The Gandhi Article
Updated: Jun 22
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian civil rights leader and a national hero at the time and in general, who sought to liberate India from the British Empire, through a very unconventional method: Nonviolence. Revolutionaries, such as Lenin, Che Guevara and even my own country's liberation paramilitaries at the time, believed that violence is the key for liberation against oppressors and imperialists.
However, Gandhi was very unique in a sense, that he refused in any way, to liberate his country through any violent mean. No weapons, no liberation fronts, and no rebellions; Only prayer, pluralism, pacifism and understanding.
Gandhi was a very religious man, and even though he was a Hindu, a religion that is arguably polytheistic, he believed in one God, and used this reasoning, to say that nonviolence and acceptance are the appropriate answer to our societal problems.
After all, according to him, since we were all made in God's image, and since we are all His creations, then we must not fight each other, and instead, seek common grounds and unity.
In a sense, Gandhi was more of a universalist than a Hindu, as he sought to have peace among anyone who he came by, and that of course includes all of India, and the world in general. He even wrote a letter to Hitler, requesting him to not fight, but that letter was intercepted by the British. Thus, even though I doubt that Hitler would care much, he never received words from him, whilst he could.
As some may know, India is a very diverse nation ethnically, culturally and religiously, having a lot of ethnic groups, religions and languages. To unite them all through peace is something that is indeed very difficult to do, but it was something that Gandhi managed to do to a degree, as he managed to live one year after India's official independence from the British Crown.
However, he was assassinated by a Hindu paramilitary volunteer, three bullets in the chest, mainly because said volunteer opposed Gandhi's acceptance towards Islam. For assassinating a national hero, that extremist was executed.
Gandhi, from his autobiographic book that I've listened to as an audiobook, was violent throughout his life, but his violence was one that was not only rare but something that he saw a deep, great regret towards. For such acts he saw as sinful, he was an ascetic who would fast as a form of atonement, something that is also common in Judaism and Islam for that function.
For much of his life he abstained from meat, and at times would only sustain himself from fruit and nuts. As one could learn from his very thin frame, he was truly a master at asceticism, and as an ascetic myself, who mainly drinks water and coffee and have been abstaining from meat recently, I sympathize very much with this personality.
However, as an Israeli, I find it hard to accept Gandhi's pacifism, due to the fact that my nation survived this long through military might. I am very thankful, regardless, that I was rejected from military service, as I am not a violent person and I would hate it to inflict pain on others, at least personally.
I can definitely understand his deep restrain from violence, because my first violent act was when I was two years old, and even though I was extremely young and could not talk yet due to autism, I deeply regret for chewing the face of a girl who shouted directly at my ear; I might've traumatized her for life.
I sometimes think, as a philosopher, whether or not that act was right ethically. I could not speak, and I was overwhelmed by unwelcomed sound. My mother claims that it was right for me to do so, even though I heard that said girl's parents were very angry. On the other hand, Gandhi might've condemned me for doing so, because my small age at the time, does not justify violence. He might argue that violence needs to be avoided at all costs, just like a true pacifist would argue, correct?
In his autobiography, I recall Gandhi saying that he was once pushed aside by someone in the middle of the street due to racism. As some of you may know, Gandhi was a lawyer by profession, and yet, even though he could've sued the racist, Gandhi instead shown the person compassion and forgave him, just like he forgave anyone who would stand in his way aggressively.
This makes sense, as he wished to eradicate violence, and not breed it further. To fight fire with fire, and to present venom when received venom -- that is not the philosophy of the pacifist, the philosophy of those who wished to remove violence from the face of the Earth, regardless of the reason behind it.
It is a shame that Gandhi was assassinated for practicing his pluralistic philosophy. But what can one expect from a pacifist who wants to unite his nation, and the world at large, under the principle of non-violence? Of course, one is to be met with resistance when disagreement is at hand, but to assassinate a literally harmless individual, for wanting to make peace with another religion, that is beyond my understanding, I'm afraid.
I am not a pacifist, not at least like Gandhi. When someone walks over me, I seek to retaliate. The idea of vengeance, to show the world that some people were wrong, is something that as a philosopher, brings me much satisfaction, even in the mere thought of it.
One of the functions of philosophy is to prove that an accepted idea isn't necessarily true, and unfortunately, this is a function I refuse to give up on, especially when such potential fills me with joy. I am not a violent person physically, since the last time I was in a fight was more than a decade ago, at middle school. However, unlike Gandhi, I am vengeful as a crow and hungry as a hyena, and as a philosopher there are truths I must accept and not overlook their presence.
Despite my vengeful tendencies, I only write to contribute to the world, and that is the main reason as to why I write in English and stopped doing so with my native tongue. Please do humour this fact, as in general, I mean no harm to anyone. Thank you for your time, and thanks to one of you, for suggesting me to write about one of the previous century's most important revolutionaries. It is with my hope that I did not disappoint.