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Was Gandhi as non-violent as the peaceniks would have us believe?

Posted on 01/04/2003 10:12:41 AM PST by nwrep

The Truth About Mahatma Gandhi

A lot of today's peaceniks quote the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi when they talk about resisting war against evil dictators. Yet how many of them know (and how many of you Freepers know, for that matter) that Gandhi was not a traditional peacenik in that he did not see the absence of war as an end in itself. His philosophy was far more complicated than that.

In fact, he was honest enough to admit the usefulness of violence, particularly when dealing with evil regimes and dictators bent on the destruction of a whole race of people, such as in the allied effort against the Nazis in WWII. This is a fact conveniently forgotten by all clueless pacifists today, who are too naive and simple-minded, or simply too stupid to understand the realities of this world.

Gandhi's advocacy of non-violence was specifically in the context of India's struggle for independence from the British rule from the 1920s to the 1940s. He did not believe in a violent revolution or uprising to achieve this goal, and neither did he approve of terrorist activities or assassinations of British military officers, as called for by some of the more violent Indian leaders back then. He steadfastly opposed such actions on part of the Indian people, and instead, preached a non-violent, non-cooperation against the British empire in its efforts to rule over India.

Here is an important quote from him:

"where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I advise violence."

Other Quotes from Gandhi:

I WOULD risk violence a thousand times rather than risk the emasculation of a whole race.

But I believe that non-violence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier...But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature....

The world is not entirely governed by logic. Life itself involves some kind of violence and we have to choose the path of least violence.

My method of non-violence can never lead to loss of strength, but it alone will make it possible, if the nation wills it, to offer disciplined and concerted violence in time of danger.

My non-violence does admit of people, who cannot or will not be non-violent, holding and making effective use of arms. Let me repeat for the thousandth time that non-violence is of the strongest, not of the weak.

To run away from danger, instead of facing it, is to deny one's faith in man and God, even one's own self. It were better for one to drown oneself than live to declare such bankruptcy of faith.

I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully.

Whilst I may not actually help anyone to retaliate, I must not let a coward seek shelter behind non-violence so-called. Not knowing the stuff of which non-violence is made, many have honestly believed that running away from danger every time was a virtue compared to offering resistance, especially when it was fraught with danger to one's life. As a teacher of non-violence I must, so far as it is possible for me, guard against such an unmanly belief.

Note to Freepers: I want to hear your comments.


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Free Republic; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; United Kingdom; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: gandhi; nonviolence; war
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1 posted on 01/04/2003 10:12:41 AM PST by nwrep
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To: nwrep
I would love to see sources for those quotes.
2 posted on 01/04/2003 10:19:42 AM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: Vince Ferrer
Vince, here is one:

http://www.mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/phil8.htm

3 posted on 01/04/2003 10:27:16 AM PST by nwrep
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To: nwrep
Gandhi's primary belief was that since the British came to India as traders, non-violent non-cooperation would work against the British. Unlike the Muslims before them, the British were not in India to change the Indian way of life - they were there to make some cash, and Gandhi realized that if he could make India unprofitable, the British would leave. He did, and they did.
4 posted on 01/04/2003 10:30:40 AM PST by AM2000
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To: nwrep
Great post.

You do, though, need to reference all of them.

Not because I don't believe them, but the crazy pacifists won't.

For the most part they still won't believe them even when demonstrated Ghandi said them.

This is fantastic stuff most people will overlook.

5 posted on 01/04/2003 10:55:22 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: AM2000
Yes. It wouldn't work against Islamists -- they would just take advantage of the lack of violent resistance.
6 posted on 01/04/2003 10:56:29 AM PST by expatpat
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To: nwrep
You forgot one little-known quote... "Man, I wish I had a sandwich."
7 posted on 01/04/2003 10:56:48 AM PST by Chad Fairbanks
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To: AM2000
AM2000 said: "Gandhi's primary belief was that since the British came to India as traders, non-violent non-cooperation would work against the British."

My belief is that the key to success of "non-violence" as practiced by Gandhi was the recognition that the majority of the "traders" to whom you refer were basically moral people.

Gandhi's efforts were aimed at demonstrating that the British had among them people who were not moral and that the British rule of India was itself immoral.

The success of this effort depended entirely on a recognition by the majority of British that there was no moral way to continue what Gandhi's followers demonstrated was oppression.

