Brownies for Pinkos [*]- Freethinking Paki[stani]-style.

* the term pinko is being used to describe a lighter form of communism or a variant of pinko-liberal. It has no other connotations or suggestion at least from the author’s side

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

I must admit that I was mildly amused to read Freethinker’s rant against me which was at best a pointless personal attack (or an attempt at a modern day cyber-witchhunt).  Pointless because Gandhi, the most sanctified saint of 20th century, hardly needs any defending against little old me.  Rest peacefully, ah defenders of status quo and monopolists of free thought, for so long has the world been taken in by the Gandhian fraud, that surely my attempt to expose him is not going anywhere.    Freethinker keeps repeating “social conditioning” like a broken record?  Well what of the social conditioning that makes a charlatan like Gandhi look like a saint world over?  Surely instead of looking at me swimming downstream in the little pond of Pakistani public opinion, my efforts to expose Gandhi’s other side are more akin to swimming against an ocean current.

First of all I brought up Gandhi in response to Hades’ comment on the post on “Quaid-e-Azam” only to show that before asking Pakistanis to stop admiring Jinnah, perhaps a better candidate for his profound wisdom would the Indian population that admires Gandhi.   To suggest that this was my only argument (and not the last point it really was in a long list of points) is just plain dishonest.  Since Freethinker likes to speak of logical fallacies, may I suggest that this is what they refer to as “Strawman fallacy”. My arguments about Jinnah were based on his own record as a politician and a legislator.  Also it did not presuppose that anyone who dislikes Jinnah automatically likes Gandhi… here too Freethinker is getting ahead of himself.   Nor is it “conservatism” of another kind for no one should be compartmentalized on the basis of one’s view of a historical figure- especially someone whose social conservatism is well established.    Similarly if I do not allow for doubt, why would I admit so quickly that I was wrong about my initial assessment of Mumbai being the handiwork of Hindu fundamentalists?

When I first went to the US for College in 1998, I did not have any particular anti-Gandhi feelings nor did I idolize Mr. Jinnah as I do today.   My view of Gandhi was generally positive- as a saintly leader of a neighboring country.   Contrary to Freethinker’s assertions, there are only two references to Gandhi  that I clearly remember from my schools days.  The first was a chapter on “Gandhi: a great non-violent soul” in the book “First Steps in Our History” published by Ferozesons and written by K H Haye.   The second reference was in a English reading book- published by Longman in England- which had a chapter comparing Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi.   So my general opinion of Gandhi – as formed in Pakistan- was net positive despite all the “social conditioning”.    On my first day at Rutgers, I sat next to an Indian who introduced himself as Jignesh Gandhi.  My first question to him was if he was related to the “great” Mahatma Gandhi and to my great disappointment he said no.

To accuse me of “social conditioning” might work as an occam’s razor but it certainly is not a proper explanation for why I have written so often about Gandhi’s racism, casteism or misogyny. Freethinker should have just asked me instead of going through the trouble of psychoanalyzing someone Freethinker doesn’t know or has never met. Furthermore, Freethinker is being less than honest when he claims that Pakistani textbooks talk about “Khilafat Movement” as a negative.  It is not described as disastrous but is shown to be a great movement that set the ball rolling for the Khilafat Movement.   Also most Pakistani textbooks fail to mention that Jinnah did not support the Khilafat Movement.

Now let us come to the question at hand:  Why should/shouldn’t there be a critique of Gandhi?   The issue here is not that I am feeding into the appetite of “patriotic bigots” for anti-Gandhi critiques.  Most “patriotic bigots” I know of are not very concerned about Gandhi.  I am yet to find a decent critique of Gandhi from our Pakistani right wingers.   To them it does not make a difference whether Gandhi is admired world over.   It makes a difference to me though as a citizen of the world –   I am merely following Gandhi’s  own advice: be the change that you want to see in the world.  I want to see Gandhi’s other side getting as much press as his saintliness. I am probably the only Pakistani who has put up these arguments against Gandhi.   All other major Gandhi-bashers are either from the west or from India itself.   M N Roy and Dr. Ambedkar cannot be accused of being socially conditioned by Pakistani textbooks now can they?   Nor would Arthur Koestler or Richard Grenier… I name names only because it seems important to freethinker (freethinker’s argument is essentially based on “Appeal to Authority” fallacy).   The picture painted by British historian Alex Von Tunzelman I suspect had nothing to do with a Pakistani textbook.

My critique of Gandhi is directed at only one end:  to balance out what I perceive to be a hagiographic account of a Machiavellian politician who was far from what is made of him.  Is there anything wrong with that objective? If one-sided hogwash like the Gandhi the Movie can be presented as history, why should I not give an account of the other side of Gandhi? If there is a “dualism” here it has been drummed into us by movies like Gandhi.  After all the movie went out of its way to create a villain out of Jinnah didn’t it?

In my post to the author, I admitted that I am neither ready nor willing to see the more internationally established view of Gandhi. Why should I argue the other side’s brief?   My objective is to show only that side of Gandhi which has been deliberately hidden from the world- why then should I waste my time repeating hagiographic hogwash that the world has been subjected for so long?  My points are:

1. Gandhi believed in racial purity.   In South Africa all of his activities were predicated on Indian racial superiority to Africans and not – as is commonly perceived- on Indian racial equality with whites.
2. Gandhi believed in caste based division of humanity.  He believed that Hindu caste system was the natural military organization of humanity.   Despite all the propaganda about his efforts to uplift the “harijans”,  Dr. Ambedkar, the great author of the Indian constitution,  found him patronizing and an outright protector of the evils of caste system that are deeply trenched in Hinduism. The quotes I put up did not speak of any equality of castes contrary to freethinker’s allegations.  (Freethinker wants us to believe that there is some sort of inherent equality in relegating one caste to toilet cleaning irrevocably and the other caste to worshiping god and yet another to fighting wars- talk about confirmation bias).
3. Gandhi’s views on women were distasteful to the say the least.  These bear close resemblance to those Taliban today.
4. Gandhi brought religion into politics.  Before Gandhi brought religion into politics,   nationalists like Jinnah, CR Das,  Motilal Nehru etc were well on their way to creating grounds for a secular and united dominion of India which would be modeled on Canadian or Australian lines.   Gandhi through his support for Khilafat Movement made religious identities non-negotiable.   Had Gandhi not come onto the scene, India would be a self governing dominion as early as 1925 in my opinion.

These are my points.  I have argued them by backing them up with facts and sources.  Yes we are hard wired for confirmation bias. Damn straight. It is this confirmation bias that forces Freethinker look for “social conditioning” not take on the merits of the argument.   But are we always going to hide behind this essential defect in human design and not take a critique for what it is?

Take for example Freethinker’s treatment of my description of Gandhi’s offer of premiership as an attempted “bribe” to Jinnah.  Freethinker chides me for not taking it as a last desperate attempt instead-there you have my confirmation bias coming in the way again.  By the time that this “last desperate offer” came about,   the essential point of dispute was already plain:  it was the question of interpretation of groupings clause of the cabinet mission plan.   If Gandhi was really desperate, he would have done the right thing and agreed to the proper legal interpretation of the grouping clause which both the Cabinet Mission Plan and all leading legal minds of India had given to it.  He didn’t need to do something as drastic as give the premiership to someone as disliked by the Congress as Jinnah.    So it was a desperate move alright- move to bribe the one man who was held by all of his contemporaries including Gandhi himself to be the most incorruptible politician in South Asia can only be described as desperate. (The first time I had it described as a “bribe” was when I sat reading a book on Jinnah in a youth hostel while trekking through Northern California.  An Indian Hindu who was bunking in the same hall said, “that is a good choice.   Jinnah never accepted Gandhi’s bribe of pm-ship.  He was not power hungry like Nehru or Gandhi” – I suppose he too was magically a victim of Pakistani social conditioning and confirmation bias).

The reason why Freethinker chose to attack me and my supposed social conditioning, my lack of doubt, my Pakistani confirmation bias and so on and so forth is because Freethinker must have realized that responding on the merits of the argument is not possible.  The truth is that Gandhi was racist, Gandhi was casteist and Gandhi was a misogynist (on the issue of Gandhi’s misogyny, please do read Aisha Sarwari’s “Gandhi in the handmaid’s tail”). And all the claims about Gandhi’s special insights on “nature of self” and “sexuality” (presumably like those that made him sleep naked with young girls to test his Brahmacharya resolve) or “satyagraha” etc are not valid counter arguments.   I hate to break it to freethinker but Gandhi was neither an environmentalist nor an anarchist.  If anything Gandhi’s true role in history has been like a vaccine introduced into the body of the independence movement.  He constituted and head up the right wing within the Congress.   Gandhi had sided with the British on the issue of Bhagat Singh till very late (now forgive me for being dualistic but Jinnah had championed Bhagat Singh’s cause quite eloquently through out).   And the unkindest cut:  Israelis sponsored free shows of Gandhi the movie in Gaza and West Bank in 2005.

To say that Gandhi is quoted by green activists and anarchists and other philosophers is a cop-out at best.  So what?  Is that a valid counter-argument to the points I have raised.

So lacking the substance to argue against my critique of Gandhi, Freethinker did what we are all “hard wired” to do:  shoot the messenger.   Only in my case since shooting the messenger was not very easy (probably because Freethinker is a bad shot), it soon became a case of shoot the imagined social conditioning of the messenger instead of the message.

Really at the heart of it is only one impulse:  Freethinker wants to prove himself a “freethinker” (code word for “look at me I am liberal – here please why don’t you notice me – I am very liberal. Yes give me all the brownies now!”  ).  He misses the irony when he constructs a straitjacket and calls it freethinking – assumption being that a freethinker cannot be anything other than a+b+c+d – he cannot even be a+b+c+e or a+f+d+z and certainly not x+y+z  because that is only three letters – all from the wrong side of the alphabet.  Such mathematical impossibility is called “choking your brain” or the “ossified brain eventuality”.  Hence all the disclaimers about being a radical feminist,  freethinking, anti-organized religion blah – these are labels unto themselves.  We are “hardwired” to label ourselves.  Only if we live long enough we realize that these labels have been concocted to put limits and boundaries on thought.  It is thus easier to rubbish every argument with the same brush of “social conditioning”, “duality”,  “nationalism” than to actually think or break from the established norms of what passes for “free thinking” these days.   Such censure of any opinion contrary to your own does free thinking great harm.   Is that what freethinker wants?  Nobody should have an opinion that doesn’t fit the “sirat-e-mustaqeem” of free thinking?  How can a path be straight and narrow and yet be “free thinking”?

At the very least a real freethinker would not ask why Dr. King or Mandela could not see through the fraud of Gandhi.   A real freethinker would not ask for such affirmation and name-dropping.  They did not because they probably did not have access to the collected works of Gandhi.   I know for a fact that Dr. King did not and Mandela – when asked replied: he probably evolved later.    To a real freethinker this should not be the end of discussion.  A freethinker should ask for evidence of this alleged evolution.  I tell you there isn’t any.   A freethinker would at the very least stop putting up these names as testimonials and come up with better counter arguments than “you are socially conditioned” or that you are a “Pakistani”.

The real question is when is “Freethinker” going to break away from his “social conditioning”?

100 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

100 responses to “Brownies for Pinkos [*]- Freethinking Paki[stani]-style.

  1. alok

    just like jinnah was a communalist, divisionist and a traitor. difference of opinion eh!

  2. lal

    http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/09/stories/2009010953161000.htm
    published in hindu last week, ylh there seems to be different views on casteism

  3. aliarqam

    India waley Makkar hain saarey…Baghal mey Churi Munh mey Raam…..
    Pakistanis Sachey Log Hain Saarey….
    Typical Jamaatias Approach Poor His Ultimacy

  4. F.

    Every once in a while in the history of humanity,someone does something good,perhaps even great.Admire the achievement,but do not expect more.There are no saints amongst men.

  5. YLH

    ali mian,

    Yawn. Why you are obsessed with me man? Where have I called India-wallay makkar? I am beginning to think that your Madrassah education severely hampers your ability to argue reasonably.
    Precisely why you use terms like “political orphan” , “jamaatia” etc etc.

  6. YLH

    Simply61…

    Advani’s view – favorable as it may be – is not a medal for us.

    The fact that, Secular India’s Prime Minister in waiting, the estimable Mahatma Advani had to quote some “seer” and Hindu holyman to see the secularism in Jinnah’s 11th August speech shows that Mahatma Advani like Mahatma Gandhi before him is a victim of the same superstitition and witchdoctorism that was at the root of the problem.

  7. Vandana

    YLH,I think you need to allow some room for contrarian views too while defending yours.
    And the link was provided not to award a medal to Pakistan or Jinnah.It was just an interesting link as Advani is still struggling to explain his comments and that is kind of funny.
    History is ever evolving and perspectives keep changing.The two gentlemen Jinnah and Gandhi too will continue to be continually assessed and re assessed.Your views of Gandh are just that….your views….

  8. YLH

    F.

    I’d like to understand this achievement please.

    I know … everyone says Gandhi “freed” India… but how … because Gandhi’s contribution to freedom of India to my mind seems net negative. If anything Gandhi became a tool that was used to delay India’s representative self rule.

  9. YLH

    I did not claim them to be anything else. Except that they are shared by many reasonable people … and scoffed at by a new kind of fundamentalist breed that takes up Gandhi as a “prophet” and asks us to worship him… as if we are n0t already burdened by such delusions…

  10. YLH

    Previous post addressed to Vandana/Simply 61

  11. YLH,isn’t that how this world goes anyway?One man’s saints are the other’s sinners? Contrary to what you may think even Gandhi has no one monolithic fan club.Infact his bitterest critics are from India(mostly Hindus).
    By calling those who like the dhoti -clad bloke, fundamentalist you fall into the same trap as your opponents.You want your views accepted as much as they want acceptance for theirs!!

  12. YLH

    I only call them fundamentalist because they flail and wail when I express my opinion.I don’t have a problem with them admiring Gandhi.

    So I am afraid there is no equivalence.

