Friday, January 9, 2015

Today on January 9th 2015 we remember the 100th centenary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi by Harsh Thakor

Today on January 9th 2015 we commemorate the 100th centenary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi coming to India.Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is one of the most legendary names and charismatic figures of the last millennium.Few people in the history of mankind have been able to create such an impact on their people. Gandhi could win over the masses of India with the genius of a magician. Few leaders ever in history could understand the language of the broad masses like Gandhi.
Neverthless I never class Gandhi as an anti-imperialist revolutionary, a crusader for liberation or a champion of the masses. Without doubt the western world or bourgeois forces have utilised his teachings and role to defend the interest of Imperialism and capitalism and to suppress revolutionary movements. He compromised the Indian people’s movement and his leadership led to a treacherous betrayal of the struggle. The British left India not because of the Gandhian Congress movement but because of the crumbling state of their economy which reduced them to helplessness. We have to refute the western and Indian intellectuals who have glorified him as a saint. We must asses why he was immortalized, particularly abroad. To me it was because of the vested interests of Imperialist countries to protect their hegemony over third world countries and diffuse any uprising. Another factor was how Gandhi revived the symbols of Hinduism with such meticulous craft which won the hearts of the Indian masses. The Hindu philosophy was embedded in the psyche of the Indian people for centuries.In his day and age Gandhi ‘s ideology and practice was instrumental in saving the very social interests of the colonial countries and later United States of America.It is worth reading Gandhi’s secretary Mahadev Desai who stated that Gandhi took all his decisions and actions with the interest of the British in mind.Significantly still Bhagat Singh is the most popular icon amongst the youth of India,till today.Although praised to a much higher extent in the West than Mao Tse Tung in the period of 1949-76 Mao had greater popularity than Gandhi .

Above all he had powerful Hindu revivalist tendencies, was a staunch supporter of the caste system and a very authoritarian leader within the Congress iself.Often his ‘non-violence’ was applicable against the revolutionary struggles of the workers and peasants but not against the tools of the state machinery in suppressing peoples movements. He never supported industrial labour strikes or anti-landlord struggles of peasants. He was extremely dictatorial within the Congress itself. All his ‘Satayagraha’ movements diluted and diverted the important class struggles of peasants against landlords or workers against industrialists. Infact they hardly mobilised the broad masses in important struggles and imposed ideology on the masses and their movements. It also contained strong dictatorial trends in leadership.Satyagraha trampled on the movements of people.and Gandhi used it to debar masses from playing an active role .Ironically satyagraha was a religious movement. He also took some of the most hypocritical political stands like when calling for Indians to support the Dutch and fight on their behalf in the Boer war. Later he even asked the Jews to surrender to Herr Hitler and opposed India supporting the allies in the 2nd world war.

 Gandhi also pretended to save Shaheed Bhagat Singh but actually conspired with the British in his death sentence.In Champaran he compromised the struggle of the Indigo planters. When soldiers in Garwahalai disobeyed orders and refused to fire on their Muslim brethren Gandhi condemned them.on orders of the British He was a master in diverting the genuine revolutionary people’s struggles and giving the struggles under his leadership an anti-imperialist colour.No doubt he exhibited genius in leading the Salt March where the broad masses were mobilized but again limited his struggle in protecting class interests and opposing the non-payment of rent to landlords .When that Salt styagraha erupted revolutionary consciousness in the peasantry all over India Gandhi opposed the non-payment of rent to landlords or struggles for land.Although projecting a secular image it must be stated that Gandhi always propagated as a ‘Hindu’ and blessed the staunchest proponents of Hindu revivalism like Rammohan Malviya.

A lot of his slogans and advise to masses was plagued with Hindu revivalist thinking. Infact although he preached communal brotherhood he repeatedly took up the cudgels of Hinduism even during riots. Gandhi’s religious approach was the precursor of events that led to the ultimate partition.When he told fellow Hindus to morally stand up for their religion. Gandhi also was a strong defender of the caste system and glorified it’s principles. He opposed any kind of reservations for the backward castes His economic policies were also heavily loaded in favour of the ruling classes where he propagated trusteeship .Even if village industries were progressive Gandhi went back to medieval India in his economic philosophy and his programme manufacturing cloth independently was endorsed and practised by industrialists.The Khadi or hand made cloth cannot compete in prices with the mill-made cloth, and is therefore beyond the reach of the poorest. The incomes of the broad masses could hardly facilitate it. Primitives economy advocated by Gandhi diverts the peasantry from it’s fundamental tasks, neglecting the aspect of agrarian change.The existing evils of poverty and misery are rooted in primitive technique, which has it’s roots in the social system of exploitation under imperialism.Feudalism is embedded in Primitives economy which allies with the interest of the landlords in the villages.Gandhhi’s Panchayati Raj is a classic case.All this has hit’s roots in Gandhi’s book ‘Hind Swaraj’ written in 1909.
Gandhi’s ideology is inapplicable in any revolutionary struggle and would diffuse any national liberation struggle be it in the Middle East,Latin America or India.
Below are some parts of Important essays and quotes elaborating my criticisms above.
