How would have Indian Independence movement gone if we didnt have Mahatma Gandhi?

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Yusuf, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    India was blessed to have a person like Mahatma Gandhi leading the independence movement of India in a way not seen before. Through non violence and passive resistance, he overcame the British and forced them to leave the country. Indian independence proved to be the beginning of the end of the British Empire and the power it once possessed.

    Indian independence movement however goes back before that and notable being the 1857 war of independence which the British put as a sepoy mutiny. Thereafter it was only after the turn of the century and the coming of Mahatma Gandhi did we see intensity in the independence movement.

    My question is, what if we didnt have Mahatma Gandhi at all in the independence movement. How would the independence movement shaped up. We had braves like Subhash Chandra Bose who thought that the British had to be fought. Others fell in line with Gandhijis thinking. If Gandhiji was not there, what was the thinking of these people?
     
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  3. prahladh

    prahladh Respected Member

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    I'm not questioning or insulting or critical of Gandhiji. But if we are talking about independance we would have got independance with or without him. Thanks to two WW which drained GB and thought them the lessons. Thats what I think and I may be wrong. Forgive me if I'm wrong.
     
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  4. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Also the formation of the united Nation contributed for the same , US, UK, France,Russia talks about right to Human life rights & speech.
     
  5. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Without Mahatma Gandhi, Indian independence would have been slighly delayed, violent and bloody. But on the bright side, there would have been no partition and subsequent wars and arms race.

    I say that because, without Gandhiji, the independence would have been gained(not given) by the masses. England was weakened after WW2 and US was goading it to give up its colonies. So, England would have given up control anyway. But they would not have been allowed to give independence on their terms, Indians would have gained independence on their own terms(that would mean no partition). An unpartitioned India with its vast resources(including human resource) and no animosity of partition(or subsequent religious riots) among people would have been a sureshot contender for topspot.

    Gandhiji was truly a Mahatma. But India would have gained independence even without him. India is bigger than any individual(howsoever great he may be).
     
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  6. ajay_ijn

    ajay_ijn Regular Member

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    may be it depends a lot on what British would do after the war. Atlee says it was Mutiny of armed forces which made to leave the country.

    British was already short of manpower during the war and in these times if Armed forces in India revolted against british command then surely british would have been forced to leave. but who knows if British were determined they would taken India back with the help of her allies.
     
  7. duhastmish

    duhastmish Regular Member

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    A country like india never depanded on one person - yes he was good leader , but he also had some negatives which made him human.
    Any ways there were too many - fighters for us - from bose to laxmi bai to ajad to vallabh bhai patel.

    india freedom had to come ! may be it would have been delayed witout mahatma gandhi, but then again - if gandhi was not there - we sould not have to face loose leaders like - nehru . they might be good freedom fighters but surely not good leaders, if it was azad and bose india might have been somewhere else,
     
  8. duhastmish

    duhastmish Regular Member

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    BTW : what the hell are we achieving out of this - meaning less debate - what if and what not ????? it will only make some people go out of context and might end up over glorifying or disrespecting the historical figure.

    this is one of most meaning less and non constructive discourse.
     
  9. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    Gandhi is being, has been blamed for the breakup of india or rather partition but that was ineveitable anyway with or without him . The issue is that I people were not at the level of the Ch who were united , essentially one race , no religion and able to act , to gain huge territories .... so its the people as a whole and not just one or two men . just my H opinion
     
  10. advaita

    advaita Regular Member

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    Basically the Ideas floated uptill now are the same that we discuss in our day to day life between friends and collegues.

    IDEA 1 - It is meaningless to discuss this.
    REPLY TO IDEA 1 - So long as people believe that they can have choice in life, this question cannot be irrelevant. Even if it is useless in essence, it becomes relevant because some people find it relevant. We are all tied up. Though I would say it always easy to drive from the backseat.

