Reality Check India

Guha’s non-violent article

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on September 11, 2007

Guha’s latest article gets the Barbarindian treatment.

Nothing confounds Indians more than the exact nature of our Independence movement.

  • Did Gandhi’s non-violent methods actually wrest independence from an unwilling colonial power ?


  • Were Gandhi’s non-violent methods used as a tool to accelerate and negotiate the modalities of a withdrawal which was anyway impending ?

Ramachandra Guha blends a cocktail which attempts to make short work of the very concept of warfare.

It is interesting, this phenomenon, this adoration of violent revolutionaries by men who owe their political independence and their democratic freedoms to a bunch of (now mostly dishonoured) non-violent reformers.

Source : HT

I think the last paragraph is the point he is trying to drive at.  He is trying to cleverly use words like “violent revolutionaries” instead of “revolutionaries who favour violent methods” to pin down a character trait to these leaders.  The unpleasant fact is that todays’ Indians owe our political independence not just to Gandhi but also to the British in equal parts. I was furious when I was told this by an English colleague, today I know this is the dominant view of the outside world.

Let us ignore that and focus on the main question (neutrally reworded by me):

“Why is there a tendency to admire people who fought and won little and not admire those who didnt fight and won more ?”

Mr Guha, this is the nature of the human species. This is why Americans still get the chills when their “violent”  national anthem is played. This is why we have the Bhagavad Gita, the ultimate answer to your troubles regarding the use of violence. This is why every village in the south has ayyanar temples to local heroes of a bygone era who fought and lost and not to people who negotiated a settlement.

2 Responses

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  1. shadows said, on September 12, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Gandhi did not wrest independence .. it was World War 2. Many other nations were free of colonialism after the major colonial powers of the world were weakened during World War 2. They could not have easily survived another attempt like the Indian National Army or the Naval Mutiny.

    In fact, as per some articles, Independence was delayed by a few years because of Gandhi’s antics..

  2. Mahesh said, on September 13, 2007 at 11:11 am

    That’s true.Gandhiji’s presence during the attainment of freedom, made him the hero.Several people who played an equal/more important role in the freedom struggle got faded way just because they belonged to the earlier generations.Had Gandhiji lived between 1839-1919, he too would have found his place among them as several eminent personalities like Gokhale,Tilak etc.

    The fact is that the country was actually inching towards freedom.Globally, several of the colonies had already won independence then.Moreover, one couldn’t help without making the observation that all his efforts towards one India shattered before the mighty arm of Jinnah. Some praised him for bringing independence 10 months in advance (actually sheduled to be on June 1948).But it was after truncation and donation of 1/3rd of our country to our own country men.He was a failure in avoiding partition.Thus was formed the Modern India – The Truncated India.

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