Gandhi: Your assessment of his character & contribution to winning Indian Independence?


Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
New Delhi, India
how then is the caste conflict the gift of Dr Ambedkar? he did not create this evil system, and it appears you blame him for trying to change it.

please explain also how it is his fault and not the fault of those who still to this day go around beating and killing those of the lower castes- evidence if any were needed that people just like the good Dr Ambedkar are necessary, because without them people like you will sit back and complacently say 'the caste system will change, give it time (funnily enough , you know what i have noticed about these people who say the caste system will naturally change, almost of its own accord, and that higher-caste Indians will gradually give up their advantages- do you know, these people are never of the lower castes, what a coincidence that is.....)

I think the course of the last 75 years suggest that the caste system will not change unless people actively campaign to change it, and I think to blame Dr Ambedkar for current caste conflict is a rather nasty slur undeserved by a very great man who did his best to help those less fortunate
Like Valenceband said, the difference is in ways one wants to achieve this. Even if Ambedkar had not asked his followers to change their religion, caste differences were/are bound to disappear in the course of time. It is a part of the Indian Constitution and there is a strong law against it. What did change for those people? The word lower castes has been replaced by Buddhists. Other than that there is no change in their status.

Who kills the lower castes? Brahmins do not do it. Mostly, it is the 'Other Backward Castes', who are in competition with the lower castes for political power, who exploit them at the village level. Why blame the Upper castes for it? Reservations based on castes entrenched caste system in India. It should have been based on economic condition of the person. The advantages are with the lower castes, the lower the better. What advantages do the Upper Castes have other than being refused in education and jobs even when they may be better qualified. And does it help the poor? No. The creamy layer now stands at Rs.10 lacs/year (Creamy layer: above which the reservations do not apply). The real poor people cannot even dream of such income (Rupees 83,333 per month). And remember, there are many ways in which the income can be concealed.

IMHO, the Caste System will not change till the government continues to recognizes castes officially, as it does now. On one hand, you recognize castes and on the other you want the differences to be eradicated. That is unworkable, that is ironic. The current system has not helped the poor people in the last 70 years. And, Inshallah, I am sure, Modi and Shah will be able to do it before their term expires.
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Likes: ksk
Oct 2015
Discussions on Caste System, on Gandhi versus Ambedkar on Caste system, probably are more suited to thread on that specific topic:

Caste System in India - History & Annihilation

Here we can summarise that Ambedkar:

{i} did not hold Gandhi's work on Caste System effective enough. He felt that Gandhi was engaging in it only for the sake of presenting a united freedom struggle against British colonial rule.

{ii} felt that Gandhi was a very shrewd and tough politicians (not a saintly person).

The above conclusion was drawn by Ambedkar based on (a) his negotiations with Gandhi on separate electorates for Depressed classes (1931-1932), and (b) his perception that Gandhi wrote contradictory things in his English newspapers from those in his Gujarati newspapers.

Ambedkar's stand on freedom struggle is also relevant. If I am not mistaken, he was of the view that Indians should work first on social freedom (eradication of caste) and once that is achieved, then & then only for political freedom (freedom struggle). In other words, he was okay with British colonial rule till caste was eradicated.
Likes: Arminius
Apr 2018
On the subject of non-violence, it is not easy to appreciate if one has not, either personally or vicariously (by studying histories of wars, massacres etc with special emphasis to recorded personal experiences) experienced the sheer meaninglessness behind the base concept of violence. From that point of view he was, IMHO, more like Christ or Buddha irrespective of certain anomalies in details.

However, he was lucky in having the British as opponents. Can't say the same if it were the Nazis or the Soviets.
Likes: Aupmanyav
Aug 2017
@EternalWay You sound very persuasive and it creates a feeling that one should accept your (and Guha's) way of looking at Gandhi's actions. :)

But then.
Did you submit your post before completing it? Just wondering since it seems incomplete.

