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M K Gandhi And The Gandhian Legacy

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M K Gandhi And The Gandhian Legacy
the joke ran that gandhi wanted to say "ha-raam-zaadey"... but died halfway through.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Is there a ploy to remove the words HAE RAM from his grave and engrave something more 'secular' there ? The public made aware of his last words is one thing. Mark my words, I suspect the extra-constitutional authority of India will surely remove the words from Gandhi's resting place.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Spot on Sunder (welcome back),.. I've always maintained that today these so-called seculars would have kicked the lifeless body of the person in question if he had uttered 'Hey Ram' in public while gasping for his last breath.
Ben Ami,

One can disagree with Gandhi and argue against his policies as much as one wishes. But please don't joke around with his murder. There is nothing funny about the murder of an old unarmed person however strong one's disagreements with his policies. Even Godse didn't think it was a funny business.

Sunder & Viren,

Yes it is a great irony that in the present climate, Gandhi will be dubbed a 'hindutvavadi'.
i didnt make that joke... its existed for some 30 years or more now. just posted it.

and though i agree it was nothing funny, his murder, i dont think so it was particularly sad either. a lot more sad was the deaths of hindus that died cos of the way gandhi supported the muslims, or the deaths of nameless indian soldiers who died defending the raj thanks to ahimsha.
btw, since he neve said the Hey raam thats attributed ot him, i think we should include these manufactured "last words" under the "legacy of nehru" thread. wait let me make one.
Here is the alternate story from people who have something to loose.

'Hey Ram were Gandhiji's last words'
Most of the people on this post are too [ Edited] on their own version of wisdom that they would not see the point I am trying to make here.
Check this clip out. These Hollywood producers thinks inspiring Gandhian values can bring peace to middle east. and you guys here throw away the gold you have for stone. Stop slandering Gandhi for few shortcomings that he may have and start hailing him for the influence he has world wide.


ftp://kartavya.net/pub/Gandhi3.rm
aha, so the west has taken to gandhi... thus proving conclusively that gandhi was great eh??

the west never quite took to aurobindo, to vedas, to indian classical music - and thus all of those must be bad.. thank god that they are hooked to yoga thus proving how effective yoga is - the west afterall are the final authority on whats gold and whats stone - and we should all ape them.

btw, the "few" shortcommings of gandhi can produce a list longer than the grand trunk road. and the only real reason why the west is so enamoured with gandhi is that he used to fawn the west and went easy on their crimes. the way saddam was a favourite of the west when he was anti-iran, the way osama was in western good books, when he was fighting the "surabhi" if you knoiw who they are.

isnt it time indians stopped falling for their hog wash??
isnt it time we learnt to determine on our own about whats/whos good and whats not??

or is it going to continue like the days of Tagore who was hailed as a great poet only after the west certified him, like khurana after the west certified him and so on??

weanwhile the main reason why indians dont like Netaji is because the west considered him to be a pro-nazi "terrorist" (as they described all our freedom FIGHTERS, never mind the terror the westerners themselves perpetrated all over the globe), and the canards that the last englishman to rule india and his extended family cooked up. the western media has made it fashionable to like gandhi.

you seem to be a particularly exemplary victim of that hogwash, as also the gandhi-was-great fable (again a joint effort of west and nehru). gopal godse hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that gandhi did more damage to hindus than aurangzeb. and as for the damage he caused india (and the benifit he caused the poms) as a nation, its incalculable.


what middle east needs is not gandhi but some horse sense amongst the arabs. but all arabs have is "biblical ass" sense and not horse sense.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->These Hollywood producers thinks inspiring Gandhian values can bring peace to middle east.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
lol maybe you and your Gandhian cronies should go there and try it then, hehe Muslims practicing ahimsa, good joke you got going there.
I was expecting such reply. In response I say this: have you guys used a sailboat? What do you do if you are in a sail boat and you want to sail upwind (against the direction of the wind)? Rookies would dispose the sails off and use the oars. Face the wind head on and fight against the nature. Tiring themselves. The more sensible ones, respect the might of the oncoming wind, and rather than fighting against it, use it for their own advantage by working their sails wisely. its called sailing close-hauled.


http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/ntnujava/viewto...1&nt=1140152533
<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Mar 6 2006, 10:11 PM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Mar 6 2006, 10:11 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->These Hollywood producers thinks inspiring Gandhian values can bring peace to middle east.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
hehe Muslims practicing ahimsa, good joke you got going there.
[right][snapback]47921[/snapback][/right]
<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Muslims blowing up mosques themselves seems just as unlikely, especially after Babri. But they did.


