Written by BALDEV SINGH
I am writing this letter because I think of you as an enlightened person. This letter is about the statements you made during the show you dedicated to the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. During that show, you compared Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King with Mahatma Gandhi.
In one of your statement you said something like “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s sacrifice.” Oprah, what about those countless unknown and unsung heroes, who preceded Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. They too suffered hardships and sacrificed their lives for freedom and justice for the black people. As a matter of fact, black people revolted against slavery and started struggling for freedom the moment they were captured in Africa and the chains of slavery were put around their necks. Since that moment black people have expressed their suffering, sorrow, helplessness and burning desire for freedom and justice through their songs. That is the reason why black people have contributed so much for the creation and development of new music.
The mentality or thinking, which was responsible for slavery, made it sure that the history of slavery and their struggle for freedom and justice is not known to the world. And if this story has to be told, then it must be told the way that “mentality” wants it to be told. There are people even today who think that slavery was benign and slaves were happy and contented with their situation. These people also justify colonial rule by saying, “It was necessary to civilize the uncivilized.” On the contrary, it is our conviction that a civilized man doesn’t deny another man’s humanity. He doesn’t enslave another man or subjugates another man in any form or manner- politically, economically, socially and religiously.
Deliberate efforts have been made to blot out the history of slavery and black peoples’ struggle for freedom and their contribution to human society in all walks of life. For instance, you go to any major city in the USA, you find all sorts of museums, but you don’t find the one about slavery. The US Congress was very enthusiastic about Jewish holocaust museum in Washington D. C. However, the same Congress has been unwilling so far to establish a museum about slavery. Moreover, what about a holocaust museum of native Americans, the Indians? Whereas Jewish holocaust took place in Europe, the slavery of blacks and the genocide of the native people took place in the USA. I leave it for you to draw your own conclusion. However, I believe that it takes moral courage to look into the eyes of evil and not just empty moral rhetoric.
The emergence of independent Africa had a major positive impact on the “black civil rights movement” in the United States and the anti apartheid movement in South Africa. It boosted the morale of these movements and brought worldwide recognition to Dr. Martin Luther King and Mr. Nelson Mandela. That’s why, who knows how many “great men” were lynched in the United States and how many were tortured to death in solitary cells in South Africa before Dr. Martin Luther King and Mr. Nelson Mandela, respectively.
During that show, you compared Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King with Mahatma Gandhi. I think your information about Mahatma Gandhi is probably based on the writings of European and Hindu “myth makers” (historians). Had you known the truth about Mahatma Gandhi, you wouldn’t have said that Dr. Martin Luther King was following the policy of the great Mahatma Gandhi.
I think it is disgraceful to compare Dr. Martin Luther King with Mahatma Gandhi. For example, whereas Dr. King represented the aspirations of all black people, Mahatma Gandhi represented the interest of only high caste Hindus who constituted 10-12% of the Indian population. Whereas Dr. King appealed to all Americans to rise above their prejudices of race, religion and gender to form a just society, Mahatma Gandhi was the mastermind behind the partition of India into two nations, one Hindu and the other Muslim. Here are some facts about Mahatma Gandhi.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the state of Gujrat in Baniya caste whose occupation is business. After obtaining a law degree from England he returned to India. However, after a short stay he decided to move to South Africa where he thought he could make more money. A large number of Indians from Gujrat State were brought to South Africa as indentured servants. Being a caste conscious Hindu, he looked down upon the natives. He used to say:
I can see why a white man discriminates against an African, but why against us. We Indians have the same values, the white man has.
Besides his law practice he worked for the British army recruiting Indians during the Boer War and the Zulu rebellion. He was the commander of an ambulance corps made up of Indians.
