MAHESH JAYACHANDRA writes from St. Cloud, Minnesota: When fertilizers are not available in adequate quantity on time, buses are burnt in Haveri. When Jagadish Shettar does not get a cabinet post, buses are burnt in Hubli. When the Cauvery Tribunal orders release of water, buses are burnt in Bangalore.
When Loksatta editor Kumar Ketkar questions the utility of a Shivaji statue, his house is nearly burnt down in Bombay. When biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava, queries the efficacy of homoeopathy, an angry mob smashes his gate in Hyderabad.
Smash, slash, break, burn.
Suffice to say that when Indians are incensed about any issue, they take to the streets in violent, pyromaniacal mobs. The issue may be important or trivial, but we seem to be driving home our point with far greater ferocity and frequency than in the past.
Has the time come to point a finger at Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi?
In a new book, “Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age“, historian Arthur Herman writes:
…[Gandhi’s]…decade-and-a-half of defiance of the law through civil disobedience had bred an atmosphere of contempt for social order, a celebration of recklessness and militance….
[B]y encouraging others . . . Gandhi helped to spread the dangerous fiction that all street action was soul force and vice-versa…
The near-national contempt for social order, for public and private property, may be the sign of an alive democracy to some, a functioning anarchy to some others.
Or a social disorder in deep dystrophy.
Regardless, the easy acceptance of “street action” as a legitimate form of protest to draw attention and action, makes me wonder if the time has come to re-evaluate MKG’s enduring legacy.
Is the apostle of ahimsa responsible in a roundabout sort of way for the unceasing trail of violence and vandalism we see around us? Have we twisted his philosophy of protest beyond redemption in the name of democracy? Are we just incapable of making ourselves be heard in any other way?
Also read: Thodo, phodo, ham sab tumhaare saath hain
My brother has developed a nasty pimple on his cheek.
My friend’s two month old baby pisses once every hour.
My dog was howling through the night, last night.
The recent earthquake in China killed 1000s.
I lay the blame for all the above squarely on Arthur Herman or even Churumuri.
Sounds insanely ridiculous?
So does your article Sir.
Your article defies all kinds of logic known to man.
Today’s violent street protests are anything but Gandhian.
It is disgraceful and completely insane to pin the blame on Gandhi, who revolutionized the art of protesting, by resorting to non-violence and truth.
This article takes the ‘blame game’ to a new low altogether.
Are you guys not getting any ‘real stories’ worth putting on your site?
MAHESH JAYACHANDRA is talking all nonsense here, all these violence, burning of buses, hurting innocent people (culprits never get hurt in a violent protest) are completely against Gandhian ideals, Just becoz a bunch of mindless maniacs create a violent atmosphere, it is bad to make Gandhi responsible for all the bad things.
If these guys were to follow Mahatma’s ideals they would never resort to violence, Think twice before posting such articles.
all you dissenters, what do you say about swadeshi movement? burning foreign-made goods is peaceful?
rasta rokos, jail bharos… these are certainly not peaceful forms of protest.
what about fast-unto-deaths, and the oxymoronic relay fasts? dharnas? strikes? where do they originate from? and what has given them legitimacy if not the fact that gandhi and gandhians did the same?
“Gandhi’s decade & a half of defiance of law through civil disobedience had bred an atmosphere of contempt for social order, a celebration of recklessness and militance”.
Where was it celebrated?
And first of all, why had Gandhi restored to civil disobedience? Is it because someone did not erect his statue or because he didn’t get cabinet berth in the Government?
Going by Arthur Helman’s statement, it took 50 years for Indians to bring it to practice! All these years we just kept Gandhi’s ideals in the cupboard and locked it! I don’t understand how the author connected the issue of vandalism to Gandhi’s ideals!
What a stupid argument.You have said Apostle of ahimsa and then ask whether he is responsible for Violence.Your arguments look like George bush’s one on the food price rice
I agree with the article. When you sow the seed of non cooperation although thro’ ahimsa, it is a brahmasura which is waiting to happen.
