November 28, 2000
Written By: Velu Annamalai, Ph.D.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. might have heard the word of non-violence
from Gandhi, but it is certain that Dr. King did not know the true colors of Mr. Gandhi. From the beginning to the end, M.K. Gandhi was loyal to imperialism. The Western news media and their Indian allies by a massive propaganda exercise created the illusion of sainthood around Gandhi and made people believe that he fought Apartheid in South Africa, and in the process of doing so developed a new method of non-violent struggle called satyagraha. Nothing is farther from the truth. Gandhi, for the major part
of his life, worshipped British imperialism and too often proudly proclaimed himself a lover of the Empire. He was Kipling's Gunga Din in flesh and blood.
To understand Gandhi's politics in South Africa, it is essential to note the three fundamental trends which all along persisted underneath all his activities. They were:
(1) his loyalty to the British Empire,
Gandhi was once thrown out of a train compartment which was reserved exclusively for the Whites. It was not that Gandhi was fighting on behalf of the local Africans that he broke the rule in getting into a Whites' compartment. No! that was not the reason. Gandhi was so furious that he
and his merchant caste Indians (Banias) were treated on par with the local Africans. This is the real reason for his fighting race discrimination in South Africa, and he had absolutely no concern about the pitiable way the Africans were treated by the Whites.
(2) his apathy with regard to the Indian "lower castes", India's indigenous population, and
(3) his virulent anti-African racism.
On June 2, 1906 he commented in the Indian Opinion that "Thanks to the Court's decision, only clean Indians (meaning upper caste Hindu Indians) or colored people other than Kaffirs, can now travel in the trains."
During the `Kaffir Wars' in South Africa he was a regular Gunga Din, who volunteered to organize a brigade of Indians to put down the Zulu uprising and was decorated himself for valor under fire.
Gandhi said on September 26, 1896 about the African people: "Ours is one continued struggle sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness."
Again in an editorial on the Natal Municipal Corporation Bill, in the Indian Opinion of March 18, 1905, Gandhi wrote: "Clause 200 makes provision for registration of persons belonging to uncivilized races (meaning the local Africans), resident and employed within the Borough.
One can understand the necessity of registration of Kaffirs who will not work, but why should registration be required for indentured Indians...?" Again on September 9, 1905, Gandhi wrote about the local Africans as: "in the majority of cases it compels the native to work for at least a few days a year" (meaning that the locals are lazy).
Nothing could be farther from the truth that Gandhi fought against Apartheid, which many propagandists in later years wanted people to believe.
He was all in favor of continuation of White domination and the oppression of Blacks in South Africa.
In the Indian Opinion of March 25, 1905, Gandhi wrote on a Bill regulating fire-arms: "In the instance of fire-arms, the Asiatic has been most improperly bracketed with the natives. The British Indian does not need any such restrictions as are imposed by the Bill on the natives regarding the carrying of fire-arms. The prominent race can remain so by preventing the native from arming himself. Is there the slightest vestige of justification for so preventing the British Indians?"
Gandhi always advised Indians not to align with other political groups in either colored or African communities. He was strongly opposed to the commingling of races.
In the Indian Opinion of September 4, 1904, Gandhi wrote: "Under my suggestion, the Town Council (of Johannesburg) must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians I must confess I feel most strongly. It think it is very unfair to the Indian population, and it is an undue tax on even the proverbial patience of my countrymen."
In the Indian Opinion of September 24, 1903, Gandhi said: "We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they (the Whites) do... by advocating the purity of all races."
Again on December 24, 1903, in the Indian Opinion Gandhi stated that: "so
far as British Indians are concerned, such a thing is particularly unknown. If there is one thing which the Indian cherishes more than any other, it is purity of type."
When he was fighting on behalf of Indians, he was not fighting for all the Indians, but only for his rich merchant class upper caste Hindus!
In the Anglo-Boer War of 1899, Gandhi, in spite of his own belief that truth was on the side of the Boers, formed an ambulance unit in support of the British forces. He was very earnest about taking up arms and laying down his life for his beloved Queen. He led his men on to the battlefield and received a War Medal.
Gandhi joined in the orgy of Zulu slaughter when the Bambata Rebellion broke out. One needs to read the entire history of Bambata Rebellion to place Gandhi's nazi war crimes in its proper perspective.
A Selected List Of Works About Mohandas K. Gandhi
Ambedkar, B.R. What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables. Bombay: Thacker, 1945.
Annamalai, Velu. Sergeant-Major M.K. Gandhi. Bangalore: Dalit Sahitya Akadiy, 1995.
Assisi, Francis. "Gandhi's Links with South Africa Examined." India West, 28 Sep 1990: 45.
Assisi, Francis. "Mahatma Gandhi's Links with SA Blacks Questioned." News India, 28 Sep 1990: 1.
Assisi, Francis. "Two New Books on Gandhiji." India West, 28 Sep 1990: 45.
Das, Nani Gopal. Was Gandhiji a Mahatma? Calcutta: Dipali Book House, 1988.
Edwards, Michael. The Myth of the Mahatma. London: Constable, 1986.
Gandhi, Mohandas K. Untouchability. Edited by Bharatan Kumarappa. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1954.
Grenier, Richard. The Gandhi Nobody Knows. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983.
Grenier, Richard. "The Gandhi Nobody Knows." Commentary (Mar 1983): 59-72.
Huq, Fazlul. Gandhi: Saint or Sinner? Foreword by V.T. Rajshekar. Bangalore: Dalit Sahitya Akadiy, 1991.
Kapur, Sudarshan. Raising Up a Prophet: The African-American Encounter with Gandhi. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.
Rajshekar, V.T. Hinduism, Fascism and Gandhism: A Guide to Every Intelligent Indian. Bangalore: Dalit Sahitya Akadiy, 1984.
Rajshekar, V.T. Why Godse Killed Gandhi? Bangalore: Dalit Sahitya Akadiy, 1986.
Rajshekar, V.T. Clash of Two Values: Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar (The Verdict of History). Bangalore: Dalit Sahitya Akadiy, 1989.
Velu Annamalai, Ph.D., a native of Tamil Nadu, India, is the President of the International Dalit Support Group and the author of Sergeant-Major M.K. Gandhi published by the Dalit Sahitya Akademy in Bangalore, India in 1995. He currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This article was published courtesy of Velu Annamalai, Ph.D
Copyright © 2001 Velu Annamalai, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
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