Friday, March 28, 2008

Mr Mohandas Gandhi's views, circa 1935

Mr Mohandas Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule), a crystallization of his views about civilization, the future of India and the modern industry. I am not sure about the exact date of the publication but I think it was published around 1935, when Mr Gandhi was more than 60 years old, and as such, had had ample time to refine his thought.

To read a critical article on the consistency with which he applied his most hallowed principle, that of non-violence, you may want to read an article from The Libertarian Forum, dated March 1983, available in plain text here.

Not only are his views bewilderingly silly, it is utterly amazing how modern, well-read, well-exposed people continue to hold him in such high regard.

I will let his words speak for himself.

From the chapter Civilization

"Formerly, only a few men wrote valuable books. Now, anybody writes and prints anything he likes and poisons people's minds."

"Formerly, special messengers were required and much expense was incurred in order to send letters; today, anyone can abuse his fellow by means of a letter for one penny. True, at the same cost, one can send one's thanks also."

"And if anyone speaks to the contrary, know that he is ignorant."

"Women, who should be the queens of households, wander in the streets or they slave away in factories. For the sake of a pittance, half a million women in England alone are laboring under trying circumstances in factories or similar institutions. This awful act is one of the causes of the daily growing suffragette movement."

"This civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed. According to the teaching of Mohammed this would be considered a Satanic Civilization. Hinduism calls it a Black Age. I cannot give you an adequate conception of it."

From the chapter Machinery

"Machinery is the chief symbol of modern civilization; it represents a great sin."

"Money renders a man helpless. The other thing which is equally harmful is sexual vice. Both are poison. A snake-bite is a lesser poison than these two, because the former merely destroys the body but the latter destroy body, mind and soul."

"What need, then, to speak of matches, pins and glassware? My answer can be only one. What did India do before these articles were introduced? Precisely the same should be done today. As long as we cannot make pins without machinery so long will we do without them. The tinsel splendor of glassware we will have nothing to do with, and we will make wicks, as of old, with home-grown cotton and use handmade earthen saucers for lamps. So doing, we shall save our eyes and money and support Swadeshi and so shall we attain Home Rule."

"I cannot recall a single good point in connection with machinery. Books can be written to demonstrate its evils."

"It is necessary to realize that machinery is bad. We shall then be able gradually to do away with it. Nature has not provided any way whereby we may reach a desired goal all of a sudden. If, instead of welcoming machinery as a boon, we should look upon it as an evil, it would ultimately go.It is necessary to realize that machinery is bad. We shall then be able gradually to do away with it. Nature has not provided any way whereby we may reach a desired goal all of a sudden. If, instead of welcoming machinery as a boon, we should look upon it as an evil, it would ultimately go."


From the chapter Education


"If we consider our (i.e. Indian) civilization to be the highest, I have regretfully to say that much of the effort (i.e. universal education in India) you have described is of no use."

" What is the meaning of education? It simply means a knowledge of letters. It is merely an instrument, and an instrument may be well used or abused. The same instrument that may be used to cure a patient may be used to take his life, and so may a knowledge of letters. We daily observe that many men abuse it and very few make good use of it; and if this is a correct statement, we have proved that more harm has been done by it than good."

"A peasant earns his bread honestly. He has ordinary knowledge of the world. He knows fairly well how he should behave towards his parents. his wife, his children and his fellow villagers. He understands and observes the rules of morality. But he cannot write his own name. What do you propose to do by giving him a knowledge of letters? Will you add an inch to his happiness?"

"Now let us take higher education. I have learned Geography, Astronomy, Algebra, Geometry, etc. What of that? In what way have I benefited myself or those around me? Why have I learned these things?"

"I must emphatically say that the sciences I have enumerated above I have never been able to use for controlling my senses. Therefore, whether you take elementary education or higher education, it is not required for the main thing. It does not make men of us. It does not enable us to do our duty."

"In its place it can be of use and it has its place when we have brought our senses under subjection and put our ethics on a firm foundation. And then, if we feel inclined to receive that education, we may make good use of it. As an ornament it is likely to sit well on us. It now follows that it is not necessary to make this education compulsory. Our ancient school system is enough. Character-building has the first place in it and that is primary education. A building erected on that foundation will last."

