please. It sickens me.

    @yourfan2

    Sorry I got sucked into answering him again…

  109. @GB: Okay I stand corrected on The Daily Times. But that still does not take away the possibility of bias in reporting. As I pointed out it is an AP report carried by an American paper that gave the headline, ‘Gandhi’s subjects…’ My point was the possibility of ignorance, inaccuracies and prejudice in the report. And I wondered if Gandhi, knowing full well how rumours of rape fanned sectarian passions in the 40s (many rapes actually happened during the riots but the stories were vastly exaggerated), would use the same idiom when he was actually putting his life on the line to stop riots.

  110. @Gaurav: So how old are you? 92? I don’t know what age has to do with understanding a simple point: that if India is doing well today it must be on the basis of a foundation that’s can’t possibly be totally rotten. Whatever Nehru did was perhaps necessary for building the country’s industrial base 40 years ago. Minus that we wouldn’t be anywhere. Equally, his liberal higher education policy created the base for producing geniuses like you who are today wowing the world and winning it over. Everything runs out of its time, and so has Nehruism. Today the education system and the public sector suck and need to be reformed. But 40 years ago, they were the only things that kept the Hindu rate of growth going. I really wonder if you are as old as you claim. You talk like such a babe.

  111. >> Hindu rate of growth

    Karim – Another sick Nehruvian.

    The most amazing thing is how the likes of Nehru-Gandhi blamed Hindus for the low growth rate. It was their stifling socialist policies that killed the growth rate, not Hindus.

  112. >> I stopped reading your comment as soon

    @ OI,

    Would you please stop making remarks on my spelling, and rather try if what I stated is the truth or not?

    Attacking the messenger instead of the message, arent you?

    Where does Yourfan2 come into the picture. For once, I have not disagreed with him today. You like flame wars, do you?

  113. @Gaurav:

    “I doubt Rapes and sexual atrocities , especially during riots are committed for primarily sexual pleasure, rather the primary objective is domination and control while sexual pleasure is secondary motive”

    Sorry – couldn’t agree with you. IMHO the primary reason why rape is a tool in communal/ ethnic/ racial riots is that it’s a way to degrade the women of the opponents, and to declare their supreme contempt for the enemy. It’s a way of saying that you are so weak that we can do whatever we like with your women. Here it isn’t the domination of women – its humiliation of the enemy.

    Much as I dislike saying it, historically women have been treated as trophies in times of war. Which is why protection of women of your tribe was a holy reason to fight a war.

    How better can man die
    Than facing frightful odds
    For the ashes of his fathers
    And the temple of his gods
    And for his tender mother
    Who dandled him to rest
    And for his wife who nurses
    His baby at his breast
    And for the holy maidens
    Who tend the eternal flame…
    (From The Lays of Ancient Rome – Thomas Macauley)

    P.S. For those with a naughty mind, the pun is unintentional.

    @Shadows: “By the way, Sayon, you still have not replied to the real questions of mine”

    No Shadows, I will not debate you on this. I do find several of Gandhi’s ideas wierd, and incomprehensible. Not understanding why he did these things, I would not/ could not defend him. Only, given that the man is dead, and nobody asks me to live like him, I don’t care to attack him either.

    It’s just that I do not have such a rabid hate for him, but admire the man who could have thought up the non-cooperation movement. For all his faults, he was a greater man than I aspire to be, and a better man than many of you who criticise him are.

    @Arnab: Please change the topic. There’s too much vitriol being spewed. I hope it has satisfied your desire for discussion.

  114. @Karim: Everybody knows here who’s throwing BS. I do not prefer shadow boxing. It is better to come out in open.
    So, I don’t care if you are a real Muslim or a Hindu turned brainwashed commie, the result will be same, whatever facts I present.
    What happened during partition and Gandhi’s steady fast bias towards is well documented. Your verbal sophistry won’t change history.

    Carry on with your BS.

  115. @Karim: Everybody knows here who’s throwing BS. I do not prefer shadow boxing. It is better to come out in open.
    So, I don’t care if you are a real Muslim or a Hindu turned brainwashed commie, the result will be same, whatever facts I present.
    Whatever happened during partition and Gandhi’s steady fast bias towards Muslims is well documented. Your verbal sophistry won’t change history.

    Carry on with your BS.

  116. For all his faults, he was a greater man than I aspire to be, and a better man than many of you who criticise him are

    @Sayon,

    But of course, he was. I am not Gandhi, and I am not complaining :)

    >>For all his faults,

    They were not faults at all, in fact. It were the actions of a hypocrite. And they were far too numerous to be attributed to old age or genuine intentions or amnesia.

  117. >> IMHO the primary reason why rape is a tool in communal/ ethnic/ racial riots is that it’s a way to degrade the women of the opponents, and to declare their supreme contempt for the enemy. It’s a way of saying that you are so weak that we can do whatever we like with your women. Here it isn’t the domination of women – its humiliation of the enemy.

    @ Sayon,

    What you yourself just said implies the following.

    So you admit that, unknowingly,

    1. That we are the enemy.
    2. Gandhi was okay with the ultimate humiliation of the enemy, ie us. Since he would not have us fight back. Nor the women defend themselves.
    3. muslims do have supreme contempt for us. Then. Maybe even now. (Going by the number of killings and rapes of Hindus that take place during riots).

    Isnt this what you said lead to? Ok agree with you, Gandhi is a great man. But why the greater interest in wellbeing of muslims than us ? It should have been equal, isnt it?

    Why ask the Jews to allow themselves to be killed. Why didnt he try it himself – going to a nazi, tell him he is a Jew, and ask to be shot. The same goes for Hindus. Its easier to preach than practice.

    Sayon, statements like “you cannot understand gandhi” do not help. If your aim is to let me know the truth, I am still lost.

    @Gaurav,

    Let me elaborate my earlier comment further. The difference is that the Western people might be racist (like Churchill) , but they stop at that. They dont go around killing and raping, bombing buses, trains and planes etc. Racism is a minor thing compared to Islamic terrorism and the possible loss of lives and freedom that we face today. Unlike muslims who want to eradicate us just because we are not muslims, racists do not have any aim of eradicating us (or for that matter, any other race in the world. Even nazis had no such aim to eradicate other racial groups of Europe, except for the Jewish).

    I did ignore that racist part of Churchill, just to make a point – Even though churchill wasnt a saint, Why churchill is respected by his countryfolks, while gandhi is not by his countryfolks.

  118. @Divya: The URL you posted. The narrative is biased and the bloggers reading of History is flawed.

    For example, he says that the Maulavis did not wanted a partition. The blogger concludes that some accomodation was possible. The Mullahs had larger and more ambitious goals.

    Google and dig out some writings of Chaudhary Rahmat Ali…one of the original visionary of Pakistan idea. That’ll give you clue as why Mullahs opposed partition.

    Gandhi as usual failed to judge the intentions of Muslim elite.

  119. @Gaurav: “The name of blog is charu majumdar and it has a picture of che guvera

    Saw that…keep away from that blog for sanity’s sake :)

  120. @Gaurav: “But why do you ignore the fact that Gandhi was the prime figure behind national freedom movement.”

