January 26th has always had reasons for me to celebrate
Growing up in Uganda - my childland, I remember switching on to UTV to watch the parade at the Kololo grounds, to celebrate, because on January 26, 1986, a stable Political party came into power after a successful guerrilla struggle led by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. This ended the 15 years of tyranny and civil war, at least in the larger part of Uganda (the south). The mass struggle was such that it went beyond political lines. In deed a day for us Ugandans to celebrate as Liberation Day.
Growing wise in India - my motherland, I celebrate January 26th for it was on this day at Lahore, 1930, that the call of "Purna Swaraj" was proclaimed with pride.
Gandhi drafted the Indian declaration of independence, which stated:
"The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually....Therefore...India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or complete independence."
And later, the new Constitution of India, as drafted and approved by the Constituent Assembly of India, was mandated to take effect on January 26, 1950, to commemorate the 1930 declaration. On that day in 1950, India became a republic. In deed a day for us Indians to celebrate as a Liberation Day.
But it pains my heart that we Indians are not readily able to pay homage to one of the most important places of reverence in the history of India's freedom struggle against Colonialism, that spot in Lahore, where the Declaration of the Independence of undivided India was passed. Probably, some day, when we get the honour, probably we could build one of the best of monuments there.
And please do note that, The March 1940 Resolution for the separate country "Pakistan" too was called for in the same city of Lahore, this is commemorated by the monument called "Minar-e-Pakistan". So, the name "Lahore" stirs up lots of emotion in me, because I truly see it, that the partition of the sub-continent had to happen because this part of the world was deeply plagued by a leadership that was primarily made of empathy-less prodigies. And this "state of being" still exists even to this day, it's very sad that I still see such clouds of irreligious darkness still lingering in the air, not allowing the people to understand each other, not even allowing them to present themselves in way such that, the other people could understand. But I am very happy to say that I come with a solution. I know how to clear the clouds. But as you know, knowing is still just knowing, and so I wait for my chance to do.
To quote my favourite text by Gandhi after the Talisman: The Seven Social Sins.
The Seven Social Sins
- Wealth without Work
- Pleasure without Conscience
- Science without Humanity
- Knowledge without Character
- Politics without Principle
- Commerce without Morality
- Worship without Sacrifice
"The ambition of the greatest HUman of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over." - Tryst with Destiny
Now and again, to talk about Gandhi. Why did Gandhi outshine every other freedom struggle fighter? We did have different kinds of Freedom fighters, the Moderates, the Extremists and then we had Gandhi. But, I feel that there are very few in the world who understand why Gandhi's projects worked well where the Moderates and the Extremists failed.
The secret is to understand this, is to understand deeply the meaning and methodology of "CARE".
Three CASES of CARE methodology
CASE 1: Think of young Krishna - the cow herd, think of young Jesus or Mohammed - the shepherd, see how the herdsman cares for his animals. When he sees that the animals are capable of surrendering to his physical superior authority, then all he needs to do to take care of them is to follow them from behind with a superior physical authority (in this case, say a Stick), by doing so, he is able to monitor them and guide them.
CASE 2: Think again of Krishna but this time with his friend Arjuna, or Jesus with his disciple-friends, or Mohammed with his valiant uncle Hamza, see how the Prophet cares for his friends. When he sees that his companions are capable of understanding his words, then all he needs to do to take care of them, is to follow their thoughts, words and talk to them with reason, by doing so, he is able to monitor them and guide them.
CASE 3: Now, think again of Krishna leading his army against Kamsa his evil uncle, or Jesus leading his disciples into a new city, or Mohammed leading his Army against the infidels, see how the Commander cares for his soldiers. When he sees that his soldiers have totally surrendered to his authority and are capable of understanding his actions, then all he needs to do to take care of them, is to follow holistically the total reality-scene, stand at the front and be a commander, by doing so, he is able to monitor them and guide them.
From here, the all further discussions are based on the above 3 Cases, if you are a good student, you will enjoy all that is to follow.
Some observations that I can deduce are that:
1. "Following" is a subset of "Caring". We need follow others to take care of them.
2. Depending on the subject, there are three element-types of "following",
- (1) to follow them from behind with a superior physical authority (Physical),
- (2) to follow their thoughts, words and talk to them with reason (Dialogue), and
- (3) to follow holistically the total reality-scene, stand at the front and be a commander (Silent).
4. Other important notes: In Case 1 and 2, when Krishna followed his Cows as well as friends, he charmed them all e.g. with his flute music/valour, and they fell in love with him. They became his Army. In Case 3, When Krishna kills Kamsa, this is another example for the care shown in Case 1. Krishna must wield superior physical authority over the totally deluded Kamsa to take care of Kamsa's soul. Note again: Ravana found it a great honour to be killed by the hands of great Ram.
