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Mahatma Gandhi- Hero or Villain

by Ratnadeep Ray October 2 is celebrated as the Gandhi Jayanti on account of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of our nation. But there are many debates regarding the works of Gandhiji. Some consider him the hero and some villain. So let us see the picture from both the angles. Mahatma Gandhi aka Father of Nation in India, Bapuji and some such names is arguably the most famous Indian all over the world. However he is not free from criticisms. Many consider him the villain for several acts. So let us analyze whether Gandhiji was hero or villain. Cases for Gandhiji
The preacher of non-violence, Gandhiji was a prominent leader of Indias struggle for independence. His birthday October 2 is celebrated as the Non-violence day worldwide which proves the substance Gandhiji was made of. In todays world when everyone is interested in tit for tat policy, Gandhiji begged to differ and adopted the weapons of truth and non violence to fight. He taught the method of love to conquer the world. Hence if one follows Gandhijis principles he can win the world with love and maintain peace though he needs tremendous strength for this act. However he considered violence better than cowardice. He discouraged to leave the dear ones and the weaker ones unprotected for the sake of avoiding violence. Gandhiji discouraged the addictions like smoking, drinking and non-vegetarianism. By promoting vegetarianism he preached the concept of love even amongst the animals. Though some people may beg to differ with him in these areas, however if seen for the long time journey, these acts are harmful for the health. Gandhiji also proved we do not need to maintain lavish lifestyles in order to reach our goal. When so many people try to earn money, wear attractive attires to impress the world, Gandhiji dared to differ and proved money, attractive clothes and other possessions are secondary and character is primary to reach the goal. In his days, the society was suffering from caste systems where the lower class people were looked down by the upper class people. Then Gandhiji promoted the concept of Harijana where he considered the lower class people, the ones of God. Thus he cleared the hurdle of caste system to an extent. There were many great freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh to name a few who put their souls for the country just like Gandhiji did. However Gandhiji was able to reach his mission unlike the others like Bose, Singh. This proved with love one can achieve everything. His supporters were not limited in India only. Even foreigners also were fans of Gandhiji. Albert Einstein, the renowned scientist, said about Gandhiji, Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this had walked the earth in flesh and blood.

Hence now can we conclude that Gandhiji has been the greatest hero of India? Not really. There are several points which go against him. Let us see those which are anti Gandhi.

Cases against Gandhiji

Even though Gandhiji reached the goal of Indias independence, many are not ready to acknowledge his efforts. There are many allegations that he reached there at the costs of many other heroes costs. They feel as history is written by the winners, Gandhiji became so famous. Some believe Gandhiji was responsible for the execution of Bhagat Singh. The theory says Gandhiji had the ability to stop the execution of Bhagat Singh but he made little effort to do that as Gandhiji and Singh were at odds with respect to the path leading to the independence. Singhs supporters claim Gandhiji felt insecure of Bhagat Singh and hence feared Singh gaining more fame than him. Thus he conspired against Bhagat Singh though this theory is highly controversial. In 1939, Subhash Chandra Bose became the President of Congress for the second time against the wishes of Gandhiji. Afterwards Bose was forced to step down due to the lack of support as most of the members in Congress were in favor of Gandhiji. All the Bose supporters feel Gandhiji was responsible for this as he and Netaji had many differences regarding their principles. One of the important differences between Gandhiji and Netaji was the vision for post Independence India. Netaji was in favor of industrialization while Gandhiji was not. After independence there was no mark of Netaji in India and hence the industrialization got little importance. Now the question is had Indian government had considered Netajis views India could have been very well a developed nation. Was Gandhiji responsible for this act? Many feel Yes. Gandhiji was the founder of non-cooperation movement. But after the Chauri-Chaura incident Gandhiji called off the movement. So had he continued the movement India might have got independence much earlier. This lead to the collisions between Gandhiji and Bhagat Singh. Another controversy regarding Gadhiji was the selection of his heir. He appointed Jawaharlal Nehru his successor. But many believe Sardar Patel were the better choice. They feel Nehru was like his pupil and hence Gandhiji was more biased to Nehru than Patel. Gandhijis critics also hold him responsible for the partition of India. Gandhijis choice of heir was Nehru and his critics feel he was a power hungry person and he was insecure of Jinnah. Hence he supported partition so that he got the power to rule. However Sardar Patel had the ability to suppress Jinnah and hence had he got the power he could have prevented the partition. Hence Gandhijis wrong selection of successor, lead to this partition. There is another theory which says Gandhi had proposed an idea to Jinnah that both Congress and Muslim League would cooperate for Indias independence and after achieving it there would be the partition. This was one of the reasons behind his assassination. Nathuram Godse, his assassinator, claimed Gandhiji becoming a dictator. Many of Gandhijis critics feel he never encouraged anyone to differ with him. Whenever anyone objected him, he decided to remove him from his path. This was the reason why he made no effort to save Bhagat Singh. Netaji also suffered the similar fate when he was forced to step down from the Congress President's post

Defenses of Gandhiji
There are some defenses of Gandhiji about some accusations. Regarding Bhagat Singhs execution, Gandhi supporters feel Gandhiji did not have enough influence to save him. As far as

partition of India is concerned, Gandhiji too opposed it. He said, The partition of the country will take place only with the condition of partition of his body. In todays world many joint families are getting partitioned. Hence it is really difficult to maintain even a small family. On the other hand Gandhiji had to think of whole nation. argues some of his supporters.

From the above arguments, it is difficult to decide whether Mahatma Gandhi is our hero or villain, whether is greater than other freedom fighters like Netaji, Bhagat Singh. Like anybody else, he too had two sides. But there is no doubt he has been one of the most fascinating people ever in the modern era. October 4, 2009
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