I deepy rever this short but conscise analysis of Scottish militant.I owe him my gratitude
Quoting Scottish militant in revleft blog "Scottish_Militant

Gandhi on private ownership:
" I will never be a participant in snatching away of the properties from their owners and you should know that I will use all my influence and authority against class war. If somebody wants to deprive you from your property you will find me standing shoulder to shoulder with you"
taken from Partition can it be undone? by Lal Khan page 52.
Also this "great" pacifist was actually a big hypocrite on the question of the army. When a group of soldiers refused to fire on an anti-imperialist demonstration Gandhi condemned it and said:
"When a soldier refuses to fire then he is guilty of betraying his oath (!). I can never advise soldiers to defy the orders of officers because, if tomorrow I form a government, I will have to use the same soldiers and officers. If today I advise them for any defiance then tomorrow they can also refuse to obey my orders"
Ibid page 52.
As Trotsky put it in 1934:
"We must expose the treacheries and deceptions of Ghandism in front of the colonial peoples. The main aim of Ghandism is to water down the burning revolutionary fires amongst the people and to continue their exploitation for the petty interests of the national bourgeoisie"
Ibid page 50 and 51.
If any of you are interested in reading about how the Indian bourgeoisie let their interests lead to massmurder on people and the partition of India into India and Pakistan you should read: Partition can it be undone? By Lal Khan. It is availible from the Wellred Bookshop
Gandhi and his strategy of civil disobedience were clearly aimed at containing the revolutionary anti-imperialist character of the struggle of Indian workers and peasants, and this was clearly shown at every juncture of the movement for national independence.
He went as far as to call off any civil disobedience when the movement threatened to adopt a mass character and move beyond the limits of peaceful petioning into revolutionary action. Some examples:
- Gandhi started his activities in South Africa where he fought for political rights only for Indians (not for Blacks who were the majority opf the population), in fact he voluntarily recruited Indians for a support company for the colonial army in 1906 during the great Zulu uprising (despite the fact that at that time Indians had no rights at all).
- during World War One, already in India, he tried to recruit a corps of Indians to fight for the British Empire, but he did not have much success since people asked themselves why should they fight for the empire that was slaving them!

- in 1916 he "mediated" in a strike of mill workers in Ahmehabad, in which he insisted that the workers should NOT picket the premises and should settle for a 35% wage increase faced with a 60% prices increase! By the end of the whole experience the workers were bitterly angry at Gandhi "for being a friend of the millowners, riding in their motor-cars and eating sumptuously with them, while the weavers were starving".
- the first part of the disobedience campaign in India was in the 1919. A central theme of the agitation in that period was the passing of the Rowlette act which basically extended the denial of democratic rights which had been established with the excuse of world war one (Congress had loyaly supported Britain in WW1) This aroused millions of workers and peasants into mass action and there were virtual insurrections in several provinces. Congress and Gandhi first accepted the Rowlette act, but when the movement became too big, then they joined it and tried to control it under the slogans of non-violence. The idea was that the middle class would take the leadership of the movement while the masses should limit themselves to hand-spinning cotton.
- a 1919 resolution of the Congress reads: "This Congress, while fully recognising the grave provocation that led to a sudden outburst of mob frenzy, deeply regrets and condemns the excesses committed in certain parts of the Punjab and Gujarat resulting in the loss of lives and injury to person and property during the month of April last." This was after the British had killed at least 1,200 people in Punjab (where only 4 British had died in the incidents) and after the famous Amritsar incident where the British fired on an unarmed crowd in an enclosed square killing at least 400!! And Congress regreted "mob frenzy"!!!
- When the movement was reaching its peak and the British feared social revolution (that is the overthrow not only of British rule but also of landlordism and capitalism), Gandhi called off the campaign. The excuse used was the Chauri Chaura incident when groups of peasants faced with attacks on the part of the police ended up burning down a police station killing a number of police officers. "non-violence and non-cooperation" were abandoned in favour of the "constructive programme" which consisted in Congress workers going to the villages to preach traditional methods of production. 172 Chauri Chaura villagers were sentenced to death and there was no protest or campaign on the part of Congress leaders.
- the suspension of the mass movement was accompanied by a call to peasants to resume payment of taxes and other levies to the landlords! In fact in the resolution suspending the campaign there were three out of seven clauses relating to the payment of rents to the landlords by small peasants.
- the second wave of the campaign started in 1930. From the beginning the campaign was to be limited to Gandhi and a few chosen followers in what was known as the Slat March. The masses were asked to be patient and follow with the contructive programme. Again when the movement became too revolutionary Gandhi called it off in 1931 and signed the treacherous Gandhi-Irwin Pact
- in 1937-39 Congress Ministers took office in seven of the 11 provinces in India. They carried out a pro-capitalist pro-landlord policy, to the point of using armed force to supress workers and peasants' struggle. Thus the Bombay general strike was put down by the police and the army sent in by a Congress Minister. So much for non-violence!
This is not meant to be a complete history of Congress or of Gandhi's thought, just a few examples to show that the real aim of Gandhi was to achieve independence by "civilised" means, while maintaining the rule of capitalists and landlords in India and avoid any action which might spur the revolutionary aims of workers and peasants.