"India will never be godless. Rank atheism cannot flourish in this land."

From the chapter On True Civilization

"I believe, that the civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestors. Rome went, Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become Westernized; of China nothing can be said; but India is still, somehow or, other, sound at the foundation."

"India, as so many writers have shown, has nothing to learn from anybody else, and this is as it should be."

"A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich, or unhappy because he is poor. The rich are often seen to be unhappy, the poor to be happy. Millions will always remain poor. Observing all this, our ancestors dissuaded us from luxuries and pleasures. We have managed with the same kind of plough as existed thousands of years ago. We have retained the same kind of cottages that we had in former times and our indigenous education remains the same as before. We have had no system of life corroding competition. Each followed his own occupation or trade and charged a regulation wage. It was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fiber."

"The tendency of the Indian civilization is to elevate the moral being, that of the Western civilization is to propagate immorality. The latter is godless, the former is based on a belief in God. So understanding and so believing, it behooves every lover of India to cling to the Indian civilization even as a child clings to the mother's breast."

From the chapter Passive Resitance

"After a great deal of experience it seems to me that those who want to become passive resisters for the service of the country have to observe perfect chastity, adopt poverty, follow truth, and cultivate fearlessness."

"Chastity is one of the greatest disciplines without which the mind cannot attain requisite firmness. A man who is unchaste loses stamina. becomes emasculated and cowardly. He whose mind is given over to animal passions is not capable of any great effort. This can be proved by innumerable instances. What. then, is a married person to do is the question that arises naturally; and yet it need not., When a husband and wife gratify the passions. it is no less an animal indulgence on that account. Such an indulgence, except for perpetuating the race. is strictly prohibited. But a passive resister has to avoid even that very limited indulgence because he can have no desire for progeny. A married man, therefore. can observe perfect chastity."

From the chapter On Doctors

"Their business is really to rid the body of diseases that may afflict, it. How do these diseases arise? Surely by our negligence or indulgence I overeat, I have indigestion, I go to a doctor, he gives me medicine, I am cured. I overeat again, I take his pills again. Had I not taken the pills in the first instance, I would have suffered the punishment deserved by me and I would not have overeaten again. The doctor intervened and helped me to indulge myself. My body thereby certainly felt more at ease, but my mind became weakened. A continuance of a course of medicine must, therefore, result in loss of control over the mind.

I have indulged in vice, I contract a disease, a doctor cures me, the odds are that I shall repeat the vice. Had the doctor not intervened, nature would have done its work, and I would have acquired mastery over myself, would have been freed from vice and would have become happy."

"Hospitals are institutions for propagating sin."

"These doctors violate our religious instinct. Most of their medical preparations contain either animal fat or spirituous liquors, both of these are tabooed by Hindus and Mohammedans."

"It is worth considering why we take up the profession of medicine. It is certainly not taken up for the purpose of serving humanity. We become doctors so that we may obtain honors and riches. I have endeavored to show that there is no real service of humanity in the profession, and that it is injurious to mankind."

From the chapter On Railways

"Railways accentuate the evil nature of man."

"It may be a debatable matter whether railways spread famines, but it is beyond dispute that they propagate evil."

From the chapter Conclusion

"If the English vacated India, bag and baggage, it must not be supposed that she would be widowed, it is possible that those who are forced to observe peace under their pressure would fight after their withdrawal. There can be no advantage in suppressing an eruption; it must have its vent. If, therefore, before we can remain at peace, we must fight amongst ourselves, it is better that we do so."

"We consider our civilization to be far superior to yours (i.e. the British)."

"You (i.e. the British) must not do anything that is contrary to our religions. It is your duty as rulers that for the sake of the Hindus you should eschew beef, and for the sake of Mohammedans you should avoid bacon and ham. We have hitherto said nothing because we have been cowed down, but you need not consider that you have not hurt our feelings by your conduct."

