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Professor Arindam Chaudhuri
[Chief Editor - 'The Sunday Indian']
[April 2006]

Beat up all the Gandhians & make truce with the violence mongers - that's Mahatma Gandhi's India for you!

Violent revolutions - as Marx put it - or violent movements or plain violence; history is proof to the fact that what succeeded worldwide as a mode of change and evolution (be it in France, America, Russia or China) failed in India. The great freedom fighter and revolutionary Subhash Chandra Bose, defeated Gandhi's own man in the Indian National Congress (INC) elections, became the President of INC, and gave his famous call to the citizens of India, "Give me blood, I will give you freedom." Worldwide, similar calls by charismatic leaders like him have resulted in radical revolutions; but that was not to be in India. Bose failed to get Indians to stand behind him and throw the British out. At the same time, when almost everything else failed this modern day avataar of Lord Krishna - in terms of his strategic leadership skills - the father of our nation, M. K. Gandhi, came to our rescue. He gave his famous call, "Do not give me blood, I will give you freedom," - well, not precisely in these words, but that's what he meant - when he called for a non-violent revolution to throw the British out of India. He won India independence, and showed the world a Beat up all gandhiansnew and humane way of bringing about a change (It is a different argument whether he also proved that barring instances of small spurts of uprisings - which were anyway never backed up by mass support - Indians on the whole were incapable of violent revolutions).

Without going into further analysis of the Indian psyche, let me concentrate upon what the father of our nation gave the world and left us Indians highly proud of - the concept of non-violent revolutions. Even Martin Luther King Jr followed these principles and impacted a giant leap in the struggle for dignity of the Blacks. Unfortunately, while the world thinks of Gandhism as a model to be aped and admired - I do not here include the "Smoke 'em out" or "What's Newsweek?!?" variety of highly (ill)educated leaders - Indians, it seems, think that having given the man the title of 'father of the nation', their job is done.

When it comes to handling people who truly believe in the 'father of the nation' philosophy, it seems the best way is to beat them up, sideline and ignore them, and let them fast unto death - till they die along with their voices and beliefs. How else does one justify continuing ill treatment and beating up of Medha Patekar and her associates, when what they have been fighting for since many years has been the most justified demand for rehabilitation of those being displaced due to building of dams - or what she calls - a technology that is apocalyptic and destroys thousands of homes, hearts, habitats, ecology, geography, history; a technology that would benefit so few at such a huge cost. How else does one justify the treatment meted out to Baba Amte and other staunch believers in the principles of non-violence, while the government forms special committees and task forces to negotiate with the armed violence mongers across India; from Kashmir to Assam to Madhya Pradesh to Andhra Pradesh?

In Gandhi's India, Gandhism is virtually being killed by the system run by babus, middlemen and politicians - all driven by the era of greed unleashed by economic liberalisation, duly backed by the violent mechanism of the state, and in fine collaboration with the decaying judicial system. It's time to RESURRECT GANDHISM. May the force be with the Medha Patekars and Baba Amtes of India.

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