    I made a post some where up there (noticed by yourfan2). I’ll repeat …

    “Leader, philosopher and staunch nationalist he was. Statesman and visionary he was not.

    A man of his stature ought to know our Brahmin/Kshatriya tradition. You cannot be both at the same time.”

  121. @shadows

    you want me to engage in an intellectual debate after you say this? –

    @ OI,

    Did he commit those misakes (or blunders if you wanna call it that) for his own personal agenda or for what he thought was right for the country – not hindus, not muslims, but India?

    Answer – For Muslims.

    No, THANKS. Be happy with your warped view of the world.

  122. Von,

    Yes he was neither a Statesman, nor a visionary.
    Further he sucked in economics. My point is not that He was a God, my point is he was a good man, flawed, but good.

  123. @Confused: Sorry if I did not make myself clear. Slight difference – I disagree with Gaurav that the reason for rape during ethnic/ racial violence is domination of women. It is humiliation of the enemy.
    In my layman’s understanding of thew issue, I believe that domination is more effectively achieved if the victim is left alive to understand that the perpetrator has achieved domination. In the case of humiliation of the enemy, the victim does not need to remain alive – the enemy menfolk just need to be able to see that their women have been violated.
    Consequently, there is nothing to prevent the orgasm of ejaculation to be enhanced by the orgasmic pleasure of killing (Plus the pleasure of seeing the woman in a faux post-coital relaxation). Sexual pleasure is secondary, as we both agree, but it is not absent.

    @Shadows: We are the enemy to anyone who considers us an enemy. Therefore they are our enemy too.
    Unfortunately, I would not take revenge on relatively harmless substitutes available to us (e.g. If Muslims in Bangladesh kill Hindus who stay in Bangladesh, I would consider Bangladeshi Muslims supporting and committing the atrocities as the enemy. I would not slit the throat of my Muslim neighbour in Kolkata to avenge the deaths.)

    Try and get this – I neither understand, nor appreciate why Gandhi believed or did some things. My response to that is to use my brains, and not do the same things myself. What I do not do, is to demonise Gandhi in toto, including the things which I understand, and which I think are admirable.

    In bullet points:

    * I admire Gandhi for the non-cooperation movement. He recognised the use of economic weapons as a tool to fight for freedom. The use of economic weapons has always been effective throughout history, but has always been ignored in the glorification of physical warfare.
    * I admire Gandhi for his belief in non-violence, even though I disagree with his view on the extreme to which he wished to take non-violence. I believe that non-violence is the right path, but it is a weapon only for the strong. I believe “Talk softly, but carry a big stick” – a statement attributed to Theodore Roosevelt.
    * I am disturbed by Gandhis views on Harijans, which many of the SCs/STs consider condescending. I would like a serious debate how depressed classes can be brought into mainstream society, without the pendulum swinging the complete other way with reservations and reverse discrimination.
    * I think Gandhis ideas on sex, poverty, diet, nation building, enemas etc. were plain ridiculous. I do not even consider them worth discussing. I add this quote which sparked this debate as one of them.

    I can hold four opinions of Gandhi’s ideas simultaneously because I use my brains – and neither worship the man as god, nor hate the man as a devil.

    So for god’s sake, do not list out what are the things you feel Gandhi was wrong about. I may agree with you on most, and still disagree with your views on Gandhi because they are extreme black-and-white.

    Arnab – sorry for this very very long comment. I hope I have clarified where I stand, and need not clog up this thread any more.

  124. Here are some online books and websites for those readers that actually care about the ongoing genocide and human rights violations against Bengali Hindus in the “Islamic Republic of Bangladesh”.

    1) Ongoing genocide of Hindus & Buddhists in East Bengal (now the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh):

    * Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM):

    http://1st.hrcbmdfw.org/

    http://hrcbmdfw.org/

    http://www.hrcbm.org/

    http://hrcbm.150m.com/article/ranjan_article.html

    * Mayer Dak (Call of the MotherLand) : http://www.mayerdak.com/

    2) GENOCIDE OF HINDUS IN 1971 – BANGLADESH (EAST PAKISTAN):

    * Genocide in East Pakistan – 1971: http://www.muktadhara.net/page35.html

    * The demons of 1971: http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/jan/04spec.htm

    3) PARTITION OF BENGAL:

    * My People, Uprooted – “A Saga of the Hindus of Eastern Bengal” : http://www.bengalvoice.com/

    .

  125. The comments are coming from people who were made to swallow the demigod-if-not-actual-god-mahatma-gandhi theory at school. This theory was spooned out in outsize doses and many of us had to memorise this hagiography to pass the history exams.

    When the NDA was in power, the NCERT version of history got heavily rewritten and predictably the then opposition raised a stinko.

    Today, the then-opposition has become the now-treasury-bench and history, as usual is being re-rewritten.

    I think that most of us have not read Gandhi’s autobiography nor have we got firsthand access to various publications printed between 1898 and 1948.

    At the most, we have read Gandhi in bits and pieces
    and have heard the horror stories of the riots and partition.

    What we cannot fathom is that the man had SHEER CHARISMA and so, managed to dominate the Indian political stage.

  126. thanks kaunteya for http://www.bengalvoice.com/
    seems to be a interesting site…especially
    Chapter 6: THE KILLINGS OF 1950, AND THE NEHRU-LIAQUAT PACT
    The photos of butchered Hindus from 1946 are a sad site to see.

    do you know anything about “The Dhakeshwari Foundation: Washington D.C” which seems to be hosting the site?

  127. Arnab

    You are an intelligent blogger and deserve to be appreciated for that.

    However, this post desappointed me in a way. What disappointed me the most is the value judgement you are trying to draw at the end of the post. Without knowling full history of the quote and without understanding the entire situation, to draw a conclusion that he was glorifying chastity of a woman is a bit too harsh. It would have been much more effective had you just left it to the reader to interpret. Moreover, relating this to his own principle of non-violence again looks an overstretched analysis. What if he really wanted to give a “Shock treatment” to everyone by saying something like this.

    Even if we accept all your conclusion to be correct, you are committing a huge mistake of judging something that happened 61 years ago on the yardstick of current value systems.

    Still, I appreciate your courage to bring up issues like this and make yourself open to criticism.

  128. @Kandarp: Without getting into the other debates going on here, I would like to point out:

    1. Gandhi really is not giving any kind of shock treatment. Here are a bunch of scared Hindus, catatonic with fright. Why would he want to shock them even more?

    2. Why do you think I do not know the full history? Actually a lot of people do know the full history of Noakhali , his past stance on Jews and the context Gandhi was saying this.

    3. What Gandhiji said *I feel* is rather unacceptable in any age…1846, 1946 or 2046. The fact that a woman should die for a very abstract goal (an extreme form of non-violence which shames the perpetrator into changing) and not try to fight back or survive is shocking based on the social standards of any age. Remember also this is not Gandhiji writing a book and expounding a theory in Nehru’s Allahabad residence…this is the living God of the time advising scared and devastated people, who would never question him because of his stature and literally follow him to their graves, to die.

