An Evaluation of Mahatma Gandhi

By: Shreepal Singh

Mahatma Gandhi, as he is affectionately called in India, is an official “Father of Nation” for India. He is revered throughout the civilized world. He is a pride of India. He is like a Buddha or Christ for much of the democratic world. These are his virtues; but they stand in the way of his realistic evaluation in the world, in which we live. He is taller after his death in assassination than when he was alive. India is known by his name. But nothing is static in Nature; the world marches on with time. Sometimes an evaluation becomes necessary for a nation to reconcile with itself, with the reality in which it lives. Such evaluation of a great man like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is not palatable, particularly after 70 years, but it becomes necessary to reconcile India with truth. Here is one such evaluation:

  1. Initial life of Gandhi (for example, at the time when he sided with the British imperialism in Boar War in South Africa and became their military’s Major Sargent for its ambulance corp) was bad. But everybody may commit mistakes in one’s initial immature life. This bad point has not much value when compared to what he did later on in his life.

  2. He grew up when he got the idea of passive resistance, which was an idea got by trial and error method, in South Africa. He was honest to that idea to the core of his heart, he stuck to that philosophy through out his life and practiced it in India.

  3. He was honest to that philosophy beyond reasonable limits – even destroying his family (his son and wife) because of this obstinacy. In his inner private life, he was somewhat above religion (having a mental idea of universality of all religions) but below the accomplishments of a spiritual Yogi. He did not rise above mind and emotions (in spiritual terminology, vital forces) and their limitations, which every Yogi knows and crosses over in Sadhna. Even Sri Aurobindo hinted at his inflated ego.

  4. He was not much aware of Indian history – how India fought valiantly for one thousand years against religious bigotry, how India sacrificed millions of innocent life (for example, killings made by Babar, Mughals, Jauhars – called Saka – committed by Hindu women in the face of attempted violation of their honor, conversion by violence like beheading of Guru Teg Bahadur, imposing Zazia on Hindus etc.) and how non-violence is not a virtue before a brute.

  5. Because of his ignorance of history he committed many political blunders – like supporting Khilafat movement, trusting the British good sense (over confidence of an innocent bafoon) for Indians but had a misplaced distrust against Subhash Chandra Bose; trusted Jawahar Lal Nehru more as against Sardar Patel. Because of this ignorace he trusted Zinnah, Sohrab Vardy and Pakistan – though Pakistan’s political leaders openly declared him an average person, a detastable Hindu – as against Sardar Patel (for example, financially helping Pak despite its attack on Kashmir.

  6. His ideal of non-violence is the highest ideal of humanity … but …. a big but. But till humans are what they are – bigotted, religiously blind, with animal instincts like dominating the competitors by any and every means – non-violence is NOT A VIRTUE. It is a vice. It is a truth that must be admitted. It cannot be an ideal. It is a suicide formula. The proof of this truth can be found in the fate of minorities in Pak, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraq, Iran etc. Committing suicide is not a virtue. Plunging into well is not a virtue. Calling death and embracing it heartily is not a virtue. India has been following “Varnas” system – it is against Kshtriya Dharma. It is against Geeta. Here one has to chose: Gandhi versus Geeta. Let us test its truth. Just imagine we believe in non-violence and we disband Indian army! Why army, even if we disband police, what will be shape of India? A falsehood has to be rejected. Rejecting falsehood is following the truth. You ask any country – USA, England, you name any – to disband their military and see their answer! Let us not make a fool of ourselves. No authority – even a Father of Nation – is greater than the truth. We can neglect the truth at our own peril

  7. It is an analysis of MKG what he stood for till his death in 1948. But India has suffered much more after 1948 because of this idealistic – non-practical – philosophy. Appeasement politics is the direct outcome of this vision – love to all ignoring the bad points of the appeased ones. India has not surpassed Japan, China, even Singapore, Malaysia etc. only because this country has rejected the theory that we should see the stark reality – the truth. We have become a sleeping country ridden with corrupt politicians only because of this passive and false vision of life.