The Bolshevik revolution of 1914 in Russia inspired worldwide nationalist movements against colonialism and dictatorships. To sabotage Indian national movement, the British colonists brought Gandhi to India. What the “myth makers” don’t tell is that the Indian National Congress Party, which was later controlled by Gandhi was set up under the patronage of the British Government and it was dominated by high caste Hindus, who constituted only 10-12% of the Indian population. Anybody who was considered a threat to the interest of the British or high caste Hindus was thrown out of the party. The high caste Hindus, who had control over the Indian economy, also wanted to usurp political power after the departure of the British. But there was one formidable obstacle in their path to achieve this objective. And that obstacle was the Muslim majority states of Punjab, Bengal, Sindh, Blouchistan and Northwest Frontier.
To exclude these Muslim dominant states from the Indian union, the Hindu leaders of Congress Party headed by Gandhi started making provocative statements to instill doubt and fear in the minds of Muslim population that their future in independent India under the control of Hindu majority was not safe. Muslim leaders started asking for constitutional guarantees to safeguard their future, which the Hindu leaders were not willing to provide.
Frustrated, Muslim leaders asked for partition of the country to create a Muslim state. They did not see the trap that “high caste Hindus” had laid for them. They fell into that trap without realizing the impact their demand would have on the future generations of people of the Indian subcontinent. The stage was set for the partition of India into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Gandhi and his associates congratulated each other for accomplishing their objective while holding Muslims responsible for the partition of the country. This is the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi for which future generations of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis would pay dearly, God knows for how long!
The cruel and deceitful nature of Gandhi was revealed when he counseled Hindu and Sikh refugees, who came to see him in April 1947, after they were driven out of their homes following a terrible massacre of Hindus and Sikhs in the Ravalpindi area of Punjab. Gandhi asked them to go back to their homes, as he exhorted them that he wouldn’t accept the partition of the country. He kept repeating like a parrot, “I won’t allow the partition of the country. The country would be partitioned only over my dead body.” You can imagine the level of his depravity, because his Congress Party had already accepted with his blessing the partition of the country as a condition for Independence. And a few months later on August 15, 1947 the Indian union was divided in two nations, one Muslim and the other Hindu.
The claim that Gandhi won freedom for India peacefully without shedding a drop of blood is the biggest fabricated lie of the 20th century.
Up to the start of World War II, the British government categorically rejected the demand for the independence of India in the immediate future. However, the situation changed dramatically after the war. The war was so devastating to the British power that their government found it impossible to build the infra structure and economy of the homeland while coping with the growing national liberation movements in the colonies. The British government wisely decided to grant freedom to its colonies.
It wasn’t Gandhi’s movement which drove the British out of India, it was the impact of second world war, which made it impossible for the British to hold on to their Empire. Shortly after the independence of India, other colonies in Asia, Africa and Caribbean gained their independence peacefully. So what is so unique about India’s independence? Had there been no World War II, India would still be a British colony!
The other story that the “myth makers” do not tell is that the Independence of India was marked by one of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century. Two Indian states, Punjab and Bengal, were partitioned at the time of independence causing untold suffering and loss of life and property. In Punjab almost all the Hindu and Sikh population of about five millions were forced to leave their homes and properties on the Pakistan side where their ancestors had lived for hundreds of years. Similarly, about five million Muslims were forced to vacate their home and properties on the Indian side.
In the ensuing communal frenzy and carnage, may be as many as one million people perished and thousands of women were kidnapped and raped. About one third of the population of Punjab was engulfed in the inferno created by the independence of India. Of the total population of about five and half million Sikhs, about 40% were rendered homeless due to Independence. The population of Bengal was much higher than that of Punjab and you can imagine the human suffering there! The claim that Gandhi won freedom for India peacefully is a cruel joke on Punjabis and Bengalis.
To my knowledge only in two places, the United States of America and Ireland, the force of arms drove out the British colonists. Everywhere else the British freed the colonies peacefully. On what ground it is claimed that Gandhi won freedom for India peacefully without shedding a drop of blood.
The claim that Gandhi worked for the uplift of Dalits (untouchables) is also a myth.
Gandhi was a Hindu revivalist, who upheld every aspect of Hinduism including the caste system, which is the essence of Hinduism. His writings, speeches and statements confirm this.