  13. YLH

    “contrary to what you might think”

    That just shows how closely you read my article above where I have quoted many Indians.

  14. Monkey

    YLH, good one – although a little too aggressive 🙂

    Since I am done up to my ears arguing Pakistan vs India, Jinnah vs Gandhi, RAW vs ISI, etc etc debates since the Mumbai attacks, I will just point out two things and hopefully not return :p

    I read Freethinker’s post and this is what I had to say:
    1) It is a huge assumption that either you like Jinnah or you like Gandhi. I for one do not fall into either category, I respect Gandhi for many things and I am an outright fan of Jinnah.
    2) Just as YLH pointed out, I remember reading in my Pakistan History O-Level book about how after partition, the then Indian government refused to dispatch Pakistan’s share of the Reserve Bank of India’s money. The book clearly stated that it wasn’t until Gandhi went on a hunger-strike that Nehru and company gave Pakistan it’s rightful share. It further went on to comment that one reason for Gandhi’s assassination could have been his positive attitude towards Pakistan. So if anything, Gandhi is definitely portrayed as the good guy while Nehru is often portrayed as the bad guy. Freethinker, there is no “social conditioning” in Pakistan that makes us dislike Gandhi.

  15. alok

    The story of YLH:

    when YLH was 18 years old and went to study in the U.S (must be quite privileged in Pakistan), he held Gandhi in high esteem and what he did not disclose was that he held jinnah in equally high esteem or on a higher pedestal. The movie ‘Gandhi’ was a blow to the mental construct of the child regarding jinnah because it was a blow to his identity.He could not accept the conclusions of the movie correct.It was too much for a 18 year old. It had to be wrong- after all it insulted his identity in insulting the founder father of his nation.

    Unknowingly the subconscious of the hurt child devised a plan. he could no longer hold both of them in high esteem. They had to be pitted against each other and for him the choice was clear.

    He made up his mind to dig out all the work which was negative on Gandhi. He had to read a lot but selectively because anywhere anything written good on Gandhi was unacceptable, blasphemous.

    So all those who eulogized including historians became fundamentalists frauds and liars and all those who criticesd Gandhi became great people for him.

    His hatred grew day and night till a point where despite his intelligence he could not see shades of grey. For him Jinnah was white and gandhi was black. He started questioning the motives of great leaders and whether they had studied up on gandhi. They couldnot have beacuse now the poison of hatred was so deep that no praise could be accepted no goodness could be ascribed. Gandhi was to be banished like Hitler.

    The more the outside world rallied for gandhi the more vehement he grew in his attack.

    All the while he forgot that hating someone vehemently and praising someone vehemently were very different. Hatred slowly seeped into his heart and love faded away. His tongue became black. He could no longer realize when he had offended someone and where he has been too aggressive. He was Obsessed and Possessed.

    Then one day a sage came to YLH’s village. YLH went to impress upon the sage his new found theory about Gandhi yet at the same time he wanted the sage an advice to cure his ‘misery’. The sage listened to him quitely and patiently but the sage was not listening to the theory the sage was listening to the person who was speaking bound in the chains of hatred and misery.

    After he had finished the sage patted YLH on his back and said, Child you are very clever but you should be careful with your mind. It plays tricks on you which you dont understand.

    Then the sage gave him his word of wisdom:

    Child whichever bothers you or you dont like use the tool of ‘Indifference’:

    YLH immediately understood, cried copiously for his mistakes and profusely thanked the sage.

    He still did not like Gandhi but now he chose to be indifferent to him rather than be actively against him. Love creeped back into his live. The spring of his heart bubbled with sweet clear water and there were flowers all over again.

    written with fun and good intent by
    your’s truly:

    Alok

  16. Majumdar

    Alok mian,

    He made up his mind to dig out all the work which was negative on Gandhi.

    90% of this negative works have been authored by Gandhi himself where he upholds casteism, racist feelings of superiority and inferiority, subservient status of women etc.

    Regards

  17. YLH

    alok,

    Yawn.

    So in other words you don’t have a credible defence for Gandhi’s racism, casteism and hindu fascism.

    Now that you’ve conceded that you don’t have a proper argument… Good for you. Maybe tomorrow you will have the courage to disavow Gandhi.

  18. YLH

    The Great FREETHINKER refuses to publish comments by several people on his blog … including mine.

    A Mullah in the garb of a FAKE FREETHINKER is even worse!

  19. aisha sarwari

    I tried posting at freethinker’s blog as well. The comment hasn’t shown up. It has been 3 days now.

  20. YLH

    Well I know of a couple of other people as well who’ve mailed me complaining about freethinker’s so called tolerance for dissenting views.

    What a shame… all that verbose nonsense about radical blah blah nonsense gone to waste.

  21. F.

    It’s like this,YLH. He inspired people. He wasn’t the only one who did so, and he was the best one either, but for quite a few people he was the symbol they needed to rally around. And they did, or you wouldn’t be here so annoyed by people’s “inability” to see his flaws. It happened because people need heroes but won’t look for one within themselves. Sure, they had a few, Jinnah one of them, but not everyone would have been willing to follow the lead of a Muslim statesman who had studied abroad when many had perhaps never left their villages. Jinnah, in his own way, subdued than the preacher of non-violence, and in that he may have helped the cause even more. But this meant he wasn’t the firebrand many people wanted, nor someone they could relate to. The myth of Gandhi is and will forever be more important than the man. Almost, scarily you might say, like religion. If it hadn’t been him, it would’ve been someone else a few years later. However, it was him.
    He did not free India. The Indian people freed India; he merely gave many someone to follow. But he was the change they needed to see. That is his achievement.

  22. YLH

    Gandhi did no such thing dear F. He was used cynically by the British as the stone to kill two birds with…

    1. The constitutional “swarajists”

    2. The revolutionary freedom fighters

    Gandhi created just enough chaos to thwart the objectives of 1 and was still a controlled form which managed to woo the people away from 2.

    He was a vaccine that protected the British raj from the outbreak of independence and/or constitutional self rule for atleast two decades.

  23. hayyer48

    There is no comparing Gandhi with Jinnah. They were different kinds of people. Both had a profound impact on history, Jinnah I think more than Gandhi, but Jinnah’s impact is a consequence of Gandhi.
    Jinnah was a rational secular modernist-Gandhi, a religious conservative who never stopped trying to reconcile his political outlook with religious mumbo jumbo. Both learned their law in London but whereas for Jinnah his western education was an opening to a new world Gandhi soon lapsed into confused attempts to reconcile his western knowledge with his obscurantist religious beliefs. He used his self purificatory fasts as blackmail.
    Both men were, once at the top refused to accommodate the opinion of others. Gandhi was eventually elbowed out by Nehru and Patel. Jinnah remained supreme till the end.
    Jinnah’s failure is his egotism. At the end he abandoned his principles to attain goals that he had stood against all his life. By that standard he is a success. Gandhi never succeeded in his confused aims. He is a failure.

  24. So you’re desperate to know what I thought of this hate speech (of course it’s one: if you know what ‘Pinko’ and ‘Paki’ means).

    Well, my silence was partly because of anger, which I, unlike YLH, think is not a healthy state of mind to write anything, and partly because of the grueling end-of-semester assignments and assessments at my university.

    Of course YLH didn’t think of that. He went and accused me of being against freedom of speech for not allowing his comment through. Did he consider that Blogger enables comment moderation for older posts and that I might be too occupied to publish his comment? Did he consider maybe his comment doesn’t qualify for ‘freedom of speech’, which does not apply to offensive personal attacks?

    No, because he likes to have an opinion, as I indicated in my post. Just like he couldn’t find Faridkot on the map when he condemned those stupid Indians for making up wild stories about terrorists in Pakistan, he couldn’t find the Gandhi-Jinnah duality in Pakistan Studies textbooks playing out especially in the Khilafat Movement accounts. The reader is advised to verify this through a reading of chapters on Khilafat Movement and Jinnah’s political career in books by M.Ikram Rabbani, M.D.Zafar, Dr.Sultan Khan, etc. (all texts used by teachers – even in more conservative O/A-Level schools), and in the Punjab-board Pakistan Studies textbook, which sees Gandhi’s role in Khilafat Movement as a planned conspiracy to make Muslims suffer and render them politically and financially weak (pg. 19, 20).

    But coming back to the question I asked in the post: what did I really think of the post? Frankly, I was scandalized.

    Apart from YLH’s stubborn inability to grasp the existentialist view of history which is concerned with meanings rather than facts (see the last few paragraphs of my post, or a comment in the previous post which mentions Kierkegaard, or the comment by ‘F’), and his blatant lie about Pakistan Studies books which he clearly hasn’t looked through, he expresses his anger in offensive slurs. Us pinko, commie, he/she faggots with our silly, wishy-washy flaccid views (we ‘lack the substance’ and we’re ‘a bad shot’) obviously just have a (feminine) need of approval, and *the man* at PTH will set us faggots straight with his hard facts.

    Go ahead and say it now, YLH, that I’m getting hysterical like a woman now, a frustrated, ‘please why don’t you notice me’ woman. And I want is brownies and then I’ll shut up like all hysterical, attention-craving ‘pink’ ones should.

    I would also like to criticize YLH’s lack of experience with modern literary theory. The author is ‘dead’, as Foucault points out, in the linguistic formalism of a text like his post on Gandhi and the comment on Jinnah that I analyzed for my post. So it doesn’t matter whether he studied abroad or in Government Schools…how exactly the Gandhi-Jinnah duality in his text comes about is not the point; it’s there and it’s for the literary critic to analyze it.

    Now, as for responding to his slandering on Gandhi, I really think that is quite unnecessary, because as you can see in people’s responses to this and the last thread, everyone is coming here to contest or confirm their already established views. I would however like to repeat what I said about how you cannot adopt a reductionist view like YLH’s about a historical phenomenon laden with meanings, which are both fact-based and symbolic, and forever flexible. Modern philosophers also stress that meaning is inside our heads, rather than ‘out there’, and in case of Gandhi, that meaning is a source of inspiration for revolutionaries and people dissatisfied with modernity and its spiritual crisis.

    And if you subject all history to the criticism of the sort YLH uses for Gandhi, then you can say good-bye to history as a source for inspiration. I am going to make devout Muslims angry here, but I would just like to remind them here how they hate it when someone talks about their Prophet Muhammad this way, mentioning the controversial accounts of the details of his life as they appear in Al-Tabari for instance.

  25. Oh wow,freethinker.That was some comment.
    I agree with your line on histories and interpretations being forever flexible….successive generations re assess and re interpret it to seek inspiration as they see fit.
    I wish you had not added that line about Prophet Mohammed(PBUH).Now this post and its comments are going to jet off into a totally different direction.
    Gandhi is just Mahatma,not a prophet or a messenger of GOD.Mahatma simply means a soul that is more enlightened spiritually than most other…and that title was conferred on him because of the inspiration he provided to many in this world.

  26. YLH

    You are such a kid really… modern literary theory? existentialist blah blah? Post colonial hogwash? Focault … Grammci that… keirkargaard or Keikabad do I give a rats’ ass … do you have a thought of your own dude? Can you learn to think for yourself instead of this sophomoric namedropping that you’ve picked up at whereever it is you go to school? I am willing to bet it isn’t LUMS or some engineering school … must be one of those Beacon House National or LSE types… where rich kids go and waste their time.

    Look mian… you accused me of being “socially conditioned” … obviously I was going to refer to the textbooks I studied and they did not have anything against Gandhi. On the contrary in the books I learnt history from left a net-positive view of Gandhi.

    Ofcourse I have heard from people like you and sherryx … that Pakistan Studies Books contain “slanderous” remarks about Gandhi … but frankly your honesty is at best questionable. At your prodding, I did review Pakstudies 9 and 10 after these claims were made and while I found their ideological Islamic content unpalatable… there was nothing against Gandhi in them. If you show it to me …. I’ll be more than happy to accept that I am wrong and that Gandhi is shown up to be the devil in pakistani text books or the books you’ve named(after all I did accept the geographical locations of Faridkot village which is still too obscure a village to be on any map of Pakistan … when shown conclusively).

    In any event, how is that relevant to the discussion when I did not study those books… so what is your frikkin point man? Please be precise and don’t drop names.

    Now you’ve labelled my posts on Gandhi slander. Could you tell me a single thing that I have quoted which is not from Gandhi’s own collected works or is not an accepted fact of history… how then could it fit the definition of slander or libel… that is if we accept that slander and libel applies to public figures. And nice … the attempt to rouse religious passions by pointing out that similar criticism could be made of holy personages in Islam. Let us assume that this is true…. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived in 7th century…. Gandhi lived in the 20th century … see the difference.

    So far neither your sophomoric post nor your outburst here has countered even a single point about Gandhi except alleging that there are some good points about him as well and I should not point out that the man was a racist casteist Hindu fascist bigot because well Gandhi was like a Prophet or something.

    Get a life dude. Seriously.

  27. Majumdar

    Freethinker sb,

    everyone is coming here to contest or confirm their already established views.

    Well, I spent a lot of time on chowk. Before YLH reinterpreted MKG and MAJ (pbuh) with lots of supporting data, the general consensus at least among Indian Hindoo posters was that MKG was God and MAJ a devil. Over the last 3-4 years I have noticed a huge change. Indian Hindoos have a far greater appreciation of MAJ and a rather more negative opinion of MKG, in fact among many he is a rather despised figure

  28. Majumdar

    And I attribute a lot of this change to YLH’s writings.

    Regards

  29. YLH

    majumdar,

    Freethinker is a victim of his own circumstances.

    He now claims that my “comments” got stuck … ironically all comments supporting his views after my comments did not magically get stuck.

    And now he has declared that he will not allow my comments .. because they are offensive. They are offensive because they expose the free-crapping that goes on in the name of freethinking these days.

  30. YLH

    Good news! Produce Freethinker style posts for free:

    http://www.gingko.ch/cdrom/jwrandom/postmodernism/

  31. alok swain

    majumdar da your idea of looking people always through the prism of hindoo/muslim is very narrow and bigoted.