"We consider your schools and law courts to be useless. We want our own ancient schools and courts to be restored."

"We cannot tolerate the idea of your spending money on railways and the military. We see no occasion for either."

"So doing we shall benefit each other and the world. But that will happen only when the root of our relationship is sunk in a religious soil."

"If a doctor, he will give up medicine, and understand that rather than mending bodies, he should mend souls,"

"If a doctor, he will understand that no matter to what religion he belongs, it is better that bodies remain diseased rather than that they are cured through the instrumentality of the diabolical vivisection that is practiced in European schools of medicine;"

"Although a doctor, he will take up a hand-loom, and if any patients come to him, will tell them the cause of their diseases, and will advise them to remove the cause rather than pamper them by giving useless drugs; he will understand that if by not taking drugs, perchance the patient dies, the world will not come to grief and that he will have been really merciful to him."

"Like others, he will understand that we shall become free only through suffering;"

39 comments:

N Sriram said...

"Not only are his views bewilderingly silly, it is utterly amazing how modern, well-read, well-exposed people continue to hold him in such high regard".

Harman, why is it "utterly amazing"? Modern, well-read, well-exposed people are not above gullibility. Also, how do we know if they really hold him / his views in high regard or they say so since political correctness demands it?

Gandhi was one of the greatest politicians of 20th century and held together a team of outstanding politicians including Nehru, Patel, Rajaji and so on towards a common pupose. His personality was so overwhelming that many have abdicated their responsibility to think by simply echoeing / adopting his views. Many may think his views are silly but may be genuinely afraid to say so openly or may not feel the need to express a view on his views. It might take some more years to crically assess Gandhi. But the process seems to have begun. Dont you see that happening?

harmanjit said...

"Harman, why is it "utterly amazing"? Modern, well-read, well-exposed people are not above gullibility. Also, how do we know if they really hold him / his views in high regard or they say so since political correctness demands it?"

# This is from personal interaction with a few very highly exposed individuals, friends, who had no need to be politically correct with me. Some otherwise politically incorrect people who do praise Gandhi to the skies: Ashis Nandy, Sandeep Pandey, Makarand Paranjape, Medha Patkar, Sunderlal Bahuguna, the late Albert Einstein, the late John Lennon, the Dalai Lama etc.

Almost all NGOs/social-activists in India espouse a reverential attitude towards Gandhi.

". It might take some more years to crically assess Gandhi. But the process seems to have begun. Dont you see that happening?"

# Yes critical appraisals of Gandhi are happening. Mostly what I see around, however, is the tendency to revere Gandhi and feel sorry about the population for failing him, for failing to live up to his ideals of India.

Anonymous said...

I see that censorship is alive and well in these parts.

harmanjit said...

This was the comment left by "Anonymous" which was deleted by me:

"http://www.futureofmankind.co.uk/meier/gaiaguys/TJfinalteachings.htm

Jmmanuel's Farewell

Just know that your self-declared God, to replace all others, Richard, has self-servingly swallowed the traditional lies, regarding the one falsely called Jesus.

Either because:
A: He is gullible.

B: It would be absurdly easy to falsely accuse the one falsely named Jesus, of being a 'flat-earth' God, thereby simultaneously knocking 'Jesus' off the mountain top whilst placing himself up there. Hence elevating Richard to being greater/wiser than the great/wise Jesus. That is his game, is it not?

C: He knows the tales around the one, falsely called Jesus, are nonsense, but doesn't realize they have been changed from the truth, to enhance the power of the Church & the State, who derive their power from enslaving man, woman & child in false doctrine & belief. "

# As this has nothing to do with Mr Mohandas Gandhi's views, or the article in question, the comment was deemed off-topic and deleted.

Anonymous said...

What I wrote was most ON-topic. The 3 Ghandi quotes you cited below, apply specifically to Mr. Richard & his self-serving stlye of bashing others for no other purpose than self-aggrandizement. In the case of the one known falsely as 'Jesus', he is most happy to apply the straw-man technique, because of the choices I outlined.

-----------------------

"Formerly, only a few men wrote valuable books. Now, anybody writes and prints anything he likes and poisons people's minds."