    IDEA 2 - India would have got freedom anyway.
    REPLY TO IDEA 2 - Inertia (to which even humans are subject) ensures it that nothing happens without some stimuli and the stimuli has to be at a scale to that matters for a such a binary decision point as Independence/No Independence (there is no third possibility). GB continued with many more of its other colonies even after WW2. Every other stimuli (INA, Militancy) would not have worked for the simple reason that there was nothing to fight with (GB had all the military-industrial complex, Indians didnt even make pins at the time, rethorically speaking). Only stimuli big enough could have been utter non-cooperation (or the prospect of it) at exactly the right time (when the opponent is least interested in carrying on the fight). Besides every country that tried violence to get to its aims simply carried on with that violence mindset even after getting to its independence (African countries, China, Pakistan, US - in fact these societies are still displaying a lot of residual heat). Reaction to passion is only more passion, which merely compounds the problems by adding one more wrong to the equation.

    IDEA 3 - Partition would not have happened had some one other than Gandhi was handling the show.
    REPLY TO IDEA 3 - Partition was basically a managerial patch work to a social problem. Heaping the blame of partitioin on Gandhi is the easiest escape route for those who lack the guts to deal with the problem head on. Partition happened due to passion for poor ideas (stupid managerial idea of 14 point agenda for a much more profound social ill). Mr. Jinnah's tughlagi ideas lacked vision (moving populations without looking into the future as to the identity crisis that would follow for all the people involved). The propaganda of superiority (from both sides) was potent enough that it lasted 1200 years from the time of Qasim till 1947 and even now has enough residual heat in all the countries involved. Unity could easily have been workable had all the populations (and most definately the leaders through history) had ability and maturity enough to develop tolerance and forgiveness. Just look what revenge and revisionist attitude did to Karan in Hindu mythology and to Pakistan in Muslim present (such destructive powers can destroy even heaven what to say of Third world India lead by anyone be it Gandhi/Nehru/Bose. Chinese communist party knows this and they used it to the hilt at micro level and still carry such ideas as break up of India into 20-30 states).

    IDEA 4 - Partition could not have been avoided (and Gandhi was irrelevant to the equation).
    REPLY TO IDEA 4 - Partition was basically a managerial patch work to a social problem. Social problems require social solutions. Only relevant solution is to avoid the stupid desire of hanging the son for the crimes of the father (look what taliban did - all revenge no abilities). Gandhi was only one step in this direction. Gandhi or for that matter even Bose could not have stoped partition but a division for every perceived slight is no solution, in fact it is exactly the problem that needs to be addressed. Now the opposite of Partition is not Unity (that would be revisionist) rather it is peaceful coexistence (a policy of give and take). The subcontinent cannot live forever in a state of cold war. Gandhi and his ideas were important and remain so for the future too. That in fact is the only real solution.

    IDEA 5 - Bose would have been a better bet then Nehru and Gandhi was not right in selecting Nehru over presumably Bose.
    REPLY TO IDEA 5 - Gandhi supported Nehru because with Nehur he had both Hope and Insurance. Nehru had much fiercer desire to build up both a tolerant society (see how every unpalatable development in history was simply buried), this was the insurance. Nehru also wanted to develop socialist economy (at that time socialist ideas seemed like the panacea for countrys development, they did so right uptill 1990 to a large majority of Indian society), this was the hope/gamble. Gandhi played a gamble (and through him we played a gamble) and lost (or did we - I wonder which WTO/NAFTA/ASEAN or other trade combine would have been interested in building up relationship with a thrid world India. No new country from that time actually made it through capitalism).

    ..........................
     
  11. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Mahatma Gandhi led what was arguably the first popular social justice movement in India. He played a huge role in shaping the identity and loyalty of Indians, as well as in creating a sense of common destiny that is so important for any nation.

    His non-violent methods gave the Indian Independence movement a high moral standing in the eyes of the world, which could not have been possible otherwise.

    Unfortunately, his social movement largely died after his death. If he had been around longer, perhaps we would have been able to achieve a better standard of living for all Inidans.
     
  12. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    Second. I think Gautam Buddha may have been the first.
     