Jack and Wanderlust
Jail bharo isn’t a violent act. Fast isn’t violent. Relay fast (by the way it is NOT oxymoronic) is not violent. Dharna is not violent. Burning effigies is not violent.
Guys, tell me you seem to have a problem with both forms of protest: violent and non-violent.
So where do we go from here?
Jayachandras and wondelusts – your view points as dangerous as the actions of those indulging in violence. Of course, foreign made goods were burnt during the swadeshi movement, but everyone thought people burnt them voluntarily. No one has snatched them from others or looted them shops, at least as I have been given to understand. Of course, fast-un-to deaths etc etc can be oxymoronic for you Mr/Mrs wanderlust but if today’s protestors follow these kind of oxymoronic means you and I can walk securely on the roads. Otherwise, you or I will be victims of police firing or stone thrown by some protestor when we go to get our children back from school as it happened to one innocent man in Haveri the other day and many such unwept unfortunate countrymen and women from time to time in many places. There is a limit to be being cynical about everything good
“Did Gandhi sow the seeds of our social disorder?” This point cannot be brushed off and is definitely worth debating.
Non-violence can easily turn into violence when lot of people get involved and it needs great leadership to make it remain non-violent. Even from Gandhi’s time we have the example of Chauri Choura incident of 1922 ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauri_Chaura ) when the non-violent movement turned violent. It is to Gandhi’s credit that he immediately stopped the movement in 1922.
Gandhi wanted non-violence of the ‘strong’, but it has become a tool of the ‘weak’ now.
The governments (state or center) are totally apathetic to any non-violent movement. They listen only when they see violence happening. So, one big reason for violence is the Government completely ignoring any non-violent movement.
Its like saying, inventor of gun is responsible for killing of farmer in yesterday’s firing.
People say, discover & invent new stuff. That doesn’t mean you don’t have brains and just follow whatever it is. Judge & Act.
I would go much further back blame Buddha, mahavira. Not to forget Henry David Thoruea and his book on civil disobedience.
Didn’t Ambedkar prophesised the same thing?
He said that activism like Civil Disobedience Movement etc. would be scary if it were targeted against the govt. in Independent India.
I bet those activists burning buses and destorying public places have no idea that they, the taxpayers of India, have paid for it. :(
Anyone believing that farmers are freebooters hence morally inferior to tax paying computer booters, should be tied with tonnes of shares of blue chip IT cos. and dropped in Indian Ocean.
Farmers pay hefty land revenue whether they profit or not from their lands(ignore the negligible exemptions) but ITSEZs and erstwhile IT parks do not!
PS: Is Mr. Pushpa M. Bhargava’s name just a cool name or does it have a cooler origin like Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s?
What/who is a “brahmasura”??
“Have we twisted his philosophy of protest beyond redemption in the name of democracy?” — yes, we have. He was very clear about his goal and how to go about it. His protests were dharmic.
If each one pauses and thinks for himself/herself: “Is this dharmic?” we will have the answers.
It requires immense strength of mind and clarity to be able to use non-violence as a means to protest/disagree – the far easier route is violence and destruction, which is what many of us resort to.
Even in everyday life, how many of us can practice non-violence (in thought, word and action)? Even a bit? It is very difficult.
Let us not be foolish enough to blame Gandhi for the present day violence. Let us not give publicity to foolish pieces like Herman’s – he does not have the perspective or context right.
A close relative of brahmarakshasa.
Per definition entered in wikipedia:
According to the Ramayana, rakshasas were created from Brahma’s foot; other sources claim they are descended from Pulastya, or from Khasa, or from Nirriti and Nirrita. Legend has it that many rakshasas were particularly wicked humans in previous incarnations. Rakshasas are notorious for disturbing sacrifices, desecrating graves, harassing priests, possessing human beings, and so on. Their fingernails are venomous, and they feed on human flesh and spoiled food. They are shapechangers, illusionists, and magicians.
We can probably add:
…notorious for disturbing public life, desecrating property, harassing you and me, possessing stones, pyromania and so on. Their brains are filled with venomous thoughts, they feed on anonymity and safety of being part of a mob. They are criminals, thugs and cowards.
: Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi :
It is time we realise that those who have dishonestly taken his SURNAME though not being born in the same family are RESPONSIBLE for this.
Ghandhy to Gandhi.
Muslim to Parsi to Hindu : Next stop Christianity
Yet the name Gandhi would be being retained.
All for the lure of Power
It appears more credit is being given for old/ancient human actions to a few who simply promoted them. Societies world-wide are seeing a growth in discontent and the discontent results in more impulsive behavior. As more images are available of what some have (cars, boats, planes–even food), others want it and get frustrated, even jealous, and want it for themselves. It is part of the art of survival taken to a modern, consumptive level. As an example, eliminate the media and we eliminate a large amount of jealousy (it’s hard to envy and deisre that which you do not know exists) and obtain a net reduction in general discontent. It has nothing to do with Ghandi or anyone else; it is hard-wired into our human psyche as a survival tool and only the basic teachings of respect and sharing will resolve much of the ensuing mayhem. Blame your parents.
Gandhiji never advocated violence. His civil disobedience movement was peaceful and orderly, not goondagiri. When the Bengal violence took place he undertook to a fast to help bring peace.
This is a cultural problem not something gandhi introduced..Gandhi only laid the foundation for the mess we are in today!!
It is naive to compare what Gandhi did to what these dial-a-goon serviced dimwits do. How can you even dare compare the two or justify the activities of these miscreants using Gandhi ? Can any of these inebriated morons even sustain an iota of suffering that Gandhi did ?
As far as the arm-chair pundits go :
Any fool who thinks India could have gotten justice any other way or by anyone else is sorely mistaken. Gandhi’s principles are still respected and emulated ..
I think Sage Parashurama is responsible for all the recent violence.
People, please spare MAHESH. He has written it out just out of ignorance.
Give a ‘Jaadu ki Jhappi” to him, and he will be corrected.
I think by not preaching Gandhian Thoughts to masses and not acting accordingly are the root cause of present stage of Social Unrest. Gandhiji never wanted violent protest, his style was misunderstood. He by and large acted like safety valve which stopped lots of possible damage of life and property.especially it was quiet imminent when the British forces and revolutioneries were clashing against each others.
He believed in putting his voice peacefully before the Goverment. His Jail Bharo Andolan was entirely peacefull. Even when he called people to burn foreign made items people volenteerely donated and burnt it. they didnot snatched or burnt other property.Gandhiji was against burning of public property,he never advocated violated method .
Those accusing his ideals are nothing but ignorant people who either dont know Gandhian ideology or completely misinterpretating it
It seems confusion is reigning supreme here. In Mahesh Jayachandra’s article I did not find any reference to Mahatma’s Ideals. They are great and they remain so for all time to come.
He spoke about degeneration of Mahatama’s prime weapon/method – civil disobedience – by contemporary politicians and their followers or shall I say goons.
Years back I heard a story. Shiva and Parvati were resting in Kailash and suddenly Parvati chuckled. Lord Shiva enquired what is so funny. She said that she remembered old times and particularly the Bhasmasura episode, when Shiva had to run for his life to save himself from the Rakshasa on whom he had bestowed the boon of consigning to flames and reducing to ash anything on which the rakshasa sets his hand. Parvati said there are no such funny incidents any more.
Lord Shiva said you are mistaken. All you have to do is look down at Bharatavarsha and see for yourself. There was a time when red faced peopled ruled the jambudweepa. The white capped natives of Bharatavarsha were protesting against the rule by disobeying the laws enunciated by the rulers and creating ruckus after ruckus under the guidance of a Mahan Atma.
Now the red faced rulers are gone. The white capped have taken their place. The natives are breaking laws after laws and creating ruckus after ruckus in a manner quite different but violent and ferocious. The white capped rulers are reaping the harvest of what they sowed under the Mahan Atma. Is this any different from the Bhasmasura episode? In fact it is worse than that since there was only one Bhasmasura that I had to tackle. Look at their number now. Parvati of course had no alternative but to agree.
