Gandhi’s passive resistance was suicide
One must hand it to Gandhi. If he was anything from 1909 when he penned Hind Swaraj until his death in 1948, he was consistent in his fetishes and political delusions.
Gandhi wanted both Hindus and Muslims to subsume their Hindu and Muslim identity in the ‘Indian’ identity, both in 1922 at the time of the Moplah jihad and in 1946–that is, post the “Direct Action Day” when the Mahatma wanted Muslims and Hindus to find an “Indian” answer to Islamic jihad and Muslim secessionism rearing its head menacingly from the 1930s decade. And while Hindus always obliged, star-struck by Gandhi’s Mahatmahood, Muslims sensibly ignored him and perfected their jihadi weapon and worked relentlessly towards achieving their Islamic objective of vivisecting the Hindu nation.
Hindus must find out the causes of Moplah fanaticism. They will find that they are not without blame. They have hitherto not cared for the Moplah. They have either treated him as a serf or dreaded him. They have not treated him as a friend and neighbor, to be reformed and respected. It is no use now becoming angry with the Moplahs or the Mussalmans in general.
I see nothing impossible in Hindus, as Indians trying to wean the Moplahs, as Indians, from their error. I see nothing impossible in asking the Hindus to develop courage and strength to die before accepting forced conversion. I was delighted to be told that there were Hindus who did prefer the Moplah hatchet to forced conversion. If these have died without anger or malice, they have died as truest Hindus because they were truest among Indians and men. (Moplah Massacre in Young India, 26-1-1922, CWMG vol. 26, pp 24-27)
This was Gandhi’s unchanging prescription for three decades for Hindus when faced with jihad – “Die; and don’t die with anger or malice, die with a smile”. Twenty-five years later the Mahatma would give the same advice in 1946-47 when Bengal was burning in jihadi flames – suffocate yourself or commit suicide by biting your tongue.
Gandhiji advised the women in East Bengal to commit suicide by poison or some other means to avoid dishonour. Yesterday he told the women to suffocate themselves or to bite their tongues to end their lives. (Speech at Prayer Meeting, New Delhi, October 18, 1946. CWMG Vol. 92, page 355; Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, page 433 footnote 12)
Of course what is left unsaid is Gandhi advised Hindu women to commit suicide.
Gandhi concluded his answer with the outrageous remark that rather than resist the Muslim League by force, “I would be ruled by them”.
But this was not about Gandhi. This was about the Hindu nation and Hindu territory. Gandhi arrogated to himself the right to speak for all Hindus in the nation, both inside and outside the INC when he said that he would rather be ruled by Muslims than seek British help. But seeking British help was not the only way; Hindus could also have picked up arms against the Muslims to defend their people and their territory. But the Mahatma closed the doors decisively against armed Hindu resistance. Like Aurobindo wrote in 1907, Gandhi unmanned not only the Hindus and killed all divinity in them he also killed the divinity within the motherland.
Gandhi spoke not just for the spineless Hindus in the INC and clueless Hindus outside the INC who believed he was leading some kind of freedom movement and therefore came to the streets in the hundreds and thousands to suffer death or imprisonment, but also promised to hand over all Hindu kingdoms to the Muslim League if the Muslim League co-operated with the Congress to evict the British from Indian soil! But this would be in 1942.
As pointed out earlier, Gandhi was nothing if not consistent in his follies and fantasies.
Is the Englishman bad because he is an Englishman? Is it that everyone with an Indian skin is good? If that is so we can claim no rights in South Africa, nor should there be any angry protest against oppression by Indian Princes. India can gain nothing from the rule of murderers – no matter whether they are black or white. (London after July 16, 1909, Gandhi on Dhingra’s assassination of Sir Curzon Wyllie, CWMG Vol. 9, pp 428-29)
Among the several unasked questions about Gandhi’s freedom movement and among issues which have been studiously ignored by sarkari historians are these, chiefly:
- Why did Gandhi’s INC accept the Cabinet Mission proposals as basis for transfer of power?
- Why did the Constituent Assembly accept the Government of India Act 1935 as basis for the Indian Constitution ignoring the Sapru Committee report which not only dealt with all issues dealt with by the Cabinet Mission but also presented an all-Indian blue print for the Indian Constitution?
- Why did Gandhi refuse to even consider the Sapru Committee report?
- Why did he first welcome the Cabinet Mission proposals with such haste, within 48 hours after the Mission gave it to Gandhi?
- Why did Gandhi then go on to waste the INC’s time over the next 3 months debating, discussing, negating and rejecting the proposals clause by clause until the Cabinet Mission left India in frustration leaving behind an inflamed Jinnah and Muslim league who promptly declared Direct Action Day?
Aurobindo on the other hand defined and described passive resistance with razor-sharp intelligence, with penetrating understanding of politics.