"Formerly, special messengers were required and much expense was incurred in order to send letters; today, anyone can abuse his fellow by means of a letter for one penny. True, at the same cost, one can send one's thanks also."

"And if anyone speaks to the contrary, know that he is ignorant."

Mohan said...

I am not sure of the exact depth of Gandhi-ism among people like Medha Patkar, Sunderlal Bahuguna; But I can certainly see why it is needed.

It is easier for people to derive will-power & sustain on their chosen missions, when they have an object of faith to look up to. A larger-than-life icon, a figurehead.

Even if these people dont completely agree with Gandhi, they might still chose to gloss over some issues and use him as an icon and hence a source of mental/emotional strength.

Normal people who are not really concerned about "self-discovery" or "discovering the purpose of life" need such larger-than-life heroes to spur them on in their chosen missions... dont u think?

Anonymous said...

Rather than fixate on out-of-context quotes, take al look at the chronology of Gandhi's daily life for one year and then determine whether this man created value in the world: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Chronology_of_Mahatma_Gandhi's_life/India_1935

pankaj said...

some of my favourite quotes comes from gandhi - "my life is me message" for example. tho he was never an intellectual force (many of his doctrines may been naive), he was a moral force. while most of us are steeped in the mundane, he did see something with clarity, and he had an atomic engine retro fitted in his soul that drove him towards it.

Ravi S Ghosh said...

In my opinion, the reason why most people (if you wish, add prefixes like well-educated, cultured, civilized, saheb, babu, etc.) still hold Gandhi's views is simply because they have never read his views. It is like following social custom, respect elders, do not go naked on street, do not kiss in open, do not have sex...

paul said...

You do know it is possible to hold a person and some of their views in high regard without holding all of his views in high regard, don't you.

He was a great politician. He had tremendous charisma. He also managed to wrest India away from imperialists without the use of force.

Things change over the years, and in his youth, higher education was not that important. He remembered what to him were "the good old days" where ignorance was not spread so easily. All you would have to do would be read the comment on YouTube to understand the sentiment.

I agree with very few of his views, yet I regard him as a great man for what he did with his life. I see no reason to write him off as a silly simpleton simply because in 1935 he did not have your modern views.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Paul: But Gandhi's most hallowed ideas are flawed. He may have been a charismatic leader, and one to command devotion from millions, but he was so out of touch with modernity, with the vast progress of ideas and science that his ideas need not be respected anymore.

To respect Gandhi's ideas today is unjustified. Most people respect Gandhi due to his moral and spiritual stature, and that too is unjustified.

Harmanjit Singh said...

He also managed to wrest India away from imperialists without the use of force.

Though that is eminently debatable (there were world events, a looming civil war and economic conditions which made British leave India more than Gandhi's agitations), I would like to say something about your phrase "without the use of force".

Would you not consider a threat of suicide by hunger of a leader (which suicide if allowed would lead to widespread rioting) an indirect threat of violence?

Moreover, after all, the British very well allowed the Irish to die of hunger strikes (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Sands ), so it is prima facie unclear that they were morally overwhelmed by Gandhi's hunger strikes.

Anonymous said...

@ Ravi Ghosh: 'not have sex'...surely a billion and counting population did not come about by stroke of God's magic wick! ;-)

Di said...

" He may have been a charismatic leader..."

Harmanjit, without trying to agree or disagree with you, for each have right to think what they want to, I would like to say this:

What charisma are you talking about? His appearance which was tiny-weeny non-sexy dhoti. Was it his voice? Feeble and small. Maybe you may want to ponder where that Charisma came from? What it was about him that made millions follow him? So much so that English quavered in their boots when he did his fasting (unlike the other Irish who died of starvation in prison, who had zero clout and no one cared that he fasted/didn't fast/died or not). I would come back later and let you know where that power came from.
Thanks for thinking differently however wrong that thinking might be :)

Di said...

Harmanjit....one more thing. You cannot take individual statements of gandhi, out of context and ridicule. If I were to take sentences here and there from your blog post, it would also look ridiculous without knowing the body of work. You have to read sentences in the context they were written and whole of it, not partial, cut and pastes!!

Railways were single most (detrimental to us) tool used by English/British to loot us. An average Indian might be delighted that he can travel faster due to train but the dristikon of a freedom fighter towards that train/rail system would be different.

There is lot of "development" in Tibet...roads and such infrastructure. A regular tibetian is even happy with the "progress" but honestly that is how Chinese plunder and cause a genocide in the country. So truely this "advancement" would be abhorred by the intelligent, thinking Tibetian....right?

Similarly medicine and mordern medicine: AIDs,Cancer etc were probably not known to us. A lot of present day problems, alienation is caused by mordern medicine. With increase in longevity--->population explosion--->mass exodus of people from villages to cities--->over crowding of big cities---->unemployment---->poverty. Come to think of it, if we didn't have modern medicine and if we had continued high infant mortality then we wouldn't see any of this despair....so in a way Gandhi was right!!
You have to examine his work in the light of the era he lived. You have to understand the history of the times, the period.
A 12th century writers work may seem juvenile or impotent but maybe the most dynamic work of his time....etc...etc.

And also:
Jarnail....I miss you

LOL

Harmanjit Singh said...

Charisma, especially in India, can often be related to a public perception of being holier than the average person. Gandhi was called a Mahatma, and he was actively religious and spiritual, singing bhajans of Ram, and writing on Gita, and generally self-mortification is considered very highly in India.

A Jain monk who walks naked, or stands on one leg, instantly attracts devotion and adulation.

In essence, Gandhi's charisma and charm was due to his perceived holiness, which he made no efforts to dispel.

Harmanjit Singh said...

As for Gandhi's views, they are just facile ramblings against machines and technology because he saw them as symbols and tools of British colonialism. He did not delve into alienation at all, and I don't think he understood economics or had studied it in any depth.

He was not a deep thinker, he was just a stubborn and self-enclosed one.

Harmanjit Singh said...

""Women, who should be the queens of households, wander in the streets or they slave away in factories...."

Blogger, as a woman (and a feminist one at that), I can find myself agreeing to Gandhiji. I think women and civilization as a whole as lost in in name of industrialization. The alienation that you are so interested in exploring is caused by industrialization/working women and destruction of human relationship pushing man away from man per se and from humanity as a whole"


The emancipation of women is essential to their social freedom.

To decry alienation is not the point in this context of equal opportunities for men and women, as why should one group of people not have education, rights, access to jobs or travel, or sexual freedom, while another group does?

To put it more starkly, why do men have a right to keep women as dependents and powerless?

Di said...

"A Jain monk who walks naked, or stands on one leg, instantly attracts devotion and adulation...."

Name one naked Jain monk that you and I know? I would again emphasis to view Gandhi in the times he lived. In 1920s-30s-40s, Indian people were spiritual. Singing bhajans...., fasting, praying was the very core of a normal hindu (and also other religions) family. Understand this. He was not a political person but he was living in times that made even average person freedom-fighter and hence in "politics". Under present day India, if Gandhi was born, he would be out and out spiritual man, I am sure of it.
About the title Mahatma: When he landed on the port of Bombay in a ship from South Africa, at age 40 some, he was not instantly declared Mahan-Atma. NO. I have studied this phenomenon. Any guru, leader of any sort, has to toil/work/prove himself before he/she achieves any kind of fame/name from Janta. So it might be in his 70s/80s that he got that title out of respect. He forced his wife to give up all the gold she had. IN other words he walked the talk. I am no die-hard fan of Gandhi. Please understand this. However I knew a dadaji, here in USA, fairly closely. He was in his late 80s and passed away several years ago. When this dadaji was a boy of 10, he ran away from his home and came and lived in Gandhi(jees) ashram. Dadaji had several stories of Gandhi-bapu and the first eye account is always authentic/interesting.
Harmanjeet, you should not view people black or white. There is goodness in people along with some bad qualities (knowingly or unknowingly). This is how it it. Otherwise Gandhi would not be "mahan-atma" but a "param-atma"....right?? While you may not agree with his ideas on women/industrialization/medicine, you have to accept that he was indeed a great human being. A compassionate man. A great spiritual being too.