This approach does not work against an opponent who is ready, willing, and able to put millions of helpless people into gas chambers followed by the removal of their teeth to recover the gold.

8 posted on 01/04/2003 10:59:13 AM PST by William Tell
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To: nwrep
Gahndi is known in India as a saint among politicians, and also as a politician among saints!

He is also responsible for the partician of India that now gives to world the Paki Problem.

9 posted on 01/04/2003 11:11:33 AM PST by BullDog108
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To: nwrep
Gandhi was a symptom of the fact that the British had lost the capacity to hold an empire. To the Englishman of the time of Clive Gandhi would have been a joke, to the Englishman of the time of Churchill he was fatal. Now that the Third world chandala pour in it is no longer the survival of the British Emire that is at stake, but the survival of the West itself.

10 posted on 01/04/2003 11:21:39 AM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS
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To: nwrep
Didn't Gandhi refuse medical intervention for at least two of his dying wives, but when he himself was sick, relented and accepted medical intervention for himself?
11 posted on 01/04/2003 11:25:37 AM PST by jlogajan
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To: jlogajan
I haven't heard that, but it's totally in character. Gandhi was no saint. Just an effective political leader who happened upon a very effective political strategy for leading the people of the Subcontinent towards the worthy goal of self-determination. Nothing more, nothing less.
12 posted on 01/04/2003 11:32:51 AM PST by AM2000
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To: BullDog108
He is also responsible for the partician of India that now gives to world the Paki Problem.

The problem would have existed even without a Pakistan. It just would not have been a Paki problem, but an Indian problem.

13 posted on 01/04/2003 11:34:08 AM PST by AM2000
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To: AM2000
Correct. My Indian associates tell me that it was Dr. Chandra Bose who was more instrumental in India's independance than Gandhi, but Gandhi gets the credit.
14 posted on 01/04/2003 11:36:58 AM PST by BullDog108
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To: AM2000
Well said!
15 posted on 01/04/2003 11:42:02 AM PST by BossLady
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To: BullDog108
My Indian associates tell me that it was Dr. Chandra Bose who was more instrumental in India's independance than Gandhi, but Gandhi gets the credit.

Dr. Bose collaborated with the Nazis and the Japanese in WWII. He believed in violent resistance to the British, but with the defeat of the Nazis and the Japanese, he had no allies left. He may have been an Indian patriot, but his strategy gets an F. Gandhi's, OTOH, was much more effective.

16 posted on 01/04/2003 11:42:32 AM PST by AM2000
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To: BullDog108
BullDog108, I can tell you with authority that that is a load of BS (Barbra Streisand). Dr. Bose was as instrumental in India's independence as Algore was in the creation of the internet.
17 posted on 01/04/2003 11:46:45 AM PST by nwrep
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To: AM2000
Absolutely, Bose was a nutcase, and the Indian commies of Bengal are misguided in their love for him. Tell them to go read the real histoire, as Limbaugh would say. Also, thank god, Bose perished in about 1941 in a plane crash off Formosa (Taiwan), long before India gained independence.
18 posted on 01/04/2003 11:48:38 AM PST by nwrep
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To: nwrep
Indian commies of Bengal are misguided in their love for him

Bengali admiration for Dr. Bose is simply because he was Bengali. Gandhi surrounded himself by people from many different parts of the country, but he assidously avoided Bengalis, thus a perception that he was biased against them. There is a whole history behind why Bengalis dislike (or hate) Gandhi, and that's where the adoration for Dr. Bose comes in.. he's a native son, that's all. Being communist has nothing to do with it, even the Bengali opposition (non-communist) loves Dr. Bose.

19 posted on 01/04/2003 11:52:47 AM PST by AM2000
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To: nwrep; AM2000
Very interesting. I will have to research the subject on my own.
20 posted on 01/04/2003 12:07:26 PM PST by BullDog108
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To: BullDog108
Threads like this are one of the reasons I'm a Freeper. Our advesaries would have all believe that we are a bunch of either toothless militiamen or mindless followers of Rush & Co. But threads like this point out the intelligence, knowledge, and willingness to learn something new which are the hallmarks of FreeRepublic, and have always been the hallmarks of the American Republic we love.
21 posted on 01/04/2003 12:29:49 PM PST by xkaydet65
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To: nwrep
Didn't Ho Chi Minh once say that Gandhi wouldn't have lasted five minutes in French Indochina?
22 posted on 01/04/2003 12:48:15 PM PST by struwwelpeter
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To: nwrep
Say what you like... the success of Ghandi's movement says more about British morality than Indian morality.