  129. I would just like to ask one simple question. Has it been established that the source of these comments is genuine? I see that they come from a blog.However, I doubt that the links are posted are authentic. If you wish to quote from history please ensure that the references are authentic and verifiable-not just a shady blog post . Until this is established, all discussion over this is pointless.

    From the posts I see that some of us just love to hate. Why dish out hatred and vitriol on a man (who for all his faults) generated ideas that inspired multiple movements around the world. Gandhi like many other great men had his share of eccentricities and faults. Can anyone tell me how your life would have been better in this day and age if Gandhi had not existed? Just how did he make your lives miserable?

    I can understand analysis and discussion (history does not spare anyone) but what’s going on in this page is most definitely not that. I just cannot understand the hatred being poured out here. I can at least understand if some of you were directly impacted in Noakhali. If your concern for your fellow human being’s suffering is indeed so great, go out and do something constructive.

    Great bong, with all due respect, your metier is humour, your movie reviews are amazingly funny but i find it hard to believe that your intent here was to generate a meaningful discussion. Of course I do not question that this is your blog and you can post whatever you like, but please don’t pass it off as an attempt to analyze history. I think its looking more and more like an attempt at third rate tabloid tripe.

    Just my 2 paise.

  130. GB, the incident that we are discussing is NOT the reason why we know Gandhi as great, he had many other contributions, including the unification of the entire country under one movement during 1920s and 30s.
    For me its even hard to imagine a situation where a bunch of inasane fanatics are running towards me, with their ruthless swords and choppers, butchering every thing on the way. To add to that there are all kinds of news of terror and rumours. Under these circumstances, if someone is given a choice between ‘easy death’ and ‘struggle and slaughter’ – for a weak sole the choice could have been the former. Its very pathetic, and very difficult to imagime this.

  131. @Interested Observer: And here is the answer to your simple question. This is NOT from a blog but from a newspaper scan. If I scan today’s NYT and then link to it from my blog, then NYT does not become my shady blog. I have the full scan of the front page of the newspaper (an American one published from Burlington, NC) from which this piece was taken incidentally. But I already have written that in the post.

    Now my blog is a third degree tabloid that links to REAL history, collected by someone who took the effort to scan out-of-print and not-available-online sources. And yes it is real history no matter how uncomfortable it may be to open minds like yourself. The pity is that touched by my third degree tabloid even your erudite comments have taken a third degree tint.

    “If your concern for your fellow human being’s suffering is indeed so great, go out and do something constructive.”

    Likewise. Go and do something constructive yourself (as opposed to posting comments on third degree tabloids ) before pointing fingers at others.

    @Amit: There is nothing called easy death. I would expect that people, scared out of their wits, would be told by a God-like figure to fight back and to survive rather than to lie down and die.

  132. Good work.

    Have you come across the following excerpt at http://www.genders.org/g38/g38_leonard.txt? (at the end of the paper) The source of the quote seems unclear though.

    It is also present in the following paper.

    Mookerjea-Leonard, Debali “Quarantined: Women and the Partition”
    Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East – Volume 24, Number 1, 2004, pp. 33-46
    Duke University Press

    but in 1947 during the Partition riots he went further exalting suicide, even murder, as deterrence to rape.
    “I have heard that many women who did not want to lose their honour chose to die. Many men killed their own wives. I think that is really great, because I know that such things make India brave. After all, life and death is a transitory game. … [T]hey [the women] have gone with courage. They have not sold away their honour. Not that their life was not dear to them, but they felt it was better to die than to be forcibly converted to Islam by the Muslims and allow them to assault their bodies. And so those women died. They were not just a handful, but quite a few. When I hear all these things I dance with joy that there are such brave women in India ”

    Is this quote for real? If it is, Gandhi can only plea insanity here. I will try to get a hold of the hard copy of the second paper and get the citation. Online access seems restricted.

  133. hmmm….
    we have so many people supporting/opposing Gandhi about his advice to Hindu women to commit suicide in face of Muslim attacks.

    Many more babbling their way to the moral high ground….each “aantel” falling over the other ….trying to climb the exalted heights of self loathing and secularism…keep it up…

    NOT ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THE ACTUAL PROBLEM… ISLAM….
    in fact I might have just managed to make myself a pariah worth a horrible death.. by pointing to Islam ….
    any way ..keep up the good work….
    next yr the hindus in banladesh would be down by another couple of hundred rapes and murders…

  134. 157 responses already! I don’t have the time to read all of them, to see if this has been covered already. But the first thing that crossed my mind was that Gandhi was not a man from the future. We really can’t expect him to have echoed views that we or our children would have related to. I’m sure as generations come, they’ll find even more shocking things about Gandhi. But we cannot forget the times he lived in.

  135. Gandhi was very prompt in giving advice to Hindus for restraint against Islamic violence and atrocities, whether it is Noakhali or the mooplah masscares. Did he ever give the same to the Muslims?? No, rather whenever the backlash hit the muslims, he opposed it by indulging in fasts etc..

    I am surprised that the responses of this post is centering on whether Gandhi was right or wrong on advicing Hindu women to commit suicide rather than being raped and humiliated. The question should be whether he offered the same advice to the Islam women? I don’t remember seeing a single instance where adviced such sage counsel to his Mussalaman Brothers and sisters.

  136. Achtung: Much digression and haphazard thoughts follow. Please to be excusing. First time commenter.

    Let’s start from the basics – human beings are animals. What differentiates us from the other animals is our ability to think, rationalize, and control our baser instincts. Still, there are some fundamental aspects of our animality that cannot leave us. Self-preservation is a prime example.

    If we use GB’s interpretation in the penultimate paragraph, what Gandhiji was advocating was to go against this innate nature, and instead turn to self-destruction, all for the sake of avoiding getting violent with your tormentor, or letting him get violent with you. I respect Gandhiji for many of his thoughts, but in this case, I completely disagree with his reasoning, I truly do. It’s too idealistic and extremely humiliating. Anything taken to the extreme is impractical, and that includes the doctrine of non-violence. That, I think was Gandhiji’s problem (if I may call it that) – he stretched his tests in his principles to the utmost degree, did not look at practicalities and more importantly and tragically, tried to impose his idealistic views on an entire nation.

    As a parallel, think of the ideas and ideals expounded by the champions of absolute socialism. Instead of realizing that not everyone is created equal and respecting the law of survival of the fittest, they tried to achieve the (understandably noble) goal of an ideal, utopian, classless society by collectivization, thereby taking away any incentives to work for. We all know how that story ended. Now I’m not very well read in such subjects, but I feel that socialism’s mistake was the underestimation of the power of the human ego, greed and selfishness (again, natural instincts).

    Anyway, the bottom line is, we cannot deny our own true nature. I do not hate Gandhiji. He was a great man who had some very good points to make and we could all do well to follow them in many situations. But unquestionably accepting whatever he said to be gospel (which so many people did) would indeed be a grave mistake.

    A parting thought: This may only be a mere philosophical musing, but if Gandhiji was such an extremely passionate advocate of non-violence, why would he approve of violence against one’s own self? For, isn’t suicide just that? Self-violence? If we’re condemning all violence, shouldn’t this form of violence be condemned too?