  13. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    hmm...though irrelevant to the topic, this comment of yours got me thinking. You mentioned 'moral standing in the eyes of the world' as if it is a great achievement(and some thing which is always desirable). This obsession with 'moral standing in the eyes of the world', IMO, still plagues the decision making in Indian diplomacy and we have suffered as a consequence. It is time, India(and Indians) gets rid of its stupid desire to achieve 'moral standing'. India needs to be pursue its goals, what the world thinks doesnt matter unless there are some tangible gains or losses(gaining or losing moral standing is irrelevant in the process)


    As for social justice, I agree with you. To large masses in India, it didnt matter who ruled them(for their lives remained same or so they believed), they perhaps didnt feel part of any independence movement until Gandhiji arrived. That, IMO, is the biggest achievement of Gandhiji(more than independence which IMO would have been achieved anyway).

    A tactical genius like Gandhiji is truly missed today. Though by giving PrimeMinistership to Nehru instead of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel was a mistake.
     
  14. advaita

    advaita Regular Member

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    Moral standing is not important for others. Only time one needs to see oneself from others eyes when he himself has lost his eyes.
    Moral standing is an absolute must for oneself, for ones identity, for ones society, for ones country, also eventually for ones planet/ecology/systems. Without sound moral standards and without a complete and competent philosophy to back that up we will end up broken up and sorry, marshalled along religious, regional, linguistic, caste and subcaste lines.
     
  15. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Don't underestimate the power of higher moral ground. No doubt, that simply higher moral ground will not win your wars or freedom, but that doesn't mean that one should disregard it.

    I would give more credit to him than that. His civil disobedience movements and many other methods of defiance made it clear to the British that they could not possibly rule India without using the most horrific coercion.
    It played a major role in convincing them that their time in India was up.

    Of course WWII also shifted the moral zeitgeist towards non-violence. The Nazi killing-factories shocked the world so much that where violence and coercion was considered acceptable before, it became a dirty word after the end of the war.

    The British had the capability of violently suppressing a rebellion in India, even more so than in 1857, when they subdued the First War of Independence by laying waste huge portions of North India. Delhi was depopulated and completely devastated. But those were different times. This time, they wouldn't be able to justify such violence in the eyes of the world.
     
  16. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ah, well in that case there have been several throughout history. I guess I should have said "modern India" or, erm, "post-mughal India'.
     
  17. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    I agree with you. Gandhiji was a tactical genius. His ideas attacked the core base of Great Britain's strength(and weakness) in India. Something that is missed by proponents of blind Gandhivadi(or its latest avatar Gandhigiri) miss out.
    But even then, the final blow to empire was not Gandhiji but WW2. And I believe that sooner than later, India would have achieved Independence(with or without Gandhiji). For the realities after WW2 were not feasible to holding a colony(with a new power US not holding any colony and not allowing others to do so). At the end of the day, its harsh world realities that got us our Independence and not mass movements. British continued to rule India when mass movements were being carried out. They could have continued to do so for indefinite future but for WW2 that completely weakened GB and created a new world order. India's independence, IMO, is part of creation of that new world order with US and USSR at its lead.
     
  18. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Gandhiji was no tactical genius. He wasn't even a genius. He was a simple, but selfless man.

    He genuinely believed in peace and nonviolence, and did not use them as a tactical tool against the British. To suggest something of this sort would diminish him.
     
  19. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Hmm... No. To me, to suggest that Gandhiji simply believed peace and non-violence would convince Brits about giving freedom to India would make Gandhiji look very naive(to the extent of foolishness). I would rather believe that Gandhiji was well acquainted with the reality of the situation of the India and its masses and hence did what he did. To me that elevates the man not diminish him. Its what you suggest, that I find very simplistic explanation and also diminishing to Gandhiji's intelligence and tactics.
     
  20. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    ^^Of course he believed it. That's his whole damned philosophy - the very purpose of his life was to teach non-violence.

    It wasn't some Machiavellian tactic.

    Seriously, you should read some book on Gandhi before providing your opinion about his motivations.
     
  21. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Using non-violence to promote independence and unite people of different financial, social, religious status in not Machiavellian. I dont consider so, if you do, its your perorgative. I think Gandhiji's purpose was to fight colonialism whether in South Africa or India. He used non-violence to reach masses(and involve them), IMO. For till then most violent movements(against colonialism) were not mass based. Now, that doesnt mean he would have headed a violent movement had the conditions been different.
     

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