Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ramachandra Guha has a new book on Gandhi

Here is an interview about it ish that Gandhi must be excommunicated, says Ramachandra Guha. I think Gandhi was complex personality and has been inconsistent. An excerpt:
"He engaged with people like Ambedkar, the Hindu orthodoxy he refuses to engage with beyond a point because he sees them as absolutely bigoted and benighted. From the perspective of 2018, you'll be told by the admirers of Ambedkar that Gandhi was moving too slowly in dismantling the caste system. But from the perspective of 1928, the main challenge to Gandhi was from the Hindu Right, which told him he was going too fast; that untouchability is part of our scriptures and how dare a bania like you who doesn't know any Sanskrit tell us how to manage our faith? You recognise Gandhi's dilemma only when you place the modernist critics like Ambedkar on the one side and the Shankaracharyas on the other. Hindu orthodoxy was totally opposed to him. The Shankaracharyas tell the British that Gandhi must be excommunicated. The Hindu Mahasabha ensures that he is met with black flags everywhere he goes as part of his tour against untouchability. He had to negotiate his path with great skill; it takes colossal courage to confront the entire might of your religious institutions. As he gets more assured about his control over the national movement on the Hindu social mind, he becomes more critical and radical in his approach to caste. So it's unfair to criticise Gandhi for being incremental in his approach to caste, because he has to deal with the bulk of Hindu orthodoxy before he frontally challenges the caste system, which he does, provoked by Ambedkar. Gandhi's path is all his own, and it's unappealing to both the radicals and the reactionaries."
A short review here
I still find him fascinating and try to understand him. One of his ideas seems to be some kind of local self sufficiency. I wonder whether the following is somewhat along those lines Via Campesina.

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