Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Understanding Hind Swaraj And Gandhi

Expand Messages
  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo Understanding Hind Swaraj And Gandhi
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 30, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Understanding Hind Swaraj And Gandhi
      By Umair Gul
      21 December, 2012

      Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent....
      George orwell

      Gandhi isn’t a super being . He is just innocent. He is as critical of
      himself and his actions as of others .He is an absurdist in a way. Hind
      Swaraj is a reflection of Gandhi and his innocence. Greatness perhaps!As
      reader and as a biased human ,one may not agree with Gandhi but as a
      subaltern one may be in affirmation with Gandhi’s every word. With my
      own bias ,I was able to understand and infer following from Hind Swaraj:

      For Gandhi Swaraj isn’t mere change of guard .Gandhi compares the
      English rule to Tiger and Swaraj for him is attainment of freedom from
      both Tiger as a material object and his cruel nature. Swaraj is thus not
      about getting rid from material things but from limitations and greed of
      one’s self . Thus it is not feasible to define Swaraj as a political
      concept only, because it deals with individuals ,human nature , human
      greed , needs ,faith , beliefs and mis-beliefs. However Gandhi rather
      than engaging with modernity and dialectically creating a logical
      antithesis or arriving at a synthesis , seeks refuge in demons and
      angels and henceforth deals with it as an evil and hence rejects
      modernity with bitterness. Gandhi is an anarchist and Hind Swaraj a
      constitution of anarchy. This can be deduced from his criticism for
      Parliamentary democracy ,where by he gives an epithets of prostitute and
      a sterile woman for elected representatives of government and in the
      same breath he condemns dictatorship and nepotism .For him every man
      should rule himself.

      Gandhi doesn’t consider expulsion of English necessary for attaining
      Swaraj, but he seems to have problem with English civilization.
      Civilization is though defined negatively when it comes to modern
      civilization and positively when it is about ancient civilization more
      so when it is about Indian civilization. Negative civilization is
      defined as living in better houses , using technology and believing in
      bodily comforts. This civilization is considered irreligious and immoral
      . However this isn’t in comprehension . Civilization started because of
      technology whether it be the invention of wheel or invention of plough
      or use of rafts as water transport. Also it was technology which was
      necessary for sustainability of civilization , be it vaccination or
      better agriculture. Another aspect of negative civilization as
      attributed by Gandhi to negative civilization is disrespect for
      religion. This again is a gross exaggeration . Religion if it had been a
      controlled , private and un- institutionalized affair would have not
      yielded great wars of attrition such as crusades ,responsible for
      destroying civilizations . But Gandhi considers religion as an essential
      component of civilization. Western or modern civilization should have
      been appreciated for unistitutionalizing religion but Gandhi happens to
      criticize them.

      Gandhi is anti feministic in its modern purview. He wants women to be
      confined to households and not to wander in streets, that way he is in
      accordance with Mullah Omar in Afghanistan , isn’t it exactly the same
      male cultural ego for which Omar and Taliban have been criticized and
      Gandhi is no exception.

      Hind Swaraj sympathizes with the proletariat class, but it is more pity
      than sympathy as rather than criticizing capitalist bourgeoisie it
      criticizes lifeless machines and technology. Rather than encouraging
      labour class to rise against bourgeoisie and overthrow them . Gandhi
      criticizes but doesn’t show way of liberation from the plight that he
      pities on. Here Gandhi takes two distinct paths, one is adopting
      revivalist approach where by villages would be a units of production.
      The second path is technology, which he suddenly begins to concede as
      against his own position against it. All of a sudden the debate is not
      against the technology but the KIND of technology, here Gandhi begins to
      even consider use of electricity. Gandhi sees capitalism as the dynamic
      behind colonial imperialism. Lenin too had said as much, and like Marx,
      Gandhi’s rejection of capitalism is based on a profound repugnance to a
      system where profit is allowed to degrade labour, where the machines are
      valued more than humans, where automation is preferred to humanism.