Justice and righteousness are the atmosphere of political morality; but the justice and righteousness of a fighter, not of the priest. Aggression is unjust only when unprovoked; violence unrighteous when used wantonly for unrighteous ends. It is barren philosophy which applies a mechanical rule to all actions, or takes a word and tries to fit all human life into it.
There is a limit however to passive resistance. So long as the action of the executive is peaceful and within the rules of the fight, that passive resister scrupulously maintains his attitude of passivity, but he is not bound to do so a moment beyond.
To submit to illegal or violent methods of coercion, to accept outrage and hooliganism as part of the legal procedure of the country, is to be guilty of cowardice, and by dwarfing national manhood, to sin against the divinity within ourselves and the divinity in our motherland.
The new politics therefore while it favors passive resistance does not include meek submission to illegal outrage under that term; it has no intent of overstressing passivity at the expense of resistance.
Passive resistance cannot build up a strong and great nation, unless it is masculine, bold and ardent in its spirit and ready at any moment and at the slightest notice to supplement itself with active resistance. (Aurobindo, The Doctrine of Passive Resistance, Bande Mataram, written between April 11 and April 23, 1907
Bizarre interpretation of Hinduism
Gandhi’s bizarre interpretation of Ramrajya and the un-Hindu exposition of the most important epics sacred to Hindus created the perfect political comfort zone for anti-Hindu and non-Hindu political mercenaries from where they could implement their politics of minority-ism. Indeed, Gandhi’s Abrahamic approach to Hinduism remained unchanged till his death:
It was ignorance to say that he coupled Rama, a mere man, with God. His Rama was before, is present now and would be for all time. He was Unborn and Uncreated. Therefore let them tolerate and respect the different faiths. He was himself an iconoclast but he had regard for the so-called idolators. Those who worshiped idols also worshiped the same God who was everywhere, even in a clod of earth, even in a nail that was pared off. (CWMG Vol. 93 page 365)
There are two aspects of Hinduism. There is on the one hand, the historical Hinduism with its untouchability, superstitious worship of sticks and stones, animal sacrifice and so on. On the other, we have the Hinduism of the Gita, the Upanishads, and Patanjali’s Yogasutra which is the acme of ahimsa and oneness of all Creation, pure worship of one immanent, formless, imperishable God. (CWMG Vol. 93, page 43 and Radha Rajan, Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, page 461, footnote 52)
For Gandhi, all that was historical about Hinduism was despicable and had to be rejected while what according to him was best was his own monotheist and Abrahamic perspective of our dharma. The country is plagued by this anti-Hindu legacy because Gandhi did not keep his views and practices strictly in the private domain: he insisted on thrusting his views on everyone who came into contact with him. These included his un-Hindu views of our history, his anti-Hindu views on Hindu religious rituals and his warped antipathy towards our temples.
The most destructive and lasting impact that Gandhi had on the Hindu nation was when he hand-picked Nehru as the first Prime Minister of independent India. And also when he and Nehru handpicked all Congress representatives from the Provinces to the Constituent Assembly. It was because the Constituent Assembly was packed with Gandhi-Nehru loyalists that we have an essentially anti-Hindu constitution weighted proactively on the side of religious minorities and against articles of faith of the majority Hindu people.
Gandhi and the temple inside Benares Hindu University
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya had left instructions in his last will and testament for his personal secretary VA Sundaram to build a grand temple inside the Benares Hindu University. Pandit Malaviya had already asked JK Birla to contribute Twenty five lakh Rupees for the purpose and left instructions to Sundaram to approach Hindu rulers to contribute more if needed. Pandit Malaviya wanted a grand marble temple for Lord Shiva.
But Gandhi being Gandhi did not suffer even a twinge of conscience in asking Sundaram not to heed Malaviya’s specific instructions but to build the temple according to Gandhi’s Abrahamic views on Hinduism.
Here is Gandhi’s letter in question, in full.
Bhai Jugal Kishore,
Baba Raghavdas gave me a full account of the passing away of Malaviyaji. He also mentioned your pledge. You should therefore certainly set apart Rs. 25 lakhs for the temple. However I am afraid it will not be conducive to the progress of Hinduism if Malaviyaji’s concept of the temple complex is translated literally. If the spirit of his concept is followed, it would raise Hinduism to greater heights. Today Hinduism is being compared with other religions. Baba Raghavdas will tell you the rest. (Letter to Jugal Kishore Birla, December 7, 1946, CWMG Vol. 93, page 116)
I have already written to Sheth JK Birla and sent the note by hand through Baba Raghavdas. You will probably see that letter and you will see too that I have spoken about you to him. In my opinion your course is clear. If you can breathe the soul of Hinduism into the Viswa Vidyalaya, you should stay, not otherwise.