    My two kopeks end here. Be gentle while replying.

  137. passerby-

    Gandhi was very prompt in giving advice to Hindus for restraint against Islamic violence and atrocities, whether it is Noakhali or the mooplah masscares. Did he ever give the same to the Muslims?? No, rather whenever the backlash hit the muslims, he opposed it by indulging in fasts etc..

    I am surprised that the responses of this post is centering on whether Gandhi was right or wrong on advicing Hindu women to commit suicide rather than being raped and humiliated. The question should be whether he offered the same advice to the Islam women? I don’t remember seeing a single instance where adviced such sage counsel to his Mussalaman Brothers and sisters.”

    Clap Clap Clap.

  138. The following is my view about Gandhi and i state that i am NOT saying this with full conviction because i know that – that i don’t know all about Gandhi, the circumstances
    during his time, the conditions in which he was brought up. Therefore i may change my opinion about him as i keep learning more and more about him. Offcourse, i do know about him from what we studied about him as part of history and other sources that i have read. But that doesn’t mean that history was 100% accurate for the following reasons:

    Engineering an Autobiography
    1)
    Whatever Gandhi wrote in “My experiments with truth” need not be true. If you are writing an autobiography – Won’t you feel like adding elements in such a way that it looks good for readers, maybe what he would have done in reality was the exact opposite of it and he had really felt ashamed of it. He would have fantasised himself to do it in a hero’s way, but maybe he just was not able to bring himself upto do it. But when it is put in words on paper, why would he not be able to modify it? Won’t he have thought like “whatever i write now could be read by lots of people today and also in future”. Just because the statements appears like truth need not mean that it is the absolute truth. There’s something called False Truth.

    Manipulating the Media
    2)
    Manipulating the media, purposely spreading rumours for getting more popularity etc etc was existing even then and Gandhi was a barrister also. Therefore just because an article appeared in Newspapers does not mean it is all true. Certain sections that need not be told could be conveniently not mentioned. The men know that these are information that are and will be read by future generations. It’s just like how the “not to be mentioned information” about Christ was completely destroyed and the Bible was created. It was with an agenda to create and grow a religion called Christianity. The creators of Christianity never looked only at the present scenario of that time, they had a long vision of how over time, lots of omitted information would be forgotten and largely they have succeeded. (Even here, i will not say that i believe all of the “Da Vinci Code” – But just a flexible opinion. But I know that Noakhali did really happen)

    Gandhi as i understand
    3)
    I think Gandhi was initially driven by some factors such as
    a) He despised the British and wanted them to be out of India
    b) He wanted fame
    c) He did not want to see his people suffering
    d) He wanted an USP that is powerful and can solve all the above three factors

    He found that the USP that he is searching for is “Non-Violence”, possibly made more assured after the person who hit Gandhi on one side of the cheek was subdued when Gandhi showed his Left Cheek :-) (I don’t know if this story is true, i read it somewhere, If he didn’t really show his cheek, then he must have been inspired by this moral story :-)).
    Once he started applying this technique, he started finding success and later on he never wanted to come out of it. He was afraid of what people will think if he suddenly
    preaches violence as the new means (saying that “I tried to win by applying non-violence, but looking at the present conditions i think violence is the only possible solution”).
    He was afraid of those people who had entrusted in him and his non-violent principles. Moreover there were already people like Subhash Chandra Bose and he wanted to be different from them to maintain his own identity. So he might have been tempted to use violent means in the beginning when he saw the attrocities being perpetuated against Indians inspite of his non-violent tactics. But he override them to maintain his popularity. By the time it came to Noakhali it was too late.

    Like how Swati mentioned
    “He was aware of his own fallibility and was forever questioning himself”
    Yes – He was always questioning himself whenever he saw the atrocities “Should
    i still preach non-violence? I know violence tactics are the ones needed here”.
    But his own desire to fame overwhelmed all of this.

    If he had questioned something like “Should i still preach non-violence? Yes, I believe in my principle and i know this is definitely going to succeed in driving the British away” –
    Then it is definitely a better trait in his character.
    (To tell you the truth – I don’t know what could be the truth among the above mentioned angles. Just trying to analyse some aspects).

    Like how Shampa mentioned “He would have contradicted himself” on occassions like this and on impulse he would also have mentioned about violence (albeit subtly).
    But the inherent truth in all these is that he had that empathy for us and never wanted to see we people suffer.

    His experiment’s with truth
    4)
    Sleeping with naked girls to test his control of his libido is an experiment that should not even have been tried in the first place. Not because an experiment is made of trial and errors and initial trials may fail, but for the reason that there are some things that are ethical in nature. If the story is true, then i am 100% sure that Gandhi was an immature lunatic. If it’s true, then he is a fool because he thought that is the ultimate experiment for libido control. Maybe he thought those girls also will start liking him seeing his “strong character”.

    @Shan: Whatever his purpose was, that was not an experiment to choose by a rational person.

    4)
    @Gaurav: My opinion is the same as what Arnab has to say;
    “If a woman feels she can stay alive by shooting (and the others will run away) she should fire. If she believes she cannot overpower the crowd with 2 shots, then she should try to do what she needs to do to stay alive. And if she knows that she will die no matter what she does, then she should try to mow down as many of the bastards as she can.”
    And if she comes home back molested, then there is nothing to be done about it other than forget that it happened to her and live normally. Offcourse, if it’s possible to cause harm to those bas@@$ds(legally or illegally) without future harm to yourself and your family, then offcourse i will take the illegal route first and still if it doesn’t succeed then i will choose the legal route.

    A similar question would then be: A married couple goes somewhere when some goondas come and hit the husband and in front of his eyes the wife is raped and he is unable to do anything because the goondas were more powerful. Then should the wife later tell her husband that “As a man you was supposed to protect her and her honor and since he was unable to do so, go and kill himself”

  139. Now I get it.

    All this time , Bhuvon panda was actually espousing Gandhigiri – “nirvastra ladki mere jang ke upar …” ? (because he was following Gandhi’s experiment sleeping with naked girls)

    Now thats mithuda – he said it in a perfect Da-Vinci-isque way, and stupid us could not even realize it, ridiculed him and instead heaped the honors on Sanjay Dutt.

    We gotta look for our bengali “jini-ass”es man. I tell you.

  140. Its anachronistic and silly to attribute Betty Friedan’s ideas to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi held women in higher esteem than men. He argued that they were better human beings and better suited to non violence. However, he venerated them for their “difference to men”. I think he would be quite horrified if someone suggested that there were no differences between men and women.

    Also, he held a high premium on chastity for men as well as women. He had advised all his colleagues to take vows of celibacy upon marriage. Some like the Kriplanis actually did, others like Vijaylakshmi Pandit brushed it aside with affectionate contempt.

    Gandhi did more than any Indian leader to involve women in public life. He brought women ought on the streets and gave them a prominent role in Congress organization. If we look at other nationalist movements, or even other political parties in colonial India, there are none with that even come close.