Jayachandra did not say that the Mahatma was wrong. What he said is where are we taking his methods while swearing by his ideals. We get outraged when we talk about Mahatma. Are we doing any justice to his ideals and methods by corrupting them?
Mahesh has given us some food for thought. Instead of debating that we are dissecting his syntax and grammer.
Shame on you bloggers.
For your thoughts, analysis and feedback.
I wonder if I ever thought of questioning the National Anthem…
This one is a real wake up call.
Do read it
This is interesting……
“Jana Gana Mana” – Just a thought for the National Anthem! How well do you
know about it?
I have always wondered who is the ” adhinayak”
and”bharat bhagya vidhata”,whose praise we are singing.. I thought might be
Motherland India ! Our current National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana”is sung
throughout the country.
Did you know the following about our national anthem, I didn’t.
To begin with, India ‘s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, was
written by Rabindranath Tagore in honor of King George V and the Queen of
England when they visited India in 1919. To honor their visit Pandit
Motilal Nehru had the five stanzas included , which are in praise of the
King and Queen.(And most of us think it is in the praise of our great
In the original Bengali verses only those provinces that were under British
rule,i.e . Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat ,Maratha etc.were mentioned.
None of the princely states were recognized which are integral parts of
India now Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra, Mysore or Kerala.
Neither the Indian Ocean nor the Arabian Sea was included, since they were
directly under Portuguese rule at that time.
The Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka implies that King George V is the lord of the
masses and Bharata Bhagya Vidhata is “the bestower of good fortune”.
Following is a translation of the five stanzas that glorify the King: First
stanza: (Indian) People wake up remembering your good name and ask for your
blessings and they sing your glories. (Tava shubha name jaage; tava shubha
aashish maage, gaaye tava jaya gaatha)
Second stanza :Around your throne people of all religions come and give
their love and anxiously wait to hear your kind words.
Third stanza: Praise to the King for being the charioteer, for leading the
ancient travelers beyond misery.
Fourth stanza :Drowned in the deep ignorance and suffering,
poverty-stricken, unconscious country?
Waiting for the wink of your eye and your mother’s (the Queen’s) true
Fifth stanza : In your compassionate plans, the sleeping Bharat ( India )
will wake up. We bow down to your feet O’ Queen, and glory to Rajeshwara
This whole poem does not indicate any love for the Motherland but depicts a
bleak picture. When you sing Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, whom are you
glorifying? Certainly not the Motherland. Is it God? The poem does not
indicate that.It is time now to understand the original purpose and the
implication of this, rather than blindly sing as has been done the past
Nehru chose the present national anthem as opposed to Vande Mataram because
he thought that it would be easier for the band to play!!! It was an absurd
reason but Today for that matter bands have advanced and they can very well
play any music. So they can as well play Vande Mataram, which is a far
better composition in praise of our Dear Motherland India .
Wake up, it’s high time! Shouldn’t Vande Mataram be our National Anthem.
Come Join together to put Vande Mataram as our National Anthem.
Please dont break the chain lets see how many people are coming to know
BE PROUD TO BE INDIAN..
Not directly related to this post but thought this would be interesting:
One of them is the mahatma.
And the words in the ad:
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
We see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world,
Are the ones who do.
The words BTW are from Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.
you’re in st cloud minn mahesh
The write-up says “DID Gandhi sow the seeds of our social disorder?” and NOT “Gandhi sowed the seeds of our social disorder”!!
There is difference between asking a QUESTION and stating the obvious! Now, one would expect people to understand the difference between the 2, right???? by the looks of whats penned here – I’d say “NO”!
This is what Aurobindo had to say about Gandhi’s abiding principles way back in 1923.
“I believe Gandhi does not know what actually happens to the man’s nature when he takes to Satyagraha or non-violence. He thinks that men get purified by it. But when men suffer, or subject themselves to voluntary suffering, what happens is that their vital being gets strengthened. These movements affect the vital being only and not any other part. Now, when you cannot oppose the force that oppresses, you say that you will suffer. That suffering is vital and it gives strength. When the man who has thus suffered gets power he becomes a worse oppressor….”
A fact simply stated.