At the end of the day, we all are abyasis, trying to reach our goal. So was Gandhi. He did not promote himself. THAT is wrong thing to say. He had many-many kamis and kamjoris, but I do know this, that I (and you) will have to take several more births to even reach his calibre.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jarnail Sweetheart, there must be a poem/nazm/bazm that would go with above...what say you....missing you.... :(

Di said...

The emancipation of women is essential to their social freedom.

To.....why should one group of people not have education, rights, access to jobs or travel, or sexual freedom, .....?

To put it more starkly, why do men have a right to keep women as dependents and powerless?

-->Emancipation: If emancipation means toiling in factories, then I don't want that Emancipation!!!!

--->All other rights I understand, but sexual freedom?!?!?!!!!! Then there is no need of marraige. The definition of marraige is losing this "freedom". In west women pray, plead, beg the man to marry/commit and why should he, who gets his milk free should buy the cow??? LOL. Seriously. Women are losers in this battle of "sexual freedom"!!!

--->Just because someone is housewife, doesn't mean she is powerless. Just because a woman is not economic unit, doesn't mean she is not adding value. This is done in many-many ways. In India, women always had the keys to the tijori in their sari pallu! Who says they were dependant and powerless. You should have met my dadi! Then you would know what I am talking about.
----
What say you Jarnail??? Did Satishchandra not write a novel on this topic in Bengali?

Harmanjit Singh said...

but I do know this, that I (and you) will have to take several more births to even reach his calibre.

Okay. Since you /know/ this, I guess that's the end of the matter then.

Di said...

I love food...for one thing. I cannot fast for the life of me.
Then I am materialistic. I cannot donate my gold away. I love my jewellery. Truth: I lie sometimes. Especially about my weight (all the time). I love clothes and would never dress in simple dhoti. Khadi would have to be designer brand. On celibacy...LOL...I cannot practice that either as I love my husband in everyway. On and on....so you see, I will have to take few births....maybe you already are like Bapu (even if you don't admire him)!!!!

:(

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Di:

So you think self-mortification and asceticism (including celibacy) is a higher state?

And as for compassion, Gandhi disowned his son for daring to, hold your breath, marrying a woman that Gandhi disapproved of(what a sin, after all)!

More details:

http://yolacrary.blogspot.com/2009/05/derrick-jensen-on-gandhi-and-pacifism.html

Surbhi said...

Gandhi promulgated a few austerities out of sheer topical needs. Much of his views served a purpose at the time when he was looking to create a wave to fight the British atrocities and rule. It will be stretching them far if one was to even think of following all of them. He did not make any sacrifice. What he did was required at that time of history/period.

Unless one human being knows the other too well, it is not such a good idea to ascribe features and lifestyle. By attacking the blogger on personal level, the commentator is sauntering away from the argument. Stick to the argument and not the blogger.

Is Gandhi relevant today? no, perhaps. Then what use in paying a lip service of following him. Instead read his works and find out if something relevant can be drawn out of it.

Hunger strike: was actually a form of circus entertainment in 17th century. Such a strike is nothing but that: a comic act in the garb of emotional blackmail.

India is celebrating Independence day today, from what? intolerance, draconian laws, pusillanimity, gagging the truth!

Di said...

Harmanjeet....you would believe some Richard Crary speaking whole truth, nothing but the truth over the father of nation, known for speaking truth (mostly anyways).

Here I quote Gandhi himself:
"The greatest regret of my life ... Two people I could never convince - my Muslim friend Mohammed Ali Jinnah and my own son, Harilal Gandhi."

Which family doesn't have soap opera of disagreements? So big deal. I may not like a woman my son marries or decisions he makes in his life or doesn't make. THAT doesn't make me a bad mother or cease me from loving him!

Tu bhi naa...kabhi-kabhi argument bevajood kee kartay ho.

Di said...

