Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Gandhi and Ambedkar (Medha Patkar and Narendra Modi?)

I had written about the indefinte fast by Medha Patkar, quoting a speech by Osho about Gandhi and Ambedkar. Here is a more detailed version of Gandhi's fast, Ambedkar's response and Osho's talk with Ambedkar, in Osho's own words. Just imagine Medha Patkar in Gandhi's place and Narendra Modi in Ambedkar's:

Mahatma Gandhi was the uncrowned king of India. For the simple reason that he was able to torture himself more than anybody else could. For any small reason he would go on a fast "unto death." Every fast was "unto death," but within three, four days, it would be broken -- there were methods to break it -- and soon there would be a breakfast; everything was arranged.

But people can be deceived very easily.... He goes on a fast, and the whole country prays to God that he should not die. All the great leaders rush towards his ashram and pray to him to stop but he won't listen unless his conditions are accepted -- any conditions, undemocratic, dictatorial, idiotic -- any conditions.
For example he fasted against Doctor Ambedkar who was the head of the untouchables.

Ambedkar wanted the untouchables to have their own constituencies and their own candidates, otherwise they would never be represented in any parliament anywhere. Who would give votes to a shoemaker? In India a shoemaker is untouchable -- who is going to give him the vote?

Ambedkar was absolutely right. One fourth of the country is untouchable. They are not allowed in schools because no other student is prepared to sit with them, no teacher is ready to teach them. The government says the schools are open, but in reality no student is willing.... If one untouchable enters, all thirty students leave the class, the teacher leaves the class. Then how are these poor people -- one fourth of the country -- going to be represented? They should be given separate constituencies where only they can stand and only they can vote.
Ambedkar was perfectly logical and perfectly human.

But Gandhi went on a fast, saying, "He is trying to create a division within the Hindu society." The division has existed for ten thousand years. That poor Ambedkar was not creating the division, he was simply saying that one fourth of the people of the country had been tortured for thousands of years. Now at least give them a chance to advance themselves. At least let them voice their problems in the parliament, in the assemblies. But Gandhi said, "I will not allow it while I am alive. They are part of Hindu society, hence they cannot have a separate voting system" -- and he went on fasting.

For twenty-one days Ambedkar remained reluctant, but every day... the pressure of the whole country. And he started feeling that if this old man dies then there is going to be great bloodshed. It was clear -- he would be killed immediately, and millions of the untouchables would be killed everywhere, all over the country: "It is because of you that Gandhi died." When the whole arithmetic of how it would work out was explained to him -- "You figure it out soon, because there is not much time, he cannot survive more than three days" -- Ambedkar hesitated.
He was perfectly right; Gandhi was perfectly wrong.

But what to do? Should he take the risk? He was not worried about his life -- if he was killed it was okay -- but he was worried about those millions of poor people who didn't know anything about what was going on. Their houses would be burned, their women would be raped, their children would be butchered. And it would be something that had never happened before.

Finally he had to accept the conditions. He went with the breakfast in his hand to Mahatma Gandhi, "I accept your conditions. We will not ask for a separate vote or separate candidates. Please accept this orange juice." And Gandhi accepted the orange juice.

But this orange juice, this one glass of orange juice, contains millions of people's blood.

I have met Doctor Ambedkar. He was one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. But I said, "You proved weak."

He said, "You don't understand: the situation was such that I knew I was right and he was wrong, but what to do with that stubborn old man? He was going to die, and if he died then I would have been responsible for his death, and the untouchables would have suffered."

I said, "That is not the point. Even an idiot could have suggested a simple thing to you. You should have gone on a fast unto death. And you are so overweight." He was a fat man, four or five times heavier than Gandhi. "If you had asked me.... A simple solution: just put another cot by the side of Mahatma Gandhi, lie down, and fast unto death. Then let them see! I promise you that Gandhi would have accepted all your conditions within three days."

Ambedkar said, "But this idea never occurred to me."

I said, "You are a fool if this idea never occurred to you! That was the idea with which that man was controlling the whole country -- and it never occurred to you. The only difficulty would have been to go on a fast -- particularly for a man like you: fat, eating four times a day. Naturally you would not have been able to manage it. Gandhi has practiced his whole life, he is an experienced faster; and you may not have ever missed a single breakfast."

He said, "That is true."

I said, "Otherwise if it had been my problem and he was being so illogical, I would have just lain down, even if I was going to die, and let him be responsible. He would not have allowed that, because my death would have taken away all his mahatmahood, all his aura, all his leadership of the people. He would not have allowed me to die; he would have accepted my conditions.
"But unfortunately I am not an untouchable, and anyway why should I be bothered with you two idiots? To me both of you are idiots. You have one fourth of the country in your hands and you can't do anything; that man has nothing in his hands -- but just by fasting.... He has learned a womanly trick. Yes, I call his whole philosophy a feminine psychology."