Imagine trying non-resistance against any other people?
23 posted on 01/04/2003 12:53:13 PM PST by Goodlife
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To: Goodlife
I agree, in fact, that was not the thrust of my argument. That point is not even debated today, and the Indians know that this method would certainly have not been useful against a more brutal, less civilized regime, such as the Ismlamo-fascists.

I wanted to point out the factual bankruptcy of the present day peacenik movement, even when they hold up the world's best known advocate of non-violence.

24 posted on 01/04/2003 12:59:53 PM PST by nwrep
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To: nwrep
Gandhi himself said that the reason non-violence would work against the British was because the brits thought themselves to be morally superior. Gandhi wanted to show them that when push came to shove, they (the brits) could be just as brutal as any one.

His whole aim was to show to the brits back in Britain how brutal the brits were in India. That fact alone would cause the brits to vacate India. Gandhi knew that his non-violent ways would not work with the Muslim. Notice that for all his hunger strikes to stop rioting between the Hindus and Muslims, it was always targeted towards the Hindus. The Hindus always stopped...the Muslims after their blood-letting and rampaging would stop much later.

25 posted on 01/04/2003 2:28:53 PM PST by USMMA_83
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To: jlogajan
I'd say no, since he had only one wife and she died in British custody.
26 posted on 01/04/2003 4:42:03 PM PST by sharktrager
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To: nwrep
I just finished reading "Setting the East Ablaze" by Peter Hopkirk (about the Soviet Union's attempts to take expand the revolution into Asia). There's a few things in there about Ghandi. He was definitely a pragmatist. In the beginning of WWII, he called off the activities against the British in India in order to free their (the Brits') hands to fight the Nazis, even though he knew that there would of course be violence as a result. He knew who the real bad guys were. Stalin was furious with Ghandi because he had been planning to co-opt the Indian uprising for his own purposes, which was the Commintern's most succesful tactic.
27 posted on 01/04/2003 10:23:56 PM PST by stiga bey
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To: nwrep
Ghandi told the Jews to suffer their fate quietly at the hands of Hitler, lest they do anything "immoral." He was not a moral man, and his "moral" message only worked because the British were decent chaps at heart.
28 posted on 01/04/2003 10:29:30 PM PST by xm177e2
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To: nwrep
bump for later
29 posted on 01/04/2003 11:19:06 PM PST by smoking camels
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To: nwrep
bttt
30 posted on 01/05/2003 12:42:36 AM PST by TigersEye
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To: nwrep
Bump
31 posted on 01/05/2003 5:29:04 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: xm177e2
What is your source? This is the first time I have seen such an accusation.
32 posted on 01/05/2003 7:55:29 AM PST by nwrep
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To: sharktrager
I read somewhere that he refused to let his wife have penecillin and that's why she died.
33 posted on 01/05/2003 2:31:32 PM PST by thathamiltonwoman
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To: thathamiltonwoman
This is a very biased interpretation of the story.

He did not ask for penicillin for her because he felt an injection was an act of violence. She was treated, but was treated using traditional Indian methods.

At the time she was 75. 75 years is an impressive age for a woman in a developing nation iun 1944.
34 posted on 01/05/2003 3:44:08 PM PST by sharktrager
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To: nwrep
Winston Churchill (The Gathering Storm, p348): "If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse fate. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

Our Hope is assured, but Churchill's point is well taken.
Source: cathfam.org

35 posted on 01/05/2003 5:33:19 PM PST by pray4liberty
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To: jlogajan
Didn't Gandhi refuse medical intervention for at least two of his dying wives, but when he himself was sick, relented and accepted medical intervention for himself?

No, Gandhi had only one wife and she outlived him. They were married when he was 13 and she was 11.

36 posted on 01/05/2003 5:35:32 PM PST by pray4liberty
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To: nwrep
I heard the Indian government uses the same Public Relations firm as the Kennedys.
37 posted on 01/05/2003 5:38:01 PM PST by DoctorMichael
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To: xm177e2
I absolutely agree with you!!!!! Nonviolence works only in confrontation with moral enemies!!!
38 posted on 01/05/2003 7:41:54 PM PST by Kira-USA
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To: xm177e2
"Ghandi told the Jews to suffer their fate quietly at the hands of Hitler, lest they do anything "immoral." He was not a moral man, and his "moral" message only worked because the British were decent chaps at heart."

