This is the prefatory part of a series deconstructing Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s contribution and legacy from a critical perspective drawing from recorded history.
To begin with, Hindus will never get to the roots of their political and religious disempowerment, and will consequently not take corrective measures, including making changes to the Indian Constitution, unless they steel themselves to clinically dissect Gandhi and his politics.
When Gandhi left the shores of South Africa abruptly in July 1914 to return permanently to India for a more promising career in politics, what did he really achieve there for migrant Indians and the native African people vis a vis the white colonial rulers, Dutch and British?
Except for the fact that Gandhi grandstanded in South Africa about giving up marital sex but nevertheless continued till his execution in 1948 with his “experiments” in brahmacharya with women who were not his wife and were young enough to be his daughters and grand-daughters, what really did Gandhi achieve in South Africa politically or what lofty principles in morality did he exemplify in 1915 to warrant the appellation “the saint” which on Indian shores was inflated to ‘mahatma’?
Gandhi left South Africa in July 1914, he arrived in India only in January 1915. So what exactly did Gandhi do for six months in London?
When Tilak returned from his exile in Mandalay in 1914, why did Gopal Krishna Gokhale tell him he was not welcome in the Congress and that Tilak should do whatever he wanted outside the Congress?
While Gandhi related closely with the empire loyalists of the INC after the split in Surat 1907, what was Gandhi’s relationship with three of the foremost freedom fighters and thinkers of the time – Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar?
What progress did the INC under Gandhi’s leadership make in the freedom struggle between 1917 and 1920 when Tilak passed away?
What did Gandhi’s call for “swaraj” in the 1920 Nagpur Congress, soon after the passing away of Tilak actually mean?
What progress did the INC make politically between 1920 Nagpur Congress and 1929 Lahore Congress when Gandhi issued a call for “purna swaraj”?
Why did the British government not pay any heed to either Swaraj or purna swaraj?
What progress did Gandhi as leader of the INC make between 1929 Lahore Congress and his call to the British to Quit India in 1942?
Did the Quit India movement succeed?
Why did Gandhi marginalise Ambedkar, evict Subhash Bose, Munshi, Rajaji and NB Khare from the INC?
Why did Gandhi welcome the Cabinet Mission and its proposals for transfer of power and more importantly, why did he ignore and why did the INC not even consider the Sapru Committee Report?
Why did Gandhi never undertake a fast against the Muslim League in Bengal in 1946 but threatened to undertake a fast unto death against the Hindus of Bihar in 1947?
Why instead of permitting the INC to give a call to pick up arms against the Muslim League to defend their nation and their families, did Gandhi ask Hindu men and women to die with a smile on their faces in jihadi flames?
Do Hindus know that Gandhi agreed to hand over all of India, not only British India but Indian India which comprised Hindu kingdoms to the Muslim League?
Why did Gandhi intentionally alienate Hindu rajas and maharajas while at the same time treating Muslim Nawabs and Nizams with courtesy?
Why did the Gandhi-Nehru handpicked Constituent Assembly pass the pro-Muslim Article 370 and refused to pass the pro-Hindu anti-cow slaughter bill?
If these questions are not asked and no national collective effort is undertaken to look for answers, we will not fully understand why Hindus are disempowered politically and religiously in their own ancient land.
Radha Rajan is a Chennai-based political analyst. She is also author and animal activist.