                                             Shaheed Bhagat Singh 
What has been most forgotten above is the hanging of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in 1932..Infact Gandhi played an important role in the death sentence being awarded to Bhagat Singh.Western critiques have failed to throw sufficient light on Gandh’s colluding with the death sentence on Bhagat Singh.Infact it was one of the most significant negative aspects in Gandhi’s political career and throws light on his political thinking.Gandhi was a steadfast critique of the Hindustan Republican Association formed by Bhagat Singh.
The cry ‘Bhagat Singh Zindabad’ was voiced throughout India.Gandhi scared of a national uprising Lord Irwin “Gandhi did not plead for commutation. But he did ask for postponement in present circumstances.”
Few hours before the execution he stated to the viceroy ”Since you seem to value my influence such as it is in favour of peace ,do not please unncesssarily make my position difficult as it is lmost too difficult for future work.”
“I have remained absolutely silent during their last days lest a word of mine may injure the prospect of commutation.”
Herbert Emerson,secretary of the government of India at the time recorded “listening with amazement to Irwin nad Gandhi after the agreement had been reached by them that Bhagat Singh must be executed,engaged in,a prolonged discussion not as between 2 statemen on the political emancipation of terrorism but as between 2 saints on the sanctity of human life.”
Lord Erwin’s minutes recorded “ In conclusion,not connected with the above,he mentioned the case of Bhagt Singh.He did not plead for the commutation however asked for postponement.
Three days later to save his reputation Gandhi stated “ I pleaded with the Viceroy to save his life. I brought all the persuasion in command to bear him and pleaded as best as I could.”
Below is an abridged version of an article by Shapurji Saklatvala in Labour monthly in July 1939 compiled on Marxist Internet Archive titled “Who is this Gandhi?”
THE bourgeoisie of the world who have been startled by the work of Lenin are making a tremendous noise everywhere about this “great ” Gandhi as if he were some divine being above the ordinary human being. This outside world praises him and adores him for his two words: non-violent movement. The working class should better know the whole history of Gandhi. He has his good qualities which certainly are rare amongst political adventurers of modern life, and especially among members of the British Labour Party and other European Social Democrats. All such politicians manage to increase their wealth and their luxuries in life, and they all become little tin-pot aristocrats. Gandhi is the opposite. He throws away all material goods and wants no luxuries. Living in an oriental country of illiterate masses, and knowing very well how religion is used by every ruling class for mass suppression, he mixes a lot of religious sentiments with revolutionary phrases, and so poses as an object of worship amongst the masses in India. In this guise Gandhi professes indifference to material wealth, but he loves human admiration to an unbounded degree. The intoxication of mass worship has benumbed all his senses for physical discomfort. He also has physical courage and a dictatorial mind which will remain unchanged from external pressure till he himself rapidly changes it from contradiction to contradiction.
In his young days he went to South Africa to assist the Indian colonials who were badly oppressed by the British and the Dutch. He never made the slightest attempt socially and politically to unite the Negroes and the Indians together for the overthrow of the white man’s tyranny. He cultivated a separatist mentality among the Indians based on religious superstition and social snobbery. Whenever the humiliation or the suffering was too great for his Indian followers he gave them a dose of Tolstoy’s philosophy. Every now and again he sang songs of praise for the British Empire, and actually made people believe that there was love and justice in the hearts of imperialist rulers and capitalist employers. He left the poor Negroes alone and wasted his time in bothering with detailed grievances of small Indian merchants and traders. Whenever some vulgar favour was shown by the British master towards a few rich Indians in South Africa, Gandhi would burst out into a song like the Empire’s nightingale. He ignored the fact that South Africa belongs to the negroes and that the white tyrants were a small minority, and were the worst type of exploiters, gold hunters and diamond diggers.
Then burst out the Boer War. Gandhi observed all the intrigues of Chamberlain, Rhodes and Dr. Jameson. Every student of politics knows that the British War on the Boers was one of the foulest acts in the history of wars. Gandhi went from place to place asking Indians to be loyal to the British war-mongers and actually wanted to assist them. The disarmed Indian merchants had the reputation of having no military spirit or fitness. So he made a Red Cross Battalion out of them and sent them to help in that wicked war. His non-violent spirit and Tolstoy’s philosophy did not urge him to come out and oppose the war even as much as Lloyd George did in London. He had not sufficient understanding of the meaning of the war even to advocate that the Indians, if they had to help, should help the Boers.
After the Boer War and after the South African Union. Gandhi made a great hero in his heart and mind of General Smuts. He knew that General Smuts had finally betrayed the liberty of his own nation, he knew that General Smuts was an exploiter of the lands of the Negroes, he knew that General Smuts became a faithful servant of the Empire as soon is he was given a big position in it, though he had told his people that he was going to fight against the British to a finish. Gandhi’s worship of General Smuts grew so high that when General Smuts declared his policy of perpetual slavery for Indians in South Africa, Gandhi declared it was the Magna Carta of the poor oppressed Indians.