What is the source for this information. Disinformation, perhaps?
39 posted on 01/06/2003 6:15:35 AM PST by HighRoadToChina
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To: nwrep
I personally know Gandhi is violent. He has declared war on me in the Civilization III game numerous times.
40 posted on 01/06/2003 6:45:08 AM PST by Eternal_Bear
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To: nwrep
Gahndi also let his wife die from appendicitus (or pneumonia?) because the treatment was 'foreign medicine'. Yet when he contracted the same problem, he underwent treatment. How hypocritical is that?
41 posted on 01/06/2003 7:35:38 AM PST by Darksheare
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: TonyRo76
The left has hijacked Gandhi. He was far more pragmatic and a realist then the left wants to admit, and they also prefer to cover up anything that he said or did that might be a turnoff to non left wingers. In a moment of rage he once uttered to the british "I hope Hitler comes to your beautifull little island and kills each and every one of you, as you have slaughtered us". He apoligised for it. He was very clear that non-violence only worked if the enemy is of a moral nature and not "totalitarian and genocidal". He did, and quite clearly point out later on in life that if India had tried to use non violence against the Nazis they would have been slaughtered. He never said anything to the jews about the holocaust because he didn't know about it, untill after that fact. He also did not agree with Bose's strategy of collaberating with the enemy's of England, since he knew (and wisely) that non violence would never work against them, and India would have been invaded, and the rivers would have turned red with there blood. He also did not believe in socialism in the government sponsered sense, since his belief was compassion should be voluntary not mandated. Many people, me included think that he should have used violence to free india. By using non-violence, England left and took many of India's treasures and art, and money with them, sort of like robbing the house blind then going home.
43 posted on 01/06/2003 1:38:00 PM PST by Sonny M
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: jlogajan
Didn't Gandhi refuse medical intervention for at least two of his dying wives, but when he himself was sick, relented and accepted medical intervention for himself?

Nonsense. Gandhi was married to the same women his entire life, she outliving him. Hindus are monogamous, no trace of polygamy in their culture. And Gandhi, although a strict vegetarian, did not reject medical science and care, when appropriate. He was a highly educated man, having obtained a law degree in England.

45 posted on 01/07/2003 5:35:17 AM PST by pariah
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To: AM2000
Gandhi's methods assumed that the enemy, in this case the British, would be responsive to shame and the weight of world opinion. He was right--the ideal of honor, whether or not they consistently practiced it, was very important to the British. When Gandhi realized the sheer evil of a person like Hitler, he came to realize that his methods would not work in that type of situation.
46 posted on 01/07/2003 5:55:20 AM PST by twigs
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To: nwrep
My favorite scene in the film UHF (Weird Al's movie) is the spoof of Ghandi. I think it was "Ghandi 2" and it shows Ghandi going apenuts with a tommy gun like he's in one of the Godfather movies. Fun stuff.
47 posted on 01/07/2003 8:39:04 AM PST by BaBaStooey
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To: BullDog108
My Indian associates tell me that it was Dr. Chandra Bose who was more instrumental in India's independance than Gandhi, but Gandhi gets the credit.

On January 23, 1997, India held a ceremony in New Delhi to honor Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose organized a group of Indian prisoners of war to fight for the Japanese during World War II. They even fought with the Japanese in an invasion of Assam. Mr. Bose met with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and went to Japan on a Nazi submarine.

48 posted on 01/07/2003 9:03:14 AM PST by TBP
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To: DoctorMichael
The Indian government spends large sums of money in this country on lobbying (i.e. disinformation) on behalf of India. One of the firms it uses is Verner Lipfert, the firm that is led by fomer Dimmycrap Sen. George Mitchell.

Mitchell was on CNN last year talking about the Palestinian situation and he said, "The essence of democracy is the right to self-determination" yet when it comes to the numerous freedom movements seeking their freedom from India, Senator Mitchell takes exactly the opposite position.

This kind of hypocrisy makes him the perfect person to represnet a country like India.
49 posted on 01/07/2003 9:13:24 AM PST by TBP
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To: nwrep
Gandhi's ideas of non violence "turning the other cheek" were drawn from the New Testament. Believe me VS Naipaul says so.
50 posted on 01/08/2003 5:21:56 AM PST by akash
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