  141. After going by the comments, I am sad to observe that my 5 years old observation, that majority of the people criticize Gandhi without reading his works, still stands apt

  142. >> But why do you ignore the fact that Gandhi was the prime figure behind national freedom movement.

    @Gaurav,

    Yep, he was. But then at what price. Somehow I feel that we paid too heavy a price for our belief in Gandhi. A prime mover all right, but then we forget that British left because they were weakened by WW2, not because of Gandhi’s negotiations or whatever.
    Would you say that he was a neutral figure, when he went on fast/strike/hartal etc to force the Indian govt to grant Pakistan Rs 55 crores (that was a huge amount in those times). That too, after all those Partition deaths of millions of our countryfolks. This was also what incited Godse to finally put a stop this nonsense. Godse actually saved us from a lot more atrocities because of Gandhis misplaced faith… We *might* have lost whole of Kashmir and lot more land if Gandhi were alive.

    @ OI,

    So touchy, arent you. I am going by the facts and numbers, not Goebbelsian lies. Read my above reply to Gaurav. No, I am not interested in intellectual debates with you, I am interested in facts and knowledge.

    @Sayon,

    Ok, accepted. We both accept that he is not God, and he was flawed, and possibly motivated. But I think his flaws were serious enough to not believe in him, while you find it okay to respect him. Neither you nor I are wrong here. We have our own separate set of standards.

    >>Unfortunately, I would not take revenge on relatively harmless substitutes available to us

    Well, how do you explain muslims rioting and killing when Bush was visiting India (they killed some 20 poor vegetable vendors in Lucknow, probably those poor guys couldnt even spell America). how do you explain the video that GreatBong posted in an earlier post – where a man is beaten and forced to shout Saddam zindabad. And that too for someone who is killed in a war where India is not even involved.

    And Gandhi favoured them over his own fellow citizens.

    The enemy is not from any other country, it is our neighbours. Now, I agree that there is a small minority among them who are good, but then, the large majority of them are rabid and thirsty for our blood. Gandhi favoured them , and we are facing the effects till today. The same charade that went in the name of secularism then, is continuing till today. Dont blame the politicians, it is Gandhi who gave them such stupid ideas.
    I wonder where was Gandhi’s sense of equality when he did all this.

  143. Why was he killed? Not by a crazy man.If you get, read Gopal Godses book (Nathurams brother)
    He had given same advise to people from West Punjab who had visited him (1947).

  144. Dear GB,
    I can clearly see two themes in your writeup- a generic need to deconstruct Icons which is indeed a very honorable thing to do if we are to understand history in the right perspective. The second was a more specific need to make a honest and objective criticism of Gandhi which too is an honorable one. My slight quibble is about the instrument you have chosen. The newspaper article is full of holes and surely whoever brought it to light would have been able to name the journal as well- which makes the intention all the more suspicious. Thus your honest attempt at creating a platform for open discussion gets hijacked by silly and often ignorant people.

    Isnt this supposed report of a prayer meeting speech Gandhi made at Delhi on 17/10/1946. The Hindustan Times reports “…Gandhiji referred again to the tragic happenings in Noakhali and Tippera
    districts in East Bengal.What hurt him very much more than the killings was the fact that women were being carried away, abducted and converted to Islam. Of course women generally did not carry swords. The Rani of Jhansi had one. All could not be Ranis. But he would remind them of the incomparable power of Sita whom all the physical might of Ravana could not defile. Women must learn how to die before a hair of their head could be injured.”(From the complete works of M K Gandhi http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL092.PDF page 344). Gandhi was as quixotic as any other creative force in History and arent there debates about them all. Sadly with a persona like Gandhi both the votaries and critics of him have narrow often parochial and decidedly violent tastes of expression. But I would imagine that a true student of history would not be deterred by either.

    PS: Your fans are quite entertaining- do you blush or grin when you read the rot they write?

  145. @Shadows:

    “Well, how do you explain muslims rioting and killing when Bush was visiting India (they killed some 20 poor vegetable vendors in Lucknow, probably those poor guys couldnt even spell America). how do you explain the video that GreatBong posted in an earlier post – where a man is beaten and forced to shout Saddam zindabad. And that too for someone who is killed in a war where India is not even involved.”

    Once again we come to a point which we keep fighting on – The Muslims killed in riots are usually not the ones killing the Hindus. It’s usually the harmless, vulnerable Muslims, who would have been happy to live in peace. Like many of my friends, who used to drag me out of the house so that we could go together to see the Ganesh idols on Ganesh Chaturthi with the same fervour as they would take me to their house on Id.

    I remember my father’s stories of Partition. My father is no fan of Islam, and given his experience I don’t expect him to be. But I remember him telling me that the day the riot broke out in Dhaka, my great-uncle was playing football in a Muslim neighbourhood. He was escorted back home by two of his Muslim friends, who went out looking for him when they heard that he had not come home.

    You hate the Muslim criminals and rioters? – go kill them. I’ll applaud. You hate the Muslims who celebrate a Pakistani victory over India? Throw the traitors out of the country – I’ll applaud. But don’t target my friends, who proudly proclaim that they are Indians. Because if you hate Muslims just because they are Muslims, it means that Jinnah was right, that Muslims need a Pakistan, because India is not a place for them.

    If we had throw out all Muslims in 1947 we would not have a Abdul Kalam, a Zakhir Hussain, a Bismillah Khan, an Amjad Ali Khan, a Mujtab Ali, a Nurul Hassan, a Qurratulain Hyder (fyi – Jnanpith award winner 1989), Brigadier Mohd. Usman (Maha Vir Chakra, 1947), a Javed Akhtar, or even a Zaheer Khan, an Irfan Pathan or a Mohd. Kaif, to name a few. And India would have been that much the poorer if we had been only a Hindu Rashtra.

  146. how about looking at ISLAM (as being the Ideology of hate)as the problem and not the Muslims (as being the carrier of that ideology in different degrees).

    Muslims are as humans as anybody else. In fact most Muslims of Indian subcontinents shared a common ancenstry with their Hindu brethren.

    I feel Muslims are as a much a victim of Islam as non Muslims (whom Islam in no uncertain terms encourages to eliminate)

    How about replacing the word “Muslim” with the word “Islam”.

    Now lets see how all your logic works…

  147. I feel that if we look at Islam (as a belief system) objectively, we see that it effects its followers (the Muslims) as much as it effects its adversaries (read Hindus in our context).

    Even though,over the past millenium, Hindus have had to pay the price of an attempted co-existance with Islam with a lot of blood and suffering, even the Muslims themselves have paid no less a price for following Islam.
    A cursory look at the history of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan tells a sad story of what Islam can do to highly developed and progressive civilizations.

    So instead of actually hating Muslims, we should look closely at the idea that makes many of them do what they do, Islam.

    Just my thoughts.

  148. Shashi –
    “What hurt him very much more than the killings was the fact that women were being carried away, abducted and converted to Islam. Of course women generally did not carry swords. The Rani of Jhansi had one. All could not be Ranis. But he would remind them of the incomparable power of Sita whom all the physical might of Ravana could not defile. Women must learn how to die before a hair of their head could be injured.”

    You dig such shit uh u crackpot. Go jump into a fire and ask your wife to jump after you.

    Chakra –

    Thought provoking. :)

  149. >> You hate the Muslim criminals and rioters? – go kill them.

    @ Sayon,

    When it comes to this, it means that I have proved my point.

    Its like – I once criticized Tendulkar amongst my friends. One of them, a Tendulkar fan, got excited and said – “Dont speak if you cannot play like him. If you think he is not that good, tu jaakar batting kar na?”
    If you criticize the works of an author or sportsperson, you dont have to be one yourself.

    Note that I was not talking at all about chasing them out, I was talking about our need to defend ourselves, our need to fight them. I am talking about the need for equality, the need for appeasement to stop. You also conviniently ignore (The fact that terror incidents are on the rise means appeasement isnt working).

    Now, your muslim friends might be your true friends. But when it comes to killing in the name of islam, they would sympathise with their muslim co-religionists. They would even happily kill other Hindus who are not their friends. Also, some other muslims who are not your friends will come after you. So the net effect is that we still lose. It is a very slow process, and its like cancer. (note what i said is an example in a third person perspective. dont get started on defending your muslim friends)

    Surely, I will do what you suggest, Sayon :) , if it comes to that, and I have no other option. Like we have been pushed to do so since 1947.

    Strange, Sayon, your family has had worse experiences than mine during Partition, and yet you tend to be an apologist for all these wrongdoings. As I said earlier, different set of standards. The two muslims who saved your uncle has clouded your thoughts, you dont see the 8 others who would be happy to see us wiped out.

    What did you say – those are vulnerable muslims. Well, most of them are terrorist sympathizers, its just that they dont go out often like in that Saddam hussein video Greatbong earlier posted. They cheer from the sidelines. I have met many a muslim with terrorist thoughts and intolerant behaviour.

    Yep, Sayon, sadly I admit, Jinnah was much right as compared to Gandhi.

    BTW, if the myriad names you mentioned were not around, we wouldnt have missed much. Again, you think that a Zaheer or Irfan compensate over thousands of our people killed (I am not even going before 1947 in this specific case, over 20,000 have been killed in kashmir alone and those are “official” numbers)

    Worse, muslims killing hindus does not even raise eyebrows anymore. Seems like all those years of self-flagellation have had their effect.

    @ chakra,

    Muslims themselves as slaves of the ideology of Islam is an often used excuse. Who is forcing them to follow islam? What are a few mullahs against thousands of people. No, does not fit.

    Also, dont they have their own brains to think? Maybe few of them do think what you have said but then, majority of them are bent on wiping out the entire rest of the world.

    Koran tells them to make islam the only religion in the world.
    Lets say that happens. The rest of the world, including us, convert to islam. It is the only religion on the planet. But then, do they think that everyone will live peacefully under the Islamic brotherhood once that is achieved? No. Such fools.

  150. @Shadows: I give up. I present every reason I can think of for a liberal India – where every communtity has an equal right to live without fear. You find excuses to turn India into a mirror image of Pakistan. And you prefer Jinnah to Gandhi. Sigh!

    You wonder why, despite my family’s experiences during Partition I do not hate Muslims (for being Muslims)? Because I do not want a similar event happenning, ever. Even if it is we who hate and do the killing. Because I do not want my community to be tarred with the same brush as the damn Surawardis.

    Be a true Hindu and understand the teaching of the Bhagavat Gita – it is only when you dispassionately do your duty that you are doing the right thing – even if you do the right thing with hatred in your heart, you are being evil. Fight the criminals – Hindu, Muslim, Christians, whatever, without hatred. Only then you have the right to fight without being a criminal yourself. If you hate a Muslim Indian and wish to kill him because you presume that he sympathises with terrorists, you are as much of a piece of shit as the lowest pimp, drug pusher and murderer. I would only be doing my duty killing you if you tried to put your thoughts into action. And I wouldn’t hate you even then.

    I just hope there are enough of us not to let your ilk have their way. I’d hate to live in your vision of India.

  151. @Sayon

    Took you this long to realize that Shadows is a reactionary, fanatic, fundamentalist? There is no point in arguing with people like him. They hate the idea of a liberal society – driven as they are by hate and anger.

    There is no way you can change their mind with rationality or logic. They are already in a realm where logic does not work any more.

    So forget it and lament the fact that all over the world, people like him are gaining prominence, in most countries, in most religions, be it the US, or the Middle East, or India.

  152. You wonder why, despite my family’s experiences during Partition I do not hate Muslims (for being Muslims)? Because I do not want a similar event happenning, ever. Even if it is we who hate and do the killing.

    ====

    @ Sayon,

    The point is that – you do not want it to happen. But what would you do if it is they who want to do it? Will you stop defending yourself?

    Or do we have another Gandhi in the making here? When you are a leader you have to take care of your people. Churchill would never have won the war if he had taken Gandhi’s course. Even Churchill would not have wanted a war, but it was forced upon him.

    Yeah yeah, what about the hate that you carry. Not just this one instance, I have seen it across many threads, directed at many other people. Now, does that make you a drug pusher and a pimp ;)

    @ Shan,

    Do you think we all like to hate muslims?? For no reason?? And please reply with facts and reasons, and not comments about me. I take it that you resort to name calling because you do not have anything to offer, and that you are pseudo-secular, someone who would rant about it just because he is told to. You are as fanatic about secularism as you accuse me of being. What I am talking about is equal rights, and an end to minority appeasement, pseudosecularism and the likes. Instead while the world acknowledges the Jewish genocide of WW2, the genocide we suffered was on much higher scale, and it is not even acknowledged.

  153. >> There is no way you can change their mind with rationality or logic.

    @ Shan,

    What you mentioned is exactly what I am looking for, if you read my comments, I am explicitly mentioning that.

    Facts and reasons are what I am asking, and instead you tell me this !! Strange world.

  154. And you prefer Jinnah to Gandhi. Sigh!
    =========

    @ Sayon,

    After all, think about it, there is Gandhi, who just goes on having his way citing morality again and again. Would it not get a little frustating, eh? There is no way you could beat someone like gandhi in the holier-than-thou attitude.

    BTW, dont you think your remark is a bit ,, err.. fundamentalist.

    Also, in your last post, you digressed.

  155. @ Shadows:
    I understand your point.

    But we have to find out a realistic way to deal with the issue at hand.

    People like Sayon and Shan live in their self proclaimed unrealistic bliss and will go to their pyre (or maybe grave by then) without much of a whimp.
    They will in no way be a big participant except for being cannon fodder.

    But you cannot just deal with Islam with violence only.
    The sheer numbers and scale makes it a impossible proposition and a crime in the first place.

    All Muslims are not effected by the Qur’an at the same degree.
    A Syed Salauddin, and Osama is at one end of the spectrum and a Bismillah Khan or Shahnawaz Hussain is at the other end.

    Why deal/interact with all of them in the same way?

    I feel that every Muslim should be made aware about their history and welcomed to return back to Hinduism. Had the Hindus of Kashmir accepted back the Muslims (when they wanted to come back) in the late eighteenth century, we would have had much fewer Muslims willing to chop their Hindu brothers’ head off for the sake of jihad today.