    Of all that YLH convinces me is his hatred(mullah type) and you of course are a right winger( i often wonder why patel chose to work and obey gandhi). Sorry i and lots many do not take any history lessons from you and your esteemed friend.

    sometimes common sense is enough.

  32. YLH

    Also … the LSE referred to above is Lahore School of Economics … nor London School of Economics.

  33. YLH

    Sometimes common sense is enough.

    Yes! It is. Now without going into social conditioning, labelling, assumptions, post colonial theory, Keikergaard, keikabad, grammci, focault, firaq, mir anis… lets simply apply common sense to the following thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi shall we:

    “A general belief seems to prevail in the colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than the savages or natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir. ”
    Collected works of MK Gandhi, Vol. 1, pg 150-151

    “the whole objection to the Indian proceeds from sanitary grounds, the following restrictions are entirely unintelligible:
    1. The Indians, like the Kaffirs, cannot become owners of fixed property.
    2. The Indians must be registered, the fee being 3 pounds 10S.
    3. In passing through the Republic, like the Natives, they must be able to produce passes unless they have the registration ticket.
    4. They cannot travel first or second-class on the railways. They are huddled together in the same compartment with the Natives.
    So far as the feeling has been expressed, it is to degrade the Indian to the position of the Kaffir.

    Petition to Lord Ripon, CWOMG, Vol. 1, pg 199-200

    “Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of a raw Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness ”
    Address in Bombay, CWOMG, Vol. 2, pg 74

    “…A reference to Hunter’s ‘Indian Empire’, chapters 3 and 4, would show at a glance who are aborigines and who are not. The matter is put so plainly that there can be no mistake about the distinction between the two. It will be seen at once from the book that the Indians in South Africa belong to the INDO-GERMANIC STOCK or, more properly speaking, the ARYAN stock We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do, only we believe that they would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.
    Indian Opinion 24-9-1903, CWOMG Vol. 3, pg 453

    …The petition dwells upon “the co-mingling of the Coloured and white races”. May we inform the members of the conference that, so far as the British Indians are concerned, such a thing is practically unknown? If there is one thing, which the Indian cherishes more than any other, it is the purity of type. Why bring such a question into the controversy at all?
    The Transvaal Chambers and British Indians, Indian Opinion 24-12-03, CWOMG Vol. 4, pg 89

    Why, of all places in Johannesburg, the Indian Location should be chosen for dumping down all the Kaffirs of the town passes my comprehension. …Of course, under my suggestion, The Town Council must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel most strongly
    Indian Opinion, 10-4-04, CWOMG Vol. 4, pg 130-131

    It is one thing to register Natives who would not work, and whom it is very difficult to find out if they absent themselves, but it is another thing and most insulting to expect decent, hard-working, and respectable Indians, whose only fault is that they work too much, to have themselves registered…
    What is a Coolie, Indian Opinion 2151904, CWOMG Vol. 4, pg 193

    It reduces British Indians to a status lower than that of the aboriginal races of South Africa and the Coloured people.
    Indian Opinion 15-9-1906, CWOMG Vol. 5, pg 419-423

    Mr. Stead has boldly come out to give us all the help he can. He was therefore requested to write to the same Boer leaders that they should not consider Indians as being on the same level as Kaffirs.
    Indian Opinion, 15-12-1906, CWOMG Vol. 6, pg 183

    …the Governor of the gaol tried to make us as comfortable as he could…But he was powerless to accommodate us beyond the horrible din and the yells of the Native prisoners throughout the day and partly at night also. Many of the native prisoners are only one degree removed from the animal and often created rows and fought amongst themselves in their cells.
    Indian Opinion 7-3-1908, CWOMG Vol. 8, pg 120

    Apart from whether or not this implies degradation, I must say it is rather dangerous. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized — the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty, and live almost like animals. Each ward contains nearly 50 to 60 of them. They often started rows and fought among themselves. The reader can easily imagine the plight of the poor Indian thrown into such company!
    Indian Opinion, 7-3-1908, CWOMG Vol. 8, pg 135

    When I reached there, the chief warder issued an order that all of us should be lodged in a separate room. I observed with regret that some Indians were happy to sleep in the same room as the Kaffirs, the reason being that they hoped there for a secret supply of tobacco, etc. This is a matter of shame to us. We may entertain no aversion to the Kaffirs, but we cannot ignore the fact that there is no common ground between them and us in the daily affairs of life. Moreover, those who wish to sleep in the same room have ulterior motives for doing so. Obviously, we ought to abandon such notions if we want to make progress.
    Indian Opinion, 6-1-1909, CWOMG Vol. 9, pg 149

    CWMOG = Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi

    Common sense suggests that Gandhi was a racist bigot…

    1) I believe that if Hindu Society has been able to stand it is because it is founded on the caste system. (2) The seeds of swaraj are to be found in the caste system. Different castes are like different sections of miliary division. Each division is working for the good of the whole….

    (3) A community which can create the caste system must be said to possess unique power of organization.

    (4) Caste has a ready made means for spreading primary education. Each caste can take the responsibility for the education of the children of the caste. Caste has a political basis. It can work as an electorate for a representative body. Caste can perform judicial functions by electing persons to act as judges to decide disputes among members of the same caste. With castes it is easy to raise a defense force by requiring each caste to raise a brigade.

    (5) I believe that interdining or intermarriage are not necessary for promoting national unity. That dining together creates friendship is contrary to experience. If this was true there would have been no war in Europe…. Taking food is as dirty an act as answering the call of nature. The only difference is that after answering call of nature we get peace while after eating food we get discomfort. Just as we perform the act of answering the call of nature in seclusion so also the act of taking food must also be done in seclusion.

    (6) In India children of brothers do not intermarry. Do they cease to love because they do not intermarry? Among the Vaishnavas many women are so orthodox that they will not eat with members of the family nor will they drink water from a common water pot. Have they no love? The caste system cannot be said to be bad because it does not allow interdining or intermarriage between different castes.

    (7) Caste is another name for control. Caste puts a limit on enjoyment. Caste does not allow a person to transgress caste limits in pursuit of his enjoyment. That is the meaning of such caste restrictions as interdining and intermarriage.

    ( To destroy caste system and adopt Western European social system means that Hindus must give up the principle of hereditary occupation which is the soul of the caste system. Hereditary principle is an eternal principle. To change it is to create disorder. I have no use for a Brahmin if I cannot call him a Brahmin for my life. It will be a chaos if every day a Brahmin is to be changed into a Shudra and a Shudra is to be changed into a Brahmin.

    (9) The caste system is a natural order of society. In India it has been given a religious coating. Other countries not having understood the utility of the caste system, it existed only in a loose condition and consequently those countries have not derived from caste system the same degree of advantage which India has derived. These being my views I am opposed to all those who are out to destroy the caste system.

    These are the views of Mr. Gandhi on caste. According to “freethinker” … these are not casteist views because they don’t say one caste is better than the other. Ofcourse freethinkers thinks that limiting one set of people to toilet cleaning is creating equality with another set limited to worship of God. Wow! Talk about logic.

    Clearly common sense is NOT very common… atleast not to whatever genus/species Mr. Freethinker aka Omair belongs to.

  34. “Indian Hindoos have a far greater appreciation of MAJ and a rather more negative opinion of MKG, in fact among many he is a rather despised figure.”

    Majumdar,that as the objective of all these write ups?

  35. Just when I thought it couldn’t get tackier after the ‘pinko’, he/she bull’s shit, he goes ahead and puts my education under the microscope.

    Well, not to disappoint you, but I was never rich never for LSE or Beaconhouse. And highlighting the philosophical underpinnings of your views does NOT mean intellectual bankruptcy. Regarding my comment, I did not say this or that philosopher is backing me up when I say something. And I mentioned Foucault to illustrate a point of analysis.

    I have published even the most hateful criticism on my blog, as you can see on the last two posts. As for the offensive nature of his post, I already pointed out that it was because of ylh’s use of slurs like ‘pinko’ and ‘paki’. And before any reader chides me for saying that ylh, himself Pakistan, would not mean ‘paki’ as a slur, well, for one thing, it doesn’t matter what he intended with it, and second, that he uses the word ‘paki’ to insult ‘paki-style’ mode of freethinking.

    The pg. 19 and 20 that I mentioned were from the Pakistan Studies textbook of Class 12. And the other works that I mentioned cannot be ignored because they are used heavily as ‘guide-books’, because our teachers insisted on the length of our answers to the questions we were set in the exams.

    Of course someone who keeps talking about his superior education in the U.S and expects all Foucault-quoting people to come from elitist schools (because of course 21 year olds can’t be expected of a genuine effort to understand the world) does not get that.

  36. And yes, sadly, as my friends from LUMS tell me, they don’t have any courses on existentialism and postmodern literary theory there.

  37. alok swain

    beacuse YLH’s pea sized brain might not register it. a rebuttal of all his claims once again.

    Gandhi and the Black People of South Africa
    James D. Hunt

    Shaw University

    The South African period of Gandhi’s life continues to be the least explored and the least understood. Even Judith Brown’s fine new study, Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope, published last month by Yale, is of little help in this regard. Yet more than ever it demands analysis, especially as recent events call for a deeper understanding of the various populations of South Africa.

    A particularly vexing question has been the relationship between Gandhi and the Black people. Did he restrict his efforts strictly toward the betterment of the Indians? Could he have achieved more by working in cooperation with the other oppressed populations of the country? Was he even aware of the strivings, the leaders, and the organizations of the Blacks? If he was, why did he not attempt to work with them toward common goals?

    Many scholars have looked at this relationship and found it unsatisfactory. Les Switzer, an expatriate South African who is an authority on the Black press in that country, wrote in 1986,

    Men of the moral and intellectual stature of Solomon Plaatje, John Dube, John Tengo Jabavu, Walter Rubusana and Abdul Abdurrahman, to name but a few, exercised, if anything, a more profound influence in the history of resistance in this period than did Gandhi. Did the Mahatma have links with any of these Black leaders or with any of the political, economic and cultural organizations being developed by Blacks during this period? The record suggests that he did not.

    Switzer continues,

    There is no record in the Mahatma’s published remembrances or in the pages of Indian Opinion during this period to suggest that Gandhi saw passive resistance as anything other than an instrument of protest on behalf of the Indian in South Africa.

    These statements are an interesting mixture of fact and fiction. It is quite true that Gandhi confined his efforts to his own Indian community in South Africa and never formed a common front with Black leaders or Black organizations. He consistently sought a special position for his people which would be separated from and superior to that of the Blacks. However he was not ignorant of these organizations or their leaders, nor is it evident that a common front could have been formed in that country in the first decades of this century.

    This paper will examine the relations between the various non-White groups, to see what light this may throw on Gandhi’s behavior.

    THE NON-WHITES IN SOUTH AFRICA

    South Africa was a typical European agricultural colony until late in the 19th century when its fabulous mineral wealth was discovered, first diamonds and then gold. By that time the native Black peoples had been subdued by military force, and a small modernizing elite had begun to emerge among them. Economically these were of the petty bourgeoisie, small landholders, a few teachers and small businessmen. They were often educated in the mission schools and accepted Christianity. They valued self-help, personal advancement, and the advantages of education. Several went abroad for higher education, to England or the United States. Their political hopes were for assimilation into the modern European society, in accordance with Cecil Rhodes’s slogan, `equal rights for all civilized men’. They grounded these hopes in Christianity, in the moral rhetoric of the British Empire and in the law of the Cape Colony, where non-Whites had the vote. For this purpose they formed a number of political organizations in the late nineteenth century, most of a local or regional character.

    Similar small modernizing elites emerged also in the other major non-White populations: the Coloured people and the Indians. Gandhi was already a member of this class when he came to Africa, having gone to school in England, and then becoming an advocate of the English lifestyle for his people. For example, except for his first year, he never lived in the Indian section of town.

    The development of non-White political organizations was greatly stimulated by the South African War of 1899-1902 and its aftermath. British complaints against the Boers had included criticism of their racial policies, so that Africans, Indians, and Coloured alike expected a more liberal policy to be established after the war. However the peace treaty of 1902 deferred “the question of granting the franchise to natives” until the introduction of self-government. By this decision the British abandoned any effort to extend to the conquered territories the Cape system of limited political rights for Africans, and turned the fate of the non-Whites over to the settler populations.

    The second event that galvanized non-White political activity was the movement for South African Union, resulting in the Union Bill of 1909 which left the franchise to the separate provinces, so that the other three provinces could refuse the Cape system of non-White voting. The bill also limited the parliament to Whites. In the interval between 1902 and 1909 the basis for modern South African racial politics was established, but within this structure of events, each of the three groups moved on a different agenda.

    THE INDIAN PEOPLE

    Let us look first at the Indians. They had come to Africa as a result of the expansion of the British Empire, and they occupied an ambiguous position. They were among the exploited and among the exploiters. Most were very poor, having come as indentured laborers under a brutal system that was very close to slavery. When their terms of indenture expired, many stayed on as laborers or small farmers. A smaller but more prominent group of Indians came voluntarily to engage in trade. They opened up shops and warehouses and some of them were quite rich. It was a member of this class who engaged attorney Gandhi to come to South Africa on a temporary assignment in 1893. There also existed a very small modernizing Indian middle class, largely Christian, which during the next two decades would become increasingly influential.

    The political mobilization of the Indians came as a response to an attack on their voting rights. In Natal nearly 400 Indians with property had the vote, but as soon as self-government was granted to the settlers in 1893, efforts were begun to strike off these voters. The Franchise Amendment Bill of 1896 prohibited any Indians from registering in the future, while allowing those already on the rolls to remain. In a few years this eliminated the Indian vote entirely. It was this threat that caused the merchants to ask attorney Gandhi to stay, and around it was established the Natal Indian Congress, the first Indian political organization.

    In their petitions against the Natal franchise bill, the Indians, with Gandhi as their spokesman, complained that “the Bill would rank the Indian lower than the rawest Native”. In attempting to protect their own position, they believed they had to separate themselves from the native Blacks. They wanted to present themselves, with their long cultural heritage, as among the civilized peoples. In their view, the Blacks were not civilized; they were “raw”.