Blogger read this "http://www.exoticindiaart.com/book/details/IDJ821/"

"Gandhiji was displeased with Harilal's marriage. But, when the couple joined him in South Africa he warmly welcomed them into the family. Gandhiji had great liking for his daughter-in-law Gulab. He was also very pleased with Harilal's ability to make sacrifices at the young age of thirteen. Harilal's involvement in the satyagraha in South Africa had gladdened his heart."

But as I know you, you will never humbly acknowledge your mistake or that there could be other facts/truths that you missed. The problem here is going from particular to general...you form an idea, believe it and to support it, do all (wrong/ill-conceived) research. so me thinks.

Di said...

Going deeper into his so called objections:

"He was against child marriage and suggested without hesitation that Harilal's engagement with Gulab should be broken. "

Di said...

More on the soap opera:

"It was not as if Gandhiji had no respect for Harilal. After he left the family house Gandhiji said, "He has an independent mind." In a letter, Gandhiji wrote, "He is a brave boy in one sense, he makes no secret of his vice and his rebellion is an open rebellion." He was aware of Harilal's capabilities. In another letter he said, "If he can get of the two vices he can be the best of all brothers."

Harilal also respected his father. When he left the house he carried with him a photograph of his father. According to Devdas, "Outside the family and circle of friends he always respected Bapu and also defended him aggressively." He was proud of a father who did not wish his son to follow him out of fear when the son held a different opinion. Harilal believed that to seek Gandhiji's intervention in his commercial affairs would waste his precious time. He never spoke ill of his father in the presence of his affectionate daughter-in-law. Once he began to dictate his complaints against his father, but he controlled his feelings and tore off the pages."

See....seems like regular Indian family after all!!!!

So much for hallowed status and "Mahatma".

Di said...

"So you think self-mortification and asceticism (including celibacy) is a higher state"

It is the same state as that of the mountaineer....a road less travelled...different....

Better...don't know. Difficult, surely.

I would find it very hard to give up those things I like. In that sense I am more like Harilal. Whatever Gandhi did (austerity, speaking truth for most part etc etc) doesn't come easy....does it???

Jarnail Singh said...

Di:

Yeh hui na Gujarati sherni waali baat. Gujarat ne hi to Gandhi ka vardaan sansaar ko diya jinke jinko samjhne ke liye ek sadi chahiye. Aasman pe thookne ki to duniya ko purani aadat hi hai. Godse ke chelon ki is desh mein koi kami nahin. Kaash yahan Gandhi ki utni kadar hoti jitni Martin Luther King ki amreeka mein hai aur Nelson Mandela ki afreeka mei aur Gorbachov ki roos mein. Gandhi jaise log lafzon ke madaari nahin hote, woh apni chamri aur jaan ko daav mein laga kar baat karte hain. I really admire and appreciate your clear minded perception of the reality that was Gandhiji. It is easy to criticise him for his quaint ideas like dhoti, sanitation, machinery and what not but his essential message of love and brotherhood is eternally valid. I do not say I am his disciple any more than Einstein's but we must learn to respect where respect is due. By failing to respect we disrespect ourselves before anybody or anything else.( With apologies to Harman)

Di said...

Thanks Mr Ghost. Blogger saab deleted most of my comments 'coz they were "elsewhere". My funny sher is gone too :(

Anyhow, Gandhi is not as popular in Gujarat; over there they revere Sardar Patel.

Secondly those who criticise Gandhi and all other freedom fighters, deserve to be treated with current crop of politicians; self-serving-swiss-account-holding-corrupt; one is getting new kidneys at foreign hospital with your tax payer money. Instead of disowning their Harilal like sons, these politicians support their children even when they commit rape-murder in public!!
So why should you guys, the royal citizens of India, complain about current politicians?? After all Gandhi and all those "politician" were no good anyway, right?

Jarnail S said...

Madame 'Di' Hemangini:

Gandhiji ke vishya mein aapke vichar vichar yogya hein lekin Blogger Mahodya organised mijaj ke hein(asha hai amreeki hone ke saath aap hidi samajhne mein samarth hein) aur kavita ka khana March 09 mein Bazm nam ke lekh mein hai aur unke atithi hone ke naate meine ek pesh kash wahan rakhi hai. Baaki Gandhiji ka utna adar karna chahiye jitni hamare mein kshamta hai wahan tak pahunchna to mushkil hi hai.

