Why is Gandhi controversial? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Why is Gandhi controversial?

Gandhi earned respect from both young people and women for his physical courage, moral integrity and decades-long advocacy of dialogue and debate. Yet not without qualification - as his patronizing behaviour often caused offence among younger members of society.

Photo by Prashant Purbey: https://www.pexels.com/photo/statue-of-gandhi-14683630/


Gandhi battled racism and colonialism through Satyagraha. He advocated for workers' dignity as he promoted vegetarianism, truth and value-based living - yet still held controversial opinions regarding gender and race relations.


Who is Gandhi?

Gandhi was widely revered for his campaign of non-cooperation through civil disobedience against British colonial government to force it to adapt more in line with Indian needs and interests than vice versa. This movement, known as satyagraha (truth and firmness), became the cornerstone of India's struggle for independence from Britain. Additionally, his simple lifestyle attracted many followers both within South Africa and India.

Gandhi studied law in both Bombay and London before starting his professional life in South Africa as a lawyer. Unfortunately, soon thereafter he experienced racism first-hand when he was thrown off a train due to his turban and assaulted by a white stagecoach driver for refusing to give up his seat for an European passenger. These experiences lead him to develop Satyagraha as a way of achieving political goals nonviolently; ultimately helping end British colonial rule over India. Gandhi is widely considered one of history's most influential political figures who played a significant role in helping bring an end British rule over India by contributing towards its end.


Why is he so popular?

Gandhi became immensely famous due to his eloquence, selflessness, and dedication. Many international civil rights leaders cite his help in furthering their cause of equality.

But some of his views may seem outdated today; for example, he believed women should take primary responsibility in caring for children and household duties, wealth should be shared rather than hoarded and advocated for an economy in villages without exploitative practices.

Hinduism was his way of life and he lived by what he preached, striving to be honest while believing his inner voice guided him; this made him such a successful leader and still is today; this is also why so many look up to him today as they admire what it meant to be a Mahatma; he overcame fear while defying racism in South Africa as well as colonialism in India - often through hunger strikes or imprisonment in support of Indian independence movements.


What is his role in the history?

Gandhi is widely revered in Indian society and popularly referred to by them as Bapu (father). He is also respected in global anti-colonial movements such as Black Lives Matter. Yet his legacy is increasingly being challenged as activists look critically upon his beliefs regarding racism and misogyny.

While not explicitly misogynistic, he believed women were better suited for procreation rather than leaving the home and remaining outside it. Furthermore, he was racist, demanding separate entrances for Indians while referencing Africans as "negroes."

Gandhi rediscovering Hinduism while living in London led him to develop a hybrid form of thought which informed his belief in nonviolence. These developments clashed with his role as leader of India's liberation from British rule, prompting calls worldwide to remove statues commemorating Gandhi from public spaces.


Why is he so controversial?

Mahatma Gandhi was an anti-colonial protester, religious thinker, pragmatist and radical who utilized nonviolence effectively in fighting causes. Additionally he wrote several books such as Hind Swaraj which critiqued Western civilization, modern education and international trade as means to subjugating people.

Many of Gandhi's writings have been used by those who argue he was racist to demonstrate this claim. They claim he believed in an order of civilizations between Europeans and Indians with Africans at the bottom. Furthermore, they point out he refused to recognise untouchability and supported caste system which leads them to claim that he did not advocate equality for all and are calling for his statues around the world to be removed, though such calls have been condemned by leading Dalit leaders and critics of Hindu nationalism.


Gandhi slept With Woman - Controversies


Gandhi was known to sleep with nubile women as part of his spiritual experiment to overcome his libido. Never concealing his sexual practices, Gandhi often invited female ashram inmates - including those married to men - into bed with him, including married ones; both his stenographer and Bengali translator left in protest of this arrangement.


Read Gandhi's Autobiography  


In 1946-47 Gandhi invited Manu in bed as well. According to her diary entries this Mahatma sometimes pressured Manu into performing stripteases or engaging in sexually explicit dialogues or discussions with him - something Manu's diary entries reveal.


As soon as Kasturba passed, Gandhi found solace in Manu and her relationship as the only means to reconcile his grief and quell any desires to have sexual relations. He committed himself to further experiments in chastity by engaging a series of young women to test his control over his libido.


He engaged in nightly experiments known as "Brahmacharya Experiments," seeking out and sleeping with even more attractive women than Manu. To participate, Gandhi recruited Kanu Gandhi's wife into his experiment and even had one encounter with Abha, his granddaughter. Gandhi considered these encounters proof that he could maintain chastity.


Scholars have cautioned that Gandhi may have engaged in experiments inspired by Hindu Tantricism or ritual sex as part of his brahmacharya experiments. Gandhi subscribed to Shakta theology which places divine feminine energy (Shakti) at the core of human existence.


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