After this he left South Africa. When he was in London the world war broke out. Gandhi was a fresh arrival in London where there were many old Indian residents. The young Indian students in London had been agitated with revolutionary teachings from 1906, and the British Government had managed to get several of them pent to India, some of whom were then hanged and others were imprisoned from five to twenty years. In his usual desire to be a leader everywhere, he came forward as the leader of the Indians in London and issued a circular once again asking all the Indians to fall in under his leadership and to serve the British Empire in the world war. He was shrewd enough to guess that Indians young and old would have to accept his proposals from fear of being known to the Government as disloyal. But he was mistaken. The Indian residents in London laughed at him and condemned his sycophantic act. Some fifty poor Indian students hurriedly joined him and their had two or three years of humiliating time for repentance. On his return to India at a Recruiting Meeting at Kaira in 1916 he exhorted every Indian to join the British Army, and he openly declared that India’s liberty was to be won on the battlefields of Belgium murdering the Germans.
He will never fight for India’s freedom from the British yoke. He wrote in his paper jesting articles against the Independence Resolution of Madras. He is shrewd enough to know that complete independence for India will soon finish the power of the Indian princes and bourgeoisie and will end in a triumphant revolution of the workers and peasants. He is really shuddering at the thought of a Communist State: his ideal is a Dominion under British guns with Gandhi as the new “General Smuts.” He talks of the Rupee ratio, of protective duties, of handspinning, of prohibition and various other parliamentary shibboleths, but he cannot conceive of a great Indian Union of Soviets in which worker and peasants are supreme, and in which the princes and landlords, money-lenders and dividend earners, have no place at all. What can India’s poor “General Smuts” do with such an idea? As soon as Nehru's Report brought back the British Empire into the Congress, Gandhi came back. As soon as Lord Irwin spoke of a smiling Round Table Conference of the thieves of the Empire, Gandhi rushed his country into it by signing the idiotic Delhi Manifesto. But immediately he found the young blood rising, and he still found the workers’ and peasants’ revolution growing. He thought it better to ride on the back of it than be crushed under it. He, therefore, remained in the Congress with a programme for complete independence and pretended for the time to drop the Delhi Manifesto.
Since then he has been shouting for a compromise, and by dramatic vestures he is striving to force a speedy compromise between the British and would-be Indian bourgeois leaders to stem the growth of proletarian revolution. He selected the Salt Law in March as the point of his attack because he knew that for twelve months the Indian salt manufacturers had been begging the Viceroy for protective measures against the foreign European salt trust—measures which they were very likely to obtain as a price of peace between Indian bourgeoisie and British imperialists. He neglects the revolutionary side of the salt proposition. He does not call upon millions of Indian villagers to expel the special Salt Police from their villages and he does not call upon his own friends, the big Indian salt manufacturers, to refuse to pay the taxes and to go to prison. He does not call upon his propertied and mill-owning friends to refuse to pay income tax and have their property confiscated. He does not support the railway strikers and textile strikers who were shot down, and his Congress Committee has not got a word of praise for the Indian troops at Peshawar who practised true non-violence and refused to shoot down innocent people wanting their liberty from a foreign occupier of their country. By knowing the past of Gandhi, we are better able to follow his present tactics and we shall even be able to guess his future activities.
Some people think that because Gandhi and some of his followers are put in prison, and because they use strong words, therefore they will never again become friends of the British Empire. This is all nonsense. British Imperialists have been able to win back in the past much stronger fighters, such as General Botha and General Smuts, and also Arthur Griffiths and Michael Collins. Workers of the world, let us unite together and break our chains and do not let Round Table Conferences and peace conferences and imperialist conferences add stronger links to the chains round the workers and peasants.
Barry Paiver, writing in the British Socialist Review, provides the mostplausible ex*planation:
Firstly, the positive reasons for British rule vanished. The economic basis of the Indian empire was the hard currency surpluses earned by the export of commercial crops to other industrial countries. These surpluses were then transferred to London to support the pound. The Depression cut the prices of these crops in half and the surpluses vanished, never to return. For the Brit*ish state (as opposed to individual companies) this turned India into an eco*nomic liability.
India's other imperial role was the military foundation of the empire east of Suez. In both world wars the Indian Army fought for the British in the Mid*dle East. But in 1942 the Japanese smashed British power in the East. The British were only saved by American victories in the Pacific. India s military role vanished.
Quoting Phillip Ferguson in Redline blog “On the one hand, as long as it wanted to hold India and maintained repression, including violent repression, Britain was able to contain and see off Gandhi’s movement. On the other hand, after World War 2, Britain was simply incapable of holding onto India. It was indebted and ravaged as a result of the war. As long as British capital could continue to exploit the regions ruled by Britain, the British state would evacuate its administrations and grant independence.”
Edgar Snow was not wrong when he said: "Nobody else in India could play this dual role of saint for the masses and champion of big business, which was the secret of Gandhi'spower"(35) -- the secret of Gandhi'scharisma. A negative factor that sustained Gandhi's charisma was the weaknessof the working class and the Communist Party of India.