Sorry fellows, you don't have the mighty wind on your side. But you got a Sail and a Rudder. Either keep cursing the wind, or learn how to sail.
well it's evident that you sail only with westerly winds.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->well it's evident that you sail only with westerly winds. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
hehe good one.

Well Gandhians can keep deluding themselves about the oncoming wind cuz in a few years they will all be confined to the dustbin of history and thats where they belong.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Muslims blowing up mosques themselves seems just as unlikely, especially after Babri. But they did.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Unlikely to whom?, maybe to Gandhians who like blind people are always singing ishwar allah tere naam but not to me since I read the Quran and the Hadiths and Islamic history and know that Muslim's demolish mosques themselves in their sectarian fights, Muslims following ahimsa will never happen since it goes against everything Islam teaches and people who think so are in for a big disappointment just like their Mahatma.
[edited - uncalled for]
<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Mar 7 2006, 10:07 PM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Mar 7 2006, 10:07 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->well it's evident that you sail only with westerly winds. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
hehe good one.

Well Gandhians can keep deluding themselves about the oncoming wind cuz in a few years they will all be confined to the dustbin of history and thats where they belong.
<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

On the contrary!
In Deccan Chronicle 26 MArch 2006
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The inscrutable Gandhians

By Janavi Prasada


Ever recall reading Gandhi as a teenager at school as a part of the history course? The only other times he is remembered is on his birth and death anniversaries, which are much-awaited holidays that allow one to snooze all day. Thank God for the Mahatma! At 29 years of age, while there is much that I do not know about myself I do know that I am reliving Gandhi.

Jharna di of Noakhali

Last month I went to Noakhali district in Bangladesh to retrace the path that the 77-year-old Mahatma walked bare foot in 1946 across forty-seven villages to stop the Hindu-Muslim riots raging on the eve of the subcontinent’s moment of ironical glory — Independence with Partition. There was a sense of accomplishment in being where Gandhi had dared to tread for the sake of peace almost 60 years ago. Walking in a terrain where most houses were surrounded by muddy ponds, dotted with coconut and betel nut trees, narrow rickety bamboo bridges and dusty trails.

To be there in this day and age, and witness traces of Gandhian ideology being practised in a Muslim state by the young as well as the old was a revelation in itself.
In Noakhali, Gandhi remains alive in the women and children engrossed in spinning khadi, in a primary school started by him in 1946, and above all, in the Gandhi Ashram, which resounds with the bhajans of Gandhi each day at the crack of dawn!

The torchbearer of the legacy of Gandhi in Bangladesh and a staunch Gandhian herself is 68-year-old Jharna Dhar Choudhary. “Jharna di”, as everyone calls her fondly, is a bundle of energy. She had to flee her home with her family during the 1946 riots. She found peace in the Gandhi Ashram at Noakhali in 1979.

Back in Delhi, it took me a week to fully absorb my experience in Bangladesh. I began to read Gandhi in greater detail. Funny how the human brain works but everywhere I go, whomever I meet, I try to look for a semblance of Gandhi in the person, place or thing.

The Macaires of England

I was dining the other day at the residence of Alice and Rob Macaire on the premises of the British High Commission. I was instantly struck by two life-size rectangular paintings on their central wall. They were a pair of narrow canvases; the contrast of a white base with red human footprints across it was stark.  One may not have noticed them in other circumstances, yet that night they left me with a curious appetite for more.

It so happened that on one of their weekend visits to Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti Museum) in Delhi, Rob and Alice’s two lovely little daughters, Molly and Nell, were playing in the garden. They happened to tread on the sculptured footprints of Gandhi who had walked that path umpteen times to attend his prayer meetings. Alice was touched and amazed to see her children utterly oblivious to their actions, walking in the footsteps of the Mahatma.