    Gandhi’s earliest statements about Africans show a great sense of distance from them. Speaking in Bombay after three years in Africa, he told his audience,

    Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.

    The statement is a veritable catalogue of racial stereotypes. The language of “raw Kaffir”, degradation, laziness and indecent nakedness was common parlance among white settlers and Indians alike, and the young Gandhi did not rise above it.

    Indians in general had quite a bit of experience with Black people, but little of it contributed to deep intercultural understanding or laid a foundation for political cooperation. The leading merchants engaged Black laborers and rented to Black tenants. The small retail merchants sold trade goods in small shops and by peddling. Poor Indians lived in the slums side by side with Blacks. Few of these contacts would have led to close relations with Africans.

    Indians frequently complained of being mixed in with Natives in railway cars, lavatories, pass laws, and in other regulations. They sought a separation between themselves and the Blacks. One of the first achievements of the Natal Indian Congress which Gandhi established was the creation of a third separate entrance to the Durban Post Office. The first was for Whites, but previously Indians had to share the second with the Blacks. Though they would have preferred to enter with the Whites, they were satisfied with achieving a triple segregation.

    Little is known of Gandhi’s personal relations with native Africans. He employed Zulus for labor at his Phoenix settlement, but later insisted that the residents do all the labor themselves. A Black squatter family lived on Tolstoy Farm and did occasional labor, but they were not part of the community there. When his civil disobedience began Indians were jailed with the Natives, and Gandhi led protests over being given the Native diet and about having to share cells with them. He experienced some physical abuse and admitted fear of more while in prison with them.

    Furthermore, Gandhi joined in the bloody suppression of the Zulu Rebellion in Natal in 1906. Despite his doubts concerning the justice of the Government’s case, he believed that in a crisis Indians should rally to its defense, and he organized a stretcher-bearer corps to go along with the troops. In fact he treated Native victims more than whites, but his purpose had been to suppress the revolt.

    We should not take Gandhi’s personal sense of distance from the Blacks as a sufficient explanation for his lack of cooperation with them. He had a capacity to grow beyond his limitations, and to recognize errors and learn from them. Psychological factors are only one element in the equation, and sometimes not the most important. We must look to the situation of the other players on the field, their interests, and their motivations as well.

    in the face of settler determination to establish white rule, all the non-White groups tried to go over the heads of the colonial governments to higher imperial powers. In this strategy the most successful were the Indians, who could appeal both to England and to India. This underscores another fact about Gandhi’s position: his eye was on India. Unlike the Coloured and Blacks who were unquestionably Africans, the Indians were regarded as unwelcome guests, and most Indians, including Gandhi, saw India as the real homeland.

    In his first 13 years in South Africa, Gandhi was a lawyer for Indian business interests and a community reformer who tried to raise the standards of Indian life into a more modern British pattern. He helped form community organizations including a hospital, and started a newspaper. In his community defense work he was preoccupied with relations with the British, who were the dominant power and from whom Indians hoped to gain relief from some of the forms of discrimination which limited their economic and other possibilities. He had no need for an outreach to other population groups until 1906, when he challenged the government with passive resistance against a registration act which applied only to Asiatics.

    THE CHINESE PEOPLE

    [This section is greatly abridged.]

    When Gandhi found an ally during his passive resistance campaign, it came by accident, and was neither with the Blacks nor the Coloured; it was with the Chinese. There were about a thousand Chinese laborers and businessmen in the Transvaal Colony when Gandhi began his passive resistance in 1906. Most of them were in Johannesburg, especially in small trades such as laundry and groceries.

    The free Chinese fell under the Asiatic registration act which was the target of the Indian passive resistance campaign. Like the Indians they boycotted the permit offices and refused to register. They also were arrested, refused fines, and went to jail, continuing to do so right up to the end of the campaign in 1911.

    Gandhi had not sought a Chinese alliance. As he confessed at a joint meeting with them in December 1907, he had been trying to draw a line between British subjects and others–his Johannesburg organization was named the British Indian Association–, and he had been pleading that “there should be a discrimination between British subjects and other Asiatics”.

    The political basis of the alliance, however, was mutual self-interest: both Chinese and Indians were required to re-register under the Transvaal Asiatic Law, and were included together in other anti-Asiatic legislation.

    THE COLOURED PEOPLE

    Among non-White peoples, the second largest was the Coloured community, 89% of whom lived in the Cape Colony. Generally thought of as a mixed-race group, it was so loosely defined as to include some Indians, Malays and native Africans. Like the Indians, the Coloured are neither Black nor White, and their intermediate position generated fears of being reduced to the status of the Blacks. They had one great legal advantage. In the Cape they possessed the franchise, limited though it was by literacy and property qualifications so that only 3.7% of the population could vote. Their nearly 15,000 voters were concentrated in a few constituencies, including District Six of Cape Town, which in 1902 elected Dr. Abdullah Abdurrahman (1872-1940), a British-trained physician, to the City Council, a post which he held (with one brief exception) until his death in 1940. He was the first non-White elected to that body. A few years later he was elected to the Cape Provincial Council and held that seat also for over 30 years.

    Coloured leaders in Cape Town established the African Political Organization (APO) in September 1902. Like most community organizations of the time, the APO represented the educated elite. Its aims included the protection of civil rights, the advancement of the group with a special emphasis on education, the promotion of unity between the coloured races, and voter registration. In 1905 they chose Dr. Abdurrahman as President, and he held this post also for the rest of his life.

    The initial efforts of the APO were directed to two issues: a threat of forced removal from Cape Town, and the hope of extending the municipal franchise for Coloured to the Transvaal Colony. The first was easily settled, for the Mayor of Cape Town assured them that the proposed locations were to be established for Blacks and not for Coloured. The form of this settlement was an omen of the difficulties of racial unity. With their own housing thus precariously protected, they did not mount a campaign to preserve housing for the Blacks amongst them. The APO had hoped to be an organization for all non-White Africans, but its membership and its interests were for the protection of the Coloured community first.

    The campaign for the extension of the Coloured franchise to the Transvaal was a failure, but Gandhi attended some of their meetings and met the Coloured leaders including Dr. Abdurrahman. Soon afterwards Gandhi made some observations on the difficulties of cooperation between the two groups:

    This Association of Coloured People does not include Indians who have always kept aloof from that body. We believe that the Indian community has been wise in doing so. For, though the hardships suffered by those people and the Indians are almost of the same kind, the remedies are not identical. It is therefore proper that the two should fight out their cases, each in their own appropriate way. We can cite the Proclamation of 1857 in our favour, which the Coloured people cannot. They can use the powerful argument that they are the children of the soil. They can also argue that their way of life is entirely European. We can petition the Secretary of State for India, whereas they cannot. They belong largely to the Christian community and can therefore avail themselves of the help of their priests. Such help is not available to us.

    Dr. Abdurrahman, unlike Gandhi, reached out to the other oppressed communities. He attended the South African Native Congress in 1907 and supported the South African Native Convention in 1909, and aided individual African leaders such as Rev. Walter Rubusana and John Tengo Jabavu. He publicized the Indian passive resistance struggle in his newspaper The APO, and to help them he collected an Indian Passive Resistance Fund.

    In 1909, when representatives of all races were in London as the South Africa Union Bill was being debated in Parliament, Abdurrahman and Gandhi were in close communication, though their aims were different. Abdurrahman, along with Black leaders and some liberal White politicians from the Cape, struggled unsuccessfully to remove the clause restricting the new Union Parliament to Whites, but Gandhi saw no benefit for the Indians in such an effort. For all that, Gandhi was in the Strangers’ Gallery of the House of Lords the night the South African Bill was under debate, along with Abdurrahman, Schreiner and Jabavu. After the failure to alter the Act, Gandhi recommended that Abdurrahman take up passive resistance and invited him to lunch to talk it over. He promised to get him a copy of Thoreau’s essay on Civil Disobedience. A few weeks later Abdurrahman suggested in his newspaper that the Coloureds adopt the Indian strategy of passive resistance, and Gandhi wrote an article for The APO. But that organization never moved into mass action. The teachers and small businessmen of the APO preferred the political methods of a parliamentary party.

    Gandhi stayed closer in touch with Abdurrahman than with any other leader. Indian Opinion frequently reprinted news from The APO, and they corresponded on issues of mutual concern.

    Despite Abdurrahman’s interest in cooperation among nonwhite racial groups, few opportunities for effective work seemed to emerge. The chief issues before the Coloured community were not those which the Indians faced. The Indians had a very small group of enfranchised people at the municipal level in Natal but none in the Transvaal and it was never made a plank in their campaign. Most of the pressing issues for the Coloured were in the Cape, while the Indians struggled in Natal and the Transvaal. Thus a broad alliance between Indians and Coloured was never much of a possibility. While Abdurrahman was interested in it and Gandhi was not, the real difference was not in their personal attitudes but in their constituencies.

    Abdurrahman’s power base was his position as the only nonwhite elected official on the city and provincial councils for about 35 years. The Coloured and Black vote gave him domination of District Six of the city. With his position on the councils assured, Abdurrahman would benefit in terms of increased influence by representing the interests of Indians and Africans as well.

    Gandhi, on the other hand, was struggling to lead a voteless people in a campaign of intentional lawbreaking. The issues of that campaign were of concern only to Indians (and the Chinese). He would not have strengthened his support among Indians if he took on issues pertinent to other groups, and he did not believe that he could lead a passive resistance campaign for other groups; each had to work out their own efforts.

    THE BLACK PEOPLE

    Now let us look at the Black population. Then as now, it was larger than all the others combined, amounting to 67% of the total. Most of the Blacks lived in the countryside following a traditional way of life, but a class of progressive farmers was also forming. Many of these had become Christians and had some education from missionaries. In the towns many Blacks worked as laborers. There also a small class of Black professionals was beginning to emerge. These included newspaper editors, lawyers, and teachers.

    The oldest form of African political organization was by tribes, and while the chiefs and royal families continued to be influential, in the towns the new mission-educated spokesmen were evident, particularly in the Cape colony. Among the prominent modern leaders of the early period were John Tengo Jabavu (1859-1921) and Rev. Walter Rubusana (1858-1936). A second generation of young leaders, some educated abroad, emerged after the South African War. Prominent among these were Solomon Plaatje (1878-1932), John L. Dube (1871-1946), Pixley Seme (c.1880-1951) and Alfred Mangena (1879- ? ). Most of these participated in the formation of the African National Congress in 1912.

    In his memoirs, written a decade after leaving South Africa, Gandhi described the Blacks completely in terms of their traditional rural life, and made no reference to educated Africans or to any African individuals. This might suggest that he did not know of any, but his newspaper Indian Opinion shows that he was very much aware of them.

    Among the issues which concerned the Black population in their dealings with Whites were access to land, voting rights, and education. The pass laws and the rigid segregation of public facilities were constant irritants. Voting rights were an issue as well. In Natal Africans could vote, but so stringent were the restrictions that only two persons had qualified by 1903. In the Cape, the African vote was a significant factor in parliamentary elections, and the Rev. Walter Rubusana was once elected to the Provincial Council.

    The voting issue both united and divided the non-Whites. In the Cape the Africans and Coloured shared an interest in maintaining the vote and in its extension to the conquered northern colonies. Consequently there were meetings between the leaders on this subject. The Indians, who were very few in the Cape, did not have much hope for gaining the franchise elsewhere. Gandhi never included the franchise in his goals for passive resistance. He took the position that Indians should accept White dominance. Thus there was no opportunity for common action on the franchise.

    The land issue also affected Blacks and Indians differently. For the Blacks, the 1913 Natives’ Land Act was a major disaster, restricting them to only a small portion of the land. It was in opposition to this act that Blacks from all parts of the country united in 1912 to form the South African Native National Congress (later renamed the African National Congress). Though Gandhi protested its injustice, Indians were not themselves touched by it, and there was no basis for common action. In Natal, where over 80% of the Indians lived, they could buy rural land. In the Transvaal, where the passive resistance campaign was conducted, they could not. But there the Indians were overwhelming urban, and they were allowed to buy land in the locations established exclusively for Indians. Both races were restricted, both found the restrictions an economic threat, but each was under a different law.

    The closest approach to cooperation among Indians, Blacks, and Coloured came at the time of the movement for South African Union. At this time the Coloured and Africans united in an attempt to amend the Union Bill. Gandhi did not participate.

    The Transvaal Native Congress instructed the young African attorneys in London, Pixley Seme and Alfred Mangena, to work with the arriving delegations, including Gandhi’s. Gandhi is known to have communicated with Abdurrahman in London, but no record has yet been found of his communicating with the Black delegates.

    The one African leader with whom Gandhi and his associates are known to have had some close contact was his neighbor at Phoenix, John L. Dube, the first President of the South African Native National Congress (ANC). Although Les Switzer has written, “Even a man like Dube was apparently unknown to Gandhi,” there is ample evidence that the two were acquainted. Dube, educated at Oberlin College in Ohio, was like Gandhi an admirer of the industrial school of Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee Institute, and established his own school in 1901, the Ohlange Institute. It was the first African-controlled industrial school in South Africa. Two years later, Gandhi established his own rural settlement at Phoenix, only a mile or two from Ohlange. Dube began a Zulu newspaper, Ilanga Lase Natal (Light of Natal) in 1903, printing the first copies at the International Printing Press, controlled by Gandhi, which also printed Indian Opinion when it was launched a year later.

    Gandhi introduced Dube to readers of Indian Opinion. “This Mr. Dube is a Negro of whom one should know,” he told his Gujarati readers.” There were visits between residents of Phoenix and Ohlange, When Dube, “our friend and neighbor”, was chosen first president of the Inter-State Native Congress (later the ANC), Indian Opinion not only noted the event but published portions of his manifesto.

