RIP Philo

Gandhi is my new hero

"Mahatma Gandhi along with his followers, walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, Gujarat to make salt, and large numbers of Indians followed him. The British could do nothing because Gandhi did not incite others to follow him."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_Satyagraha

The best leader of all time.
Permalink Rick, try writing better English 
March 12th, 2007 3:27am
I always thought the story of Gandhi gave a lot of kudos to the british at the time as well.  they could have gone either way in an effort to deal with him...further down into barbarity, or up into more civilized behavior.

ultimately they choose the civilized behavior.


I wish my country would do the same thing.
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 12th, 2007 4:11am
There was a good chapter about him in "Autobiography of a Yogi". Class guy. Good ideas
Permalink what are you reading for? 
March 12th, 2007 4:28am
He was the best politician any nation ever produced. Knew what could work and what didn't. He made sure Bose got to do what he wanted, but only so much. Fat man cigar was no was no match to the half naked fakir.
Permalink Send private email (100 + 85)/2 
March 12th, 2007 4:39am
The assumption that because you can outfight other people your culture is also superior to theirs is quite recent. The Romans for example, even though being stronger in political, economic and other terms had no trouble admitting the Greeks had a superior culture. European Reneissance relied on rediscovery of Greco-Roman civilization. In the eighteenth century the Enlightenment had an interest in non-Christian and non-European cultures, believing that reason was common to all mankind.

By Gandhi's time things had gone wrong in India for over a century, perhaps the Brits eventually acnowledged this by giving in to Gandhi.
Permalink ipmal 
March 12th, 2007 5:28am
>> By Gandhi's time things had gone wrong in India for over a century, perhaps the Brits eventually acnowledged this by giving in to Gandhi.

Actually, no. Things were going good. Very good. The middle class got to rise again. Technocrats were in high demand. The economy was booming since "India" began to become a fact and commerce was now "internal", and so on. What happened was a "Thank you very much. Now, get the fuck out." syndrome coupled with draining of British energy in the WWII. Of course, there was a sense of nationalism and unlike the Mughals before the, the Brits never got themselves assimilated into India, so the sense of "ferangi" was very high.

Gandhi's master stroke was to realise that violence would be counter-productive with the Brits, thus his strategy of shaming them into going home, by getting beaten black and blue. However, the subcontinent's capacity for violence came to light during the year after Independence. The Great Partition. Which was Nehru's master stroke and that is another thread.

As to your first para, huh? You may hold Churchill as the icon of British culture. But, please. Gandhi is no such thing. My comment was just on the two individuals. One who lost an empire to win a war and the other who defeated an empire without a war.
Permalink Send private email (100 + 85)/2 
March 12th, 2007 5:47am
>I always thought the story of Gandhi gave a lot of kudos to
>the british at the time as well.  they could have gone
>either way in an effort to deal with him...further down
>into barbarity, or up into more civilized behavior.

WTF? What about the massacre at Amritsar?
Permalink Colm 
March 12th, 2007 6:04am
I was referring to the assumption of the White Man's Burden by the Brits beginning in the early 19th century, the belief that they had to interfere in the way of life and culture of the peoples they ruled, something that had not been the case before. John Lawrence in 1858: "We have not been elected or placed in power by the people, but we are here through our moral superiority, by the force of circumstances, by the will of providence. This alone constitutes our charter to govern India." Had they not decided to ditch all that, for what ever reasons, things would have turned very nasty. Sadly, others have since taken up the task.
Permalink ipmal 
March 12th, 2007 6:18am
> WTF? What about the massacre at Amritsar?

Good one, Colm. :-)


> There's more about him in a chapter in 'Autobiography of a Yogi'

Yeah! Glad you too read that book. That is one of my favourite books.

:-)
Permalink Send private email jingalala jingalala ™ 
March 12th, 2007 6:18am
Ah! OK. The cavalry delusion.
Permalink Send private email (100 + 85)/2 
March 12th, 2007 6:42am
Britain was bankrupt at the end of WW2, another factor that helped India gain independance.
Permalink Bluebeard 
March 12th, 2007 6:45am
The British were fairly soft imperialists by the 20th century. That's why Gandhi's tactics worked.  Yes they committed the massacre at Amritsar, and other authoritarian measures - but they felt bad about doing it.  Brigadier-General Dyer who ordered it was condemned by both British houses of Parliament, including by Winston Churchill.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amritsar_massacre


Gandhi's tactics would not have worked against the other Imperialists - French, Dutch, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Japanese or American - who were quite prepared to use extremely harsh tactics and didn't seem to feel much guilt about them.  Under most of the above, the whole of the Indian National Congress would have been have been shot out of hand (and perhaps large populations massacred), or failing that, at least thrown in jail.

The American and German versions of imperialism were particularly harsh:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Namibia#The_Herero_and_Namaqua_wars

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillipine-American_War#American_torture_and_scorched-earth_campaigns



An interesting short story, is what if the Indian National Congress had to resist a Nazi occupation of India:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Article
Permalink  
March 12th, 2007 8:31am
"... but they felt bad about doing it.  Brigadier-General Dyer who ordered it was condemned by both British houses of Parliament, including by Winston Churchill."

oh, yes, quite right, "they felt bad about it".

"General Dyer was in command of the 45th (Jullundur) Brigade at the time of the massacre. Although some praised his actions, he was widely condemned internationally, and, in 1920, (...) the Punjab Disturbances and which heavily censured Dyer, the Government of India removed him from his post and sent him back to England."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Dyer)

When he returned to England, he received a small fortune collected for him by sympathizers. "Condemning" someone verbally and sending them home hardly seems like appropriate punishment for ordering an attack on a group of thousands of unarmed civilians which left hundreds dead.
Permalink Send private email a2800276 
March 12th, 2007 10:26am
Thousands.
Permalink Colm 
March 12th, 2007 10:28am
"WTF? What about the massacre at Amritsar?"

<shrug> its all relative.  relative to the times and the other imperialists, the british behaved in a very civil manner indeed.

you can tell that by the way gandhi wasn't, you know, killed.

OTOH, Im not saying the british were saints...
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 12th, 2007 11:44am
The record of Empire was extremely patchy and usually depended on who was in charge locally. Which is how the same colonial government that produced Dyer also produced A.O. Hume.
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
March 12th, 2007 12:01pm
yep.  your point being....?
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 12th, 2007 12:07pm
> oh, yes, quite right, "they felt bad about it".

Obviously there was not uniformity of opinion, but the general point stands - the British official position placed more restraints than some other colonizing countries.  In the 20th century, the British didn't set out to genocide native peoples, and British official policy considered that they were in the colonies to look after the natives paternally - whereas other colonizers generally considered they were in their colonies to add to the power, glory, riches and military strength of the mother country.
Permalink  
March 12th, 2007 12:27pm
I thought Jesus too never told 'them' to follow him. am I wrong?
Permalink Iwan 
March 12th, 2007 1:02pm
Jesus didn't force other to follow him but he did ask people to.
Permalink Send private email Rick, try writing better English 
March 12th, 2007 1:05pm

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