I don’t believe the caste system to be an odious and vicious dogma. It has its limitations and defects, but there is nothing sinful about it. Harijan, 1933.
I believe in Varnashrama (caste system) which is the law of life. The law of Varna (color and / or caste) is nothing but the law of conservation of energy. Why should my son not be scavenger if I am one? Harijan, 3-6-1947.
He (Shudra, low caste) may not be called a Brahmin (uppermost caste), though he (Shudra) may have all the qualities of a Brahmin in this birth. And it is a good thing for him (Shudra) not to arrogate a Varna (caste) to which he is not born. It is a sign of true humility. Young India, 11-24-1927.
According to Hindu belief, he who practices a profession which does not belong to him by birth, does violence to himself and becomes a degraded being by not living up to the Varna (caste) of his birth. Young India, 11-14-1927.
As years go by, the conviction is daily growing upon me that Varna (caste) is the law of man’s being, and therefore, caste is necessary for Christians and Muslims as it has been necessary for Hinduism, and has been its saving grace. Speech at Trivandrum, (Collection of Speeches), Ramanath Suman (1932).
I would resist with my life the separation of “Untouchables” from the caste Hindus. The problem of the “Untouchable” community was of comparatively little importance. London Round Table Conference 1931.
I call myself a Snatana man, one who firmly believes in the caste system. Dharma Manthan, p 4.
I believe in caste division determined by birth and the very root of caste division lies in birth. Varna Vyavastha, p 76-77.
The four castes and the four stages of life are things to be attained by birth alone. Dharma Manthan, p 5.
Caste means the predetermination of a man’s profession. Caste implies that a man must practice only the profession of his ancestors for his livelihood. Varna Vyavstha, p 28, 56, 68.
Shudra only serves the higher castes as a matter of religious duty and who will never own any property. The gods will shower down flowers on him. Varna Vyavastha, p 15.
I have noticed that the very basis of our thought have been severely shaken by Western civilization which is the creation of the Satan. Dharma Manthan, p 65.
How is it possible that the Antyaja (outcastes) should have the right to enter all the existing temples? As long as the law of caste and karma has the chief place in the Hindu religion, to say that every Hindu can enter every temple is a thing that is not possible today. Gandhi Sikshan, Vol. 11, p 132.
The caste system can’t be said to be bad because it does not allow inter-dining and inter-marriages in different castes. Gandhi by Shiru, p129.
If the Shudar (low caste) leave their ancestral profession and take up others, ambition will rouse in them and their peace of mind will be spoiled. Even their family peace will be disturbed. Hind Swaraj.
The superiority of caste and race is deeply imbedded in the psyche of upper caste Hindus irrespective of their upbringing or the level of education or the place where they live. For example, in the words of a socialist leader, Madhu Limaye, “Nehru practiced both racism and casteism, despite his modern upbringing and outlook” (Telegraph, Calcutta, November 21, 1987).
In a revealing passage about his “making”, Nehru wrote, “Behind me lie somewhere in the sub-conscience, racial memories of hundred or whatever the numbers may be, generations of Brahmins. I cannot get rid of that past inheritance” (Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography, (1936), Delhi, 1980, p 596.).
Sir V. S. Naipaul is a Nobel laureate in literature. His Brahmin ancestors were brought as indentured servants to Trinidad long time ago. He grew up in Trinidad and has spent most of his life in England. In his earlier work An Area of Darkness, 1964 he was unforgiving of India. Later the “Brahmin” in him stirred up and came out spewing hatred and venom. He condoned the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in June 1984, when Indira Gandhi ordered a military attack on the Golden Temple complex on the day when thousands of Sikh pilgrims had gathered there to celebrate the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev (A Million Mutinies Now, 1990). In 1992 he justified the destruction of a 400 hundred-year-old mosque (Babri Masjid) by Hindu mobs lead by Bhartiya Janta Party (a fascist Hindu party) because of the mistreatment of Hindus by Muslim rulers centuries back in the past. He has become the darling of Hindu fascist organizations.