    There is also evidence that Dube respected Gandhi. When Gandhi’s active “passive resistance” began in Johannesburg, Dube praisted it in Ilanga, and when Gandhi brought to South Africa his political mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a member of the Viceroy’s Council, he was taken to Ohlange Institute to meet Dube, where they “spent some time discussing the Native question”. Dube reported on the meeting in Ilanga, telling his readers that “We have seen and heard a great man whose knowledge is equal to that of the foremost statesmen of our day, and he is a black man.”

    After the conclusion of the l913 campaign, Dube was visited by the Rev. W. W. Pearson, who had come from India with Rev. Charles F. Andrews to help Gandhi with the settlement of the dispute. Pearson visited Ohlange Institute in January 1914, accompanied by an adult resident of Phoenix, Raojibhai Patel, who recorded the conversation in his memoirs.

    Pearson urged John Dube to take up passive resistance, and Dube replied,

    Yes, Mr. Pearson, I understand what you say. I have thought about it a great deal. I have closely studied the struggle of the Indians under Mr. Gandhi’s leadership. My eyes have seen many incidents of fearlessness in the course of passive resistance.

    Mr. Pearson, we cannot do what the Indians have done. We do not have that divine power. I have been wonderstruck to see their capacity for self-suffering.

    Dube then related that he had observed striking Indians near Phoenix standing their ground despite whips, bayonets, and shooting, and he concluded,

    Mr. Pearson, if I lead my people along this dangerous path, we shall be destroyed. The Indian labourers may be illiterate, uneducated, ignorant and uncultured, but they come from an ancient culture. That culture is in their blood. A leader like Mr. Gandhi could awaken their latent divinity, their capacity to follow that ancient culture and undergo self-suffering. The inherent divinity in men was activized by Mr. Gandhi in the case of the Indians and they could demonstrate an extraordinary capacity for self-suffering. Our Negro people will not be able to control their tempers in a similar situation. They will hit back in self-defence and that is all the excuse the whites need to wipe us out. If my people kill one white man in their excitement, thousands of my countrymen will be killed with machine-guns and we shall be ruined, totally destroyed. No, Mr. Pearson, we do not have the capacity to take up a passive resistance struggle. The Indians alone are capable of it.

    No doubt Dube’s speech has been somewhat altered in Patel’s recollections, but it has a ring of authenticity. Dube, whose school was receiving government funds, was a cautious man who knew well the hostile environment in which he lived. The story shows his careful observation of the Indian struggle and his awareness of the philosophy behind it.

    The press, both White and Black, took notice of Gandhi’s passive resistance from the moment of its inception, and frequently speculated on its adoption by the Natives.

    Gandhi argued that the adoption of Satyagraha by Blacks would would be beneficial to Whites and Blacks alike. In an interview to The Natal Mercury in 1909, he said,

    If the natives were to adopt our methods, and replace physical violence by passive resistance, it would be a positive gain for South Africa. Passive resisters, when they are in the wrong, do mischief only to themselves. When they are right, they succeed in spite of any odds.

    In an address to a White audience in a suburb of Johannesburg later that year, he repeated the theme:

    Nor could such a weapon, if used by the Natives, do the slightest harm. On the contrary, if the Natives could rise so high as to understand and utilize this force, there would probably be no native question left to be solved.

    However, no African satyagraha took place, nor was there any parallel uprising among Africans. Or is that entirely true? In July 1913, after the Orange Free State decided that Black women should carry passes, about 600 women gathered and handed a bag of passes to the authorities. They were imprisoned, and after the campaign was carried on for some years the authorities were forced to withdraw the pass law for women. In 1919 the SANNC (ANC) organized a passive resistance campaign on the Rand (the mining region) in which thousands of passes were handed in and over 700 Africans were jailed. Were these inspired by Gandhi’s ideas or his example? I do not yet know. Certainly the great defiance campaign of 1952, led in part by Gandhi’s son Manilal, was.

    CONCLUSION

    How are we to evaluate this inability of Gandhi to work in cooperation with Black people?

    The Indians, Coloured and Africans were often fighting their battles in different colonies, against different laws, and on the basis of different cultural foundations. The Coloured achieved the first effective political organization, the Indians launched an unconventional passive resistance struggle, and the Blacks, with a larger and more heterogeneous population, were finally forced into unity by the Land Act. The separatist and ethnocentric views of Gandhi and the Indians were often matched by leaders in the other groups; none seems to have been as inclusive in perspective as Dr. Abdurrahman. With the qualified exception of Abdurrahmman, it seems doubtful that a common strategy was an alternative seriously entertained by any non-White group.

    Gandhi began as a very conventional Victorian Indian, seeking accomodation and personal success within the British Empire. He shared the prejudices of his class concerning Black people, and his lifestyle and work kept him isolated from them. In this respect he became a segregationist, albeit a liberal one, arguing for a special status for his own people while objecting to the treatment given the Black Africans.

    Gandhi also exhibited class limitations within the Indian community. Recent studies such as Swan’s have demonstrated the inability of Gandhi to recognize the needs of indentured Indians or to offer leadership to the mass of Indians until the very end of his South African career.

    None of these should be surprising, except for the tendency to wish that our heroes would have been consistently heroic throughout their lives. Gandhi began as a perfectly ordinary intelligent lawyer trying to establish a career. In time he transformed himself into something else. It is that transformation which should interest us. He did fail to change South Africa very much, but in the attempt he learned a great deal, grew in personal stature, and left behind a legacy of resistance to injustice.

    What he accomplished above all was to develop the concept of a mass non-violent struggle, and to practice several forms of it enough so that he had the authority to attempt other variations in India.

    It seems clear that he learned much from his South African experience. When he entered national politics in India, he did what he had not done in Africa. He built a coalition of alliances with many distinct groups. Judith Brown has detailed the process in Gandhi’s Rise to Power. Among the groups he sought out was one with which he had had mixed success in Africa, the Muslims. In India he deliberately adopted Muslim political concerns: the Khilafat and the detention of the Ali brothers. He began to break out of the isolation he had fostered in Africa.

    It is also true that he retained to the end some of the limitations of his original position. As he drove deeper into the philosophical foundations of Satyagraha, he emphasized the need for Indian cultural roots, which had a strong Hindu flavor. Thus he moved away from the modernizing English cultural ideal which he previously had shared with African and Coloured professionals, and he also moved away from his Muslim merchant hosts (who were simultaneously moving away from him because of the material costs of his campaign, as Swan has shown). Decades later, his use of Hindu symbols such as “Ramraj” was said to have widened the gap between Hindus and Muslims within the nationalist movement. Despite his inclusive intentions, the cultural and religious forms of his politics could not satisfy everyone.

    Finally, underlying Gandhi’s disinclination to seek effective allies in South Africa was something else: the belief that allies were not really necessary, nor even helpful. Instead of enlisting the support of 440,000 Coloured people and 3.4 million Blacks, Gandhi chose to begin his final, and amazingly successful, campaign with 4 women and 12 men. They were the fruit of his intensive training at Tolstoy Farm and Phoenix. Satyagraha, he believed, depended on committed individuals, not on great numbers. A few people who understood it, and who had prepared themselves physically and spiritually, could resist any power or any government.

    If the South African Blacks learned that, he believed they could not fail. The demonstration of satyagraha was the greatest gift he had to offer to both the Indian and the Black people of South Africa.

  38. alok swain

    and mind you this is from the african national congress’s archive. i hope they have a better understanding of themselves.

    http://www.anc.org.za/

  39. alok swain

    a few excerpts to pin YLH’s blatant lies:

    As the British endgame in India started in 1945, one of Gandhi’s most important political interviews was given in Shimla to an African-American journalist, Frank E. Bolden, who met him as “a representative of the combined Coloured press of America”. The interview which was scheduled to be a short one, actually went on to more than two hours. It was published in The Afro-American, Baltimore on August 18, 1945.

    The well known folk music promoter, Harold Leventhal, who was posted in India during the Second World War with the US Army Signal Corps, came to know Jawaharlal Nehru and through him secured an audience with Gandhi. Later, in 1998, Leventhal was to write in The New York Times: ” The first thing he (Gandhi) wanted to know was how Paul Robeson was.” (See Margalit Fox in New York Times, October 6, 2005, reproduced as “Harold Leventhal Is No More”, in Mainstream, New Delhi, October 15, 2005). Robeson, who graduated as a lawyer but made a name on the stage and in music, was a friend and disciple of Dr DuBois. Gandhi, who had met Robeson’s wife in London in 1931, knew of Robeson as a fighter against racism and colonialism.

    Troops from West Africa were utilized by Britain in the South East Asian theatre. They came into contact with “politically minded Asiatics reaching out towards political independence” (I. Wallerstein, The Road to Independence: Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Mouton & Co., Paris, 1964, p. 79n). Black soldiers from West Africa also met Gandhi in Madras (now Chennai) in early 1946. They asked him: “How can a continent like Africa fight down the fetters of slavery when it is so hopelessly divided?” His advice was the simple message he had been infusing in India since 1920: “But there is a charm which can overcome all these handicaps. The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others.” (Harijan, February 24, 1946, CW, Vol 83, p. 11) They asked further: ” Africa and India both drink of the cup of slavery. What necessary steps can be taken to unite the two nations so as to present a common front?” He replied: “You are right. India is not yet free and yet Indians have begun to realize that their freedom is coming, not because the white man says so but because they have developed the power within. Inasmuch as India’s struggle is non-violent, it is a struggle for the emancipation of all oppressed races against superior might. I do not propose mechanical joint action between them. ‘Each one has to find his own salvation’ is true of this as well as the other world. It is enough that there is a real moral bond between Asiatics and Africans. It will grow as time passes.” (Ibid., p. 12) He told them that he wanted Indo-African trade to be non-exploitative and “not of manufactured goods against raw materials after the fashion of Western exploiters”.

    A deputation of South African Indians met Gandhi in March 1946. In the Memorandum for the Viceroy that he drafted for possible use by them, Gandhi made reference to the formation of the Union of South Africa in the early years of the century and wrote: “One would have thought that the advent of Union would mean the union of all the races of South Africa, ie the African (the Negro), the European, and the Asiatics (primarily and principally Indians). What a noble tradition such a Union would have been for the world. But it was not to be. On the contrary, the Union became an anti-African and anti-Asiatic combine.” (CW, Vol 83, p. 231) Of the proposed Land and Franchise Bill, which had brought the delegation to India, Gandhi wrote: “though superficially it affects the Indians of Natal and the Transvaal (it) is in effect a challenge to Asia and by implication to the Negro races.” (Harijan, March 24, 1946, CW, Vol 83, p. 284)

    In mid-June 1946 the Indian community began passive resistance in South Africa. Seeing the struggle on a broad canvas, Gandhi wrote on June 26, 1946: “The real ‘white man’s burden’ is not insolently to dominate coloured or black people under the guise of protection; it is to desist from the hypocrisy which is eating into them. It is time white men learnt to treat every human being as their equal. There is no mystery about whiteness of the skin. It has repeatedly been proved that given equal opportunity a man, be he of any colour or country, is fully equal to any other.” (Harijan, June 30, 1946, CW, Vol 84, p. 372) He continued: “Is a civilisation worth the name which requires for its existence the very doubtful prop of racial legislation and lynch law?” (Ibid, p. 373)

    A rather moving re-affirmation of Gandhi’s African commitment is pointed to by E S Reddy, a friend of several South African leaders and especially of Oliver Tambo who was President of the ANC in its years of decisive struggle. Reddy observes: “I might also recall that in 1946 when white gangsters were brutally attacking Indian passive resisters in Durban, Gandhiji told the All India Congress Committee that he would not shed a single tear if all the Indian satyagrahis were wiped out, for they would thereby point the way to the Africans and vindicate the honour of India.” (E S Reddy, Gandhiji’s Vision of a Free South Africa, op. cit. p 140; see also p.116) The meeting Reddy refers to took place in Bombay on July 7, 1946. These are Gandhi’s entire words: “The land in South Africa does not belong to the whites. Land belongs to one who labours on it. I would not shed a single tear if all the satyagrahis in South Africa are wiped out. Thereby they will not only bring deliverance to themselves but point the way to the Negroes and vindicate the honour of India”. (CW Vol 84, p 422) Gandhi concluded, characteristically turning the gaze inward, to the treatment given to a section of the society in India: “We turned a portion of ourselves into pariahs and today the whites of South Africa are doing the same to our compatriots there. Let us purge ourselves of this curse and bless the heroic struggle of our brethren in South Africa.” (Idem)

    this is the tip of the iceberg…gandhi’s word against racism, bigotry, casteism will run into volumes…yet some ignorant fools choose to stick to a few words here and there.

    good for them

  40. alok swain

    Independent India’s boycott of apartheid South Africa was in one sense presaged before independence by Gandhi himself. Private institutions in India responded in their own way to the ongoing Indian struggle in South Africa. The Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay had put up a notice: “South Africans not admitted.” The American journalist, Louis Fischer interviewed Gandhi on July 17, 1946. Among the many things they discussed was the Taj Mahal Hotel’s policy. Fischer disapproved of the notice, saying “I do not like it. Your non-violence should be more generous.” Gandhi replied: “That won’t be non-violence. Today the white man rules in India. So if the Taj Mahal has the gumption to put up that notice, it is a feather in its cap.” (Harijan, August 4, 1946, CW, Vol 85, p. 10)

    On the morning of May 18, 1947, Gandhi, wrote out a message to South Africa which he sent through Dr Yusuf Dadoo and Dr G. M. Naicker, then visiting India. The two had come over to Patna to meet him again after having seen him earlier in Delhi. Gandhi wrote: “To the people of South Africa, to whom I am no stranger, I would say that they should not make the position of their representatives impossible by their unwarranted prejudice against colour. The future is surely not with the so-called white races if they keep themselves in purdah. The attitude of unreason will mean a third war which sane people should avoid. Political co-operation among all the exploited races in South Africa can only result in mutual goodwill, if it is wisely directed and based on truth and non-violence.” (Harijan, May 25, 1947, CW, Vol 87, p. 492; see also p. 495)

