The Mahatma's Selective Pacifism Hurt Hindu Interests. His Living Kin Are Making Things Worse

The Mahatma's Selective Pacifism Hurt Hindu Interests. His Living Kin Are Making Things WorseMahatma Gandhi. (Wikimedia Commons)
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  • Gandhi's frugal personal lifestyle, simple belief in Ram Rajya, and extreme pacifism may well entitle him to the title of Mahatma. But one wonders if his grandsons and great-grandson can be entitled to such leeway, given their selective outrage and phony liberalism.

Ties of kinship to the Mahatma seem to be an onerous burden for those who share the Gandhi surname, making them dhimmis and phony liberals in reality. By Gandhi I mean the ones who are related to the Mahatma by blood, not the Gandhis of the Congress party who got their surname from Indira’s marriage to a man of Parsi lineage, but with the same surname.

To be more precise, one is talking about people like Rajmohan Gandhi, Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Tushar Gandhi, the former two being grandsons of the Mahatma, and the latter a great grandson.

The burden of being a Gandhi is powerful, for the Mahatma was an ultra-pacifist whose pacifism remained limited to urging Hindus to stay non-violent. It did not extend to Muslims. Thus, Gandhi called the assassin of Swami Shraddhananda, Abdul Rashid, “my brother”. The Moplah genocide of Hindus of the Malabar in the early 1920s, when the former declared a caliphate, did not get any condemnation from Gandhi.

He said: “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 neighbour, to be reformed and respected. It is no use now becoming angry with the Moplahs or the Muslims in general.”

In short, the victim must be treated as the one at fault. The rape victim must ask herself what she did wrong, not question the wrong done to her.

Similarly, for the Jews being targeted for mass slaughter by Nazi Germany, Gandhi’s only advice was that they should willingly go to their deaths so that Hitler can have a change of heart.

Gandhi did little to save Bhagat Singh from the gallows, for he did not agree with the latter’s methods. He got Netaji ousted from the presidentship of the Congress, for he was a threat to his own pacifist ideology.

Given the high benchmarks of pacifism and dhimmitude — willingness to play second class citizens to Muslims — set for them, is it any wonder that Gandhi’s kin have turned out to be what they are? Phony liberals.

Rajmohan, a historian and professor at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is as blind as the Mahatma when it comes to selective outrage, of which we will discuss more later. That a Gandhi should be part of a Center whose very name suggests a colonial and orientalist bias, tells its own story. No one in the geography defined as South Asia admits to that identity.

In the West, especially Britain, this description (Asian or South Asian) is used only to hide crimes by Pakistani or Muslim criminal gangs. Thus, the grooming and rape of teenage and English girls in Rotherham was attributed to Asian gangs, by the BBC, not Pakistani Muslims.

A few days ago, Rajmohan Gandhi wrote an article in NDTV.com, titled “My request to all Hindu platforms”, and listed some atrocities against Muslims and anti-Muslim statements by some Hindu leaders. He asked whether “some Hindu voices from some Hindu platforms — from religious, spiritual, non-political platforms — (will) denounce atrocities against helpless and cornered humans? In plain, unmistakable language? Calm, serene, silent faces that avoid looking at cruelty, or wink at it, can only disgrace Hinduism at a time when the global climate seems to be friendly to it.”

Some fringe elements may indeed revel in unprovoked anti-Muslim violence or bigoted statements, but what stands out in Rajmohan Gandhi’s article is that he listed only one side of the violence, thus effectively blaming only Hindus for it. To my knowledge, he has never addressed any article to “Muslim platforms” on the much greater violence perpetrated in the name of Islam all over the globe, never talked much about Hindu victims of 'love jihad', never condemned the brutal murders of Kamlesh Tiwari or Ramalingam, seldom spoken against the violence and abduction of Hindus in Pakistan, or the ethnic cleansing of Hindus from Kashmir, or the gradual decimation of Hindus from Bangladesh. But any stray incident involving a Muslim victim in a country with 200 million Muslims immediately arouses his empathy and denunciation of Hindus and Hindu platforms.

While addressing Hindu platforms only to condemn anti-Muslim violence, one needs to ask whether Rajmohan has ever backed any cause that was Hindu, but not anti-Muslim. Did he fight for a uniform civil code, did he fight for freedom of temples from state control, did he oppose the imposition of Right to Education Act burdens only on majority-run institutions? Or are Hindu causes, by definition, not worth fighting for even when they don’t impact the rights of others?

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former IAS babu, is professor of history and politics at the privately-funded Ashoka University, whose faculty lean towards the Left. He famously said in 2014, almost immediately after the results were out, that Narendra Modi did not have a mandate to rule since only 31 per cent of the voters voted for his party, the BJP.

He said in an article in The Hindu, that he was “not one of those who wanted to see you reach the high office that you have reached…” and that while “many millions are ecstatic that you will become Prime Minister, many more millions may, in fact, be disturbed, greatly disturbed by it.”

This negativity-filled article is supposed to be a liberal opinion given even before a newly-elected government has taken office. Gopalkrishna, who was Governor of West Bengal from 2004-09, did not have any problem when the Trinamool Congress went on a post-poll spree of violence to intimidate BJP workers this year. But, of course, Modi and the BJP stand condemned ipso facto for any violence remotely seen as perpetrated by Hindus.

Tushar Gandhi, son of a Gandhi grandson, journalist Arun Manilal Gandhi, is trustee of a Mahatma Gandhi Foundation. But in 2001, he did not think it was unwise to negotiate a deal to use his great grandfather’s image in advertisements for a credit card company. The outcry forced him to retract, but we know what the name Gandhi means to him.

Tushar Gandhi, in his book Let’s Kill Gandhi, claimed that the murder of the Mahatma went beyond Nathuram Godse, when the evidence presented in courts during the trial of Godse, and later re-examined by the S L Kapur Commission, found no such conspiracy. But then the real truth is not so important to the great-grandson of the man who said "God is Truth".

The Mahatma cannot be called a dhimmi, for he did not lack the courage of his pacifist convictions. But he was selective in his outrage against violence. He was critical when the violence was perpetrated by Hindus, seldom when it was the other way round. In the process, he made minority appeasement a central pillar of the policies of independent India. He did great damage to Hindu causes in the process.

His frugal personal lifestyle, simple belief in Ram Rajya, and extreme pacifism may well entitle him to the title of Mahatma, but one wonders if his grandsons and great-grandson can be entitled to such leeway, given their selective outrage and phony liberalism.

The Mahatma set bad precedents, but it is not necessary for his kin to follow the same foolish ideas after history has shown what it can lead to: emasculation of Hindu interests and rights.

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
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