Alice traced out Gandhi’s footprints from the museum on a canvas, took red paint and made her children walk on them. And these were the paintings that now adorned their drawing room wall. Alice and Rob take immense pride in them. A humbling gesture by the Macaires’ who value Gandhi more than millions of Indians would.

That is the magic of the Mahatma and the spell continues to charm me. My recent visit to Nepal was another incredible Gandhian experience. I was in the thick of chaos in Kathmandu. The anti-monarchy forces were rampant in their quest for resuming a democratic set-up.

Too many mishmashed ideologies were brewing within as the Maoists went ahead with their agenda of peace through violent methods. Local pro democracy leaders claimed to be non-violent; they held meetings, street demonstrations that somehow turned into violent agitations; the “people’s” King was striving hard to prove his noble bearings to the public.

Subedi, the hijacker

In the midst of all this I met a very intriguing character. Durga Subedi, the infamous hijacker of Nepal. An ordinary looking man, with short lanky frame, peppery hair, prominent sharp nose, light blue eyes and above all an expression of deep sense of contentment.  He had hijacked a plane flying from Biratnanagar to Kathmandu in 1962, its mastermind was Nepal’s first Prime Minister B.P. Koirala. The plane was carrying Rs 30 lakhs, a much-needed sum to finance their underground movement and buy weapons for defence against monarchy to attain freedom. The hijacking was successful.

However, Subedi was nabbed in Benaras after dodging the police for about a year. He was under trial for two years in the Bhagalpur jail. It was here in his spare time that he read Gandhi and realised that violence was not the answer. At present Subedi lives an unobtrusive life in the sleepy town of Biratnagar, east of Nepal, bordering the terai regions of Bihar. He cites his life’s biggest lesson to people, and urges them to shed violence and follow the path of peace.

He enjoys the company of his lawyer wife in his comfortable house, facing a tiny garden with varieties of fruit bearing trees like rudrakha, lemon and red berries. Subedi is a fulfilled man with a happy family. A militant turned Gandhian. In the brief interactions with Jharna di, the Macaires and Durga Subedi, the intriguing aspect of their Gandhian traits lay in the marked distinction in their cultures, occupations, and standards of living. That is why each of them perceives Gandhi in diverse forms that appeal to their personal experiences, aspirations, motivations and crusades in life.

Why go far. Gandhian traits figure in one’s basic household chores. My friend from college has a huge bungalow in a posh colony but she works hard at sweeping and dusting her house each day. She does drive her snazzy jeep but loves to clean it herself. She dresses well but does her own manicure and pedicure, she has raven tresses which she trims at home rather than splurge at a parlour, wears plain cotton salwar kameez, washes her own fine bone china utensils, cooks her own food which is usually vegetarian. And is she not in a sense more Gandhian than most people belonging to a similar strata of society? Peculiar as it may sound, all these individuals symbolise variations of “Gandhian ideology” adapting itself to new generations.  Gandhi was a great believer in change. Each one of us is a Gandhian in some sense, consciously or unconsciously.

Gandhi epitomised the basic nature of man to be good, to be clean, propagate peace, and righteousness in any form. Gandhi is as much a part and parcel of Indian mindset as the rest of the world. One just has to be aware of the self and reflect deeper to awaken the dormant inscrutable Gandhian within the self.

Jaanavi Prasada is a filmmaker researching the current relevance  of Gandhian ideology worldwideE ver recall reading Gandhi as a teenager at school as a part of the history course? The only other times he is remembered is on his birth and death anniversaries, which are much-awaited holidays that allow one to snooze all day.
Thank God for the Mahatma! At 29 years of age, while there is much that I do not know about myself I do know that I am reliving Gandhi.

Jharna di of Noakhali

Last month I went to Noakhali district in Bangladesh to retrace the path that the 77-year-old Mahatma walked bare foot in 1946 across forty-seven villages to stop the Hindu-Muslim riots raging on the eve of the subcontinent’s moment of ironical glory — Independence with Partition. There was a sense of accomplishment in being where Gandhi had dared to tread for the sake of peace almost 60 years ago. Walking in a terrain where most houses were surrounded by muddy ponds, dotted with coconut and betel nut trees, narrow rickety bamboo bridges and dusty trails.