Quoting late Suniti Kumar Ghosh
A Superb Cocktail of Religion and Politics
Gandhi's charisma among the Hindus owed much to his capacity to make a superbcocktail of religion and politics. His continual references to God, to `the inner voice' and to the religious scriptures and epics, his claims that hissteps were guided by God (that for instance his fasts were undertaken atthe call of God), his ashrams and his ascetic's robe swayed the Hindumasses powerfully in this land where godmen flourish even today. His harkingback to a mythical past, the Ram Rajya, had an immense appeal to thebackward-looking Hindus, especially the peasantry enmeshed in feudal ties.He never hesitated to make unabashed exploitation of the religious credulityof the peasant masses and of other toiling people who shared the peasantoutlook. When Rabindranath Tagore met Romain Rolland and his two friendsin June 1926, Rabindranath dwelt on Gandhi's "variations and contradictions,the compromises he has accepted and that sort of secret bad faith which makeshim prove to himself by sophistries that the decisions he takes are thosedemanded by virtue and the divine law even when the contrary is true andhe must be aware of thefact".(6)
Besides his ashrams and the ascetic's garb, the prayer-meetings Gandhiheld every day, where he blended prayers and politics, were a powerful weaponof his with which he swayed the mass mind. Kanji Dwarkadas said that Gandhi"was exploiting for political purposes these public prayers to keep and continuehis hold on ignorant and superstitiouspeople".(7)
Subhas observed that in this land where the "spiritual man has always wieldedthe largest influence", Gandhi "came to be looked upon by the mass of thepeople as a Mahatma before he became the undisputed political leader of India".Subhas said that at the Nagpur Congress in December 1920, Jinnah, who hadaddressed Gandhi as `Mr Gandhi', was "shouted down by thousands of peoplewho insisted that he should address him as `Mahatma Gandhi'". Subhas added:
"More significantly, the religious idiom of Gandhi's politics widened the gulf between the two major communities of the sub-continent, and was probably one of the reasons behind its division into the two states of India and Pakistan in 1947.”
Even during communal riots Gandhi would defend the rights of Hindus. When communal riots erupted in Noakhali a deputation of Hindu s saw him on the morning of November 7th,1946,telling him that Muslim’s attacks on Hindu families were a part of their plan for Pakistan.Gandhi replied “I have not asked you to discard the use of arms for the purposes of our presnt discussion.Use your arms well ,if you must. The most tragic thing about the Chittagong armoury raid people is that they could not even multiply themselves.”
Inspite of being such a vociferous opponent of revolutionaries like the Chittagong heroes ,he wanted Hindus to emulate their courage to combat the Muslims.
Gandhi “I hold my religion dearer than my country and therefore I am a Hindu first and nationalist after.
“Hindus should not depend wholly onMuslims.Nor should Mulsims be frightened by the meanness of Hindus. Each communist should rely on it’s own strength and help the other.
“I have felt the gravest need of Maulana Shaukat Ali by my side. I can wield no influence over the Mussulamans except through a Mussulaman.
Quoting Gandhi”Hindu-Muslim quarrels are in a way unknown to us, a fight for swaraj.This fighting (which took the shape of cowardly assaults on defenceless men, women and children)however unfortunate it would be is a sign of growth. It is like the War of the Roses.Out of it will rise a might nation.”
Below is an ideal example of the contradictions of Gandhi’s conviction of non –violence.
Quoting Suniti Kumar Ghosh “While denouncing the use of force against the British Raj,Gandhi always claimed that violencve was incompatible with India’s past history and cultureWriting to C.F.andrews on July 6th 1918,Gandhi asserted that such a view was wrong and argued that Mhabharata,Rmayana,Manu and Shankacharya used violence. He also referred to the ‘Mohammadan’ and English’ periods of Indian history to drive home his thesis that the Indian people had never repudiated violence or blood lust.”
“War will always be with us. There seems to be no possibility of the whole human nature being transformed There is real Ahimsa in defending my wife and children at the rsik of striking down the wrongdoer.”
Gandhi supported the dispatch of Indian troops to Kashmir to resist tribal invaders from the north-West.He defended the march of Indian troops into Junagadh the ruler of which had acceded to Pakistan.Gandhi vociferously supported K.M.Mushi a Hindu chauvinist who was the newly appointed general in Hyderabad in December 1947.Gandhi told Mushi,”Excercise yor utmost skill in order to bring about a new settlement.”
Gandhi appeared to have had hardly any objection to the partition of India on religious lines: his concern was about the "content", that is, areas tha tmight be claimed for inclusion within Pakistan.
The view that the Congress leaders felt obliged to accept partition in theinterests of communal peace and freedom early in 1947 -- only after communa lholocausts had started and after the functioning of the Interim Governmentin 1946-1947 had revealed to them the impossibility of working with the MuslimLeague -- a view propagated by Congress leaders like Rajendra Prasad, andothers like Sumit Sarkar, is far from correct. The facts are: the Congressleaders exerted as much pressure on the British raj as possible to make a deal with them alone and hand over to them an undivided India (ofcourse, within the imperial framework), but as `freedom' would be the productof negotiations between three parties -- the raj, the Congress and the League-- they were afraid from the time the League raised the demand for separationthat "in the last resort" they would have to agree to the partitionof India on a religious basis.
Earlier in 1946 Jinnah wanted partition but then conceded foreign affairs, defence and communication to the Centre. In April 1946,Jinnah was offered 2 alternatives: Pakistan as it’s eventually came into being, or an Indian Union under which Muslim provinces would function.Jinnah rejected the first one and said he would consider the second if the Congress, did so.
On May 12TH he presented proposals demanding a conferedation of states and not an independent Pakistan. The Cabinet mission endorsed this on May 16,1946.
