From 15 August 2022, India has started celebrating the yearlong Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostsav honouring the 75th anniversary year of its Independence. In this context, it is pertinent to revisit the legacy of the greatest(?) Indian leader of freedom movement, Mr. M K Gandhi. Gandhi’s Ahimsa (non-violence), as the core philosophy of freedom movement of Indian National Congress, got world-wide recognition and appreciation. Gandhi took the slogan of Ahimsa Parom Dharma (non-violence is the ultimate code of conduct) from the Hindu Epic Mahabharata.
The sentence Asimsa Parom Dharma appears in Anusasana Parva of Mahabharata. The person who actually utters this is the great patriarch Bhishma, the man who single-handedly slaughtered thousands of warriors in the Mahabharata war. These contradictory stands make Bhishma a confused character apparently, which he was not and the real truth rests in the context of the verse.
When Yudhiṣṭhira, the eldest of Pandava brothers, asks his grandfather Bhishma about the merits of abstaining from consuming flesh of animals, Bhishma talks at length about merits of vegetarianism and demerits of consuming meat. Bhishma uses the word Himsa (antonym of Ahimsa) solely to refer to the torture and slaughter of animals. Bhishma condemns animal cruelty.
The term Ahimsa Parom Dharma appears five times in the Mahabharata and occurs only in opposition to animal cruelty in every single instance. It has nothing to do with reluctance to fight wars or injustice with violence, as last resort. The usage of the term in the context of Indian freedom struggle is the greatest Gandhian distortion and deception of twentieth century India. Gandhi’s active support for Britain’s bloody WW-I and WW-II, with death and injury of tens of thousands of Indian soldiers in those violent wars, exposed his duplicity about ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence).
Gandhi was the most wrong person in the rightest time and place. He destroyed the self-esteem of Hindu Indians. He made them passive, fatalistic and devoid of drive and passion as a nation. He made them punching bags and ‘shouting brigade’ in the name of Ahimsa. It was not understood how Ahimsa was related to Gandhi’s freedom struggle? Even if one accepts Gandhi’s Ahimsa in spiritual context, then freedom struggle was no spiritual journey. It was the struggle for getting independence from the oppressive foreign rule which was not interested to give freedom to Indians.
Western media made a hero out of Gandhi as that suited their imperialistic need. Gandhi was a manipulative politician in the guise of a saint. Jinnah, the great leader, who created Pakistan, used to refer to him as ‘wily Gandhi’. After independence of India in 1947, the Nehruvian Left-Liberal-Islamist historians of India created a narrative as if India got its freedom from Britain only through non-violent movement of Gandhi. Nothing could be furthest from truth in such claim. The narratives of tens of thousands of freedom fighters, including Indian National Army of Subhash Chandra Bose, who gave their lives or had undergone inhuman torture in jails to make India free, were pushed to oblivion by Nehruvian historians of independent India.
Muslims were Gandhi’s Achilles heel. It was the Indian Muslim community, who not only refused to accept Gandhi as their leader, but also compelled him to remain silent, to the point of supporting them, on their communal misdeeds and violence. Gandhi tried his best in Khilafat Movement (1919 to 1924) to forge Hindu-Muslim unity and to become the leader of both the communities. But that badly misfired for Gandhi. Muslims rejected him as Kafir.
Gandhi cried for Hindu-Muslim unity all his life, but never promoted the practice of inter-marriage and inter-dinning between the two communities. In May 1936, Hiralal, the eldest son of Gandhi converted to Islam. But after a few months he reverted back to Hinduism, which Gandhi accepted happily. But when earlier in 1926, Swami Shraddhanand was murdered in Delhi by a Muslim fanatic for swami-ji’s reconversion activities among Muslims, Gandhi took a stand against reconversion to Hinduism and did not condemn the murder of Swami Shraddhanand.
Gandhi was no saint. He was full of weaknesses, anger, religious orthodoxy, vindictiveness and authoritarian slant in his character. Supporting Moplah Muslims for their Hindu massacre, ousting of Subhash Chandra Bose from Congress Party for opposing him and making Nehru the first Prime Minister of independent India by over-ruling the claim of democratically elected Sardar Patel; -are only a few examples of Gandhi’s malicious attributes. Gandhi crossed all the limits of morality when, to fulfil his misplaced secular demand, thousands of Hindu-Sikh refugees from West Pakistan were driven out from the shelter they took inside Delhi’s mosques in the chilly and rainy winter December night of 1947.
There is another major example of the manipulative nature of Gandhi. Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, the famous Hindu devotional song, also known as Ram Dhun, was tuned by V D Paluskar in 1905. Gandhi adopted the song in his Dandi Salt March of 1930 and incorporated lines like “Iswara Allah Tero Namm, Sabko Sanmati De Bhagwan” (Your name is Iswara, as well as, Allah and You please give good sense to all of us). What Gandhi did not know was that associating any other entity with Allah was a severe crime under Islam called Shirk. This crime is punishable by death under Shariah. So, while Muslims discarded that Gandhian misadventure of Ram Dhun, Hindus were made victims of that fraud.
Gandhi paid by his life on 30 January 1948 not for nothing. One can get a better understanding about Gandhi’s kinky mind by visiting the 1955 BBC interview (available in internet) of Dr B R Ambedkar, the great Dalit (untouchable) leader and Chairman of Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution. There is no Constitutional or legal provision to call Gandhi Father of the Nation in India. But this fraud of calling Gandhi Father of the Nation also keeps on going unabated. Between 1945 and 1965, many other European colonies of Asia got freedom as independent countries and none had any Gandhi-like leader. Gandhi was not indispensable for India’s freedom struggle. In his absence, India could have rather attained independence much earlier and without partition.
About the author: Jadabeswar Bhattacharjee served in the Government of India for 35 years and retired as Higher Administrative Grade Officer. After retirement from the service, he developed interest in writing on contentious issues and topics. His published books are (1) Politically incorrect Point of View, (2) Politics, Bong and Faith, (3) The Alternative Narrative, (4) The West Bengal Saga and (5) Political Islam and India. He presently resides in Kolkata and NCR.