Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Marxism to Gandhiism


Kannan, someone sent me this. Your comments ?
" Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them." Pardon me, but this is unadulterated non-sense and false interpretation of Ahimsa which is not based on Dharma, but on Leo Tolstoy's preaching of Orthodox Christianity to Gandhi. I recommend you to read this brain formatting letter that Tolstoy wrote to Gandhi and share your opinion on the same.

He is reacting only to a part of the comment. I am familiar with this letter but it is brain-formatting only in a positive manner.
Ahimsa, in its purest form, is not palatable to most. Only when it is presented as a workable strategy, people are willing to accept it. I think that was Gandhi's biggest regret as well - that people adopted ahimsa as a strategy and not The Truth.

What he is saying is that Dharma (as propounded by Krishna) demands that one 'fight' for right, and not surrender ?

Gandhi saw in Tolstoy and Gita, or for that matter, even Ruskin, what he wanted to see. He departed from 'passive resistance' in making surrender a form of fight. 
The surrender was active and not passive.

The Geetha did not suggest that ?

I don't think so. I thinking that morphing happened only in Gandhi and Vinoba's interpretations :-)
Kural suggests active surrender...Tolstoy cites from Kural as well : இன்னா செய்தாரை ஒறுத்தல் அவர்நாண நன்னயம் செய்து விடல்.

 Do you think the Geetha also suggested active surrender as much as war ?

'The best way to punish someone who harmed you is to shame them by doing good.'
In Tolstoy's words: The punishment of evil doers consists in making them feel ashamed of themselves by doing them a great kindness.
My reading of Gita is not as deep as Kural.
Kural also talks about warfare for the kings. 

His interpretation of Unto the Last also went beyond where Ruskin ventured. 

Btw, I find the implication that it is nonsense because it is based 'on Leo Tolstoy's preaching of Orthodox Christianity to Gandhi' very offensive. So what is wrong if it is based on orthodox Christianity? Gandhi himself said Sermon on the Mount went 'straight to my heart'. 
 His work with Shanti Sena deserves more attention, and it is an idea whose time will come again. 

While you are exploring why people hate Gandhi: You'll find this interesting - my blog on SN Nagarajan, an original Marxist thinker, who rejects the political Gandhi but embraces the ideological Gandhi in formulating his idea of Eastern Marxism ...

 Why do you think people question Gandhi ?

The right has its obvious reasons - primarily his love for Muslims.
The left is generally ill-informed on Gandhi. While they find enough reasons to love and excuse Stalin or Mao, they just don't read the right books on Gandhi.
Also, both right and left are fascinated by armed revolutionaries. 

SN Nagarajan rejects armed revolution and modern science (he was a biologist in 50s) - hence, through the Marxian method, he has arrived at Gandhi.

But Marxism exists without armed revolution ?

He calls it Eastern Marxism or feminine Marxism - yesterday, there was a conference about him. His primary student, another respected Marxian scholar in Tamil, said as much - that there was hardly any Marx in his Eastern Marxism 

We call that Gandhism :)

Actually, that is what I felt listening to him and about him for hours - that if you take away the ideas of arms, technology and centralization from Marxism, we get Gandhism.

 SN is Gandhian in another way - he loves to speak in the people's language unlike the elite Marxist leaders - no wonder he was expelled from CPI in the 60s.

Dont ordinary Marxists stay people oriented ?

Yes. But their leaders, especially the national leaders?

True. A senior Gandhian would still have personal values intact.
What about the 'capitalist stooge' logic ? They say Gandhi took money from Birlas and so was soft towards them after independence.  

He was patronised by Birla and Bajaj. Tata sent him money anonymously even in South Africa. But that didn't make him espouse their cause. He took money from the poorest as well.

They say he espoused their cause. I do not see where. They quote some dam story.

Rajmohan has written about the dam issue in his refutal of Arundhati Roy.  

After his book on Gandhi, he wrote extensively on Ayothidasar, a pre-Ambedkar Dalit intellectual.

This Gandhi Ambedkar debate needs to be tabled and discussed widely with SCs centrally on board.
Jeyamohan is has written well about Gandhi-Ambedkar debate. His understanding of caste and religion may be quite close to yours.
 In TN, the OBC vs Dalit scene is quite bad. That could be playing a part. And his involvement with Dalit organizations - he wrote a work set in 19th century famines, involving a Dalit uprising.
But in any case, Jeyamohan is a person of literature, first and foremost. It is not easy to bracket him into any slot.

I have been meaning to ask him about this change - I'll do it when he comes to Coimbatore in December.
Met him a few times. Wrote him a few letters. But we have a lot of common friends. Suneel Krishnan, who runs the Gandhi Today website, is a close disciple of Jeyamohan.
With a few originial works and many translations of Gandhian books into Tamil.
My interview with Narayan Desai appeared there, first.
Btw, Suneel is an Ayurveda doctor too. This is his site:

I will add some more grief to your worries about Tamil fluency :-) Jeyamohan has been recreating Mahabharatha in Tamil. He has already come out with a few novels on it - has plans for the next 10 or 15 years.

But why ? he's given a different angle to it ?

I read a couple of them. Couldn't keep up with the pace. Sometimes it is a retelling but usually with a different angle, exploring the gaps and giving it a modern structure.
In Tamil, there is Kamba Ramayana. But no comprehensive great work on Mahabharatha. So there is a need, definitely.   

Getting to the essential root of the ethos of the community is critical. Gandhi tuned into it, respected it, and the masses moved with him. Economics is one part, the cultural identity is another equally (or more) important part.


No comments:

Post a Comment