Gandhi however refused to yield to the decision of the Congress,inspite of Jinnah accepting it. And though the Congress claimed to accept it and subsequently supported partition.On March 8 1947,the Congress working committee demanded the partition of Punjab and Bengal ON COMMUNAL LINES.It invited the laeague to a conference to divide up the 2 cprovinces.
Gandhi remaided totally silent during the dbate .Eventually he buckled under the pressure of Sardar Patel and Nehru into agreeing with the partition.Ultimately more than the League it was the Congress that wanted the partition.Both Organizations made equal contributions to the creation f partition.
Gandhi on Euro against Nazis.
“Imagine the state of Europe,today is the Czechs,Poles,the Norwegians,the French and the English had all said to Hitler:”You need to make scientific preparation for destruction.We will meet your violence with counter-violence.You will therefore be able to destroy our non-violent army without tanks,battleships and airships.The only difference would be that Hitler would have got without fighting what he had gained after a bloody fight.The history of Europe would then have ben written differently.”
Gandhi on Chinese resistance to Japan.
“If China wins and copies,Japanees methods,she will beat Japan hollow at their own game.But the victory of China will not mean a new hope for the world.For China will then be a multiple edition of Japan.If China is defeated on the battlefield,your non-violence will remain undaunted,and will have done it’s work.
Two factors caused resentment among the big bourgeois against the British.Those who had stakes in Malaya and Burma could hardly reconcile themselvesto the losses. As the Governor of the Central Provinces, Twynham, wrote toLinlithgow, "the losses incurred in Malaya and Burma have stricken the Baniasand Marwaris to the soul."(57) Second,the scorched earth policy that the government threatened to pursue in theevent of Japanese penetration into India was a nightmare to the tycoons.They could hardly stomach the prospect of seeing their industries going upin flames. Edgar Snow, who met many of them at the time, wrote:
"Indian industrialists and capitalists were among the most suspicious and worried groups. Would not `scorched earth' ruin their factories?"(58)
Thakurdas strongly criticized the policy at the annual session of the FICCIon 8 March 1942, and the FICCI communicated its opposition to the Viceroy.On 27 March G.L. Mehta, FICCI president, issued a press statement criticizingsuch a policy.(59) Birla wanted Gandhito write on `scorched earth': Mahadev assured him that Gandhi, who was "opposedto a scorched earth policy", would doso.(60) In an article Gandhi condemnedthe "Russian technique of scorched earth" and opposed its introduction inIndia.(61) But for some time he deferred"final judgement" so far as the forcible eviction of people from their homes,seizure of boats, etc., wereconcerned.(62)
The big compradors had hailed the war and desired it to last long, but sucha war as would scorch their factories and reduce them to ashes was not totheir taste. The illusion about the invincibility of British arms lay shatteredbefore their eyes. A section of them waited to welcome the Japanese. WalchandHirachand told Edgar Snow that "As for choice between the British and Japanese,frankly he preferred to take his chance with thelatter".(63)
The Congress leadership was a divided house. Gandhi resented Nehru's callfor co-operation with British war efforts and advocacy of guerrilla struggleagainst the Japanese in case of invasion. While warning Nehru, he advisedPatel to resign from the Working Committee. He himself decided not to attendthe next meeting of the Working Committee and the AICC at Allahabad on 27April and subsequent days.(64)
Rajagopalachari was full of resentment at the rejection of the Cripps proposalsand shared his feelings with the Madras governor, A. Hope. He told the governorthat he would break with the Congress to form a new party, if the WorkingCommittee would not reconsider their decision at its nextmeeting.(65) On his initiative theMadras Congress Legislature Party adopted two resolutions for considerationof the AICC: one, deeply regretting the failure to establish a `nationalgovernment' in order to organize effective resistance against an invasionby a foreign aggressor and asking the AICC to accept the League demand forpartition of India and not "to sacrifice the chances of the formation ofa national government for the doubtful advantage of maintaining a controversyover the unity of India"; the other, proposing the restoration of the ministryin Madras.(66)
Azad had faith in the ultimate victory of the Allies but, unlike Nehru andRajagopalachari, was for conditional co-operation with the British.He was opposed to extending co-operation to the British while they refusedto concede any of their demands; he was also opposed to the launching ofany anti-British struggle. And he did not agree to the League's demand forpartition.
Patel, Prasad, Kripalani, etc., followed Gandhi unhesitatingly.
Gandhi decided to wait no longer. Two factors mainly shaped his decision:one, his conviction that Britain's defeat was imminent; the other, the Britishcabinet's scheme of allowing option to provinces to secede from the IndianUnion. As he told the American journalist and author Louis Fischer, hardlyhad Cripps gone, the idea of asking the British to withdraw from Indiaimmediately "seized hold uponme".(67) The loss of Burma and theretreat of the British army into Egypt, the latest in the unbroken seriesof military disasters faced by the Allies, coincided with the Cripps visitand the moment of Gandhi's inspiration.
