WHO WAS MAHATMA GANDHI REALLY?
Gandhi was a satyagraha theorist, which is the resistance to oppression through mass civil disobedience that led India to the independence.
With his actions, he was a source of inspiration for Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. In India, Gandhi is recognized as “Father of the nation” and on October the 2nd is a state public holiday. His real name was “Mohāndās Karamchand Gāndhī”, but he gained the title of “Mahatma” that means “big and deep soul”.
However, Gandhi wasn’t as kind as he was always described. We all know him as the man of pure principles, as the father of non-violent resistance in India, a country that got free from the Britannic imperialist power. He fought so hard till a fanatical Indian killed him, making him a martyr.
Because of the beautiful words said about him, it is too easy to forget that his ethics was based on racism, hate for women’s sexuality and on the rejection for standing for the freedom of the Dalit, known as the “untouchables”, those who in the Indian caste system are born out of the four main castes.
Gandhi lived in South Africa for many years and there he only fought for Indian people’s rights because he thought that south African people weren’t even human. He talked about them with terrible words, especially the derogatory term “kaffir”. He also declared that “the white race in South Africa should be the main race”.
During the years of his activity, Gandhi showed an aversion to women. He truly believed that men were not able to control their impulses and that the women were the only ones responsible for these impulses. The author Rita Banerji declared that Gandhi considered the menstruation as “the demonstration of the placing of the female soul under its sexuality”.
He used women quite often to test his self-control, indeed he used to sleep naked next to them to show himself that he didn’t feel excitement.
In the West Gandhi is considered like the one who fought for the annihilation of the caste. However, the Dalit emancipation wasn’t so important for him. Dalit keep suffering even today for the consequences of prejudices rooted in Indian culture.
History has been too benign with Gandhi and his defenders declare that he was an imperfect man like everyone else. But the dark sides of Gandhi persist in the Indian society, like the racism, the contempt for female body and the lack of interest in Dalit’s conditions.
The definition of “the greatest Indian man of all time” is maybe given to a man that never really existed.