The whole of the sum will not be spent on stone and mortar. Some marble is necessary. It should be a unique thing. It ought not to contain any idol. An idol is not a necessity of Hindu belief or a Hindu temple. (Letter to VA Sundaram, December 11, 1946, CWMG Vol. 93, pp 128-29)
Indian polity’s response to the demolition of the Babri Masjid and reclaiming Ramjanmabhumi and protection of Ram Setu, with arguments based precisely on the question of historicity of Rama and the Ram Setu, the issue of legislating against slaughter of cow or against religious conversion, is thus a direct legacy of Gandhi’s never-spoken-about anti-Hindu mindset. Clearly for Gandhi, chanting Ramanama was the same as Sonia Gandhi being ‘Indian’ – mere external trappings to find acceptance among Hindus – the majority populace of India.
Gandhi’s views on Hindu religious ritual the ‘havan’ or yagnya
Gandhi arrogated to himself the right to instruct a sanyasi to discard his sanyasi robes if he was unable to be a sanyasi of Gandhi’s fantasies.
Bhai Uddhav, on the death of your brother you performed only the yarn-sacrifice and no religious rites. I liked it very much. It will bring great benefit if all do so. (Letter to Udhav, Sodepur, December 8, 1945, CWMG vol. 89, page 14)
I have your letter after many days. I must admit that I don’t like it. Firstly why should you involve yourself in a ritual sacrifice which is more or less a fraud? I can understand those who are ignorant of the true nature of dharma or are downright hypocrites busying themselves with it, but why a man like you should concern himself with it is something beyond my comprehension, especially because I don’t want to look upon you as a hypocrite and because I am not prepared to believe you are so sunk in abysmal ignorance.
And if there was a sacrifice, wherefore all then discrimination? Those who do not want to come may not; those who want to may come. Hence in no way can my heart accept either your act or your justification of it.
I would wish you to devote yourself single-heartedly to what is straight forward and truthful, rather than indulge in mere casuistry. I am strongly opposed to sacrifice as it is currently interpreted. I consider it a sin to throw ghee into the fire in our age. Sacrifice really meant an act of service.
I had therefore hoped that you would follow only that which is truthful even by giving up your position as a swami. (Letter to Bhagwadacharya, Delhi April 24, 1946, CWMG Vol. 90, page 307, Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, pp 456-57)
As proof of how consistent Gandhi was in his core anti-Hindu attitudes, Gandhi disparages in 1916, the Hindu custom of holding upanyasas and pravachans as traditional method of bringing our puranas and itihasas closer to all people.
If merely listening to speeches could accomplish anything or cure our ailments, why, they arrange reading from the Bhagavat at so many places and these draw large audiences, but we shall find on several of these occasions that quite a few in the audience are dozing. If we could get everything by submitting to speeches, we need do nothing else. Only let the Brahmins go on with their readings from holy books and Puranas and our salvation would be assured. (Speech At Arya Samaj Annual Celebrations, Surat January 2, 1916, CWMG Vol. 15, page 125)
And the same Gandhi many years later would pronounce that chanting Ramanama was the best cure for Malaria.
Gandhi upbraided a Hindu sanyasi for performing a yagnya, and said he considered “throwing ghee into the fire” a sin but the Mahatma raised his sinful, un-Hindu and unethical experiments with several unclothed women, including Dr. Sushila Nayyar, Manu Gandhi, Amtussalam and Kanchan Shah to the exalted status of a yagnya.
Without going into the sordid details of Gandhi’s experiments with women, just enough is being cited to present the gross distortion of Gandhi’s views on what, in the Mahatma’s view constituted a Hindu ‘yagnya’.
Chi. Ghanshyamdas, I sent you a letter through Sushila. But I have been upset somewhat by Sardar’s letter. Devdas’s letter is still ringing in my years.
I have great faith in Sardar’s judgment. I have faith in Devdas’s judgment too but then, though grown-up, in my eyes he is still a child. This cannot be said of Sardar.
A satyagrahi may end up as a duragrahi if he comes to regard untruth as truth; that being the only distinction between the two. I believe that is not the case with me; but that means little, for after all I am not God. I can commit mistakes; I have committed mistakes; this may prove to be my biggest at the fag end of my life. If that be so, all my well-wishers can open my eyes if they oppose me. If they do not I shall go from here even as I am. Whatever I am doing here is a part of my yagnya. There is nothing I do knowingly which is not part and parcel of that yagnya. (Excerpts from Letter to GD Birla, February 15, 1947, CWMG Vol. 93, page 406, Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, page 375, footnote 51)
This is a very personal letter but not private. Manu Gandhi my grand-daughter as we consider blood relations, shares the bed with me, strictly as my very blood, not to give animal satisfaction but as part of what may be my last yagnya. This has cost me dearest associates: Vallabhbhai, Kishorelal, probably CR and others. This includes Devdas. I have lost caste with them. (Excerpt from Letter to JB Kriplani, February 24, 1947, CWMG Vol. 94, page 34)
To be continued…
Radha Rajan is a Chennai-based political analyst. She is also author and animal activist.