"I have waited long, and I can wait no longer", heasserted.(68) The apostle of non-violenceaffirmed: "We have to take risk of violence to shake off the great calamityof slavery." He would launch a non-violent movement but if violence brokeout in spite of him, then it was God's wish. They would "have to take therisk of anarchy if God wills it". He hoped that "pure ahimsa will arise outof such anarchy".(69)
In the article "Foreign Soldiers in India", Gandhi looked upon "the introductionof foreign soldiers as a positive danger thoroughly to be deplored anddistrusted". American aid would amount "in the end to American influence,if not American rule added to British". Second, he asked the British to leaveIndia to her fate before being forced to do so as they were forcedto leave Singapore. If they did as he desired, "non-violent India would notlose anything. Probably the Japanese would leave India alone." Third,"the Nazi power had risen as a nemesis to punish Britain for her sins ofexploitation and enslavement of the Asiatic and African races." Fourth, withthe withdrawal of the British, "The fiction of majority and minority willvanish like the mist before the morning sun of liberty. Truth to tellthere will be neither majority nor minority in the absence of the paralysingBritish arms."(70)
Gandhi sent a draft resolution to be placed at the meetings of the WorkingCommittee and the AICC due to meet at Allahabad on 27 and 29 April respectively.
The draft said :
First, "Britain is incapable of defending India."
Second, "Japan's quarrel is not with India" and "If India were freed herfirst step would probably be to negotiate with Japan". And "if the Britishwithdrew from India, India would be able to defend herself in the event ofJapanese or any aggressor attacking India."
Third, "the British should withdraw from India."
Fourth, on the withdrawal of the British from India the question of majorityand minority, "which is a creation of the British Government,...woulddisappear".
Fifth, the draft resolution assured "the Japanese government and people thatIndia bears no enmity either towards Japan or towards any other nation".It asked people "to offer complete non-violent non-co-operation to the Japaneseforces" as well as to the British in the event of Japanese invasion and refusalof the British to withdraw.
Sixth, the draft opposed the scorched earth policy so far as it sought todestroy what belonged to or was of use to the masses.
Lastly, the resolution opposed the introduction of foreign soldiers and soughttheir removal from India.(71)
In a note in Harijan Gandhi wrote that it was the British presencewhich was "the incentive for the Japanese attack". If the incentive weretaken away, the Japanese were not likely to attack India. Gandhi repeatedlystressed that when his movement would be launched "only against the British",the Japanese could "expect us to sign a neutrality pact with them". Withthe withdrawal of the British it would be possible "to come to terms withJapan".(72)
Criticizing Gandhi's draft resolution, which was supported by Patel, Prasad,Kripalani, etc., Nehru said at the Working Committee meeting:
"If Bapu's approach is accepted we become passive partners of the Axis Powers.... the whole thought and background of the draft is one of favouring Japan.... It is Gandhi's feeling that Japan and Germany will win."
“Ishould not wait for the fellow jews to join me in civil resistance,but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound by my example.“If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest Gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy. . . the calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the God-fearing, death has no terror”
Barry Paiver, writing in the British Socialist Review, provides the most plausible explanation:
Firstly, the positive reasons for British rule vanished. The economic basis of the Indian empire was the hard currency surpluses earned by the export of commercial crops to other industrial countries. These surpluses were then transferred to London to support the pound. The Depression cut the prices of these crops in half and the surpluses vanished, never to return. For the British state (as opposed to individual companies) this turned India into an eco*nomic liability.
India's other imperial role was the military foundation of the empire east of Suez. In both world wars the Indian Army fought for the British in the Mid*dle East. But in 1942 the Japanese smashed British power in the East. The British were only saved by American victories in the Pacific. India s military role vanished.
Quoting Phillip Ferguson in Redline blog “On the one hand, as long as it wanted to hold India and maintained repression, including violent repression, Britain was able to contain and see off Gandhi’s movement. On the other hand, after World War 2, Britain was simply incapable of holding onto India. It was indebted and ravaged as a result of the war. As long as British capital could continue to exploit the regions ruled by Britain, the British state would evacuate its administrations and grant independence.”
Satayagraha’s reactionary aspects(compiled from Suniti Kumar Ghosh’s India and the Raj )
1.Rendering faithful service to the colonial state and only occasionally breaking laws.
2. Heart cooperation with the imperialist enslavers’ and always ready to compromise for a settlement.
3. Gained appreciation of alien rulers and helped suppress the popular struggles. Eliminated possibilities of revolutionary violence.
4.Opened avenues for compromise with imperialism and debarred the masses from intervening by keeping very low demands.