      When it comes to criticism of congress and its leaders , only Gandhi
      seems to have monopoly over criticizing them . He discourages criticism
      of congress by others. Gandhi messes himself in a tangled deep barbed
      wire of personality cult while defending Dadabhai , professor Gokhale
      and other congress elitists, while continuing to advocate Swaraj.

      Gandhi criticizes Railways ,to operationalize the word Railways in its
      modern context would mean to associate present communication networks
      including phones, internet, satellite networks, transport etc. Here
      Gandhi speaks as an environmentalist, though the rhetoric is slightly
      different , he argues with respect to movement and migration of both
      people and goods. His view is that frequent movement of people that
      transgress natural boundaries which before this used to impart immunity
      to communities from diseases . He also sees railways as a threat to
      indigenous goods and as a tool of development of import –export model,
      which according to him is a tool of imperialism.
      Gandhi is critical of Lawyers and doctors. He accuses Lawyers of poking
      their noses in conflicts of humans that would be otherwise solved
      amicably by his principles of sacrifice. Lawyers for him are catalysts
      in a dispute as they side with clients in any dispute, so rather than
      helping people get out of miseries they enrich themselves and multiply
      disputes. Similarly doctors have been criticized and condemned. To quote
      “I overeat, I get sick , I go to a doctor, he cures me and I overeat again”

      He thus holds doctors responsible for providing people with the liberty
      of not exercising control over their self. Hind Swaraj again dwells on
      traditional system of medicine ,and puts it much above modern medicine
      which uses alcoholic elixirs. Gandhi is of the view that illness and
      disease are natural punishments of soul to body ,when the later crosses
      the boundaries of need and enters pleasure . If the body is given its
      due punishment naturally , an individual is likely to give up the habit
      of satisfying the greed of his self. But now if a doctor intervenes in
      the natural punishment of soul ,he does no good . He actually is
      spoiling the individual’s ability to control his self. Gandhi however
      seems to be unaware of diseases and ailments that are caused not because
      of overeating but by pathogens and parasites. He also deliberately
      doesn’t talk about two great medical interventions, vaccination and
      pasteurization that saved millions of lives in the times that Gandhi
      lived in. What about infections and old age ? Is that also the greed of

      Gandhi then explores the core of Hind Swaraj , Passive resistance. It is
      about making one’s self suffer for securing rights, it is thus opposite
      of resistance by arms.Gandhi is against using brute force against
      enemies . Resistance however is dear and compulsory for Gandhi. For him
      passive resistance doesn’t require a scabbard but just courage to suffer
      and control over mind . It is about disobeying laws that are imposed on
      the weak by strong. The requirements for practicing passive resistance
      are not sophisticated arms training and jiu-jitsu but dedication and
      belief. Gandhi thus coins soul force , as opposite to brute force.
      However Gandhi refutes the claim that passive resistance is weapon of
      weak only .He wants people in majority and strength also to practice
      Passive resistance. Chastity for Gandhi is one of the greatest
      disciplines of mind for passive resistance. Hence again he uses soul
      force as synonymous with truth force. Hatred for individuals motivates a
      man to use brute force but men who rise above worldly emotions of hatred
      and pleasure will therefore always practice passive resistance and
      henceforth achieve their due without a sword or a cannon .

      Since Gandhi advocates religion as a way of life, he seems to forget
      that both Islam and Hinduism advocate use of brute force whenever
      necessary ,with the concept of just war .Gandhian philosophy leaves no
      scope for just war or war otherwise. It may sound strange that Gandhi
      when asked about assault on Polish people by Nazis , presented the
      solution of sacrifice and surrender . He wanted people to strive and
      suffer for better future , but it was innocent of him to believe this
      because in modern assault if resistance and counterforce isn’t employed
      whole populations can be wiped out. Gandhi also forgets that the land
      for which he is seeking swaraj is the same land which has witnessed
      Mahabharata and other religious wars.

      Umair Gul is a student of MA final year at Nelson Mandela Centre for
      Peace and conflict studies Jamia millia

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.