By B Chandrashekar:
“He never chooses an opinion; he just wears whatever happens to be in style.”
– Leo Tolstoy
I hate Gandhi. Hating Gandhi gives me a ‘cool’ feeling as I hate someone who is supposed to be loved by billions. I’ve always wanted to be a nonconformist and hating someone like Gandhi helps me feed that ego. Now I’m very different from a majority of others.
When I try to read about him, I don’t find him to so great after all. Certainly not as someone worthy enough to be called the Father of our Nation. There are many more people like me who fodder my thoughts and from whom I can easily borrow arguments to hate this old man.
I haven’t read any literature on Gandhi. Not even his full autobiography. I had to study a few chapters from his autobiography in my school as a part of the syllabus. I vaguely remember him trying to adapt to English conditions and trying to act as a gentleman when he had gone there to study law. But apart from that, to be very frank, my only sources of information are facebook posts by random people and blogs written by attention seekers. it is from these people only that I learnt a good deal about Gandhi which then led me to hate him.
I love Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. What a great fighter he was! And by default, I have to hate Gandhi to love Bose right? I hear that Gandhi who first treated Bose like his own son later wanted Bose out of Congress as President, and secretly worked for that. When Bose developed Indian National Army, Gandhi went to the extent of signing an agreement with the British (along with his feet lickers Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Azad) that they would hand over Bose to them when he enters India. What a demon he must be! And so much for his nationalism!
Oh yeah, Bose had his own ideological differences with Gandhi, and he never believed in achieving independence through non-violence. He attacked various policies of Congress. But the argument that anyone in Gandhi’s place who believed in non-violence would have wanted Bose out due to glaring clash in ideologies is for dummies. When have I bothered to involve myself in a rational argument? I would have supported Gandhi if he had changed his non-violent stance and joined INA started by Bose. But he didn’t.
Don’t even get me started on Gandhi’s pro-Muslim stand. Who is he to support Muslims? Is it not because of them that the Muslim League was started? Shouldn’t have Gandhi taken a pro-Hindu stand in every issue? When thousands of Hindus died during the partition in Pakistan, what was this drinker of goat milk doing? Saving Muslims in India! Since they killed Hindus in Pakistan, isn’t it a natural response to kill them here? Why did this half naked man not get this simple logic?
It’s true that he was against partition and even wanted to make Muhammad Ali Jinnah the Prime Minister of united India, right? So, there is some weight in the urgings of Hindu right wing groups. Man, he wanted Hindus and Muslims to live in a united country with peace and harmony and wanted to counter Jinnah’s stance that Muslims wouldn’t get a fair deal in a Hindu majority country. He thought these two religions are just two different paths that lead to the same truth. What a stupid guy.
I was ranting about Bose, right? Bhagat Singh’s issue is far worse. He didn’t try to stop the execution of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Oh yeah, historical facts suggest otherwise, that he did write a letter to Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India, and pleaded for them. But when have I bothered to check historical facts and shape my opinion? Who wants to know that even Bhagat Singh himself was against the idea of asking for pardon and declined to sign a petition for clemency? I like to support a revolutionary like Bhagat Singh because it boosts my ego; and a natural recourse would be to bitch about Gandhi, right? How can I like Bhagat Singh without hating Gandhi?
Let me not delve deep into this, but if I’m a supporter of B R Ambedkar, it goes without saying that I get to hate Gandhi too. I don’t make an attempt to understand the state of affairs, caste issues etc. at that time, but Ambedkar was right and Gandhi was wrong. Period.
He preferred Nehru over Vallabhbhai Patel to head the government after Independence. How can someone make a wrong judgment in politics? Isn’t he above all humanly errors? He is a Mahatma (even though he didn’t like to be called that way). He cannot make political mistakes. How dare he make Nehru the Congress President even though Patel was the front runner? Shouldn’t he have forecasted all mistakes like the Kashmir issue that Nehru would make in the future? Why did he choose a modern Nehru over orthodox Patel? World’s great many leaders have made a few errors in judgment but when I look at Gandhi, I will use a different lens altogether.
To top it all, what about his experiments with women? I thought he experimented only with truth. What is this habit of making women including his own grandniece sleep naked with him? This sex addict monster preached and claimed to follow celibacy? Being a man of experiments, he wanted to test himself, and he was even open about this with his family and friends. But that doesn’t justify his intent to use women as objects or apparatus for his experiments. Since he is wearing the crown of Mahatma, I expect him to be above all wrong doings.
Yes, I can’t show any person in public life without flaws but I expect Gandhi to be different you know. He was completely transparent in everything he did and was ready to be challenged for any of his ideals, but that’s not enough right? Gandhi should be flawless.
I don’t stop with this. There are many more accusations from me against him like misappropriation of public funds, anti-untouchables stand, lavish life style contrary to popular perception etc. I never care to check facts or bother to read credible historic texts. I’m not even ashamed because when I share these things on social media, I get some attention and that’s what I want.
I will misquote and read out of context his statements like ‘I have come here on earth to fulfill the laws of caste’, and label him as a person who believed in caste hierarchy; his ‘qualified support to war’ and stamp him as a pseudo supporter of non-violence.
I will comfortably forget the fact that Gandhi’s independence movement was the world’s largest people’s movement and the one that attracted maximum number of women participants in a such a movement. I don’t want to believe that an entire nation rallied behind him. I overlook the fact that his mere presence and fasting in the riot hit areas was enough to calm the tension between Hindus and Muslims. What a nerve would it take to run such a movement with only truth and nonviolence as weapons? Oh just forget it. So boring and so not cool.
I will look at his economic views not from the view point of pre-independent, poverty struck, illiterate and village based India, but only through the current ideals of globalization and liberalization. Don’t blame me. Okay, even hardcore communists seem to have problems with him. This Gujarati bania was such a pain in both capitalist and communist asses I guess.
So what if non-cooperation movement was one of India’s first nationalistic and sustained people’s movement? So what if millions in middle and lower classes participated in politics just because a brown man invited them? So what if thousands flocked to jails only to show support to their leader? So what he inspired a huge population? So what if he was a master communicator at the time of very minimal infrastructure? So what if his stature has never been matched by any other individual in our history?
It has become a cliché to talk about his struggle, his valor, travels across India in a third class compartment, his negotiation skills, his sacrifices, his search for truth and his practice of nonviolence. I will look at small issues, flaws and hiccups in his political life, handpick them for my purpose and pass over every achievement.
I hate him because I’m different. I hate him because I’m a 21st century dude. I hate him because I’m cool you know.
This post was originally published in Kindle Magazine.