Mahatma Betrayed is a study of the gradual decline of Gandhi’s charismatic political power after the withdrawal of Non-cooperation Movement in 1922. The period between 1922 and 1942 discussed in the present work deals with the conspiracies running behind the scenes without the knowledge of Gandhi, who abhorred secrecy in public life.
Gandhi was not a power seeker but many including his trusted lieutenants, who had no faith in his philosophy of ‘truth’ and ‘non-violence’ , surrounded him . The sharp division of Gandhi’ s followers into right and left wings prompted the British administrators to manipulate the Congress policies in accordance with their imperial interests. Grossly apprehensive of Gandhi’s conception of future India, the right wing of the Congress , mostly comprising capitalist and industrial tinancies of Congress, joined hands with the British administrators to stop formation of any close linked alliance between Gandhi and the left wing of the Congress . Many of those Mahatma ‘s men were in fact the King’s men .
Based on official documents, correspondences, memoirs and diaries, the book argues that Mahatma, who galvanized the dumb million poor and rural folk of India into a political force, seldom witnessed in the human history, failed to understand his own power hungry close associates, who hobnobbed with the British administration and turned the course of Indian history .
The book reveals for the first time such glaring and astonishing facts and incidents and will be of immense interest to common readers , politicians, historians, political scientists and activists.
Born on 7 October , 1952, in a remote village of District Ballia, Uttar Pradesh (India), Pramod Kumar did his Ph-D. on America in Philippines (1901-54) and D.Litt. (as Research Associate of UGC) ON THE Struggle for existence for Existence of Biritish Colonies of South Pacific Islands ( the Fiji Islands, the Solomon Islands, and the Islands of New Hebrides and Tonga). In 1987 , his manuscript on the history of the Freedom Struggle of India bagged merit award in a National Competition organised by Delhi Administration . In 1992-93, he visited United Kingdom twice for the purpose of the collection of documents on Freedom Struggle of India from India Office Records and Library (London),Broadland Archives (Southampton), School of Oriental and African Studies (London)and London School of Economics and politics. In 1993-94, he provided editorial assistance to bring a special issue of Young Indian on 1942’s Quit India Movement .He has also documented the role and experiences of transported political prisoners of Cellular Jail, Andaman Islands with the financial assistance granted by ICHR and presented a paper " Hunger Strike in Andamans " at the European Social Science History Conference , The Hague, the Netherlands, in February 2002.
Pramod Kumar is at present working as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Western History, University o f Lucknow . There are number of research papers and articles published in international and national journals , newspapers and magazines to this credit.
Sunday , August 9, 1942 . Time 4 a.m Place , Birla House, Bombay.Gandhi rose to offer his daily prayers. He was complacently at ease .’ After my last night’s speech , " said Gandhi to Mahadev Desai , " they will never arrest me. ‘ But, Lo ! The arrest warrant was there . The Police Commissioner of Bombay was there at the gate of Birla House with warrants of arrest and detention under the Defence of India Rules for Gandhi , Mahadev Desai and Mira Ben . Around six hours earlier only , at ten in the night of 8th August , after adoption of the ‘Quit India Resolution ‘ in the historic meeting of the All India Congress Committee, he had concluded his long speech with the slogan, ‘ Do or Die’. Now , he was taken as a prisoner of His Majesty’s Government to the Victoria Terminus Station , where a special train was kept ready to take him to an unknown destination . His arrest , following his call of 8th August , sparked off violent uprisings in many parts of India. But , the ‘Quit-India movement’ , as popularly designated, was suppressed within less than a couple of months only .Despite being sufficiently violent, the movement bequeathed smaller challenge than Gandhi’s earlier non – violent movement , to administration, which had to recourse little efforts this time to re –administer law and order . The movement was completely devoid of both- Gandhi and his twin ideals of ‘ Truth’ and ‘ Non-violence ‘ .
