Sunday, March 02, 2014

Arundhati Roy digs out new chapter in Mahatma Gandhi's life: His dislike for "uncivilised" Africans

By Our Representative
In a controversial write-up, top Magsasay awardee writer Arundhati Roy has suggested that the roots of Gandhi’s views on maintaining caste hierarchy in his dislike towards the blacks in Africa during his stay in South Africa in the early 20th century. Roy, in a well-researched article in a known monthly journal (click HERE), points towards how, during the the Boer War, which broke out in 1901 Gandhi opposed siding with the local Zulus, and speak in at the Natal Indian Congress talked of “a better understanding between the English and the Indians.”
Quoting from "Indian Opinion" (April 14, 1906), Roy says Gandhi believed in not side with either the “Kaffirs [Zulus]” or the White rulers. “We are in Natal by virtue of British Power. Our very existence depends on it. It is therefore our duty to render whatever help we can”, he said. While praising Gandhi for leading the struggle of the “passenger Indians bravely, and from the front”, when two thousand people burned their passes in a public bonfire”, Roy points towards how “Gandhi was assaulted mercilessly, arrested and imprisoned”, but does not fail to “expose” his dislike for the “Kaffirs”.
She further quotes Gandhi in “Indian Opinion” (March 7, 1908), referring to his time in lockup: “We were all prepared for hardships, but not quite for this experience. We could understand not being classed with the Whites, but to be placed on the same level with the Natives seemed to be too much to put up with.” Gandhi is further quoted as saying, “Kaffirs as a rule are uncivilised—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.”
In yet another quote, Roy says, in the 16th year of his 20-year stay in South Africa, Gandhi wrote in “My Second Experience in Gaol”, in Indian Opinion (January 16, 1909): “I was given a bed in a cell where there were mostly Kaffir prisoners who had been lying ill. I spent the night in this cell in great misery and fear… I read the Bhagvad Gita which I had carried with me. I read the verses which had a bearing on my situation and meditating on them, managed to compose myself. The reason why I felt so uneasy was that the Kaffir and Chinese prisoners appeared to be wild, murderous and given to immoral ways…”
Roy also quotes Gandhi as saying, “I have resolved in my mind on an agitation to ensure that Indian prisoners are not lodged with Kaffirs or others. We cannot ignore the fact that there is no common ground between them and us. Moreover, those who wish to sleep in the same room as them have ulterior motives for doing so.”
A decade later, Gandhi “just reimagined” things in 1928 in “Satyagraha in South Africa”, the memoirs he wrote in Yerawada Central Jail. “By then the chessmen on the board had moved around. Gandhi had turned against the British”, Roy says, quoting Gandhi as saying:
“Indians have too much in common with the Africans to think of isolating themselves from them. They cannot exist in South Africa for any length of time without the active sympathy and friendship of the Africans. I am not aware of the general body of the Indians having ever adopted an air of superiority towards their African brethren, and it would be a tragedy if any such movement were to gain ground among the Indian settlers of South Africa.”
In India, Roy writes, “among privileged castes, the social boycott in rural India traditionally means hukka-paani bandh—no tobacco and no water for a person who has annoyed the community. Though it’s called a social boycott, it is an economic as well as social boycott. For Dalits, that is lethal. The sinners are denied employment in the neighbourhood, denied the right to food and water, denied the right to buy provisions in the village Bania’s shop. They are hounded out and left to starve.”
Saying that “the social boycott continues to be used as a weapon against Dalits in Indian villages”, she adds, “It is non-cooperation by the powerful against the powerless—non-cooperation, as we know it, turned on its head.” However, the “Hindu reformers”, including Gandhi, instead of addressing this crucial factor, detached “caste from the political economy, from conditions of enslavement in which most Dalits lived and worked, in order to elide the questions of entitlement, land reforms and the redistribution of wealth.” They “cleverly narrowed the question of caste to the issue of untouchability. They framed it as an erroneous religious and cultural practice that needed to be reformed.”
Pointing out that “Gandhi narrowed it even further, Roy quotes Gandhi’s presidential address at the Kathiawar Political Conference in Bhavnagar on January 8, 1925, Gandhi: “If at all I seek any position it is that of a Bhangi. Cleansing of dirt is sacred work which can be done by a Brahmin as well as a Bhangi, the former doing it with and the latter without the knowledge of its holiness. I respect and honour both of them. In the absence of either of the two, Hinduism is bound to face extinction. I like the path of service; therefore, I like the Bhangi. I have personally no objection to sharing my meal with him…”
Even then, Roy suggests that Gandhi’s “attentiveness towards the Valmikis” was political. Referring his greatly publicised visits to “Bhangi colonies,” she says, it “paid dividends, despite the fact that he treated them with condescension and contempt." Referring to one such colony in 1946, she says points towards how “half the residents were moved out before his visit and the shacks of the residents torn down and neat little huts constructed in their place.”
She says, “The entrances and windows of the huts were screened with matting, and during the length of Gandhi’s visit, were kept sprinkled with water to provide a cooling effect. The local temple was white-washed and new brick paths were laid. In an interview with Margaret Bourke-White, a photo-journalist for Life magazine, one of the men in charge of Gandhi’s visit, Dinanath Tiang of the Birla Company, explained the improvements in the untouchable colony, ‘We have cared for Gandhiji’s comfort for the last twenty years’.”
Quoting scholar Vijay Prashad, who wrote about one such “staged visit” to the Valmiki Colony on Mandir Marg (in Delhi, formerly Reading Road) in 1946, Roy says Gandhi “refused to eat with the community”. Gandhi is quoted as saying, “You can offer me goat’s milk but I will pay for it. If you are keen that I should take food prepared by you, you can come here and cook my food for me.” When a dalit gave Gandhi nuts, “he fed them to his goat, saying that he would eat them later, in the goat’s milk.”
“Most of Gandhi’s food, nuts and grains, came from Birla House; he did not take these from the Dalits”, Roy says, adding, “While Gandhi promoted his village republic, his pragmatism (or what some might call his duality) allowed him to support and be supported by big industry and big dams as well. His chief sponsor from the year he came back from South Africa to the end of his days, was the textile magnate and newspaper baron GD Birla.”

1 comment:

Capt. Ajit Vadakayil said...

Really I do NOT care for Arundhati Roy, who is praised by Rothschild media, only because Syrian Christians are Jews.
Arundhati Roy, a Syrian Christian with a Hindu name does NOT know that both BR Ambedkar and EVR Periyar had written that they do NOT want the white invader to leave India.
Rig Veda (1200–900 BCE) was written 4000 year earlier in 5000 BC than what she has alluded to.
Basava was a Jew Rothschild back dated creation. Veerashaivas were fooled into burying their dead bodies by rothshild. They are NOT hindus as Hindus are cremated.
All these fourteenth century Bhakti poet-saints—Cokhamela, Ravidas, Kabir, Tukaram, Mira, Janabai—were all created by Rothschild to drive fissures into Hindusim for divide and rule , and back dated.
She does NOT know that Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a Rothschild Opium drug runner.
She does NOT know that Dayananda Saraswati ( Arya Samaj ) was pumped up by Rothschild to beliitle Hindusim.
Punch into Google search-
To know about desh drohi EVR Periyar punch into Google search-
To know more about Raja Ram Mohan Roy-
Punch into Google search-
For immoral attack on Hinduism—punch into Google search-
Capt ajit vadakayil