Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity
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About this Item
Title: Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication Date: 2004
Book Condition:Used: Good
About this title
Among prominent leaders of the twentieth century, perhaps no one is more highly regarded than Mahatma Gandhi. He is revered by the vast majority of Hindus as the hero of Indian independence, and many people throughout the world consider him to be a modern saint.
In this explosive, intriguing, and provocative investigation, Colonel G. B. Singh charges that the popular image of Gandhi is highly misleading. Despite his famous philosophy of nonviolent resistance (satyagraha), Colonel Singh’s analysis of the evidence leads him to conclude that Gandhi’s ideology was in fact rooted in racial animosity, first against blacks in South Africa and later against whites in India. The author also finds evidence of multiple cover-ups designed to hide Gandhi’s real history, including even collusion to cover up the murder of an American.
This provocative thesis is sure to be controversial.
Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) is regarded as one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century. In addition to being hailed as the leader of India's movement toward independence from British colonial rule using the methods of nonviolent resistance (Satyagraha), his popularity crosses all the boundaries of political, religious, ethical, moral, spiritual, social, and national systems. In fact, he is seen as so ventral to human rights that various societies, both Eastern and Western, have come to view him as an icon of nonviolence, rather than as a fallible human. Societies require icons of virtuous behavior to provide an ideal toward which to strive; Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King Jr. are similar examples (the latter deriving his own philosophy from that of the Gandhi icon). However, from a historical perspective, it is important to look beyond these icons to gain an objective viewpoint of a person's life. Only in this informed manner can we reach our own conclusions about the meaning of a person's contributions to society. Unfortunately, the body of literature about Gandhi is of such immense proportion that to wade through it to find the real Gandhi - the man in his own words, as well as in the words of those closest to him - is an almost impossible task.
However, Col. G.B. Singh has undertaken just such a task. His research into Gandhi's beliefs started in 1983 after the release of the film GANDHI. He recognized that the popular image of Gandhi is, more often than not, misrepresented and misleading. The Gandhi legend has been presented as if it were the truth and treated as an unquestioned fact. In an unending expansion of Gandhian literature, the reality behind the "mask" of divinity has been so skillfully submerged as not to allow critical evaluation. This mask both helped Gandhi in his time and has assisted those who have supported his ideology to achieve their ends without having to account for the morally ambiguous attitudes and events of his life.
Gandhi lived in South Africa from 1893 to 1914, where he designed and perfected his techniques of Satyagraha. But to date, no one has asked the critical question about the genesis of Satyagraha, and only a handful of scholars have delved into the murky areas of Gandhi's "relationship" with black people. Similarly, only a few scholars have cast a critical eye on Gandhi's life in India from 1915 to his death in 1948. During this time he gained worldwide prestige, and yet nobody asked. What personal attitudes did his politics belie regarding the British, other whites, and India's own Untouchables? Did Gandhi truly believe in abolishing the caste system, as the rest of the world has been led to believe? GANDHI: BEHIND THE MASK OF DIVINITY is the first investigative book to analyze the Mahatma's own writings. In this highly critical, intriguing, and provocative investigation, Singh presents the personal side of Gandhi often underrepresented by the vast majority of Gandhian literature. Readers will find particularly interesting the case of William Francis Doherty, a white American whose murder at the hands of Gandhi's followers was subsequently covered up by Gandhi himself. What does this say about Gandhi the man, and what does it mean for our modern understanding of his beliefs?
Naturally, a critical analysis of Gandhi's life has implications for our understanding of modern India, a Hindu state that has already manufactured nuclear weapons and will likely produce more. Why are the followers of "nonviolent" Gandhi bent upon manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, in addition to building huge military and paramilitary forces? The while tenor of contemporary Indian military strategy seems not to correspond to the prevalent depiction of Gandhian philosophy. The post-September 11 world is radically different, and it compels is to critically investigate India's politics, its leaders, and their brand of ideology - starting with the ideas of the man who led India to modern statehood.
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