In the aftermath of a recent furor over his remarks in Africa, some have unfairly remarked that Gandhi was fundamentally oriented towards “Eurocentrism”. But this is fundamentally flawed.
Gandhi and Gandhianism are deserving of a great many criticisms. His never-ending accommodation of never-ending series of unjust demands and his callous behaviour towards the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in partition era W.Punjab and Bengal is emblematic of what happens when you dedicate yourself to ahimsa, instead of Dharma.
Are the rumours about Gandhi true? Maybe all, maybe only some. Was he propped up specifically to serve as an albatross on the Hindu neck, only to gut him and our culture later on?—wouldn’t be the first time (there are certainly some such today). But who knows for sure?—only God. But as usual, the problem in our ranks is not uncertainty, but excess of certainty and certitude. Some of our guys and gals read a few books and blogs, and apparently have it all figured out. In the realm of binary-ism and false dichotomies, it is easy to set it up as Gandhi vs Godse or Gandhi vs Bose. But perhaps that is in fact the problem. Hindus are foolishly and forever making false choices between two extremes.
Whatever Gandhi’s sins (his “experiments with truth” certainly qualify as carnal), whatever the influence of christianity on his thinking, whatever the incredulity of his apologia for razakars and moplahs, there, nevertheless, were clearly strong streams of essentially Indic thought in his ideology that were crucial in an eminently un-Indic time: sanctity of the cow, vegetarianism, village economy as building block, and even varnashrama dharma (only with upliftment of dalits).
Funny how some side-remarks of Gandhi that are racist in our era must be publicly excoriated for the benefit of foreign platforms, but the core philosophies of Marx that are revolutionarily racist in any era are explained away or ignored. Whatever Gandhi’s peccadilloes against Hindus, Marx was an outright enemy of Hinduism. Only a hypocrite carps and cavils about one while deftly utilizing the other sub rosa.
Similarly, today there are voices treating the legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose as beyond question. Netaji’s singular contributions to Indian independence are undeniable. Both British and Indic voices (even spiritual ones, have attested to this). But as always, the devil is in the details. Were the solutions and philosophies upon which Bose rode Indic in nature? Would India have traded feudal agrarians, mercantile compradors, and clerical hypocrites for totalitarian Marxists or Maoists, who would have betrayed Bose?
The rehabilitation of the Socialist Authoritarianism that drove the INA of Bose as merely “revolutionary” is a clever rebranding effort, but a rebranding effort nonetheless of fundamentally alien Marxist ideology. The Reds of Russia were “Revolutionary” too, but their fellow travelers wreaked havoc in the 20th century. Here is the fate of women in Post-“Revolutionary” Russia. Do we want this for our young women too?
Gandhi’s abandoning of Pakistan’s Hindus to their fates may have been un-Hindu, but Bose’s choice of Revolutionary Socialist Authoritarian ideology was downright un-Indian. Had he succeeded in totality, would Totalitarianism have been the agenda of the nation and the state of its political economy? Would the accompanying vast accretion of central powers have overturned native Indic social structures (Panchayats, Mathas, Devalayas, etc) even more than inefficient and federal Nehruvian Socialism?—these are the intelligent questions that must be asked, rather than merely trading one patron saint, one “father of the nation”, for another.
Hindu Leftism, Hindu Marxism, or even Hindu “Revolutary-ism” are all ultimately as un-Indian and un-Hindu as “Hindu Fascism” or Hindu Feminism or Hindu Patriarchy. Rather than promoting either only Bose-ian revolutionaries or Patriarchal “Pitr-bhoomi” advocates, perhaps our Mathrubhoomi should look within instead. Whether Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, or Hindu, it is Dharma (and the philosophies and approaches that emerge from or respond directly to the Vedas) that makes India Indian.
SC Bose was a patriot, and he deserves his due credit for creating conditions that made India’s Independence not only possible, but in inevitable. But this is the danger of personality-driven movements and personality-dependent ideologies. Whether Gandhi or Bose (or any one else…), when a personality becomes larger than life and beyond question, we don’t examine policy or play counterfactual. When Bhagavan Ram himself is questioned and even mocked today as a “misogynist” by secularly misbegotten mongrels, who are Gandhi and Bose before him? So question Bose we must: What would have happened if Bose succeeded? Would the Bharat we would have seen resembled Mao’s China more than Nehru’s India? For those who have no problem with this, I kindly direct you to China’s “Cultural Revolution” as exhibit A.
We saw the level of caste violence and violent targeting of Brahmins under the half-baked Dravidian theory in Periyar’s Tamil Nadu. How much more havoc would have been wreaked under “Revolutionary ” (i.e. Socialist Authoritarian) thought in a putatively Independent India?
Like it or not, whatever the true story of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, his philosophy gave a stream of Indic thought that allowed a physically and mentally colonised India to make its way back to the spiritually liberating Dharmic Common Culture of its ancestors. Those who pretend as though everything was perfect in Hindu society 200 years ago or even 1200 years ago, ignore the very real problems of ill-treatment of dalits and very real corruption resulting from general casteism, which are well-attested. Does this justify the atrocities and atrociousness of atrocious foreign rule—no. But it explains why it took so long to attain success against its various forms, and why we still have yet to fully succeed.