  8. Truth, non-violence, love ARE NOT STATIC formula. They cannot be applied to all regardless of who they are. You cannot love electric current, it will kill you; you cannot love a rabid animal, it will kill you; you confront a habitual offender – a serial killer – to tell him to spare you, he will most likely harm you; you befriend and lovingly trust a person who is religiously obsessed to convert or kill a Kafir, he will kill you if you don’t comply his dictate (do you need an example? Indian history is full of good people who were so killed). Did MKG think for a moment why Sikh Guru Govind Singh had to divert the entire energy of Sikh Panth away from the peaceful path of devoting to Akal-Purush (God) towards the path of fighting the wicked, while devoting to God? If you strike your head against stone, your head will be broken. Obstinacy – persistence without applying reason – does not pay in this world, which has its plentiful quota of wicked persons. Your such obstinacy may harm you, and harm all those who follow you, who have faith in you. If you are held high – a great man – in the estimation of your followers, it becomes all the more important for you to apply reason, to think as a reasonable person; it leaves no scope for you to be obstinate, to be obsessed. Of course, an accomplished Yogi can do it without harm (Buddha chaged Angulimal) but all people – billions of Indians – are not Buddha. Even Pak is not a Buddha. A Yogi – an accomplished spiritual person – has to rise above “thoughts and its world” – called by Patanjali “Chitta Vritti Nirodh”. One who so rises above thoughts, has the power of changing the thoughts of others too – like Buddha did to Angulimaal. Thoughts make people different from each other; thoughts can make them a loving and kind person or, alternatively, a cruel murderer and rapist. The proof of the truth – and the example of following the untruth by MKG on this aspect – is that Gandhi could not change the thought of those Muslims who went to Pakistan, the thought that they and Hindus were one in essence; despite Gandhi’s sainthood, these Muslims thought that they were a separate people, that their religion and culture were separate. They created Pakistan despite MKG’s opposition to it. We are not concerned here with the “craftiness” of the British imperialists in intentionally creating Pakistan but the efficacy of the Gandhi’s way. Gandhi still persisted that Pakistan’s Muslims should be treated as if they are one with India. It was not so; they attacked Kashmir and supplied arms to Nizam of Hyderabad for fighting against India. Truth is to see and accept the reality. Non-violence is: Do not kill the weak but kill the brute to save the weak. Love is: All are having a Divine soul (Atma) in them, even if they do not know it; so love them, take care of them, save them from harm, bring them on to a good path. Bring the wrong-doer on to the good path; it is loving him; it would be beneficial to the wrong-doer too.

  9. MKG was an innocent and honest human being. But he was ignorant. He also had an inflated ego, which is normal thing for one who might be a religious person but not an accomplished in spiritual achievements. He must be given his due place, without any doubt. MKG should be accorded his due respectful place in India because he made effort in the right direction. He tried to attain the level of Buddha or Christ by rising above the level of ordinary people, though he could not attain that level. He was a great human being because he walked on the path of Buddha and Christ in an age dominated by materialism. It is unbelievable thing in the modern age to have been done by any person, an age in which we live.

  10. He is the pride of India and a symbol of India for peace and non-violence. But India must not be allowed to suffer because of the weakness of his philosophy, or vision – if one wants to call it a vision. The truth is that this world is full of good and wicked people. Let the good unite to destroy the wicked – without any ill-will or affection. India should not harbor an enmity against the wicked but must do its duty to destroy the wicked to save the peace loving good people from them. So far as the need for India to follow the path of MKG is concerned, let first Indians rise in their character like Buddha before hoping to change criminal Angulimals of this world by non-violence. Till then, India must be guided by Geeta where the wicked has to be vanquished by the Kshtriya so that the wicked is punished, the good is saved and the peace for the good is ensured in this world. According to Geeta, it is the duty of a Kshtriya. Let India be guided by this teaching.

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