Note that this isn't simply mine or Guha's narrative of Gandhi's stance on Hindu-Muslim solidarity. Gandhi did in fact travel throughout parts of India affected by the Partition, fasted to end Hindu-Muslim-Sikh communal violence, and consoled and chastised Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs alike. A large number of contemporary eyewitness accounts, newspapers, journals, and photographs exist to corroborate these actions.

Of course, we can speculate endlessly about the motivations underlying these actions. While one could conceivably argue that Gandhi was a conniving opportunist seeking to aggrandize his domestic and international image, all the available evidence on his life and his intellectual and moral development suggests he sincerely and passionately believed in inter-religious harmony and brotherhood. I'm not aware of many Gandhi scholars who would argue otherwise.
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Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
New Delhi, India
IMHO, Gandhi was honest in his dealings and cared equally for all irrespective of religion. Muslims got a little better from him because he wanted them to abandon their idea of separate nationhood - that is why his offer to Jinnah of prime ministership. But it was too late. As in case of castes, he did not want to overlook religion. He thought that such a drastic change might not be fructitious. Nehru did not care much about religion.


Ad Honoris
May 2014
He was more concerned with appeasing the British or Muslims than fighting them. He undermined democracy causing Nehru to become PM. His way of thinking was weak. Only Gandhian ideals could have led to India's idiotic "no first use" nuclear policy that allowed Pakistan to operate in Kashmir without fear of retaliation.His version of ahimsa is an idioctic philosophy and can only culminate in self starvation leading to death. The British benefited from him because they did not want a repeat of 1857. There were actually a couple of large scale army mutinies after WW1 and WW2. These were probably more persuasive to the British to pack their bags than a starving, self righteous bald vegan who was more of an amusement to his foes than anything else. In addition, he was a racist and a sexual pervert.

Nothing great about him really. It is unfortunate that he was and still is a figurehead in our nation building process.
Who should have been India's first PM instead of Nehru, in your honest opinion? Sardar Patel? Someone else?
Dec 2015
Haha. There is a thing called lip service. Britain after economically subjugating India and ensuring it never industrializes whilst leeching off its manpower and food supply to fight world wars decides that the most pacifist Indian who ever lived is the greatest one. How convenient for everyone involved!
Well one could praise the heroic Muslim and Hindus of that 1857 rebellion but also praise pacifists such as Gandhi? Consider even in the USA that semi pacifists such as Henry Ford are admired countrywide.
Likes: prashanth
Oct 2015
Who should have been India's first PM instead of Nehru, in your honest opinion? Sardar Patel? Someone else?
I tend to agree that Nehru was the best choice even though that choice was imposed by Gandhi and he superseded voting (=democracy) because Patel had more votes in his favor. Why?

Gandhi was not into creating a dynasty, he never encouraged his sons to become leaders. So his selection between Nehru and Patel was based on merits.

Gandhi was the tallest leader in India and was the main leader of that struggle for almost 30 years. He knew best what it took to be a leader of Indian people. He also knew both - Nehru and Patel - very well. Still he chose Nehru to lead independent India for which there could be several reasons.

  • One could be simply age and heath of the contenders. Patel was 72 years old in 1947 and died 3 years after independence; while Nehru was only 57 years old and lived for 17 more years.
  • Second could be acceptability to outside world. Nehru had studied & travelled abroad, but not Patel.
    Third could be acceptability / suitability within India because Nehru had no religion but Patel was a staunch Hindu.
Gandhi never specified his reason for the choice, but could be one of these three.

Gandhi was a patriotic person and spent best part of his life fighting & leading struggle for freedom of India. There is no reason to doubt his bonafides when he made the choice.

Today we have the advantage of hindsight which Gandhi did not have in 1947. Over the years (1947-1964), some of Nehru's weaknesses became apparent - idealistic foreign policy which ignored realpolitik, not understanding importance of military & low defence preparedness till 1962, and not correcting socialist economic policies though they were not delivering. But we can't hold this against Gandhi.

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