Twenty-two years earlier, after concluding his successful experiment in South Africa, Gandhi had launched his first non-violent Satyagraha in India .His Khilafat movement , followed by his historic non –cooperation movement , had thoroughly shaken the very foundation of his Majesty ‘s Empire . For three years, from April , 1919 to February , 1922, he kept the British administration virtually on their kness to encounter volley of recurring non –violent mass movements . It was claimed even by the London based newspapers , ‘ The internal revenues of India have decreased some seventy million dollars ,and that the boycott of English goods has caused England to lose ,in the course of a single year, some twenty million dollars . " It was also claimed , " Thirty thousand Indians were imprisoned, and that the government machinery was entirely upset. " Mohammed Ali , his constant companion in the movement , was arrested in September, 1921. Gandhi was spared to continue alone though both were together at the time of arrest . A large-scale arrest of congress leaders was made in November , 1921. Leaders like Lajpat Rai , C.R.Das , Motilal Nehru, Maulana Azad and Jawaharlal Nehru were all thrown behind bars. Yet the administration did not dare to arrest Gandhi until he himself withdrew the movement after the fateful incident of chauri chaura on February 6, 1922. The leaders of the Indian national Congress felt cheated. For sticking honestly to his ideals, ‘ Truth ‘ and ‘ Non- violence’ , Gandhi fell prey to bitter criticism from various quarters of his own trusted followers . the British administration took a sigh of relief .It had no reasons left now to be frightened of Gandhi ‘s political miracles any more . Nevertheless , it took them not less than a month to arrest him .He was picked up on March 10, 1922, after a month of serious contemplations regarding consequences of his arrest .
Gandhi of 1942 was no more a formidable threat to the British Raj like once he was in 1922. On August 9, 1942, Gandhi was arrested within six hours of his historic speech giving the call to ‘ Do or Die ‘ . In 1922 , the British administration had had no courage to arrest him till he himself called off the movement . Indeed, within two decades, from 1922 to 1942, Gandhi ‘s charisma waned enough to be ignored by the British administration.
Gandhi ‘s political career may conveniently be divided into four phases. His political career began in 1893 in South Africa, where he waged a successful non – violent war against racial discrimination towards Indian settlers . It was South Africa , where Gandhi discovered his ideal of ’ non –violence ‘and launched it successfully as invincible weapon in the field of practical politics. For the first time in the human civilisation , someone had used ‘ non-violence ’ in a domain other than the religion .His ‘ non –violence’ was the ‘ means’ to attain an ‘end’ not anywhere else but in this temporal world . He defined his ‘ end’ not in terms of salvation in spiritual terms but as the objective of creating a ‘ City of God’ on earth itself. He dreamt of creating a world devoid of war and violence . He called in his ‘ truth’ .
Gandhi’s political career began in South Africa, far from Porbandar , his place of Birth in India . Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi alias Mahatma Gandhi Was born on October 2, 1869, in a small semi-independent princely state of Porbandar in Kathiawar , a district in Gujarat in the north –western part of India. His family belonged to the merchant caste , Bania (sub –caste Modh Bania ), the third in vertical caste hierarchy from above , i.e. below the castes of Brahmins and Kshtriyas . Generally, traditional Hindu society prefers members of his caste to involve in no profession other than trade .Traditionally in Hindu society, Banias are not supposed to provide rulers and warriors or priests and spiritual leaders to Hindu society .
Unlike other societies of the world of the world ,traditional Hindu society originated and matured neither around individual nor around family but around a social system of castes –by-birth. The caste –by –birth of an individual , in a Hindu society from tradition , determined the kind of profession he was allowed by birth to practice for his sustenance. A profession by birth identified each caste and provided it a definite status in the society .On the basis of castes-by –birth , for all practical purposes , the traditional Hindu society has been divided into three vertical sectors .First sector comprises the three status holding Aryan castes known as savarna or those born with varna or colour , a traditional Aryan division of society on the basis of their professed professions , without having any role of manual labour in it , such as priests, warriors and traders .In fact , this was the virtual ruling sector placed traditionally at the highest level or status in the vertical social order . Second sector , the shudras or the dravida castes or those born without varna included the number of hard labour based professional castes having no social status in the traditional Hindu society. Third sector included the number of untouchable castes involved in various kinds of menial labour.Though in theory, a Hindu individual still identifies himself as a part and parcel of Hindu –society in general but for all practical purposes he remains an integral unit of his community of castes –by –birth .
The Castes –by –birth has been the very basis of Hindu society including religion . Since the very beginning of Hindu society ,civilisation and culture , there has been no other fundamental foundation of Hinduism other than that of castes- by –birth . An individual without having a caste – by –birth neither could be a Hindu nor could he by any means hope to be assimilated into the society of caste Hindus . In the Hindu society, each individual , irrespective of his religious faith, finds a place on a vertical social ladder at the very beginning i. e. , his birth . In fact, a Hindu society is a true federation of castes –by –birth , where each caste is unequal to the other . Interestingly , not only each caste in a Hindu society is unequal to the other but also each sub –caste. Within the same caste is also not equal to another sub-caste. Inequality in a Hindu society , in contrast to other societies of the world , does not originate in this world but in a metaphysical one.It is , therefore, rather impossible for a Hindu individual , while continuing in society of his birth , to shun his caste in this life . Even an upward or downward mobility from one caste to another is impossible in practice.