Mahatma Gandhi, whose Baniya (Vaisha) caste is two steps lower than the uppermost Brahmin caste, was a vigorous defender of the caste system.
“The caste system, in my opinion, has a scientific basis. Reason does not revolt against it. It has disadvantages. ………Caste creates a social and moral restraint……I can find no reason for their (castes) abolition. To abolish caste is to demolish Hinduism. There is nothing to fight against the Varnasharma (caste system). I don’t believe the caste system to be an odious and vicious dogma. It has its limitations and defects, but there is nothing sinful about it” (Harijan, 1933).
Gandhi’s calling “Untouchables”, as Harijans is a cruel joke on the Untouchables by an insensitive and depraved man.
Harijan literally means “child of God”. However, in India this label is used for the illegitimate children of temple girls (anchoress) fathered by priests. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the leader of the Untouchables, vehemently opposed Gandhi’s use of Harijans for the Untouchables. Recently, Ms Mayawati, a leader of the Untouchables asked rhetorically, “If we are Harijans then what are the upper castes like Nehru, Gandhi and Patel? Are they bastards?”
That Gandhi was an “apostle of peace” is not true.
Gandhi was a “Hindu revivalist” and “Hindu politician” combined in one, who used nonviolence as a tool for political objectives. He used to coerce others to concede to his demands by threats of “going to fast unto death”. He was no pacifist as is shown by his stand on the issue of Kashmir.
“One naturally thought that he would offer a nonviolent solution to the Kashmir issue and raise his moral stature. But no! He proved to be a false prophet. Seervai has documented that nonviolence with him was a political weapon. (H. M. Seervai, Partition of India, Legend and Reality, Bombay, 1989, p 172-173). He sanctioned the use of armed forces and laid the foundation of Kashmir problem which continues to haunt the subcontinent till today” (Sangat Singh, The Sikhs in History, 4th ed., 2001, p 258.)
According to Seervai, in a meeting with Viceroy Lord Wavell on August 27 1946, Gandhi thumped the table and said, “If India wants bloodbath, she shall have it and that if bloodbath was necessary, it would come about in spite of nonviolence.” Wavell was dumbfounded at these words coming from the mouth of “apostle” of nonviolence.
Gandhi was a very cunning man. He was not satisfied with the title of “apostle of peace”, he also wanted to project himself as a holy man, which for a Hindu required the practice of celibacy. He was a married man and proclaimed to be celibate at a relatively young age under forty. However, he used to test his celibacy by asking young girls to lie over him to find out whether he was in full control of his sexual feelings. I leave up to psychologists and psychiatrists to analyze what was in Gandhi’s mind and what happened to the emotions of those poor girls! He was always surrounded by women.
So what is Gandhi’s legacy to mankind?
The obvious one is the partition of subcontinent into “Hindu India” and “Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh”. These three nations are a “living hell” for minorities. For example, India which claims with pride to be the biggest democracy in the world has killed more Indians in the last fifty years than the British colonists killed in 300 years. More than 95% of those killed by Hindu governments are Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Dalits (Untouchables). While the populations of these countries are groaning under the weight of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, ignorance and disease, India and Pakistan have built nuclear weapons. The next nuclear war will most probably be fought over the disputed territory of Kashmir in spite of the fact that neither India nor Pakistan has ever asked the Kashmiris what they want.
That Hindus are peace loving people and coexist peacefully with non-Hindus is also not true.
When Taliban destroyed Lord Buddha’s statue in Afghanistan, there were worldwide protests against this heinous crime against humanity. The most vociferous demonstrations and protests were held in India. However, how little did the Hindu mobs realize that the first damage to the statue was done by Hindu rulers of Afghanistan during the frenzy of Hindu revival? Buddhism flourished as a major religion in India for several centuries. During the Hindu revival, Buddhists were given three choices like Jews and Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition. Either convert or leave the country. Large number of Buddhists fled to neighboring countries. Those who resisted were killed, Buddhist monasteries were destroyed, monks were murdered, and nuns were raped. Buddhist literature was burned and their religious centers were converted into Hindu centers. The famous place in Bihar State where Lord Buddha is supposed to have received his light (knowledge) is still under the control of Hindus in spite of the protests of international Bhuddist community.