Now coming to the India's freedom struggle against the Colonial British.
According to Bipin Chandra's book, he observes that: The Colonial British had established two lies before the world.
1. That Britain was the Maa-Baap, that without it's colonial rule, India would be in disaster.
2. That Britain was too strong to be conquered by any country in the world.
Now coming to the different types of freedom struggle.
1A. The first method of Indian Freedom struggle was the Extremist Struggle of 1857. The Rulers revolted against the British policies with mutinies, capturing forts, killing the residents etc, it was physical war. But the British were too strong, they not only suppressed the struggle physically, but also enacted several policies (direct as well as indirect) to make sure that they shall never be any other such uprising in the future.
2. The next possible method for the suppressed Indians, the second type of Freedom struggle was the Struggle of the Moderates, Dadabhai Naoroji and team, they believed in praying to the British, writing petitions, discussing, dialogue, conferences, writing books, intellectual debate. But the British encouraged this, as a feedback system, as a grievance appeasement system to make sure that no extremist behavior shoots up.
1B. The Neo-Extremists were born due to the poor results yielded by the Moderates: There were many: Lal, Bal, Pal, Subash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, they believed in tougher actions. Bose tried to raise an army against the British, he wanted to collude with Japan and even West Germany. Bhagat Singh and party used bombs to retaliate. Some communists too could be joined in this. Some religo-extremists too can be included here
2B. The Neo-Moderates were also born due to unsatisfactory results yielded by the Neo-extremists: There were many: Motilal, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Ambedkar, Jinnah. They had a political rather than a military tinge to all their activities. Then we had the religious groups, the Hindu community leaders and the Muslim community leaders to join in as loyal friends.
This was the leadership condition those days.
Then came GANDHI.
At his point of entry into politics, he was just known for his experiments in South Africa. But even then this man did not join the Indian struggle at the tail end but from the head crown. To achieve this, this cunning man had to stay away from the on going Home Rule movement and instead he traveled the country first to understand it and then established his brand name through his own struggles, Champaran and Kheda.
Bingo! He had to be made the Chief of the Indian Freedom Struggle.
As a corollary: I wish to add, later on in the struggle days, Jinnah used almost similar tactics, to become the Chief of the Muslim League movement.
Now the question is: WHY is it that the past shows that GANDHI's tactics overlapped all the policies of the neo-moderates(the ROYAL-LOYALS) and the neo-extremists (the RAMBOS)? Why did the people accept him to be their CHIEF ARCHITECT?
Answer: Gandhi's intelligence. He did not underestimate the British Regime!
He knew that the possibility of India to overcome the British through armed struggle was almost dismal. Due to our poor economic condition and poor international relations, it was almost impossible to think impractically, and to go on an armed struggle against the World War player: The British. Bhagat Singh, Bose and occasionally Nehru and Sardar kept making this impractical step.
He also knew that the British however bad for India, were also indirectly cleansing India from it's own native reasons for decay, the native decay being the very reason for why India got colonized by the British in the first place. The British indirectly brought Science to India. The Printing Press. The Democratic Setup. He knew that India had to depart with the British as friends and not as sworn enemies. And moreover, using the British rule territorial coverage, Gandhi wanted the complex-complicated-divided early India to become the single India of maximum territory, one big united nation. This was the plan.
So reminding you again of the three Cases of Care:
(1) to follow them from behind with a superior physical authority, (PHYSICAL)
(2) to follow their thoughts, words and talk to them with reason, (DAILOGUE) and
(3) to follow holistically the total reality-scene, stand at the front and be a commander (NEAR SILENCE).
The extremists tried to follow behind the British by wielding superior physical authority over the British but they failed in every way, whether it's the Revolt of 1857, or Bose's army or Bhagat's bombs etc, they failed. Bose our Netaji sadly vanished, INA got dismantled, Bhagat our Shaheed, got hanged at the young age of 23! The British proved to be too strong.
The moderates tried to follow and pretended to be side by side with the British, through dialogue and petitions, to deal with the British with political astuteness, but they failed in every way, they were kept always waiting for the left over crumbs on the table.
CASE 1 and CASE 2 could never work. Only CASE 3 would work. Gandhi somehow had the brains to know this fact. He did not get physical, nor did he get into political dialogue, he got the masses and it's leaders to unite under his wing with the Silence of the truth and then next with that, he dealt with the Colonialists. And in case at any point, if he felt that his people were not under his control, he immediately withdrew the mass movement, because without their steady stand, it was impossible to deal with the Colonialists en masse.