It is not surprising that the efforts of a number of social reformers to create a casteless society failed invariably . In fact, all such reformers failed to perceive that castes-by-birth is the only basis foundation of the Hindu society and , therefore, a casteless society s simply not possible in the very Hindu fold . Such unique philosophy of inequality is a fundamental background of Hinduism alone and all other religious communities in India, formed mostly after conversions from Hinduism, remain caste ridden, at least , in practice if not in theory.
Alongwith the caste –by-birth system, a typical Hindu society also finds more solace in consonance with the philosophy f individualism and materialism . From the very beginning of the civilisation in Indian sub –continent, the society has been in the practice of professing the tenets of individualism and materialism . Materialism or the ‘ Arth ’ has been ascribed since antiquity , an important place among the four ‘ Aryan Truths ‘ – Dharm , Arth , Karma , and Moksha – of Hindu Society .
Gandhi , a staunch believer in the values of equality and spiritualism, was destined to suffer the contradictions of the social values of his birth and the acquired values of his personality. Though both his father and grandfather were Diwans ( Prime Ministers ) of their little state of Porbanda r, yet his political and spiritual status remained unacceptable throughtout his life to traditional higher castes of Hindu society .In a society materialistic like the Hindu, his orientation towards renunciation of material pleasures mostly invited venomous onslaught of ridicule from all quarters.
His family was a follower of the Jain sect, an atheist branch of Hinduism , that abhorred violence in their day – to day life as one of their basis principles . His mother Putlibai came from a little known community of Pranamis , which gave equal honour to the Koran and the sacred books of Vaishnavites in their temple without idols. The preaching of Pranamis included peace and goodwill among the believers of all the cults . Non –violence or doctrine of non –injury to any form of life , simplicity in living, strict vegetarianism, and periodic fasts were the tenets common to both Jains and Vaishnavites . It is not surprising that such early influence of multiple religious atmosphere around him was responsible for his quest of experimentation with truth.
Throughout his life, Gandhi did not subscribe to any single organised religion. Instead , he " got an early grounding in toleration for all branches of Hinduism and sister religions " . 1 Such combinations inculcated in him " toleration for all faiths " . 2 Though at the very early stage of his life, he learnt to be tolerant to other religions, yet it did not mean that he had "any living faith in God " . 3 After coming across Manusmriti * , Gandhi himself declared , " he was inclined somewhat towards atheism" . 4 He was not a declared atheist yet he had a deep reverence for Bradlaugh , a world-renowned atheist. In January 1861, he attended Bradlaugh’ sfuneral . In Gandhi’s opinion, " For atheists like Bradlaugh, truth held the same place as God for others . 5He was not a religious man in traditional sense of meaning . In fact , he was not even a professed theist.
Gandhi, who categorically advocated inseparability of religion and politics in 1920 and openly declared his movement as a religious movement in 1921 ,6 began professing in 1947: " religion is the personal affair of each individual . It Must not be mixed up with politics or national affair ." 7 By 1947, he was thoroughly convinced that " State should be undoubtedly be secular" . 8 He did not stop here but even went so ahead to declare, " There were in reality as many religions as minds " . 9 Though his commitment towards his beliefs was unfettered, yet he took no time in renouncing his experiments, which in practice were not found in consonance with his professed truth. His adherence to his truth was was so deep that he declared in his GOD. He continued experimenting with his truth throughout his life. Gandhi Never called GOD his truth. His truth was not God but Man of a human society, devoid of war, violence and exploitation . This was his ream of the City of God, which he wanted to create in the temporal world . Throughout his life, creation of this Man remained his objective, his ‘ End ‘ and his ‘ Truth’ . The only way to achieve this ‘ End ‘ was the way of Ahimsa or the non – violence . To the followers of this path, he subscribed the title , Satyagrahi .
In South Africa, he had discovered that as a man , he had no rights under the British rule . Gandhi stood for individual ‘s liberty, which otherwise remains under perpetual threat in the presence of any kind of concentration of power –political, economic or socio-cultural. In his bid to search individual ‘s liberty, he , however , found it necessary to reject completely the concept of ‘ violence ‘ . <<p style="text-align: justify;">
Gandhi was not a power seeker. Throughout his life , Gandhi kept on rejecting the very idea of ‘ power and authority ‘ . All kinds of authority, detrimental to individual’s liberty , were unacceptable to him . The concentration of power with any individual or institution , including the state, as an essential ingredient of authority ,continued to detract him whatever be its kind or form . He called it essentially the ‘ power of brute ‘ . His political philosophy, therefore, revolved around the complete rejection of ‘ power ‘ and ‘ violence ‘ , the two eternal forces of the human nature and the ‘ Nature ‘ . as a consequence.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend