Subscribe to South Asia Citizens Wire | feeds from | @sacw
Home > Resources / Links > Gandhi, Masses and Elite

Gandhi, Masses and Elite

by V.K. Tripathi, 20 January 2015

print version of this article print version


Gandhi, the unarmed man who stood against the might of imperialism and fanaticism with unprecedented courage, is so much a target of hate by large sections of educated and affluent classes in India that they are lavishing praise on his assassin, Godse. They view the leader of the organization responsible for spreading such venom as the fortune maker of India.

This hatred is not unfounded. Hatred is there in their nerves from the classes that sustain their comforts through their sweat and blood and with whom Gandhi had identified himself. Gandhi’s spinning on the wheel (charkha) or lifting human waste was not a token like the cleaning by the Prime Minister, but actions with full involvement of soul. Even in solitary cell of prison he would spin for hours with the realization how people doing painstaking menial work for long hours would feel.

Gandhi changed the meaning of freedom. It meant to imply liberation from oppression and exploitation for every one and in the struggle of whose attainment he/ she has a role. It was not possible through guns and pistols – to create force in the souls of suppressed and poor masses. Gandhi associated his soul with the soul of the masses through truth, labour and realization of pain. From there emerged the power of the people. Labourers, weavers, farmers, Hindus, Muslims, Dalits, upwards, backwards, men and women of all castes and religions participated in all the struggles, from Chaparan, Rowlett Act and Salt Satyagrahas to Quit India movement.

And India’s partition! Its foundation was laid In the aftermath of 1857 revolt when British returned to power. First they crushed Muslims more and then the Hindus. Thus a wedge was created between the elite of two communities. Then they created a strong structure of landlords, officers, businessmen, and princes that was fully subservient to British. As the satyagraha, Khilafat and non-cooperation movements of 1919-1922 shook the colonial power, these sections built sectarian networks - Hindu Mahasabha, Muslim League (these two organizations were initially in favour of freedom) and RSS. For them biggest enemy of Hindus were not the British rulers but hard working Muslim masses and Muslims’ enemy were poor Hindus. This venom of sectarianism was so effective in the service of imperialism that even now it is the prime tool of neo-imperialism and capitalism. Gandhi made sincere efforts to stop it and met with significant success for two decades. However, during the Quit India movement when the Congress leaders and workers were imprisoned, the communalists succeeded in creating a deep sectarian divide, leading to eruption of massive violence.

The 1943 famine, that killed 2 million people in Bengal, also provided communalists a façade to blame Hindus for their higher percentage among the traders who became instantly rich through hoarding. The demands of partition of Punjab and Bengal in early months of 1947 by Non-Muslim League parties also advanced the cause of partition.

In no corner of Gandhi’s mind, there was any difference between Hindus and Muslims. He would feel the oppression of any one as his own. When the volcano of violence erupted, he jumped into it while the government gave encouragement to rioters.

Now again passions are being roused through the farce of religious conversions, glorification of killers, branding of natives as foreigners, communalising educational institutions and employing media as a tool. Let us rise to resist it and write the unfinished text of grassroots freedom. Assemble at Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat on January 30, 2015 at 11 AM.

Sadbhav Mission, tripathivipin at, 09717309263

गाँधी मेहनतकश और रईस