Gandhi, knew he needed an army + a non-physical/non-dialogue but commanding technique to attack the British right at it's core, he knew that every empire had its Achilles' heel. The British prided themselves as the conscience of the world. The majestic empire of goodness. And Gandhi knew that, this assumption was exactly where they fell short. The British, by assuming themselves to be an empire representing the truth and goodness of the world, had in fact in the assumption-process, surrendered themselves to the scrutiny of Mr. Gandhi's dashing experiments with the Truth. Satisfying the condition for CASE 3. So Gandhi played ball, right time/right place.
Gandhi just looked for one thing in every mission, how to show the Indian masses, the British people/natives and the World community what the Colonialists really were, that the Colonialists were thieves, stealing money from the poor.
The Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre was the last paintbrush stroke on the true-colour image of the Colonialists, it showed the masses of India as well as the British natives, the true nature of the Colonialists. But the Colonialists tried very very hard to reverse the psychological condition, they and their natives tried to overtly praise the man responsible for the massacre - Mr.Dyer with awards and money. But it was too late, the Indian Masses finally woke up to the reality of the immediate real enemy, COLONIALISM.
Gandhi's only effective weapon was when he kept using the TRUTH as his religion, the naked fakir TRUTH, to deal with the false image of the British. And to raise his army, Gandhi understood that, the best way to gain publicity was to take a true spiritual persona, the Indian masses from time immemorial are very quick to surrender themselves to call any great man/woman as a mahadeva/devi. And so came Gandhi in the form of a religious Saint winning the hearts of the masses.
An army General, in the satisfactory form of a spiritual Guru. They once threw him out of a train for being a train in South Africa, Gandhi aimed for his sweet revenge, he struck back within his lifetime, Gandhi saw to it that his country evacuated the Colonialists from it's soil. Whereas other British colonies like my childland Uganda had to wait till 1962 to get it's freedom from the British and South Africa the second best colony after India, got it's independence only in the year 1994.
I remember reading in a book, about Gandhi saying that:
"Only a good army general knows when to attack and when to retreat".
I am sure he was trying to convince some people about his tactics when he said that. That he was an Army General in the act. The Salt Satyagraha was his finest action-moment, just like Michael Jackson had his moon walk, or Arnold Schwarzenegger had his "I'll be back". Our Gandhi had his Dandi March. He put the Colonialists in a very very tight spot, if they arrested him, it would arouse the people to understand how bad the Colonial British could be, to deprive the masses of their common salt, and if they did not arrest him, the people would understand how powerful Gandhi became, that the British had to be quiet to him. And moreover, Gandhi felt that this protest would dramatize "Purna Swaraj" in a way that was meaningful to the poorest of Indians. He also reasoned that it would build unity between Hindus, Muslims, all communities, by fighting a wrong that touched them equally.
Note: To me, Gandhi was not the father of non-violence, nor was Martin Luther King Jr. not even the Jain Mahavira, it was Jesus Christ, Jesus was the prophet of non violence en masse.
"Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics." - Martin Luther King Jr, 1955
To me, baby Gandhi was a little gift from Jesus Christ, Ram, Krishna and Mahavira. I thank all the priest friends that he had in South Africa for teaching him about Jesus. Only if someone could have similarly taught him about Buddha, Lao Tzu and Mohammed too!
While watching Slum Dog Millionaire, I saw how the young Indian protagonist replied when he was questioned by the policeman repeatedly, "Whose picture is on the 500 Ruppee note?" Answer heard was, "I don't know, I don't know." In the trains, I used to hear young boys playing "Pairs", Shaving cream or Shaving gel? Rang De Basanti or MunnaBhai? Katrina or Mallika?
Some say, "look at him in the middle,
this stick-spectacled form, a half naked scheme of bones",
to me, the finest most cunning Army General, the world has ever seen till date.
He did care so much for his country, may we care for him too.
Yet to many, Gandhi is just a stick-spectacle, the father of a timid, pacifist, sleepy, begging movement, the houseflies only feed on the errors in him, they make movies about how faulty Gandhi was with his son etc etc, but the honey bee collects the nectar and leaves out the slag.
To me, Gandhi was just the finest Army general who did what he did, he was able to help the cause, of evacuating the Colonial-British, but again, he himself as well my dear Ambedkar knew, that we had to evacuate the evils of both Material as well as Spiritual poverty to call ourselves liberated. In his lifetime, Gandhi was not able to do that, yes he failed miserably, but again yes, he and his companions did what they could do, to first get rid of the colonialists, and now it's for us to continue the freedom struggle.
Whereas in my childland Uganda, the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is still the President of Uganda since the year 1986, he has been stuck to the chair for more almost 25 years now. Well, there is even much more to do in Africa, I tell you.
"A boy tries hard to be a man
His mother takes him by his hand
If he stops to think, he starts to cry
His mother takes him by his hand
If he stops to think, he starts to cry
If you walkaway, walkaway
I walkaway, walkaway...I will follow"
I walkaway, walkaway...I will follow"