The “myth makers” keep repeating that Hindus have lived peacefully with Muslims, Christians and others for hundreds of years. What they don’t tell you is that during that period Muslims or the British ruled over the Indian territory. But look at the attitude of Hindus towards non-Hindus when Hindus were the rulers? During the revival of Hinduism they eradicated Buddhism from the land of its birth. All other progressive movements, which opposed the caste system were either crushed or subverted.
Immediately after independence in 1947, the so-called secular and liberal Hindu rulers lead by Jawahar Lal Nehru adopted an Indian Constitution, declaring “Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains” as Hindus with the stroke of a pen. Sikhs have been protesting against this heinous crime ever since. No Hindu leader worth the name has ever protested against this abominable injustice to the minorities. Imagine! How would the minorities react if the US Congress were to pass a law declaring all minorities as Christians?
The word Hindu is not found in any Hindu religious text or any other ancient writing. People who lived on the western side of Hindu Kush (killers of Hindus) mountains gave this name to the natives of India. The word Hindu means black, slave, robber, thief and a waylayer.
From my discussions with Americans about the caste system over the years, I have the impression that most of them think that caste system is like segregation or apartheid. Caste system may look like segregation or apartheid on the surface, but if one were to scratch the surface one would find that the Brahmnical caste system is the worst oppressive and exploitative system that exists on planet earth. Slavery and segregation in America and apartheid in South Africa have ended in a relatively short period, but the heinous caste system, which has been practiced in India for thousands of years, is still going strong. It is because the caste system was invented, taught, practiced and ordained by the Brahmnical (Hindu) religion.
Under segregation and apartheid the black people were denied their rights and had very few opportunities for advancement in comparison to white people. However, a black person under those circumstances could become a doctor, a teacher, and a minister or choose whatever occupation was available to them. Whereas the caste is stamped on you the moment you are born. There was no escape from this watertight multistory building with no stairs or ladder. You are born and die in the same caste, no matter how good or bad a person you are.
For example, a person born in a scavenger’s family would also be a scavenger in spite of his great intelligence. He couldn’t choose any other occupation. So a scavenger’s descendents remained scavengers for thousands of years. This destroyed the creativity of the Indian population. No wonder the Hindu civilization, which is as old as the Chinese civilization has made insignificant contribution to the development of human society in comparison to the Chinese civilization.
It is a mistake to think that Nazism was the product of Hitler’s sick mind. The roots of Nazism lie in the Hindu caste system. European colonists were intrigued by the Hindu caste system. They were astonished how Brahmins, who formed about 5% of India’s population, were able to exploit the rest of Indians for thousands of years by asserting their caste and racial superiority. The British used the same Brahmnical strategy, they proclaimed their racial and intellectual superiority over Indians to control their vast Empire in India. At the pinnacle of British rule, there were only about 200,000 British personnel in India. Who you think managed the Empire? They were the brown-Englishmen (subjugated Indians) who managed the Empire.
European writers like Max Muler were also fascinated by the Hindu caste system. They admired the way the Brahmins maintained the caste and racial superiority over thousands of years. Why shouldn’t the Europeans assert their racial and intellectual superiority the same way over black, brown, tan and yellow people? So people like Max Muler planted the seeds of racial superiority on the European soil. Others like him nurtured the seedlings, and the plants came into full blossom under Hitler. It is no coincidence that the Nazis used swastika, a propitious Brahmin symbol, as the emblem of the Nazi party.
I am willing to debate these issues with any one, anywhere, and on any stage.
Authors Note: An article Gandhi as a racist by Dr. Velu Anamlai (USA) published in Sikh Virsa, June 1997, was consulted for writing this letter.)