History India South Asia · Politics · Recommended movies, books etc.

Conversing With Gandhi in Digital India

This was published on Gandhi’s death anniversary this year, Jan 30 2017. Here is the link. Below is an extract:

In a documentary on the making of the movie, Attenborough expressed phenomenal admiration for one of young Gandhi’s most profound insights: “It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow-beings.” If I had to choose a single awesome sentence from among the dozens in the book, it would be this. Attenborough further confessed that he “still can’t say it without my hairs coming up at the back of my neck.” Today, with India’s prime minister himself encouraging abusive online trolls in subtle ways, this poignant mystery for the father of the nation has now turned into a painful reality for the children of the nation.

In the book, Gandhi mentions this insight with respect to the humiliation that ‘coolie’ Indians, including himself, suffered in white South Africa in the 1890s. But though the injustices and evils around him pained him and spurred him to act, they never made him furious or vengeful. Once when some white youths beat him up in Durban after hearing rumours that he had “indulged in unmerited condemnation of the Natal whites”, he refused to lodge a case and told the police that he did not hold the assailants to blame. “They were given to understand [by others] that I had made exaggerated statements about the whites in Natal. If they believed these reports, it is no wonder that they were enraged. I am sure that when the truth becomes known, they will be sorry for their conduct.”

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