  41. alok swain

    “A few weeks before the conference Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and I met Dr Xuma privately at his home in Sophiatown. We explained that we thought the time had come for mass action along the lines of Gandhi’s non-violent protests in India and the 1946 passive resistance campaign … The ANC’s leaders, we said, had to be willing to violate the law and if necessary go to prison for their beliefs as Gandhi had.” (Nelson Mandela, op. cit. p. 130)

    As late as the end of the sixties, the West African nationalist pioneer, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe wrote in the light of his own experience: “On Gandhi’s teachings of satyagraha, history has proved Gandhi right..” (Nnamdi Azikiwe, My Odyssey: An Autobiography, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1970, p. 274)

  42. alok swain

    Gandhi’s influence in Africa, such as it was, appeared to cut across nations, races, linguistic areas and religions. Among his most ardent students, for example, was Nigeria’s Aminu Kano. A devout Muslim, Aminu Kano, according to his biographer, “analysed Gandhi’s success in lifting millions of Indians to a high level of dedication and endeavoured to adapt Gandhi’s non-violent techniques to Northern Nigeria”. (Alan Feinstein, African Revolutionary: The Life and Times of Nigeria’s Aminu Kano, Davison Publishing House, Devizes, Wiltshire, 1973, pp. 143-144) Kano came, at least according to one source, to be referred to as the “Gandhi of Nigeria” (Idem). A progressive Muslim, Aminu Kano took several initiatives for social reform.
    A quality that Gandhi came to share with progressive Africa was that of what Desmond Tutu has described as “ubuntu”, that is “our sense of connectedness, our sense that my humanity is bound up with your humanity.” (Brian Foster, op. cit., p. 25) As Tutu has also put it: “What dehumanises you, inexorably dehumanises me.” (Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness, Rider Books, Random House, London, 1999, p. 35)

    Nelson Mandela summed up at the turn of the century:
    “Gandhi remained committed to non-violence; I followed the Gandhian strategy for as long as I could, but then there came a point in our struggle when the brute force of the oppressor could no longer be countered through passive resistance alone. We founded Umkhonto we Sizwe and added a military dimension to our struggle. Even then we chose sabotage because it did not involve the loss of life, and it offered the best hope for future race relations.” (Nelson Mandela, The Sacred Warrior: The Liberator of South Africa Looks at the Seminal Work of the Liberator of India, Time, New York, December 31, 1999)

  43. alok swain

    errata: it was not to pin YLH’s lies. It was the last nail in his coffin and incidentally its a double coffin, majumdar da will snugly fit in.

  44. Majumdar

    Alok babu,

    Gandhi’s influence in Africa, such as it was, appeared to cut across nations, races, linguistic areas and religions.

    OK, so let me check the Mahatma’s infulence among his own people.

    He said hate the sin, not the sinner and turn the other cheek. So let us free Ajmal Kasai and ask him to burn down Delhi next

    Deal, Alok babu???

    Regards

  45. YLH

    freethinker…

    That is pathetic lie my friend. Apparently my post is not the only one you’ve censored. Feel free to edit out “pinko” and “paki” if you wish but you won’t…

    What “superior” education. I merely pointed out that I was not socially conditioned as I did not go to school in Pakistan and my views were formed through independent research in the US. Can you atleast be honest with the chronological order of the argument. I am not criticizing you for going to “elitist” schools ( Beaconhouse National University is crap in my opinion) but for dropping names when they are of no consequence here.

    Alok,

    You claim that “common sense is enough” but when I ask you to apply it you post an inane and stupid apology by someone ?

    My original question stands: what does applying common sense to the quotes about Gandhi give you?

    That you failed to answer it speaks volumes.

  46. alok swain

    Gandhi saw clearly the interconnectedness of the various struggles against racial discrimination although he was cautious at this time about the possibility of an amalgamated struggle. Thus in July 1926 Gandhi wrote emphasising a vital axiom about the struggle against racial discrimination which set limits to how far Indian demands could be expected to be met in South Africa without a forward movement in that country as a whole: “I do not conceive the possibility of justice being done to Indians if none is rendered to natives of the soil”. (Young India, July 22, 1926, CW, Vol 31, p. 182)

    Drawing attention, earlier in the same year, to certain racial disabilities in Glasgow in Great Britain, Gandhi made a world-wide projection of his concept of non-violent non-co-operation which he had, six years earlier, introduced in India. Citing the racial disabilities within Britain, he now wrote: “The question therefore that is agitating South Africa is not a local one but it is a tremendous world problem. …There is however no hope of avoiding the catastrophe unless the spirit of exploitation that at present dominates the nations of the West is transmuted into that of real helpful service, or unless the Asiatic and African races understand that they cannot be exploited without their co-operation, to a large extent voluntary, and thus understanding, withdraw such co-operation”. (Young India, March 18, 1926, CW, Vol 30, pp. 135-136)

    The international struggle against race continued to arrest his attention. A mere two months later, Gandhi, writing to Amy Jacques Garvey, acknowledges receipt of books relating to Marcus Garvey. [May 12, 1926, CW, Vol 95, (Supplementary Vol V), p. 53]. Miss Garvey wrote: “Of the many acknowledgements of the books received, I cherish most the one from M K Gandhi, the Mahatma of India, dated May 12, 1926, from ‘The Ashram, Sabarmati, India.’ He addressed me as ‘Dear Friend’.” [Amy Jacques Garvey, Garvey and Garveyism, Octagon Books, New York, 1986, p. 168, cited in E S Reddy (ed.) Mahatma Gandhi: Letters to Americans, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, 1998, p.251 and p. 359]

    Gandhi had taken France to task for the treatment meted out to the Riffs in Morocco (Young India, November 12, 1925, CW, Vol 28, p. 441). In an article in Young India on October 14, 1926 entitled “Race Arrogance”, Gandhi referred to information “showing the wrong done by white Europe to the Abyssinians and the Riffs and the injustice that is being daily perpetrated against the Negro in the United States of America in the name of and for the sake of maintaining white superiority”, while reminding Indians that: “Our treatment of the so-called untouchables is no better than that of coloured people by the white man”. (CW, Vol 31, pp. 492-493)

    This is a recurring theme in Gandhi for on January 14, 1926 he had written in Young India of the Indian suppressed classes : “We must yield to them the same rights as we would have the Europeans concede to our countrymen in South Africa.” (CW, Vol 29, p. 400).

    “The false and rigid doctrine of inequality has led to the insolent exploitation of the nations of Asia and Africa.”, he wrote. (Young India, August 11, 1927, CW, Vol. 34, p. 315).

  47. alok swain

    YLH you have a penchant for quoting from CW of MKG. still sleepy eyed or wide eyed in disbelief.

    stop you hate propaganda s#$t.

    If you cannot speak good, then dont speak at all.

  48. YLH

    Majumdar,

    The greatest damage that Gandhi did to the subcontinent… to both Hindus and Muslims … was not racism or casteism… but his encouragement of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Poor freethinker criticizes Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi for pointing out the obvious pitfalls of the Khilafat Movement and blames it on “nationalism”. Well Achyuth Patwardhan, one of the Socialist stalwarts in the Congress, has given a remarkably candid and self critical analysis of the Congress Party vis-a-vis Khilafat: ‘It is, however, useful to recognise our share of this error of misdirection. To begin with, I am convinced that looking back upon the course of development of the freedom movement, THE ‘HIMALAYAN ERROR’ of Gandhiji’s leadership was the support he extended on behalf of the Congress and the Indian people to the Khilafat Movement at the end of the World War I. This has proved to be a disastrous error which has brought in its wake a series of harmful consequences. On merits, it was a thoroughly reactionary step. The Khilafat was totally unworthy of support of the Progressive Muslims. Kemel Pasha established this solid fact by abolition of the Khilafat. The abolition of the Khilafat was widely welcomed by enlightened Muslim opinion the world over and Kemel was an undoubted hero of all young Muslims straining against Imperialist domination. But apart from the fact that Khilafat was an unworthy reactionary cause, Mahatma Gandhi had to align himself with a sectarian revivalist Muslim Leadership of clerics and maulvis. He was thus unwittingly responsible for jettisoning sane, secular, modernist leadership among the Muslims of India and foisting upon the Indian Muslims a theocratic orthodoxy of the Maulvis. Maulana Mohammed Ali’s speeches read today appear strangely incoherent and out of tune with the spirit of secular political freedom. The Congress Movement which released the forces of religious liberalism and reform among the Hindus, and evoked a rational scientific outlook, placed the Muslims of India under the spell of orthodoxy and religious superstition by their support to the Khilafat leadership. Rationalist leaders like Jinnah were rebuffed by this attitude of Congress and Gandhi. This is the background of the psychological rift between Congress and the Muslim League’

    I wonder if Patwardhan was also a closet Paki-nationalist victim of duality of Jinnah and Gandhi (notice how he brings Jinnah up towards the end – damn) and I wonder what focault, mir anis, kafka ki mother in law, and others would say about that!

  49. YLH

    “stop you hate propaganda s#$t.”

    Glad you admit that Gandhi’s own writings are nothing but “hate propaganda” faeces.

  50. alok swain

    majumdar babu,

    ask yourself how would like to see a gautam buddha and a jesus christ?

    budhha with a scimitar and jesus with AK-47. if yes then you are right about gandhi.

    you are confusing between:

    Rulers/administartors vs Reformers/saints.

    Gandhi falls in the later category.

  51. alok swain

    YLH ok now that you have concede defeat on caste and race.. i will get back to you on islamic fundamentalism.

  52. YLH

    conceded defeat? Ha ha

    I asked you to apply your “common sense” to Gandhi’s quotes and you failed to.

    I think the quotes I have provided above would point in one direction: Gandhi was a racist casteist Hindu fascist bigot

  53. Majumdar

    Alok babu,

    ask yourself how would like to see a gautam buddha and a jesus christ?budhha with a scimitar and jesus with AK-47. if yes then you are right about gandhi.

    Dunno about me but if you are a true Gandhian, you wud like to see Ajmal Kasai free. And we know what he will do next.

    Regards

  54. alok swain

    ha ha ha…..what a joke now it feels! good keep on ranting…mad man on the top of a terrace…

  55. Majumdar

    Yasser mian,

    I believe Annie Besant said something similar to Achyut babu on Khilafat. But I guess Annie Besant was a hatemonger who wrote s*** as per our learned colleague Alok babu.

    Regards

  56. alok swain

    sorry non violence does not mean cowardice.

    I WOULD risk violence a thousand times rather than risk the emasculation of a whole race.
    MKG

    I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.

    But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier…But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature….

    MKG

  57. Majumdar

    Alok babu,

    India is a nuclear power so what is cowardly about letting Ajmal Kasai go. Let us follow Gandhi and set him free.

    Regards

  58. alok swain

    annie besant of the mumbo jumbo theosophical society….ha ha ha ha…..

    better read Jiddu krishnamurti….

  59. alok swain

    majumdar da:

    rehabilitate him will be a better idea. no one is born a criminal.

  60. alok swain

    if buddha forgave ‘angulimaal’ and ratnakar turned from dacoit to sage, and ashoka bcame dhamma from chanda….then why not

  61. Majumdar

    Alok babu,

    rehabilitate him will be a better idea. no one is born a criminal.

    That seems to be a good idea. Maybe you can march from Taj or Oberoi to Cama Hospital carrying a placard “Free Ajmal Kasai”

    Regards

  62. alok swain

    why to free/kill him..when he will be singing(providing info) for a long time….

    not all are born dumb

  63. alok swain

    majumsar babu there has to be another board for kasav not here…here its only for gandhian ideas 😉

  64. Majumdar

    Alok babu,

    why to free/kill him..when he will be singing(providing info) for a long time….not all are born dumb

    You certainly do not seem to be one. Hence I can only infer that you ain’t a Gandhian really.

    Regards

  65. YLH

    So it is non-violence only when convenient eh… brilliant.

    Anyway… alok do you have any answer to my question about applying common sense to the quotes or not?

  66. YLH

    Alok…

    Thanks for this quote.. please also quote reference:

    I WOULD risk violence a thousand times rather than risk the emasculation of a whole race.
    Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi”

    So … Gandhi was not only a racist but was ready to risk violence a thousand times and more if his race was somehow threatened. Kind of sits in well with Gandhi’s racist manifesto above doesn’t it.

  67. YLH

    BTW…freethinker… I just realized that the comment I submitted on your blog – which you are refusing to publish- did not contain the words “paki” or “pinko”.

    So it turns out that you’ve lying all along.

  68. aisha sarwari

    Freethinker is not approving my comments either.
    He apparently has a problem with people disagreed with him.
    So much for his claims against PTH.

  69. alok swain

    ha ha ha YLH finally good to see your tail between your legs…now since you have been defeated in argument you resort to irrelevant things..as they say little learning is dangerous…so pls read up more…its in your own interest ..as evident…your education/comprehension is not yet complete.

    my quotes are for the whole world to see whether with/without commonsense.

    but as they say: ‘lakh koshish karo magar kutte ki dum kabhi sidhi nahi hoti’.
    I hope you will prove it wrong….

  70. YLH

    How strange. Apparently he feels that putting up my post as a comment on his blog will be redundant but he did push for his already published blog to be published here …

    Our freethinker has double standards for everything it seems… including redundancy.

  71. YLH

    alok mian,

    I have got Gandhi on record calling natives of Africa savages and subhuman… I have gone through all of your inane commentaries but I am afraid you cannot explain away what Gandhi himself said.

    Now keep going in circles but Gandhi was a racist casteist misogynist Hindu fascist bigot and his own words bear clear testimony to it. No amount of “focault”or other such namedropping is going to change the facts here.

    “A general belief seems to prevail in the colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than the savages or natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir. ”
    Collected works of MK Gandhi, Vol. 1, pg 150-151

    “the whole objection to the Indian proceeds from sanitary grounds, the following restrictions are entirely unintelligible:
    1. The Indians, like the Kaffirs, cannot become owners of fixed property.
    2. The Indians must be registered, the fee being 3 pounds 10S.
    3. In passing through the Republic, like the Natives, they must be able to produce passes unless they have the registration ticket.
    4. They cannot travel first or second-class on the railways. They are huddled together in the same compartment with the Natives.
    So far as the feeling has been expressed, it is to degrade the Indian to the position of the Kaffir. ”
    Petition to Lord Ripon, CWOMG, Vol. 1, pg 199-200

    “Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of a raw Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness ”
    Address in Bombay, CWOMG, Vol. 2, pg 74

    “…A reference to Hunter’s ‘Indian Empire’, chapters 3 and 4, would show at a glance who are aborigines and who are not. The matter is put so plainly that there can be no mistake about the distinction between the two. It will be seen at once from the book that the Indians in South Africa belong to the INDO-GERMANIC STOCK or, more properly speaking, the ARYAN stock We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do, only we believe that they would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race. ”
    Indian Opinion 24-9-1903, CWOMG Vol. 3, pg 453

    …The petition dwells upon “the co-mingling of the Coloured and white races”. May we inform the members of the conference that, so far as the British Indians are concerned, such a thing is practically unknown? If there is one thing, which the Indian cherishes more than any other, it is the purity of type. Why bring such a question into the controversy at all?
    The Transvaal Chambers and British Indians, Indian Opinion 24-12-03, CWOMG Vol. 4, pg 89

    Why, of all places in Johannesburg, the Indian Location should be chosen for dumping down all the Kaffirs of the town passes my comprehension. …Of course, under my suggestion, The Town Council must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel most strongly
    Indian Opinion, 10-4-04, CWOMG Vol. 4, pg 130-131

    It is one thing to register Natives who would not work, and whom it is very difficult to find out if they absent themselves, but it is another thing and most insulting to expect decent, hard-working, and respectable Indians, whose only fault is that they work too much, to have themselves registered…
    What is a Coolie, Indian Opinion 2151904, CWOMG Vol. 4, pg 193

    It reduces British Indians to a status lower than that of the aboriginal races of South Africa and the Coloured people.
    Indian Opinion 15-9-1906, CWOMG Vol. 5, pg 419-423

    Mr. Stead has boldly come out to give us all the help he can. He was therefore requested to write to the same Boer leaders that they should not consider Indians as being on the same level as Kaffirs.
    Indian Opinion, 15-12-1906, CWOMG Vol. 6, pg 183

    …the Governor of the gaol tried to make us as comfortable as he could…But he was powerless to accommodate us beyond the horrible din and the yells of the Native prisoners throughout the day and partly at night also. Many of the native prisoners are only one degree removed from the animal and often created rows and fought amongst themselves in their cells.
    Indian Opinion 7-3-1908, CWOMG Vol. 8, pg 120

    Apart from whether or not this implies degradation, I must say it is rather dangerous. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized — the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty, and live almost like animals. Each ward contains nearly 50 to 60 of them. They often started rows and fought among themselves. The reader can easily imagine the plight of the poor Indian thrown into such company!
    Indian Opinion, 7-3-1908, CWOMG Vol. 8, pg 135

    When I reached there, the chief warder issued an order that all of us should be lodged in a separate room. I observed with regret that some Indians were happy to sleep in the same room as the Kaffirs, the reason being that they hoped there for a secret supply of tobacco, etc. This is a matter of shame to us. We may entertain no aversion to the Kaffirs, but we cannot ignore the fact that there is no common ground between them and us in the daily affairs of life. Moreover, those who wish to sleep in the same room have ulterior motives for doing so. Obviously, we ought to abandon such notions if we want to make progress.
    Indian Opinion, 6-1-1909, CWOMG Vol. 9, pg 149

    CWMOG = Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi

    Common sense suggests that Gandhi was a racist bigot…

    1) I believe that if Hindu Society has been able to stand it is because it is founded on the caste system. (2) The seeds of swaraj are to be found in the caste system. Different castes are like different sections of miliary division. Each division is working for the good of the whole….

    (3) A community which can create the caste system must be said to possess unique power of organization.

    (4) Caste has a ready made means for spreading primary education. Each caste can take the responsibility for the education of the children of the caste. Caste has a political basis. It can work as an electorate for a representative body. Caste can perform judicial functions by electing persons to act as judges to decide disputes among members of the same caste. With castes it is easy to raise a defense force by requiring each caste to raise a brigade.

    (5) I believe that interdining or intermarriage are not necessary for promoting national unity. That dining together creates friendship is contrary to experience. If this was true there would have been no war in Europe…. Taking food is as dirty an act as answering the call of nature. The only difference is that after answering call of nature we get peace while after eating food we get discomfort. Just as we perform the act of answering the call of nature in seclusion so also the act of taking food must also be done in seclusion.

    (6) In India children of brothers do not intermarry. Do they cease to love because they do not intermarry? Among the Vaishnavas many women are so orthodox that they will not eat with members of the family nor will they drink water from a common water pot. Have they no love? The caste system cannot be said to be bad because it does not allow interdining or intermarriage between different castes.

    (7) Caste is another name for control. Caste puts a limit on enjoyment. Caste does not allow a person to transgress caste limits in pursuit of his enjoyment. That is the meaning of such caste restrictions as interdining and intermarriage.

    ( To destroy caste system and adopt Western European social system means that Hindus must give up the principle of hereditary occupation which is the soul of the caste system. Hereditary principle is an eternal principle. To change it is to create disorder. I have no use for a Brahmin if I cannot call him a Brahmin for my life. It will be a chaos if every day a Brahmin is to be changed into a Shudra and a Shudra is to be changed into a Brahmin.

    (9) The caste system is a natural order of society. In India it has been given a religious coating. Other countries not having understood the utility of the caste system, it existed only in a loose condition and consequently those countries have not derived from caste system the same degree of advantage which India has derived. These being my views I am opposed to all those who are out to destroy the caste system.

  72. Majumdar

    Alok babu,

    Incidentally MKG’s comment on purity of castes (quoted above by Yasser) were written in 1920s I believe when he was a full grown man of 50s who had seen not only much of India but also England and South Africa. Not a spring chicken who cudnt have known better.

    Regards

  73. YLH

    Since alok insists on quoting other people’s article … here I am going to quote a “Pacifist critique of Gandhi” from the Peacework magazine… frankly I think the article is too soft on Gandhi and concedes way too much by way of contribution but it makes certain important points:

    A Pacifist Critique of Gandhi
    From Issue 368 – September 2006
    Authors: Sam Diener
    Sam Diener is Co-Editor of Peacework.

    Full Article:

    To make a hero out of someone dehumanizes them almost as much as demonizing them does. It serves no one to turn Mohandas Gandhi into a plaster saint (or a stone ganesh).

    Many of Gandhi’s statements and actions were reprehensible, some of which are mentioned elsewhere in this issue (such as the treatment of his children, see page 10). There isn’t space for a full critique, but a few themes are important to mention. One of Gandhi’s contributions to nonviolent thought is the idea that a true dedication to nonviolence requires striving for the complicated truth. As we appreciate Mohandas Gandhi’s many contributions to the development of nonviolent struggle, we can’t, if we are to appraise his legacy honestly, ignore his faults as well.

    Misogyny

    Gandhi campaigned vigorously to include women in every non-cooperation campaign, and organized against purdah. Yet, Gandhi, in his old age, regularly slept naked next to young girls, including his nieces, in order, he said, to test his commitment to brahmacharya, or celibacy. No matter how some try to contextualize these actions, from my perspective, he was abusing these girls.

    At least two of Gandhi’s associates, temporary editors of the Gandhian paper, Harijan, resigned because of their opposition to the practice, and Gandhi’s Bengali translator, Nirmal Kumar Bose, also submitted a letter of resignation after failing to persuade Gandhi to stop what he saw as abuse. (See Gandhi, A Life, by Yogesh Chadha, 1997, pp. 423-428). In Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope, in a very brief discussion of it, Judith Brown claims Gandhi stopped the practice “in the face of this disquiet.” (p. 378). But Yogesh Chadha implies the reverse, that he was committed to continuing it as a yajna (sacrifice, or penance), despite the protests.
    His views about rape were misogynist. Gandhi wrote in Harijan, for example, that women “must develop courage enough to die rather than yield to the brute in man.” Gandhi claimed, if women are fearless, “However beastly the man, he will bow in shame before the flame of her dazzling purity.”

    Gandhi opposed contraception (he had a famous debate with Margaret Sanger on the subject). His “idealization” of women as being superior at self-sacrifice, a quality he saw as being required of satyagrahis, is another form of stereotyping (See also Starhawk’s trenchant feminist critique of Gandhian self-sacrifice in this issue).

    Racism

    Gandhi often utilized racist arguments to advance the cause of Indians in South Africa. For example, addressing a public meeting in Bombay on September 26, 1896, following his return from South Africa, Gandhi said, “Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.” (Collected Works, Volume II, page 74). The word kaffir (or keffir) is a derogatory term used in South Africa for native Africans. Gandhi never, as far as I’ve read, publicly opposed the racist oppression of black Africans in South Africa.

    Pacifism?

    Gandhi was, at best, an inconsistent pacifist, in the sense of opposing all wars, a fact pointed out by pacifists such as Bart de Ligt in the 1930s. Gandhi supported the British war effort in several wars, including the Boer War, the Zulu Rebellion (though he later came to believe the British were wrong in that struggle), and World War I. His role was mainly to organize and participate in ambulance corps, but his personal participation earned him the British Empire’s War Medal. Even after he proclaimed “war is wrong, is an unmitigated evil,” he defended his participation based on his perceived “duty as a citizen of the British Empire.” He acknowledged that he was “guilty of the crime of war,” and eventually repudiated the Empire, but didn’t repudiate his actions. (See Gandhi on War and Peace, by Rashmi-Sudha Puri).

    Caste-Based Worldview

    While Gandhi undeniably campaigned vigorously against untouchability, Dalit leaders such as Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar opposed the use of Gandhi’s term for “untouchables” (“harijan,” or “children of god”) as condescending, and claimed Gandhi never fully renounced a caste-based worldview.

    …..

    Here is a pacificist himself calling Gandhi racist, casteist and misogynist… I wonder how we evil Pakistanis got to him …!

  74. Just two unmoderated comments on my blog people, both on the same post about Gandhi, and both a copy-paste of what we have here (one from YLH, and one from a blogger account called ‘Aisha Sarwari and Yasser Hamdani’). And read my comment above and find out how it’s not just the words Pinko and Paki that I have a problem with.

    Rest assured that I am not trying to keep my readers from my critiques. I will post a link to this article myself there.

    The Gandhi-Jinnah duality in the books is no lie either. Find the details in my comment above.

  75. correction: how it’s not just the words Pinko and Paki that are of a generally offensive nature.

    Of course I have a problem with the entire post and its approach toward history.

  76. Oh and it wasn’t me who pushed Raza to publish that post here (or any of the other posts for that matter). Ask him that yourself.

  77. Does anybody else see YLH as the liar here?

  78. lal

    Rather than lying I feel YLH is acting more as an lawyer than as a blogger.He first has this perverted idea of Gandhi,and then puts up all the arguments in support of that.Finding faults in Gandhi is onething,finding only faults is perversion

  79. you said it, lal.

    but you left out offensive.

  80. ylh

    Lal,

    Unfair.

    Is the pacificist self proclaimed Gandhian bloke also being a “lawyer”? Because uses the same terms as me for Gandhi …why is it alright for him? Why isn’t his critique “perverted”? He calls Gandhi racist, casteist and misogynist as well.

    What about those hagiographic and nonsensical accounts that make Gandhi into a god? Are they not perverted too?

    I find it strange that you people want me to praise Gandhi … Haven’t enough people praised the fraud already? Assuming what you say is true and there are things about Gandhi that were genuinely good (hypothetical) …why do you have a problem with me pointing out the faults. If people have the right to praise him for his so called achievements, I have the right to denigrate him as well.

    In the end this is what gives balance to the over all scheme of things. You take all points of view …and then you get a collective picture.

    Calling my point of view on Gandhi perverted because it doesn’t match your views is a ridiculous attempt.

    Tell me where I have said something that Gandhi didnot. Where did I attribute to Gandhi something he didn’t write? If you can’t prove me a liar, you have no right to call my view perverted.

    I challenge anyone here to prove a single statement I have quoted from Gandhi to be false.

  81. ylh

    Freethinker,

    First you claimed that you didn’t allow the post to go through because it had the offensive word Paki (just like african americans can call each other niggah I imagine being a Paki I can call others Paki) but it turns out that neither of the posts had paki or pinko in it. So you’ve changed your story.

    Just admit that you don’t have the courtesy in you that Raza has shown you.

    Pray tell how I am a liar in any of this? Have I lied about Gandhi quotes? Have I made up any stuff.

    It has been three days and you still haven’t provided a single argument that exonerates Gandhi from the charges I have levelled against him. How then am I a liar if I have quoted Gandhi accurately?

    Then you go on and on about duality and Pakistani textbooks. It is quite another matter that I didn’t find any evidence in the books you suggested, but the point is that I didn’t even read the books you speak of. If there is a Gandhi-Jinnah duality I am aware of it was through the movie Gandhi which I went to see with great enthusiasm. So what is your point?

    You spoke about Khilafat movement and ishtiaq hussain qureshi’s alleged description of it. I showed you above that renowned Indian freedom fighter from the Congress expressed the same point of view about Gandhi and Jinnah. See Patwardhan’s quote above. You should also read Hamza Alavi’s writings on the khilafat movement … Was he an ideological nationalist as well? Your buddy Sherryx doesn’t think so. So if that creates duality …maybe it is a historical fact.

    Have some shame at long last.

    You are quite the dishonest crook from my vantage point.

  82. alok

    a few minutes of reading through the CW of gandhi brought this out:

    so much for LIAR YLH’s contention on promoting islamic fundamentalism

    29. SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING3
    KAMALAPUR,
    February 21, 1947
    Gandhiji congratulated the audience on having come from the surrounding
    villages. He however sympathized with them for being exposed to the sun. He also
    hoped that they were not afraid of the Indian sun, perhaps the greatest gift from God.
    Happy was India which had clear blue sky for the larger part of the year.
    He then referred to the fact that he had gone to Chandpur more than once whilst
    India’s grand old son Shri Haradayal Nag4 was alive. He was then his guest. He knew,
    therefore, what importance Chandpur had. He was glad that Chandpur had played its
    part in looking after the refugees. But he deplored the disregard of the laws of
    sanitation and cleanliness. If they rigidly carried out these rules they would not have
    to live in constant dread of the plague and other diseases which were the brood of
    insanitation.
    He then told them that they must not harbour ill will against their Muslim
    neighbours. He appealed to both the parties to live at peace with each other. But he
    held that even if the Hindus alone harboured no ill will against the Muslims, or vice
    versa, strife would abate. If however both harboured ill will, one against the other,
    strifes were bound to be the result. There was a mantra in the Upanishads [which says]
    that man became what he thought.5 How true it was found in every walk of life! Let
    them beware of harbouring an evil thought.
    1 Devprakash Nayyar
    2 Nirmal Kumar Bose, a professor of Calcutta University, was touring with
    Gandhiji as his “companion and interpreter”. Vide “Silence-Day Note to N. K. Bose”,
    18-11-1946 and “Statement to the Press”, 20-11-1946
    3 Extracted from “Gandhiji’s Walking Tour Diary”
    4 (1853-1942); participated in the non-co-operation movement and Salt
    Satyagraha; devoted his life to constructive work
    5 “According as one acts, according as one behaves, so does he become. The
    doer of good becomes good, the doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by
    virtuous action. Others, however, say that a person consists of desires. As is his
    desire, so is his will; as is his will, so is the deed he does, whatever deed he does, that
    he attains.” Brihadanranyakopanishad, IV. 4.5
    VOL. 94 : 17, FEBRUARY, 1947 – 29 APRIL, 1947 23
    He then came to the two questions before him. The first was:
    Q . You advocate inter-caste marriages. Do you also favour marriages between
    Indians professing different religions? Should they declare themselves as belonging
    to no denomination, or can they continue their old religious practices and yet intermarry?
    If so, what form should the marriage ceremony take? Is it to be a purely civil
    function or a religious function? Do you consider religion to be an exclusively
    personal matter?
    A . Though he admitted that he had not always held the view, he had come to
    the conclusion long ago, that an inter-religious marriage was a welcome event
    whenever it took place. His stipulation was that such a connection was not to be a
    product of lust. In his opinion [if it was a product of lust]1 it was no marriage. It was
    illicit intercourse. Marriage in his estimation was a sacred institution. Hence there
    must be mutual friendship, either party having equal respect for the religion of the
    other. There was no question in this of conversion. Hence the marriage ceremony
    would be performed by priests belonging to both faiths. This happy event could take
    place when the communities shed mutual enmity and had regard for the religions of
    the world.
    Q . Should religious instruction form part of the school curriculum as
    approved by the State? Do you favour separate schools for children belonging to
    different denominations for facility of religious instruction? Or, should religious
    instruction be left in the hands of private bodies? If so, do you think it is right for the
    State to subsidize such bodies?
    A . As to this question he said that he did not believe in State religion even
    though the whole community had one religion. State interference would probably
    always be unwelcome. Religion was a purely personal matter. There were in reality as
    many religions as minds. Each mind had a different conception of God from the other.
    He was also opposed to State aid, partly or wholly, to religious bodies. For he knew
    that an institution or group, which did not manage to finance its own religious
    teaching, was a stranger to true religion. This did not mean that the State schools
    would not give ethical teaching. Fundamental ethics were common to all religions.
    Harijan, 16-3-1947

    35. SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING1
    CHAR KRISHNAPUR,
    February 22, 1947
    At the outset Gandhiji said that he had received from a Muslim friend in
    Baluchistan a printed sheet containing what he thought were the sayings of the
    Prophet and the teachers. The whole selection was good but he was attracted by the
    following from Prophet Mohamed’s sayings:
    When God made the earth it shook to and fro till He put mountains on it to
    keep it firm. Then the Angels asked, O God, is there anything in Thy creation
    stronger than these mountains? And God replied, iron is stronger than these
    mountains for it breaks them.
    And is there anything in Thy creation stronger than iron?
    Yes, fire is stronger than iron, for it melts it.
    Is there anything stronger than fire?
    Yes, water, for it quenches fire.
    Is there anything stronger than water?
    Yes, wind, for it puts water in motion.
    O our Sustainer, is there anything stronger than wind?
    Yes, a good man giving alms. If he gives it with his right hand and conceals it
    from his left, he overcomes all things. Every good act is charity. Your smiling
    in your brother’s face, your putting a wanderer on the right road, your giving
    water to the thirsty, is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he has
    done to his fellowmen. When he dies people will ask, what property he had
    left behind him? But the Angels will ask, what good deeds has he sent before
    him?
    Gandhiji then dealt with the following questions.
    Q. Why should there be insistence on temple-entry? Of course, we understand
    that in case of objection, there is scope in it for satyagraha. No- caste dinners have a
    limited value; for those who join do not shed untoucha- bility in their homes or
    during social ceremonies. They look upon these dinners, organized by Congressmen
    or other progressives, as special occasions when caste rules are held in abeyance;
    something comparable to what one does when one goes to Jagannath Puri and
    partakes of cooked rice offered to Jagannath without reference to one’s caste. Antiuntouchability
    has not yet gone deep enough to affect the normal social life of
    individuals. What can be done to break down barriers in private homes? Even with
    regard to temple-entry there is one question. Do you think that priests in public
    service in free India will be drafted from among competent men and women without
    any reference to their former castes?
    A. Gandhiji said that it was an apt question in this part of Bengal where there
    1 Extracted from “Gandhiji’s Walking Tour Diary”
    VOL. 94 : 17, FEBRUARY, 1947 – 29 APRIL, 1947 31
    were the largest number of Namasudras. He welcomed the question doubly because he
    had occupied the lowest rung of the Hindu ladder and because he did not believe in the
    ladder of castes. He invited all to occupy that lowest rung. Then there would be no
    occasions for such questions as were addressed to him. Meanwhile, he was bound to
    deal with them. He entirely endorsed the proposition that untouchability would be
    doomed and totally abolished when there was no prohibition applied against anyone
    by reason of his caste. The only universal prohibition would be against insanitation,
    degradation, etc. But he clung to the belief that temple-entry took the first place in
    the programme of removal of untouchability and he made bold to say that social
    public dinners would precede as they were preceding the final conquest over the demon
    of untouchability. He prophesied that Hinduism would be destroyed if untouchability
    was not destroyed, even as the British race would lose its name if British rule was not
    destroyed in toto, as it was certainly being dissolved before their very eyes.
    Q. You wrote about economic equality in 1941. Do you hold that all persons
    who perform useful and necessary service in society, whether farmer or Bhangi,
    engineer or accountant, doctor or teacher, have a moral right only to equal wages with
    the rest? Of course, it is understood, educational or other expenses shall be a charge of
    the State. Our question is, should not all persons get the same wages for their
    personal needs? Do you not think that if we work for this equality, it will cut sooner
    under the root of untouchability than any other process?
    A. As to this Gandhiji had no doubt that if India was to live an exemplary life
    of independence which would be the envy of the world, all the Bhangis, doctors,
    lawyers, teachers, merchants and others would get the same wages for an honest day’s
    work. Indian society may never reach the goal but it was the duty of every Indian to
    set his sail towards that goal and no other if India was to be a happy land.
    Harijan, 16-3-1947

  83. aliarqam

    good contribution Alok…..

  84. alok

    friends the collected works of mahatma Gandhi are available at:
    http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/cwmg.html

    Now you all can call poor YLH’S bluff.

  85. ylh

    Alok,

    Would you answer the following questions:

    1. Are the quotes I have posted above from Gandhi? Or did I make them up?

    2. If they are indeed from collected works of Gandhi- do they show that Gandhi was of a racist mindset? Please feel free to explain why calling black people subhuman doesn’t make Gandhi a racist bigot?

    3. Did Gandhi believe in the caste system? He did according to the quotes I have put above.

    4. Did Gandhi support the Khilafat movement? Did he support the Moplahs and did he help Mullahs establish Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind? I have shown you above that he did. I have quoted a stalwart of the Congress Party on this. Is he lying?

    Ali mian,

    Have some shame yaar. Even your maulana Sindhi criticized Gandhi along the same lines as I am now.

    Whatever our differences …stop trying to prop up crazy people like Alok.

  86. Haven’t changed my story. My reason for not publishing YLH’s comment (sent by himself and this ‘Aisha Sarwari and Yasser Hamdani’ person) is offensiveness and the fact that it’s already published here. I don’t publish even publish my own posts at other e-zines on my blog so you can see how I hate redundancy…

    …which is why this is getting on my nerves. I called YLH a liar (immature though it is to throw that word around like YLH does) because he keeps making these statements…freethinker doesn’t believe in freedom of speech (i do-see the hateful comments i’ve published), freethinker allow my ‘other’ comment through, which was a copy-paste of the same, freethinker published later comments (blogger enables moderation for older posts people!) you get aisha sarwari to say the same, freethinker pushed Raza to publish his blog here, freethinker the Mullah, freethinker who doesn’t know Pakistan Studies textbooks, freethinker from a fancy school for rich kids…

    as for the challenge, i have stated that i find debating history with this guy useless. someone tell this guy to stop hounding those who disagree with him.

  87. Hey yasser bhai,

    Great going. You’ve really flattened the opposition here.
    There was something very wrong with Gandhi. No wonder most Indians hate him too.

  88. ylh

    Hey tibby,

    Thanks for the compliment man. Keep reading.

    “Free”thinker,

    How am I hounding you? You are posting on my board may I remind you? Am I supposed to stop responding to your nonsense to make you feel good about yourself.

    You changed your story alright. You claimed again and agaim that you refused to publish my post because it contained the words “pinko” and “paki” (when it didn’t). Now you are claiming “other offensiveness”.

    Ofcourse it is no point discussing history with me because you really don’t have a point except that I should not call Gandhi racist, misogynist and casteist because I am a Pakistani.

    I have quoted Gandhi’s own works above. His quotes show him to be racist. I have also quoted a critique of Gandhi by a self proclaimed Gandhian who is honest enough to state that Gandhi was racist, casteist and misogynist.

    The fact is that you wrote the said rant because you wanted to prove yourself balanced and liberal…except that you chose to attack the wrong Paki. Now you don’t have any argument to defend yourself with. Your Indian sugar daddies are trying their best to prop you up but even they know what others know: Gandhi was a racist casteist misogynist bigot and everyone has the right to their opinion.

    If you don’t like my opinion, you don’t have to read it. But then don’t go around calling Raza conservative because unlike you the man is honest.

  89. aisha sarwari

    free,

    The worst thing you can do is assume that every Pakistani woman is oppressed like the women in your household presumably. No one can make write anything I don’t want to write. I wrote a response to your blog on Sunday which you refused to publish. I can see your double standards very clearly.

  90. aisha sarwari

    PS. Also can anyone explain how if the Gandhi quotes put up by ylh are accurate and verifiable, is he lying or bluffing?

    So far I have seen a lot of back and forth, some stuff about modern literary theory and other such stuff. Can some one cut the bs as they say and answer ylh’s questions above?

  91. alok

    i have given you enough evidence from his CW….i did not make up the same…so i think if he said all that i have quoted, implies your contention is totally and absolutely wrong.

    what khilafhat movement !Gandhi also supported british empire to show his good will initially and later got betrayed…mind you that only showed his noble aspirations

    Gandhi is the one of the greatest and noblest expression of humanity on earth.

    Albert Einstein on Gandhi: “Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth”.
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Gandhi: “……..If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, acted and inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony…………..”

  92. I think enough has been said here. YLH, Freethinker and others have made their respective points. The discussion is getting into circles now.

    Agreed that YLH was controversial – from his use of words pinkos and pakis – and that his views on Gandhi are surely unfashionable in a global sense. On second thoughts, maybe he should have been a little sensitive but then these are his views and he perhaps got a little carried away in his heated counter-post left by freethinker.

    Whilst I have great admiration for Gandhi-ji, I still respect YLH’s right to express his views and he often does it with quotes from the large corpus of Gandhi’s speeches and writings. He has also made me revisit some of my conceptions on Gandhi. So we all can learn from each other.

    If we disagree, why is this such an issue. Some readers have left counter-views with quotes and articles and this enriches the debate. Why do we get abusive?

    Liar, perverted, this that and the other makes us all look so silly – quite honestly.

    This is why enough said here and I urge those who have already commented to please leave a
    And, please do not ABUSE each other. Enough has been said. No more of personal attacks please.

    YLH is not a jamaatia and freethinker did not PUSH me to publish his piece. It was suggested and after a little deliberation I went ahead only to prove the point that criticism serves a purpose. In the same vein, I also published YLH’s counter post to balance things and also allow YLH to speak his mind. Yes, no one is under any obligation to agree with him, but YLH has a right to defend his position on Gandhi.

    In the process YLH may have, I am sure not intentionally, offended the silly labels of pink, brown, black and pak-green. And, now I have another letter of protest from which I am going to publish. The letter also attacks me and PTH along with YLH but then I have to show editorial neutrality and demonstrate that this blog-zine will not censor stuff.

    In the meantime, no more personal attacks please. Let’s get back to issues, ideas, institutions and constructs –

  93. YLH

    Ok I didn’t see that last post.

    Sorry Raza.

  94. i didnt either.

    and what comments seriously. all the comments apart from the hate-speech ones are there…use the ctrl-f5 key

  95. ‘It was suggested’

    Raza I didn’t even suggest it to you.

  96. YLH

    Alok,

    I have already quoted Gandhi’s own works.

    So with all due respect, I don’t give a damn what Einstein or Dr. King (both of whom never met Gandhi nor were they privy to the Collected works as you and I are) thought about him.

    I rest my case.

    Good night.

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