    So Shadow…
    we will always have people like Sayon and Shan and many shades of them….you can take them to the water but thats all you can do.
    Many of them actually change their minds when the reality of Islam actually hits them…often its too late.

    But what needs to be done is a strong awareness campaign and encouragement to bring back Muslim brethren back into the Hindu umbrella. After that it will be easier to isolate and deal with the bad apples of Islam more effectively

    My 5 riyals.

  156. Well, Vajra,

    I have been into similar discussions with friends, a lot many times. A lot deeper than this, since one does not have to type so much :)

    The truth is that there is no solution. Maybe Shan and Sayon were looking for solutions and I disappointed them there. There is just no solution but to keep fighting and defending. Like Israel and Russia (chechnya). A lot fewer of our people will then perish, unlike 1947 when we were blinded by Gandhis bhai bhai euphoria. The day Israel stops fighting, its finished. Britain and France stopped fighting, became secular, and see what they have got now. Secularism is good only when the other party is willing to accept it. Respect gets respect, is what the seculars fail to realize.

    If we dont fight back, we too will perish. No, this will not bring about any peace, but a lot more of our people will survive, and maintain our freedom. If you want peace, let yourself be slaughtered wholesale, there will be no one left for muslims to fight, and hence peace will prevail. But will it ??

    The slap-left-cheek-offer-right-cheek will never work with muslims, in fact, instead of shaming them, you will make their task of killing and converting the kuffar easier, and ensure their quota of virgins and young boys in heaven.

    The worst part is that Gandhi never realized that muslims have no rules of war against non-muslims. They would hurt civilians too, including women and children. They dont have any concept of a fair war. Unlike WW2, where POWs were treated somewhat civilly, barring a few incidents.

    As far as I know, the muslims of Kashmir never wanted to come back to their roots. Many of them in fact, disown their Indian roots, and scramble over each other to prove that they are not Indian , but Afghan or Arab or Turk.

  157. >As far as I know, the muslims of Kashmir never wanted to come back to their roots. Many of them in fact, disown their Indian roots, and scramble over each other to prove that they are not Indian , but Afghan or Arab or Turk.>

    @ Shadows:
    The Muslims of Kashmir (Specifically the Srinagar region) did want to come back during, I think Raja Ghulab Singhs’ time.

    But the Hindus refused to accept them, saying Hinduism doesnt believe in conversion or reversion in this case. (something that many believe still today).

    The history of the Islamic world is really very fascinating and every Islamic society in our neighborhood has a sad story to tell and it is not as black and white as we would want them to be

    Did you know that there are thousands of Muslims in UP and Rajasthan who are waiting to revert back to their original Hindu “Gautam Rajput” tradition. Many have already done so.

    The pseudo secularists dont want to talk about this because a united rabid Muslim population translates to a united fatwa for voting.
    Thankfully the pseudo secular parties missed out the chance to start a riot and goof the whole thing.

    It is the fellow Hindus who are hesitant to start what is called a “Roti/Beti” (family and economic ties) response with the reverting brothers to actually start a deluge of reversion.

    The Muslims in Bangladesh are culturally so close to their Hindu brethren.
    I accept that 75% of them may dig holes to prove that they have a pint of Arabic/Persian/Turkik blood in them. But what about the 25% that will probably feel safe in their Hindu roots if given the right stimulus and knowledge.

    Hindus have failed to create a safe haven for reverting Muslims.

    lets not waste our time on the Sayons and Shans…discussions with them will be endless and useleless …..instead its time to focus of providing a safe social and physical security to the Taslima Nasreens and the Abul Kasems who have long waited to free themselves from the shakles of Islam.

    Islam’s fight and fanaticism is much weaker if it collapses from within. I am not saying that we wont have to fight the Chechniyas and Bosnias and Kashmirs and Bengals….but its going to be a easier task if the concept of Ummah breaks down and Muslims return to their traditional faiths and diverse cultures…

    we just need the look at the bigger pict.. and knowledge and right attitude may make the effort easier

  158. ——“I feel that every Muslim should be made aware about their history and welcomed
    to return back to Hinduism.”

    Awesome! Where are the garlands?

  159. Vajra,

    What you say is good enough, but I dont think apart from UP and Rajasthan Rajput Muslims (who were forcibly converted), anyone else wants to return to their roots. What about the rest of the world. No one is safe, right from the Philippines to California.

    In fact, see how our secular parties and media make a fuss when reverse conversion takes place.

    BTW, has anyone ever thought deeper about this and found out what this implies – Minorities are the only ones who protested anti-conversion acts.

    Should it not be the other way round, logically thinking.

  160. @ shadows
    Since u asked about the “global” Islamic scenario,
    methinks its important to not look at the whole Ummah as a single unit even though in the ideal Quranic Universe that seems to be case.

    Analogically,

    Java, Malay, Bangladesh, India and Sindh (JMBIS) are pretty much the weak hands and legs of Islam.

    Egypt and Iran and the minds, depending on the Shia/Sunni choice.

    Saudi Arabia the heart.

    JMBIS has the maximum residue of Hindu/Buddhist residue of religious traditions and culture/language…

    A proactive Hindu/Buddhist coalition would find it relatively easy to re-establish the cultural and religious bonds and eventually displace Islam effectively from these areas in the long run.

    But that would require a really proactive and voluble intelligentia to see the efficacy of this exercise.

    The minds and heart have their proximity to semetic culture and philosphies and are find more affinity to them…with the exception that a resurgent Zoraostrian Iran would be the best friend India could ever have.

  161. Shadows-

    From the above link:

    “At a dinner party shortly afterward, a friend of mine, who had visited India
    many times and even gone to the trouble of learning Hindi, objected strenuously
    that the picture of Gandhi that emerges in the movie is grossly inaccurate,
    omitting, as one of many examples, that when Gandhi’s wife lay dying of
    pneumonia and British doctors insisted that a shot of penicillin would save her,
    Gandhi refused to have this alien medicine injected in her body and simply let
    her die. (It must be noted that when Gandhi contracted malaria shortly afterward
    he accepted for himself the alien medicine quinine, and that when he had
    appendicitis he allowed British doctors to perform on him the alien outrage of
    an appendectomy.) ”

    This clearly shows that Gandhi didn’t wanna die himself even at the expense of compromising his principles although he urged others to die meekly, doesn’t it? :)

  162. Yep, Bengali Boy, Vajra,

    Thats what I am trying to point out – Gandhi did not make mistakes, he actually was motivated.

    And yeah, jab khudki G mein Danda gaya to injection ke liye tayaar ho gaya. Koi aur marta hai to marne do, mujhe mat maaro. Wasnt he selfish?

  163. Also from the link above, by Surabhi,

    ” He was a man of the most extreme, autocratic temperament, tyrannical,
    unyielding even regarding things he knew nothing about, totally intolerant of
    all opinions but his own. He was, furthermore, in the highest degree
    reactionary, permitting in India no change in the relationship between the
    feudal lord and his peasants or servants, the rich and the poor.”