That's what women do every day. Gandhi must have learned it from his wife. In India women do it every day. The wife will fast, she won't eat, she will lie down. And then the husband starts shaking. He may be right, that is not the point.
Now there is no point of right or wrong; now the point is how to persuade her to eat? Because she is not eating, the children are not eating -- and who is going to do the cooking in the first place? Is he also going to fast? And the children are weeping, and they want food, and the wife is on a fast -- so you agree. She needs a new sari, you bring it. First you bring the sari, then she goes into the kitchen. This is an old Indian strategy of all women in India.

Gandhi must have learned it from his wife, and he used it really very cleverly.But there is some strange side of the human mind which is impressed by anybody who is capable of torturing himself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Krishnamurti on religious men

I had posted J. Krishnamurti's views on this in one of my blogs. Here is more:

A religious man does not seek God.
The religious man is concerned with the transformation of society which is himself.
The religious man is not the man that does innumerable rituals, follows traditions, lives in a dead, past culture, explaining endlessly the Gita or the Bible, endlessly chanting, or taking sannyasa—that is not a religious man; such a man is escaping from facts.
The religious man is concerned totally and completely with the understanding of society which is himself.
He is not separate from society.
Bringing about in himself a complete, total mutation means complete cessation of greed, envy, ambition; and therefore he is not dependent on circumstances, though he is the result of circumstance—the food he eats, the books he reads, the cinemas he goes to, the religious dogmas, beliefs, rituals, and all that business.
He is responsible, and therefore the religious man must understand himself, who is the product of society which he himself has created.
Therefore to find reality he must begin here, not in a temple, not in an image—whether the image is graven by the hand or by the mind.
Otherwise how can he find something totally new, a new state?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Not Surprisingly SBI

AT last, the'indefinite' strike in State Bank of India is over. The staff of the country's 'largest bank' have finally decided to get back to work after holding the entire country for ransom. They relaxed at their respective homes while the poor customers were at their wit's end.
Of course, they have the right to strike work. But why can't they have a day's token strike? Why an indefinite strike? Did the unions ever realise that the Indian middle class which depend on their month's salaries will be left in the lurch? I wonder even salaries from the companies were credited to their accounts because of the strike. The poor customers would have to wait for a few days more for that to happen and then withdraw their money.
It has become a habit to go on indefinite strikes and indefinite fasts. It's nothing short of blackmail. The unions that resort to such strike and people like Medha Patkar deserve to be thrown in jail. What they are doing is nothing short than non-violent terrorism. (See my posting 'Is non-violence violence?')
But the Governments - State or Central - too must share the blame. The Governments just don't listen if you submit petitions or write letters to editor in newspapers or talk to the representative they have elected (if they can find him). There HAS to be some violence. Block roads; throw stones; burn a few (Government) buses; block roads (again) by taking huge processions in peak hour through main thoroughfares. And like Medha Patkar and the unions, resort to indefinite strikes and fasts.
Just look what happened: After realising that Medha Patkar won't budge, three Union Ministers rushed to the SSP-affected areas. And and another Union Minister Chidambaram himself intervened and gave the SBI staff what they wanted.
Now you know what to do when you want something. Go on an indefinite fast or strike. You can have your way without being branded a terrorist, though you are one - a non-violent terrorist.
And who said SBI is gearing up to face the competition? PSU staff will be PSU staff. Nothing can change them. And the proof is - Not Surprisingly SBI.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is non-violence violence?

Are Mahatma Gandhi (and Medha Patkar) violent?

This question may sound preposterous, but according to Osho, Gandhi's non-violence, was in fact, acts of violence. This is what he says:

"Gandhi thinks fasting is a kind of right means to a right end. And like his last fast he resorts to fast unto death every now and then. If a threat to kill another person is wrong , how can the threat to kill oneself be right? If it is wrong for me to make you accept what I say by pointing gun at you, how can it be right if I make you accept the same thing by pointing gun at myself? It would be a greater wrong on my part if I ask you to accept my views with the threat if you don't , Iam going to kill myself.
"If I threaten to kill you, you have an option, a moral opportunity to die and refuse to yield to my pressure. But if i threaten to kill myself , I make you very helpless, because you may not like to take the responsibility of my death on yourself.
"Gandhi once undertook such a fast unto death to put pressure on Ambedkar. Ambedkar had to finally yield to Gandhi's pressures, but said later Gandhi would be wrong to think he had changed his heart and still believed he was right and Gandhi was wrong, but in order not take the moral repsonsibility of the consquence he had to yield.
"It makes no difference whether i threaten to kill you or to kill myself to make you accept my view. In either case I am using pressure and violence. In fact, when I threaten to kill you, I give you a choice to die with dignity, to tell me you would rather die than yield to my view which is wrong. But when I threaten you with my own death, then I deprive you of the option to die with dignity. I put you in real dilemma . Either you have to yield and accept you are wrong or you take the responsibility of my death onto you. You are going to suffer guilt in every way and there is no choice."
"Violence to an extent is necessary if one has to live. Even which we term as an instrument of non-violence could be violence. If I put a knife on your chest and ask you to obey me, it is violence. And if I sit and starve at your doorstep, threatening to die if you do not do what I say? Is this not violence? The former goes out from me to you, the latter is going towards myself. The latter is self-violence. A forcible pressure, mental cruelty, it is!"