To be there in this day and age, and witness traces of Gandhian ideology being practised in a Muslim state by the young as well as the old was a revelation in itself.
In Noakhali, Gandhi remains alive in the women and children engrossed in spinning khadi, in a primary school started by him in 1946, and above all, in the Gandhi Ashram, which resounds with the bhajans of Gandhi each day at the crack of dawn!
The torchbearer of the legacy of Gandhi in Bangladesh and a staunch Gandhian herself is 68-year-old Jharna Dhar Choudhary. “Jharna di”, as everyone calls her fondly, is a bundle of energy. She had to flee her home with her family during the 1946 riots. She found peace in the Gandhi Ashram at Noakhali in 1979.

Back in Delhi, it took me a week to fully absorb my experience in Bangladesh. I began to read Gandhi in greater detail. Funny how the human brain works but everywhere I go, whomever I meet, I try to look for a semblance of Gandhi in the person, place or thing.

The Macaires of England

I was dining the other day at the residence of Alice and Rob Macaire on the premises of the British High Commission. I was instantly struck by two life-size rectangular paintings on their central wall. They were a pair of narrow canvases; the contrast of a white base with red human footprints across it was stark.  One may not have noticed them in other circumstances, yet that night they left me with a curious appetite for more.

It so happened that on one of their weekend visits to Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti Museum) in Delhi, Rob and Alice’s two lovely little daughters, Molly and Nell, were playing in the garden. They happened to tread on the sculptured footprints of Gandhi who had walked that path umpteen times to attend his prayer meetings.  Alice was touched and amazed to see her children utterly oblivious to their actions, walking in the footsteps of the Mahatma.

Alice traced out Gandhi’s footprints from the museum on a canvas, took red paint and made her children walk on them. And these were the paintings that now adorned their drawing room wall. Alice and Rob take immense pride in them. A humbling gesture by the Macaires’ who value Gandhi more than millions of Indians would. That is the magic of the Mahatma and the spell continues to charm me. My recent visit to Nepal was another incredible Gandhian experience. I was in the thick of chaos in Kathmandu. The anti-monarchy forces were rampant in their quest for resuming a democratic set-up.

Too many mishmashed ideologies were brewing within as the Maoists went ahead with their agenda of peace through violent methods. Local pro democracy leaders claimed to be non-violent; they held meetings, street demonstrations that somehow turned into violent agitations; the “people’s” King was striving hard to prove his noble bearings to the public.

Subedi, the hijacker

In the midst of all this I met a very intriguing character. Durga Subedi, the infamous hijacker of Nepal. An ordinary looking man, with short lanky frame, peppery hair, prominent sharp nose, light blue eyes and above all an expression of deep sense of contentment.

He had hijacked a plane flying from Biratnanagar to Kathmandu in 1962, its mastermind was Nepal’s first Prime Minister B.P. Koirala. The plane was carrying Rs 30 lakhs, a much-needed sum to finance their underground movement and buy weapons for defence against monarchy to attain freedom. The hijacking was successful.  However, Subedi was nabbed in Benaras after dodging the police for about a year. He was under trial for two years in the Bhagalpur jail. It was here in his spare time that he read Gandhi and realised that violence was not the answer.

At present Subedi lives an unobtrusive life in the sleepy town of Biratnagar, east of Nepal, bordering the terai regions of Bihar. He cites his life’s biggest lesson to people, and urges them to shed violence and follow the path of peace.  He enjoys the company of his lawyer wife in his comfortable house, facing a tiny garden with varieties of fruit bearing trees like rudrakha, lemon and red berries. Subedi is a fulfilled man with a happy family. A militant turned Gandhian.

In the brief interactions with Jharna di, the Macaires and Durga Subedi, the intriguing aspect of their Gandhian traits lay in the marked distinction in their cultures, occupations, and standards of living. That is why each of them perceives Gandhi in diverse forms that appeal to their personal experiences, aspirations, motivations and crusades in life.

