Gandhiji's Doctrine in Wider Perspective


Godhara [Gujarat] is one of the places that have been the hotbed of activities of Jihadists since as long as pre-independence days. This led to the...

Godhara [Gujarat] is one of the places that have been the hotbed of activities of Jihadists since as long as pre-independence days. This led to the recurring of the incidents of communal strife there time and again, making the lives of common people miserable.

One such incident occurred in 1920, which is linked with Mahatma Gandhi and throws light on the wider perspective of his doctrine of Ahimsa [non-violence]. What happened that, taking the advantage of docile attitude of local Hindus, Jihadists bullies indulged in harassing their women. So much so that at one point of time all the limits of brazenness it crossed.

Lastly, unable to bear affronts to their women folk anymore, they formed a delegation and approached Gandhiji to tell their woes. After hearing them how Gandhiji responded is notable. Instead of preaching them Ahimsa, he exhorted them to fight back.

According to him, “The 1400 years of imperialist expansion has made fighters of the Musalmans. They are, therefore, aggressive. Bullying is the natural excrescence of an aggressive spirit.”[Young India, 19.6.1924].

Thus, contrary to what has been popularly believed and, more so, preached by the particular political class boasting themselves to be the secularists, Gandhi’s outlook regarding Ahimsa was not all that mute tolerance against injustice or, for that matter, the complete abstention from the use of power, no matter what kind of circumstances and forces are there to cope with. And, rightly so, he made it crystal clear on the various occasions.

When in 1942 all the measures of containing the menace of dacoits in Sindh and Gujrat came a cropper and it assumed dangerous dimension, he called upon people to arm themselves and raise the self-defense forces. So also, when it came to defend Kashmir from Pakistan-sponsored raiders, he inspired the Indian troops and other defenders to hound them [raiders] out of the valley rather than submit.

So also, if his Ahimsa was not the meek submission to injustice, his outlook to secularism was not myopic either. What were his views regarding very existence of Christian missionaries in India are eye-opener. He said, “The way the Christian missionaries are indulged in their activities of religious conversion these days, they will be given no chance of doing so in free India.

They are inflicting harm to entire India. This is a tragedy for the mankind to have the thing like missionary preaching. So long as you missionary people consider non-Christians and Indians as the people lost in the darkness of ignorance, there will be no place for you in free India.” [Mahatma Gandhi-Christian Missions, There Place in India, page 151 and 220].

Thus, shedding the exclusivist misleading dogma regarding Gandhi’s ideology, what is needed is to understand it [Gandhi’s ideology] in wider perspective.

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