Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Dubious Term Called Westernization - VI

Gandhi over enthusiastically embraced some of the Europeans' views on national identity , vegetarian fadism and non-violence to further his own notion of Indian identity. One such view was from Chesterton.

When I see... the views of Indian nationalists, I get bored and feel dubious about them. What they want is not very Indian and not very national... Suppose an Indian said: 'I wish India had always been free from white men and all their works. Everythign has its own faults and we perfer our own.. I prefer dying in battle to dying in [a Western] hospital.. If you (the British) do not like our way of living, we never asked you to. Go, and leave us with it.'
            Supposing an Indian said that, I should call him an Indian nationalist. He would be an authentic Indian... But the Indian nationalists whose works I have read and go on saying: 'Give me a ballot box. Give me the judge's wig. I have a natural right or be Prime Minister. My soul is starved if I am excluded from the editorship of the Daily Mail.' Even the most sympathetic person may say in reply: 'What you say is very fine, my good Indian, but it is we who invented these things.'
 The problem with Gandhi and Chesterton was that both make a fundamental mistake of creating a national homogenous identities bordering on racial identity. This identity has its own unique characteristics. This is absurd. In this case ,Gandhi's intellectualism doesn't look better than Anna Hazare's.

The 'we' in Chesterton's doesn't even apply to all people that he would identify with. If the inventions are so unique then they don't even have to bother about others claiming it because the others would have natural disability to own them. Now, since that is not the case, it is obvious that the ideas can spread across human groups. And we also can see that the dominant cultural strain can suppress these ideas in certain regions. However, it would be fallacy that few people in other region would not have thought about those 'inventions' in the first place.

So, Gandhi's quest for an Indian identity was flawed from the beginning.

Reference:
1. Mohandas, by Rajmohan Gandhi

1 comment:

anilkurup said...

Yea I agree with you. And what is India, a patch up is it not?