Why go far. Gandhian traits figure in one’s basic household chores. My friend from college has a huge bungalow in a posh colony but she works hard at sweeping and dusting her house each day. She does drive her snazzy jeep but loves to clean it herself. She dresses well but does her own manicure and pedicure, she has raven tresses which she trims at home rather than splurge at a parlour, wears plain cotton salwar kameez, washes her own fine bone china utensils, cooks her own food which is usually vegetarian. And is she not in a sense more Gandhian than most people belonging to a similar strata of society? Peculiar as it may sound, all these individuals symbolise variations of “Gandhian ideology” adapting itself to new generations. Gandhi was a great believer in change. Each one of us is a Gandhian in some sense, consciously or unconsciously.

<b>Gandhi epitomised the basic nature of man to be good, to be clean, propagate peace, and righteousness in any form. Gandhi is as much a part and parcel of Indian mindset as the rest of the world. One just has to be aware of the self and reflect deeper to awaken the dormant inscrutable Gandhian within the self.</b>

Jaanavi Prasada is a filmmaker researching the current relevance  of Gandhian ideology worldwide
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
is that a pro gandhi post or an anti gandhi post?????????

and gandhi is certainly not part and parcel of all indians.
http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com/arti...m/2murders.html



A Tale of Two Murders : Yitzhak Rabin and Mahatma Gandhi

Dr. Koenraad Elst

When Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in protest against his peace efforts, many parallels were offered by commentators, most frequently with the Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, but also with Indian Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. However, if we look for parallels in India, the closest parallel is not with these Government leaders. Indira and Rajiv were killed not for any peace efforts but for their military actions: against the Khalistani separatists and against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, respectively. Unlike Rabin and Sadat, they were not killed by radical members of their own community, but by Sikh bodyguards and by a female Christian Tamil suicide bomber, respectively.

Mahatma Gandhi, by contrast, was killed for the very same reason as Yitzhak Rabin: he had conceded "land for peace". When the Great Calcutta Killing of 1946 made clear that the forces bent on creating a separate state of Pakistan would stop at nothing to achieve their goal, Mahatma Gandhi and most Congress leaders were intimidated into accepting that the Partition of India was the lesser evil, the only alternative being bloodshed of (what we now would call) the Yugoslav type, but on a much larger scale. So, they conceded that against which they had been fighting and scheming for the past decade: the division of India into a theocratic Pakistan and a pluralistic remainder-India.

The murderer's motives

Like Rabin, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a diehard belonging to his own community. Like Rabin for the Jewish state, Gandhi had rendered sterling services to Hindu society, which commanded his first and foremost loyalty. Rabin's murderer had been a great admirer of Rabin in his earlier phase, viz. as the general who conquered much of what are now called the "oocupied territories". Gandhi's murderer, Nathuram Godse, had been a follower of Gandhi in many respects, e.g. he was very active in organizing inter-caste activities involving the Untouchables. But he had come to decide that in 1947-48, like Rabin in recent years, the Mahatma had betrayed everything he had stood for. Indeed, Gandhi had declared that Pakistan would only be created "over my dead body", but when the hour came, the champion of fasts unto death did not try this pressure tactic to force Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Pakistan movement, to abandon his demand for Partition. Millions of people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs in West Panjab and East Bengal, felt confident that Partition would not take place because the Mahatma gave them that assurance; and they felt betrayed when he threw them to the wolves.

Nathuram Godse worked in the relief operations for Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan, many of whom had been raped or maimed or had lost relatives, and he held Gandhi responsible for their plight on two counts. Firstly, Gandhi could have prevented Partition, or at least staked his life in an attempt to do so; this he failed to do, probably because he knew that Jinnah would not give in. This failure also cast a shadow over the earlier occasions when he had staked his life to pressure people into doing his bidding: it now seemed that he had only used this tactic with people who could be counted upon to give in, so that there had never been any real risk of having to fast unto actual death.