5. Exhibited no tolerance and followers had to completely submit top orders.
6. A movement of religious nature.
In his work although not a revolutionary Gandhi bestowed the qualities of Ho Chi Minh or Mao.,shimmering a unique glowing light Even if not supporting Gandhi ideologically revolutionaries could use some of Gandhi’s methods of mobilizing masses. I was extremely touched when Ho Chi Minh said that Gandhism is Marxism without non –violence. Gandhi literally stooped down to the level of the masses and his lifestyle and practices in his Ashram were very similar to that of a Marxist revolutionary.A very valid point would be what role Gandhi would have played in the world today. I feel when Hindu communal fascistic tendencies so prominent in India today Gandhi’s preaching of Himdu-Muslim brotherhood would have diluted communal feelings. We must commend his efforts in opposing communal riots by fasting and opposing the fundamentalism of the R.S.S. Even Suniti Kumar Ghosh admired Gandhi’s role when fasting to curb communal riots and saving Muslim lives in Delhi in 1948.History has to remember that it was a very proponent of Hindu communal fascism who assassinated Gandhi In Babri Masjid and Godra a figure like him could have well reduced communal tension if not prevent the historical happenings.Gandhi would have patronized Hinduism but always -Muslim rhetoric of the Hindutva forces. No doubt Gandhi may even have patronised some of the pro-Hindu rallies supporting Ram Janmabhoomi of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in 1990 with his deep Hindu philosophical thinking but at the same time would have opposed them going overboard like Nazi-S.S.troops.It would have been very similar to his behaviour in the 1940’s before partition was taking place. Some of Gandhi’s actions may have been a thorn in the flesh for the forces of Hindutva or R.S.S.In regards to Operation Green Hunt Gandhi even if opposing revolutionary class struggle would have opposed the use of black laws against the masses .Remember the Gandhians in Chattisgarh opposing Operation Green Hunt like Binayak Sen.True he would have been overtly critical of the Maoists but his mass appeal or charisma may have been significant as a civil rights campaigner. I would have backed Gandhi to oppose the advent of multinationals and protecting the small scale industries. His Salt March has immense relevance. Today when forces of globalisation are tightening their tentacles in destroying small scale village industries. No doubt he would have defended the interest of the industrialists and landlord classes even today but still been a crusader against corruption . Gandhi would have supported the caste system but being a crusader against untouchability would have condemened the casteist discrimination and attacks which would have evoked people’s hearts.
The Communist revolutionary or Maoist stand in India basically classes Gandhi as a reactionary and a stooge of the British imperialists who betrayed the Indian independence Movement. Even if true I feel they should throw moral light on Gandhi as man overall. They should condemn his wrongdoings but still recognize some of his unique qualities. I think we should vehemently stand against the intellectuals who glorify him as a’liberator’ and never highlight his conscious role in suppressing the true movement for independence and allying with the industrialists and landlords..I feel it was misinformation that made Lenin regard Gandhi as a ‘Progressive Tolstoy’ or Gramisci equating Gandhi’s strategy with ‘Protracted war and revolutionary liberation.’Amazingly I have never read any statement of Mao on Gandhi who faced similar situations. I love to see the similarity of these two leaders in their simplicity and ability to identify with the masses even if their ideology was diametrically opposed. No Indian Communist leader exhibited Gandhi’s flair of bonding with the masses.
Quotes reflecting Gandhi’s positive points
Quoting a revolutionary intellectual brownfist “Gandhi is considered a great leader in India because he was able to mobilize the largest populace in India, and was integral to the development of a larger notion of nationhood in India. I am not suggesting that Gandhi was the first to propose a single nation-state of India as that would be completely preposterous, however, he was the first to really popularize it with the masses. He was able to take a series of disparates movements, regionalized insurgencies etc. and relocate them within a larger project of nationhood. Furthermore, he was one of the first national leaders who significantly looked and spoke like the mass population prior to that majority of the nationalist leadership was extremely British in dress and thought. This of course was in accordance to Gandhi's own notions of self-reliance and indigenaity which was extremely profound to a large mass of people, and movements calling for indigenous clothing, schooling and even, often contradictorally, modes of production really resounded with the population. I would suggest that you read Shahid Amin's great article entitled, "Gandhi as Mahatma: Gorakhpur District, Eastern UP, 1921–2" in Subaltern Studies 3.
Gandhi needs to be seen as an important leader in India. However, this is of course prefaced with the fact that he was not revolutionary etc etc. He would be a civil rights leader. I think that people would never turn to a black person in the USA and say why was Malcolm X or MLK Jr. a great leader. However, one must note that both of them were ideologically and politically flawed in numerous ways, just like Gandhi, and neither called for revolution (well Malcolm kind of did, but a very different kind of revolution that few on this board would endorse). However, this does not take away their contributions from the civil rights movement and the fact that they were greater leaders (not revolutionaries)! I dont think anyone would call Gandhi a revolutionary, or a socialist, rather he was a populist leader that was able to demonstrate to some populations that they were part of one nation-state, albeit this allowed for the repression of numerous nationalities within India.”
Quoting Marxist historian Rajani Palme Dutt in historica book ‘India Today.’
“No other leader could have bridged the gap during the transitional period ,between the actual bourgeois direction of the national movement and the awkening,but not yet consciousmasses.Both for good and evil Gandhi created it.The role only comes to an end in proportion as the ammses begin to reach clear class consciousness of their own interests ,and the actual class forces and class relations begin to stand out clear in the Indian scene,without need of mythological concealments.
Left wing –critics of the 1930-40’s hardly recognized Gandhi’s role in raising the national movement and the Congress from it’s previously relatively narrower range to an all-India national mass movement, inspiring the most backward inactive massers with national consciousness and awkening them to struggle.”
Quoting Gandhi in confession of faith
“Increase of material comforts does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth.”
Kumarappain ‘Why the Village movement”
‘The greater our material possessions, the greater our bondage to earth. It is not the multitude of things that we posess that make us happy.”
Ho Chi Minh
“I and others may be revolutionaries but we are disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, directly or indirectly, nothing more nothing less.”
The author particulary thanks authors like Siniti Kumar Ghosh and Rajani Palme Dutt as well as modern writers like Phillip Ferguson.He resends his appreciation of the post by ‘Scottish militant’ from revleft.

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