Gandhi - A Few Words

I don't know who these girls are on each side of Gandhi. Any information will be much appreciated.

The only social media platform I'm connected to these days are twitter and instagram. I won't consider blogger as here I literally converse with myself. Of those two platform, instagram is what I check regularly. My morning starts with checking colourful pictures and updates from people all over the globe. Today when I opened my instagram I noticed, much to my dismay, that my feed was flooding with people paying their respect to the great (?) man who was born on this day 146 years ago.

India is a weird country. Although India is not exactly like the middle east, but still Indians are no less fanatic and hegemonic when it comes to their national figures. And Gandhi has always been one of the most sensitive topics in India. I am no historian. History has never been my specialisation. But even with my limited knowledge of political history of India I can't help wondering whether the institution named Gandhi is nothing but a clever political strategy to establish the supremacy of a certain political family over the throne of independent and divided India. However, whether Gandhi was a true leader or how deep his contribution was to bring about the independence are not my main issue here. But I doubt how much respect I can possibly pay to a man who treated his wife abominably all his life. Or a man who would 'test' his self-control by bathing and sleeping with under-aged naked women. Some of these women were his own nieces and grandchildren. Gandhi used to look upon marriage as a ''sacrament'' and the whole idea of contraception was ''detrimental to the spiritual progress of the human family.'' He also said, ''Birth control, as practiced in the West, has led to the degradation of marriage and unbridled sensual enjoyment. Men, supposed to be good thinkers in Europe, call marriage a superstition.'' He confessed of having sex with his wife Kasturba in the same house where his father was taking his last breath. He fathered six children and led a fairly normal married life until he was 36 when he took a vow of complete celibacy. For the rest of his life Gandhi remained a zealous supporter of absolute self-control and even advised to take a dip in cold water whenever one feels lustful. He used to think 'preserving' the semen instead of ejaculating it away makes one stronger. Many women suffered throughout their entire life for having subjects (or scapegoats) to Gandhi's 'experiments with sex'. Most of this women were shunned away by the society after Gandhi's demise. The whole hoopla that is going on in the name of Swach Bharat these days owes its origin to Gandhi's obsession with enemas and latrine cleaning. The practice of enemas was a part of the daily routine in Gandhi's ashram. When Kasturba was dying of pneumonia he refused to allow the British doctors to inject her with penicillin citing the reason that it was an alien medicine. But he had no qualms to swallow quinine, another alien medicine, when he contracted malaria shortly afterwards.

When it comes to spiritual belief, apart from being a total atheist I follow the practical and simpler philosophy of Buddhism. But in the context of India's history of independence, I think the approach of Bhagat Singh or Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were much more relevant and effective to bring about the much awaited freedom. Violence is necessary evil and cannot be avoided completely. The whole concept of non-violence is unequivocally noble but not a plausible one. In a way, violence is one of the basic rules of nature. And by that rule, the fittest one always survives or the tiger feasts on a deer.

There is a book named Gandhi Naked Ambition by Jad Adams that was published in 2010. I can't help but wonder how many people have read this book in India. Especially those who are flooding (or spamming) the feed with pre-downloaded wallpapers stinking of hero worship and delusion of patriotism. Although I would not give much importance to Jad Adams as the strategy to belittle the outstanding leaders who fought against British colonialism is an old one; nevertheless the typical Indian tendency to idolise the historical figures is not a very sagacious one either. Here Bollywood directors are considered to be a better source on Gandhi than eminent research scholars. Of course it is easier to keep one's eyes & ears shut and go with the flow. Questioning the system has always led to uncomfortably painful consequences. Even the so called father of our nation would agree on this point.

p.s. I am thankful to those who spammed my instagram feed with Gandhi Jayanti wishes. They tickled the sleeping dragon and my writer's block is now gone.