Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ideology conflicts

Perhaps I'm unable to comprehend Gandhi's ideology, but recent statements by our beloved President Pratibha Patil is a bit confusing. I'm open to clarifications from you. For example, President Patil makes statements like this
If there is any dispute it should be resolved through dialogue, Patil said adding violence "is not the way life" in India.

or,
If the world is today enthusiastic to adopt Mahatma Gandhi's ideals, we in his land of birth have the first duty to abide by these principles,

Then she makes a 180 degrees turn when she praises the Army and makes bold statements like a hardliner here,
We will deal sternly with any kind of violation on our borders.

This picture alone speaks words,

If India were to actually adopt Gandhi's ideals should we not welcome the people who violate our borders. Or for that matter why do we need an Army when we have the greatest weapon which is non-violence.
I'm guessing that probably Mahatma Gandhi would disapprove of that picture.
Let me know of your thoughts.

19 comments:

Pilid said...

:). Actually Gandhi did not disapprove of all violence, only of violence by private actors. His prescription of non-violence did not apply to the state which he recognized must use violence for certain purposes. He is said to have approved the Nehru government's deployment of the Indian Army during the Kashmir war of 1947-48.

Shankar said...

I can't believe LiC approved this!

Gujarat’s consistent record in attracting investment

CHENNAI: Gujarat has consistently exhibited higher growth rates than the national growth average and steadily clocked an average growth rate of more than 10 per cent in the last five years.

http://www.hindu.com/2008/10/22/stories/2008102256141700.htm

Pilid said...

Shankar,

Read Praful Bidwai's outrage over Ratan Tata's relocation to Gujarat in the current issue of Frontline

Gandaragolaka said...

"He is said to have approved the Nehru government's deployment of the Indian Army during the Kashmir war of 1947-48."

Ah! Those were the good old days when an entire nation was held hostage to the fits of just one man! He approved it, and so it was done! Was there no Rajadharma involved, in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Folks. Let's ignore Chindu and Chief for a while and congratulate ISRO for its successful launch of Chandrayaan and wish for the rest of the mission to go smooth, as planned. The ISRO staff have done a wonderful job. (May be pathetic Chief will offer a bit of advice as to how India should learn from China in this regard etc. etc.).

Dirt Digger said...

Pilid,
There have been several noted accounts where Gandhi had been against the use of armed force.
The incident you are referring to was different. Here Pakistan army attacked Kashmir after it had signed the Instrument of accession.
Nehru and Sardar Patel had to order the army for protection.
In fact when General Cariappa asked Gandhi about the conflict between soldier's responsibilities and non violence, this was Gandhi's response:
"You have asked me to tell you in a tangible and concrete form how you can put over to the troops the need for non-violence. I am still groping in the dark for the answer. I will find it and give it to you some day"

Dirt Digger said...

Shankar,
thanks for pointing it.
i guess the person who added the article is already on naukri.com

Dirt Digger said...

gandaragolaka,
Our politicians have still not gotten over the concept of non-violence. Rather than stating that Gandhi only is capable of that, they still want to pay lip service to the concept.
The incident you refer to is not the worst when it comes to holding India hostage, the Civil Disobedience movement where he did a 180 after Chauri Chaura incident is even worse.

Dirt Digger said...

Anonymous,
Chief has still been actively banning the Chinese milk scandal.
Its doubtful he'll come out of his rock until the CPM makes some statement.

Pilid said...

DD,

Gandhi's approval in Kashmir was to rid Kashmir of the marauders who entered the valley. The Pakistan army was officially still not involved in the fighting though it was strongly suspected that the Pathan hordes had entered at Pakistan's behest. Yes, he did say that to Cariappa but then, Gandhi was not known for consistency - he himself admitted as much.

shrivathsa said...

"Actually Gandhi did not disapprove of all violence, only of violence by private actors."

pilid, i think you are wrong here. mohandas had written an open letter to the british to welcome germans under hitler with open hands.

the following is an excerpt of an open letter he addressed to the britons during the world war 2:

"I appeal for cessation of hostilities ... because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. Your soldiers are doing the same work of destruction as the Germans. The only difference is that perhaps yours are not as thorough as the Germans ... I venture to present you with a nobler and a braver way, worthy of the bravest soldiers. I want you to fight Nazism without arms or ... with non-violent arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity.... Invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these but not your souls nor your minds.... (Amrita Bazar Patrika, July 4, 1940, Method of Non-violence Mahatma Gandhi's appeal to every Briton.)"

shrivathsa said...

pilid, you can read the same quote from gandhi here:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,777380,00.html?iid=digg_share

shrivathsa said...

In fact when General Cariappa asked Gandhi about the conflict between soldier's responsibilities and non violence, this was Gandhi's response:
"You have asked me to tell you in a tangible and concrete form how you can put over to the troops the need for non-violence. I am still groping in the dark for the answer. I will find it and give it to you some day"


a very nice observation. this in fact shows that gandhi was experimenting with non-violence even on the day when cariappa talked to gandhi (circa 1947-48). for all those who believe in mohandas to be a holy man, one is forced to ask, who gave him the right to experiment with the country? (has a "holy man" got a right to experiment on others?) if he was a holy man, he had the right to experiment things on himself, not others. same goes for his "experiments" with celibacy (experimenting with his grand nieces!!!)
ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi#Experiments_with_Brahmacharya

Anonymous said...

"Actually Gandhi did not disapprove of all violence, only of violence by private actors."

actually, it is possible he did approve of violence by private actors, in the case of the Moplah massacres. It just had to be the 'right' religion. You can pick up his writings or comments from that time if you search.

Pilid said...

Shrivatsa,

You are right. This was during or just before World War II when the Mahatma was at his naive best. Gandhi himself did not believe that he was all that consistent in what he did, so he declared that if he contradicted himself, whatever he said later should be taken as authoritative over the former. I suppose the best one can say is that he did not have a clear doctrine of non-violence after all.

froginthewell said...

Spiritual people often have a habit of talking about the "ideal" situation to non-ideal people just to induce nobility, and I suspect gAndhiji's statements to British were in that vein. He obviously knew that the Britishers weren't going to act as he said, so he might as well make a point about the ideal non-violence. These ( spiritual ) guys naturally care about the majority. They are the last people to care about making sense to rational thinkers who are a minority, and - sorry to say this - don't matter much.

froginthewell said...

I meant to say that the rational thinkers don't matter much.

Dirt Digger said...

froginthewell,
I'm not sure about Gandhi's statements, "These ( spiritual ) guys naturally care about the majority. ".
As the anonymous blogger before your comments pointed out, there are several noted incidents where Gandhi would speak out asking Hindus to maintain peace and non-violence when other religions went rampant.
Would like to hear more specific details elaborating your thoughts.

froginthewell said...

Dirt Digger, there seems to be some grey area there. gAndhiji's approach to non-violence is an imbroglio indeed.

It is a puzzle to me whether he understood the notion of "vAsanas" properly. Because neither simple living nor ahiMsA is suited to everyone - it depends on one's vAsanas. Only extremely strong individuals can practise these. OTOH without the nonviolence, or if nEtAji had been successful, we might as well have been like African countries - petty dictators looting and fighting with each other etc. So non-violence in general was the correct approach but he seems to have gotten many of the specific ideas wrong - for instance laying more stress on non-violence while addressing Hindus.

I don't know.