Secondly, even after conceding Partition, a lot of bloodshed could have been averted by means of an orderly exchange of population, as advocated by the lucid and realistic Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, free India's first Law Minister: all Muslims to Pakistan, all non-Muslims to India. At the time, neutral British troops were still around to oversee such an orderly migration, and the psychological climate was ready for this lesser-evil solution. Instead, Gandhi and his appointee as Congress leader, Jawaharlal Nehru, refused to countenance this bloodless solution out of attachment to the multiculturalist ideal. The result was that a spontaneous partial exchange of population took place anyway, but under much worse circumstances: nearly a million people were killed. For an apostle of non-violence, this was indeed a disappointing fin-de-carrière.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can only conclude that this second criticism is entirely justified. In India, the Hindu-Muslim riots which were a regular feature of pre-Independence India have resumed (though they have abated somewhat after the 1992 Ayodhya demolition and the subsequent riot wave). In Pakistan, the situation is much worse: the non-Muslim minorities are being terrorized and squeezed out, and in 1971, the Pakistani army killed perhaps as many as two million Hindus in East Bengal, the biggest genocide after World War 2. In total, more than three million people (only counting the mortal victims, not the far more numerous refugees) would have been saved if the Indian leaders in 1947 had had the wisdom to settle for the lesser evil of an exchange of population.

By contrast, the first criticism, the one uppermost in Godse's mind, is less justified. It is unfair to blame the Mahatma for the Partition, considering that most other Congress leaders had endorsed the very policies which had led to the Partition, along with the Mahatma or even before his rise to power (e.g. the 1916 Lucknow Pact signed by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, which conceded the principle of communal electorates). The Mahatma's failure was in fact the failure of Hindu society as a whole. But in the charged post-Partition atmosphere, he was made to bear most of the responsibility, and forgotten were the sterling services he had rendered to his people.

The final straw after which Godse "could not tolerate this man to live any longer", was Gandhi's "fast unto death" to force the Indian Government to pay 550 million Rupees to Pakistan, and to force the Hindu and Sikh refugees in Delhi to vacate the abandoned mosques and Muslim homes where they had found shelter (this was mid-winter 1947-48, temperature close to freezing). The money was Pakistan's fair share of British India's treasury, but it was nonetheless a strange and unique event to see one country pay such a sum of money to a country which had just invaded it: Pakistani troops were occupying a large part of Kashmir (which had by then legally acceded to India), where they exterminated the entire non-Muslim population. This moral statement, that certain fairness standards are to be maintained even in wartime, was too much for Godse and a few companions. On 30 January 1948, he shot the Mahatma at the beginning of his evening prayer-meeting in Birla House, Delhi.

Reaction of the public

Both Rabin's and Gandhi's murderers represented an informal group or "conspiracy", which in both cases included the murderer's brother. Nathuram's brother, Gopal Godse, is still alive and, like Rabin's murderer, is still unrepentant: every year on the anniversary of the day when Nathuram was hanged (15 November 1949), he and other Nathuram fans gather at the family house in Pune to commemorate "Nathuram Godse's martyrdom".

After the murder, Nathuram also enjoyed a certain popularity among the refugees, particularly the women, who had borne the brunt of the Partition atrocities. But on the whole, the population was angry with him, just like most Israelis are with Rabin's murderer and his supporters. There is, however, an important difference between the two murders in the reaction of the masses.

In Israel, no revenge has been wrought upon the Jewish fundamentalists by Rabin supporters: Jews kept their cool and refused to compound this one inter-Jewish murder with a wave of revenge murders. In India, by contrast, the murder of the Mahatma was followed by a wave of violence against the Hindu Mahasabha, the party to which Godse belonged, even though the judicial enquiry later revealed that the party as such had not been involved in the conspiracy. Worse, numerous people were molested and some of them killed by Gandhi supporters for no other crime than belonging to the same (Chitpavan Brahmin) caste as Godse, a wave of violence comparable to the 1984 anti-Sikh violence in Delhi by Congress activists after Indira's murder.