    Read it.

  164. Pingback: Gandhigiri: In today’s day and age « indian inheritance

  165. GB,

    On ‘spelling mistakes’ in the article, you replied to Puneet “if Modi’s government can be called a Hindu government why not that of Suhrawardy [Muslim Government]? ”

    Really, have you seen any newspaper of any repute calling the Modi government ‘Hindu government’?

  166. Its appalling to think that a single statement like that can just wipe out all the great things the Man has done for everyone. Why dig on things that had passed already and to think compare it to our times. You must have forgotten that he made an impact not only in India, but to the wolrd as a whole. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged non violence because of Gandhi’s influence. A great person does not equal perfection. Like the rest of us, he was just another ordinary man who did the right thing, and grew to learn to have extraordinary faith and strength…for his people, and for the world.

  167. Its interesting to see that the generation “Y” of Bengalis is actually a generation “Z” (Zero) when it comes to learning lessons from Noakhali.
    ——–

    Over a number of years, I got to know a Bangladeshi man (let’s call him Mr.Rehman) very well at my workplace. He once told me an interesting story. Chatting up at the water cooler in Bengali with Rehman, then in his mid-forties, I asked him where he hailed from.

    Rehman coolly said that he was from Noakhali. Seeing the shocked look on my face and knowing that I was a Hindu, he reluctantly mumbled – “My mother was born a Hindu too”.

    I raised my eyebrows a bit and said “Really? How so?”

    He smiled sheepishly and : “My Muslim father had an ‘arranged’ marriage with her in the 1940s. She was a very pretty 17-year old girl with a fair complexion and lovely long hair. My father talked to her father (a Hindu Zamindar) and got his willing approval for their marriage.”

    Incredulous, I asked ” An arranged marriage in the 1940s in Noakhali – between a Muslim man and a Hindu teenaged girl?”.

    Uncomfortable with my query, Rehman gulped and said “Well, my father took good care of my mother. After all, she bore him 8 children before she passed away.”

    He continued, “My father had many guns and took us hunting when we were kids. He also ‘inherited’ a bungalow and large tracts of land that made us very wealthy in Noakhali.”

    Before I could interrupt, Rehman said ” I took my mother to Haj two years before she passed away. My father was very pleased that she could complete her Islamic obligations before she passed away.”

    I believe, in my heart, that I had just heard the tragic story of a pretty Hindu girl from Noakhali, who was abducted, raped and forcefully married (nikah) by a Muslim who killed her family; and seized their bungalow and large tracts of land.

    Not only was she forcibly converted to Islam, she also became a ‘breeding cow’ for its propagation – with perennial fornication, she produced a litter of 8 believers (including Rehman) that went on to inherit the mantle and mindset of the father.

    Now the same Rehman has not a trace of his mother’s Hindu-ness left in him and so, he makes very “intelligent” comments, that I have reproduced verbatim below:

    1) The reason why there was a Tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka is because they angered Allah by becoming Kafirs and by not following Islamic principles correctly.

    2) The reason why many cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh in the past decades is exactly for the same reason – these victims angered Allah because they were not Islamic enough.

    3) “All my children are learning the Koran and Islamic instructions by a Maulvi who comes home every week”.

    4) “Yoga is a futile exercise.” He tries mocking Yoga, Hinduism and India every chance he gets.

    5) Rehman’s wife went from being a fun-loving, English speaking, saree-wearing Bengali woman (before she married him) to a burqa-wearing ninja who keeps popping babies one-after-another (after she married him).

    6) A good glimpse into his mindset came about when I shared a cab with him in New York. Seeing that the cab driver was a Pakistani, Rehman told him emphatically: “I am also from Pakistan. I was born in East Pakistan.”

    7) This is the killer quote from him – “Islam is inevitable”.

  168. GreatBong:
    What’s the point of discussing *darker* side of Gandhi?
    As if someone is actually following his either brighter or darker side?
    By modern standards of medicine, he had horrible ideas about health.
    And education (you know about his eldest son). And probably many other things.We can discuss all about his ideas on best way to cure stomach problems, advantages of goat milk and best way to clean up the ground after bowel movement or find at least one good thing that he tried and not necessarily achieved.

    I was not expecting blogs and discussions that do not aim to promote action but add mere gas to the intellectual combustion engine of idle minds from you. The standard reason of blogging for blog’s sake.

    The options are, we can discuss gandhigiri and belch out the gas from our lunch and go back to our gruntwork, or get inspired to clean up the dirty corner of the gully we live in or fix a few things for the elderly living alone next door or buy a pair of decent clothes for the boy who serves chai while we hang out and smoke everyday.

  169. what r u doing? where r u? r u going Some where? had ur lunch? and also i want to know some more sentences in bengali language. Please reply me to my email ID

  170. Foremost, it is not justified to be judgmental on anyone if you give him the sole options of suicide or dishonor to choose from….its like gandhiji to choose between killing a cat and killing a cat and then criticizing over the lack of humanity or lack of principles in what he chooses.

    Secondly, if at all anyone of the national leaders were active in stopping the butchery that our forefathers were upto, it was gandhiji.While everybody from politician to the commoner was busy with the bloody power struggle, Gandhiji went on a fast to death to stop the violence. Even at 78 gandhiji once again considered his life immaterial against injecting solidarity into peoples minds.It was his death at the hands of a fanatic that finally forced people to reflect on their wretched mentality.

    Thirdly, just like a soldier is ready to sacrifice his life for an ideal , a human invention called the ‘country’ similarly Gandhiji said a satyagrahi or a soldier of non violence should also be ready to sacrifice his life for his what he calls his cause.No wonder he described the path of non violence the bounty of the bravest.

    A choice between sacrifice for ideals and life is place and time dependent.While to a rich US citizen with all comforts and peace of mind the latter choice is an obvious yes yes, but to someone in sierra leone or Nigeria or somalia where basic human rights are a scarcity, where genocides and violence makes life not livable, the priorities might be different.In such a situation if non violence or upholding the basic tenants of humanity against butchery increments the morality of the society ,by howsoever insignificant an amount, and promises a better a better tomorrow for the generations to come….it is worth dying for.

  171. As a woman, I feel disgusted whenever I learn more and more about Gandhi’s true colors. In the end, Ahimsa just became a status quo that he had to protect even if it meant that an entire generation was stripped off of their dignity, identity, life, freedom and their very existence.

    How liberating “swaraj” must have been for those abducted, raped and converted women. I feel like saying “Hope Gandhi and Jinnah are enjoying their respective ideologies in hell”

    I read somewhere else that Gandhi wrote a letter to Churchill about the holocaust that read something like “Its better that they(Jews) die in large numbers. That will bring the Nazis to their knees”. He criticized the British when they attacked Germans in defense. IN the end, all gandhigiri does is remove your natural urge to defend yourself and render you most vulnerable. Well we don’t have to dig beyond Punjab and Bengal to say “Gandhism is an EPIC FAIL when the oppressors have a different set of morals”.

    Sorry OP. This post made me very sad and angry. You can remove my comments if you want.

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