Any political movement, any Civilizational Revival is only possible if there is a common civilizational culture and a common set of priorities…rather than mere ambition checking ambition…or lying in expedient wait. Pretending as though this was and is “mere violence among lower castes” ignores the fact that the buck stops at the head of society, not the arms or feet. Philosophical justification for the ill-treatment or exploitation of communities is even more criminal, because like socialist authoritarianism, it provides pretext for violence. It may not wield the blade, but it points out the target for it.
But varnashrama dharma was not about exploitation. The caste systems of feudal Europe or colonial Spanish America may have been, but varnashrama dharma was and is about de-centralisation, specialisation, and accountability—with the topmost being the most accountable and living the most difficult lives. Those that violated the dharma were outcasted (this is the origin of untouchability, at least originally). Trading the downtrodden Dalit for the impoverished Brahmin as a target for exploitation is no solution, particularly for Periyarites and Razakars who talk of “final solutions”. But how could this be explained in a nation that still believed Aryans invaded India? –(some scientism advocates moonlighting as “ritualists” still believe this despite orthodox Brahmins clearly stating that per our Vedic tradition, Aryas originated in India, and Dravidas were Aryas).
Were there individual cases of Dalits rising in status in pre-colonial India?—yes. But as a whole, corruptions had certainly entered into varnashrama dharma, and many scheduled castes were indeed very wary of how an independent India would affect them. Ambedkar himself was concerned at the legal status and situation of Dalits in a post-independence India. After all, all the dalits of the desh could convert to Buddhism as he did, but what ultimately mattered was the fundamental consensus that governed the country.
The reality is, before Indira Gandhi amended the preamble to insert “socialist, secular” to the republic, before Nehru said Dams were the new temples where Indians would worship, it was Mohandas Karamchand’s Gandhi’s views that served as guiding principle for the inter-regional and inter-religious consensus. Like it or not, Socialism is ultimately an outgrowth and transition period to Communism. Both ultimately have authoritarian and even totalitarian undercurrents, particularly when they become not only economic frameworks but outright political ideologies. Thus, Gandhian philosophy, whatever its merits, served as a sort of halfway house back to dharma. That many of Gandhianism’s proponents belong in a halfway house is another matter altogether, but to completely deride it and him in favour of Socialist Revolutionary ideology or hyper-masculine European memes of patriarchy, only demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of today’s opinion-leaders, older or younger.
Dharma wasn’t about patriarchy or hyper-masculinity (see ancient Greece or medieval Japan for some of the externalities of this ). Dharma was and is about complementarity and balance of the genders. This is the problem even with patriotic Indians—they are mimic men of a different sort, but never authentically Indian. Forever propping up foreign models and foreign saviours in native garb, they have egotists, ideologues, and superiority complexes aplenty, but never any self-respect. Scientism, Japanism, and even the asinine “cuck heavy” Alt-right to justify casteism is the m.o. for these “cucks” and […] of foreign fads and ideologies.
Either Central Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, or the West, Indians can only ever come come from or look to inspiration from somewhere else. New left, alt-right, neo-nippon, medieval mongol, laurasia, gondwanaland…never anything authentically Indian or even really Hindu, for this bunch. This is why they are forever adopting the jargon and memetics of the very white nationalists, racist leftists , or middle eastern race supremacists who either openly spit upon them, or do so after the veneer is scratched (they even promote such bigoted blogs…buffoons). It is a patina, a veneer of Hinduism, or in the case of the left, a version of perversion in colonised medieval India, but never the true, unvarnished clarified essence of authentic India. This is because unscrupulous and ambitious people are ever only focused on empowering vehicles that empower their ambitions, or in the case of pathetically over-compensating frat-boys—their fantasies. “Mimic men”, as V.S. Naipaul wrote, only ever exist for securing their own position, authority, and enjoyment.
The same voices that correctly identify propaganda as a tool of British imperialists, must remember that pen has still not run dry, and the wielders of said pen have skeletons in their own closets. So perhaps the answer then is neither Gandhi nor Bose, but maybe selective aspects of both. The uncompromising national commitment of Bose that allowed him to fight for independence and the fundamentally Indic streams of thought that either intentionally or unintentionally emerged from the personage of Gandhi.
Was the “Mahatma” merely patterning Hinduism on a Christian template—maybe, maybe not. But whatever it is, his Gandhianism gave a common unifying political philosophy for a religiously riven, cultural cleaved post-Independence India to make its way back to its authentic self. Was Gandhianism obstructed by the obstructionist “Idea of India” brigade from the Fabian Church of Nehru…yes, but it eventually brought about a common sense of Bharatiyata nonetheless. Whether Gandhi himself was an authentic original or merely an instrument himself, is another matter altogether. But allowing him to be used as a means to caste (spelling intentional) Indian culture, and by default, the Hindu religion as racist, is emblematic of the very intellectually pinheaded stupidity that has been an albatross for Indians for the past millennium. When your enemy is trying to fit you into a box, “racist/rapist/misogynist”, you don’t step into it and play to stereotype, or in the case of alt-right “cucks and […] embrace it. If you do, you yourself are a “collaborator” of a different sort, or yet another of one those unscrupulously ambitious amatyas Kalhana condemned.
Rather than forever alternating like schoolchildren between contrasting shades of whites and blacks, understand the greys that define our era. The jury may still be out on Gandhi, if not Bose, but whatever he did or was, we must understand what Gandhi represents or is today. He remains a global symbol of India and its native culture and philosophies, whether we like it or not. Native historical re-assessment and re-allocation of his legacy must be done internally, not serving as a vehicle for agendas emerging externally. That is true Swadeshi and true Poorna Swaraj.