Political consequences

It is too early to compare the long-term political fall-out of the two murders. My hunch is that after the dust has settled, Rabin's murder will have only a limited effect on Israeli policy: Israeli policy-makers including Rabin have always been led by sobre calculations of national interest, sometimes justifying war and sometimes encouraging the "peace process". The anger of public opinion against Jewish fundamentalists will not fundamentally alter this approach, most of all because public opinion itself is not tempted to go to the opposite extreme, viz. to abandon all concerns for national security in favour of a purely moralistic and pacifistic stand. In India, by contrast, policy is to a large extent dictated by the contrived hysteria generated by the chattering classes in their sloganeering sessions (e.g. the "anti-imperialism" and "peace" slogans of the 1950s providing the music to Nehru's foolish foreign policy, which sacrificed Tibet and invited a Chinese invasion), and the masses are easily swayed from one extreme to another. This way, a single murder changed India's political landscape completely.

First of all, it prevented the rise to prominence of the Hindu Mahasabha and other pro-Hindu forces (including the National Volunteer Association or RSS, which was not involved in the murder but got banned nonetheless). After Congress had betrayed its own 1946 election promise of not allowing the Partition of the Motherland, the stage was set for a breakthrough of the Hindu parties; after the murder, they were marginalized and their breakthrough got postponed until 1989. Even the millions of refugees from Pakistan did not join them in sizable numbers (e.g. in West Bengal they became the backbone of the Communist Party, eventhough the latter had supported the Partition).

Secondly, and ironically, the murder revived the Mahatma's own fortunes. It is insufficiently realized today that just after the Partition, Gandhi was discredited and demoralized. He regained some credibility after his last "fast unto death" managed to make Hindu and Sikh refugees vacate Muslim property in Delhi, a feat which cooled communal tempers. But this could not remove the blot of the unprevented Partition from his name. It was his martyrdom which assured his place of honour in history.

The most important political effect of the Mahatma's murder for people who genuinely stand by the Gandhian ideals, was that it immensely strengthened the power position of Jawaharlal Nehru. Prime Minister Nehru and his westernized and Soviet-oriented clique killed Gandhiji a second time, viz. by thoroughly negating every single element in his vision of what free India should be like. They were implacable enemies of everything which Mahatma Gandhi had held dear: Hinduism of course, and religion in general, but also village autonomy, economic decentralization, simplicity of lifestyle, emphasis on personal morals rather than on socio-political structures, character-building rather than materialist consumerism, and grass-roots solutions for India's specific problems.

Gandhi's major claim to fame was that he, almost alone among the freedom leaders in the entire colonized world, had sought and developed policies and strategies rooted in native culture rather than borrowed from Western models (nationalism, socialism etc.); of this nativist orientation, nothing was retained in Nehru's politics. Thus, the Indian Constitution which was approved two years after Gandhi's death, was essentially an adaptation of the 1935 colonial Government of India Act; its format and philosophy contains almost no trace of specifically Indian cultural achievements and values. In this respect, the Hindu activists who opposed Gandhi's acceptance of Pakistan were much closer to him (and still are, cfr. the Gandhian writings of the late Ram Swarup and of Dattopant Thengadi), but the effect of the murder was that the only movement which might have implemented many of Gandhiji's projects was politically marginalized for decades.

This way, Gandhiji's death brought the death of Gandhism as a political factor in India. It strengthened the position of people who used his name but were objectively the worst enemies of everything he had stood for.
More Gandhiana

US civil rights 'made in India'

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->US civil rights 'made in India' 
BBC South Asia correspondent Nick Bryant will shortly take up a new posting after nearly three years in the region. Prior to that he was a BBC correspondent in Washington.


<b>Gandhi's principles of non-violence inspired people in the US </b>
Completing a book in South Asia has been anything but dull.

Much of the conclusion was written in a maharajah's palace; the final typos were corrected in a military encampment high in the quake-affected mountains of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

The first academic reviews came through at an internet cafe in rebel-controlled territory in northern Sri Lanka, with a stern portrait of the Tamil Tiger leader Vilupillai Prabhakaran frowning down on me; and the finished manuscript went to print just as Nepal's 'Ringroad Revolution' was reaching its climax.

Take the morning of Saturday, 8 October 2005. With the final deadline less than 48 hours away, I had awoken uncharacteristically early so that I could be seated at my desk before dawn.