Aapka
Bhoot Nath

Anonymous said...

This blog is bleeding with personal and irrelevant commentary lately. Great contrast to the thought-provoking posts. Blogger should exercise discretion in moderating Comments, lest he wants the regular readers to stop taking the comments as anything but impulsive, childish reactions and de-subscribe from comments Syndication.

Jarnail said...

Anonymous:

Seriousness and gravura is fine but this ain't Chomsky's blog--even he doesn't get worked up over a modicum of mirth. A blog is a point of social intersection where the serious mingles with the light and banal and friends mingle to enjoy each other's presences. Even the Socratic dialogues are pervaded with bonhomie. The kind of pompous solemnity you are suggesting is more suited to a funeral procession or religious ceremonies.

Anonymous said...

" Jarnail: pompous solemnity"

really! I fail to see how was that suggested in the comment posted at 9.17 pm by me.

The expression used is 'thought-provoking' posts. BTW i have been discouraged by the blogger to post personal argumentative comments ( on another post) with another poster. I fail to see how do inanities qualify as valid comments to be posted whereas valid comments and counter points are not welcomed.

Please go through some of the comments of last 10 days to ascertain as to what do you mean by "modicum of mirth"( scare quotes intended).

Their is no personal confrontation involved here, but a certain decorum even in a public posting is not too much to ask... however, everyone is free to post and comment( moderation has a purpose that is why the comments on the blogs are subjected to that).

I am de-subscribing from the comments syndication, please carry on living in the house of mirth.

best wishes

Ben said...

Ghandi in his introduction to "The Story of my Experiments with Truth":

"I hope and pray that no one will regard the advice interspersed in the following chapters as authoritative. The experiments narrated should be regarded as illustrations, in the light of which everyone may carry on his own experiments according to his own inclinations and capacity."

Ghandis conservative views at the time, to us today, seem ridiculous. We must place his writings in the context of the period in which he lived, and try not to view them through a 21st century lense.
Many of his ideas were shallow and flawed, but you can gain greater understanding of asking "why is Ghandi saying this?" instead of "What a stupid thing to say"

Anonymous said...

Quote from Gandhi: "I will not let anyone with dirty feet walk through my mind" Sums up this man, his struggle to understand Truth and purity which of course remained a mystery to him till the very end.

Any one who perceives his own mind as a pure place and views the outside as where pollution is coming from is a person who has placed himself on such a high pedestal that he is oblivious to the pollution within his own mind. People have always needed a person like that they can look up to who so absolutely believes in his own superior,pure mind. This is why we have Gods,Gurus,Hitlers,Einsteins who have gotten away with the most bizarre things...............

The fact that all such people have been great failures at maintaining personal relationships tells a lot about who these people really were. But no one really cares about that..........

Anonymous said...

People have always needed a person who they can glorify and worship and attribute qualities to - qualities which they themselves will never have or will never be able to have without paying a price.

So we have Krishna/Jesus etc with superhuman qualities and he can get away with anything.
So also Gandhi. On one hand it is amazing that a man of very average to below average intellect/looks/spiritual advancement/personality/speaking skills/philosophy etc could be held in such high esteem. On the other hand it is not surprising at all. Mankind has always needed such people who they can glorify. If they do not exist them we make them up. Superman/Batman/Mandrake/Phantom/Tarzan etc etc.

Anonymous said...

All the so called Greats be they great leaders or Gurus or whatever have been/are people of average to below average intellect. Typically they are huge pretenders who exaggerate and lie about their abilities and people fall for it. I todays world- go to youtube look up videos of the Gurus pretending to play instruments /dancing/talking of scriptures without ever having read them in general making fools of themselves because of their lack of mastery - but for their followers they are geniuses blessed by the Gods indeed some even believe they are Gods..... The more interesting question to explore is why do people want these kind of leaders.