Three hours later, when my laptop began to wobble from side to side I strongly suspected that I needed a screen break. Moments later, when my desk began to shudder, I realised that South Asia must have been struck by a major earthquake.


Appropriate setting

That afternoon, I boarded the first flight to Islamabad, clutching a printout of the final chapter and the latest wire copy from Reuters: 'Dozens are feared dead in a major earthquake', a figure which had risen to over 70,000 by the end of the week.

<b>The book, The Bystander: John F Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality, focuses on the often fraught relationship between Jack Kennedy and the American civil rights movement, seemingly an unlikely topic for a correspondent based in Delhi. </b>

But, as it turned out, the setting ended up being entirely appropriate.

As I quickly discovered, many of the main heroes of the book - the often isolated officials in the Kennedy administration who called repeatedly for the President to mount a much more aggressive assault on racial segregation in the American south - all spent formative portions of their careers in India.

They were committed Indophiles - or more accurately, Gandhiphiles.


Kennedy's administration included many pro-civil rights campaigners

Chester Bowles, the Deputy Secretary of State in the Kennedy administration, laboured hard to prevent barbers, restaurateurs and real estate agents from discriminating against African diplomats based in Washington and New York, cities which were then considered a hardship posting.

Mr Bowles also dedicated himself to making sure the State Department and Foreign Service, which were almost all-white enclaves at the end of the 1950s, recruited a greater number of black applicants.

Prior to taking up the post, Mr Bowles had served as the US ambassador to India and Nepal in the early 1950s.


'Last chance'

The same position was occupied by the much-lamented J K Galbraith, the cerebral Harvard economist who had long argued that America would never live up to its democratic ideal unless its system of racial apartheid was completely dismantled.

From the ambassador's residence in Delhi, Galbraith watched in fear and dismay as black fury broke loose in the spring and summer of 1963, and demonstrators took to the streets in over a thousand American cities, both north and south.

<b>"This is our last chance to remain in control of matters," Mr Galbraith wrote to attorney general Robert Kennedy in June of that year, "and of avoiding the most serious eventuality which is the possible need to use force to restrain Negro violence." </b>

Then there is <b>Harris Wofford,</b> who toiled as Kennedy's chief civil rights advisor before resigning in frustration in the early summer of 1962 because of the President's moral timidity on the fissile question of racial reform.

The author of India Afire, which was published in 1951, Wofford became a keen student of the philosophy of Gandhian non-violent action, the highly-successful strategy which had driven the British from India.


Martin Luther King went to India 'as a pilgrim'

On returning to America in the early 1950s, <b>Mr Wofford discussed these ideas with a young preacher based in Montgomery, Alabama, the so-called 'cradle of the Confederacy.' His name was the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.</b>

Dr King himself made the long journey to India in 1959, three years after the famed Montgomery Bus Boycott had made him a hero on the subcontinent.

<b>"To other countries I may go as a tourist," he declared on touching down at Delhi airport, "but to India I come as a pilgrim." </b>

'Made in India'

So when Dr King sent children onto the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, in the spring of 1963, in the most climactic confrontation of the civil rights era, he used the same tactic of mass civil disobedience which Gandhi had pioneered with the Dandi Salt March 33 years earlier.

<b>Both men knew that to reveal the hatred of their opponents was to demonstrate the righteousness of their cause - in Gandhi's case, dismantling British rule; in King's, dismantling segregation. </b>

<i>{This is the key to non-violence that makes the enemy defeat himself}</i>


A segregation sign in the southern United States

There are even contemporary parallels between the struggle for black equality and the ongoing battle in India challenging the inequities of the caste system.


The recent furore sparked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech exploring the possibility of reservations (affirmative action) for India's lower castes in the private sector has loud echoes of the controversy surrounding President Lyndon Johnson's support for the preferential treatment of racial minorities in a famous commencement address at Washington's Howard University in 1965.

As Mr Johnson declared: "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others', and still justly believe that you have been completely fair."

As I write now, the finished book is sitting on my desk - with the insignia of its New York publisher on the jacket but hopefully with signs inside that it was ultimately 'Made in India'.
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its so fashionable to declare oneself gandhian. what better way to reach higher moral ground !!


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