Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thamizhachi Thangapandiyan's Slander on Gandhi

I attended FeTNA's (Federation of Tamil Sangam's of North America) annual festivities July 6th-July 8th 2012 at Baltimore. New Jersey Tamil Sangam had presented a dance drama that was grand and centered around the theme of 'bravery'. The Bharatanatyam dance was choreographed nicely to match a modern theme instead of the usual "calling Krishna" type. Narrating the valor of famous Tamil kings and queens the dance earned my appreciation for concluding with a narrative that implied Gandhi and his Satyagraha merits a place for 'bravery' in that list of militant valor. It was a brilliant conclusion. Gandhi used to say that Satyagraha is NOT for the faint of heart. 

New York Times reporter Webb Miller witnessing the famous Dharasana Salt March, memorably filmed in the movie Gandhi, records in gory detail what it means to be a Satyagrahi, it merits a full quote (see Reference below):

Mrs T. Sumathy a.k.a Thamizhachi Thangapandiyan gave a speech at FeTNA where she repeated almost verbatim a speech she had earlier delivered at a book release function. Ms Thamizhachi (a nom-de-guerre she assumed which means 'tamil girl/woman', generally any girl born in Tamil Nadu could be called as such) went into full slander mode on Gandhi before a crowd that had quite a few sympathizers to Dravidian ideologies. 

An earthquake devastated Bihar on January 15th, 1934. Gandhi was campaigning in Tamil Nadu against untouchability as part of his 'Harijan tour' in the aftermath of the Poona Pact with Ambedkar. Joseph Lelyveld in "The Making of the Mahatma" writes "Ambedkar seldom took note of it; Dalits don't celebrate it; ...there's really nothing in Indian annals to which it can be compared....he traveled 12,500 miles...collecting 800,000 rupees (equivalent to $1.7 Million today) for his new Harijan fund". Hearing of the tragedy Gandhi, in one of his most deplorable and asinine statement, said that the earthquake was divine retribution for India's sin of untouchability. Many, including Nehru and Tagore were enraged.

Thamizhachi alleged that an angry Tagore who had christened Gandhi as 'Mahatma' took back the honorific title. The ideologically sympathetic crowd saw a smatter of applauses.

Tagore, outraged as he was, first wrote to Gandhi on 28th January 1934, addressed 'Dear Mahatmaji', asking if the press reports were indeed correct and if so to publish Tagore's rebuttal that he attached. The letter ends with 'with deep love, yours as ever'. Gandhi confirms that it was indeed his statement and publishes Tagore's letter in his new newspaper Harijan on 16th Feb. The statement from Tagore concludes 'we, who are immensely grateful to Mahatmaji for inducing by his wonder working inspiration, freedom from fear and feebleness in the minds of his countrymen, feel profoundly hurt when any words from his mouth may emphasize the elements of unreason..". There is not a bit of rancor aside from principled opposition to Gandhi from Tagore. Gandhi replied back in Harijan in a muddled response. The controversy had snow balled and there was an outcry against Gandhi. Now Tagore rises to Gandhi's defense in a statement released from Santiniketan on 6th Feb 1934 "Mahatmaji, is the one person who has done most to raise people up from the slough of dependency". Tagore welcomes Gandhi to Bengal and concludes with an "appeal to the people of my province to join with me in appreciating the great value of his life to our motherland."

The above quotes are from "The Mahatma and the poet:Letters and debates between Gandhi and Tagore 1915-1941" ed Sabayasachi Bhattacharya. D.G. Tendulkar's, Volume 3 pages 248-51 of the  magisterial 8 volume biography of Gandhi corroborates the letters. Further Tagore's biography "Rabindranath Tagore: the Myriad-Minded Man" by Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson also confirm the same sequence in pages 312-314. We do not yet know Thamizachi's source for this calumny. However it is her ideological fealty that made her accept with eagerness as fact a narrative without rigorous cross checking because, in her mind, like her ideological fellow travelers, Gandhi did not deserve to be called 'Mahatma'. Even today DK and DMK speakers will make a pointed effort to avoid calling Gandhi as Gandhiji or Mahatma or even the honorific Tamil epithet 'Gandhi Adigal' coined by their own Thiru.Vi.Ka. DK's Veeramani and his party men refer to Gandhi as ONLY 'Gandhiyaar'. However not even in a state of Alzhiemers would they call Periyaar as E.V.Ramasamy or Ramasamiyaar. Thamizhachi owes the Mahatma and Gurudev (Tagore) an apology.

Tagore and Gandhi were fundamentally different personalities. Between the two Thamizhachi and her ilk should be picking Gandhi as he is the man of 'action' not the ivory tower guy. But then given their visceral hatred of Gandhi they choose Tagore over Gandhi and nothing is as delicious as having India's only Nobel Laureate in literature to rubbish the greatest Indian, nay, possibly one of the greatest humanbeings. Thamizhachi went on to state that Tagore ridiculed the charka weaving practice asking if anybody can weave enough cloth to cover a naked man. A few chuckles in the audience gave her approval. Her allegation of Tagore taking back the titles is blatantly false, the charka ridicule never happened.

Tagore disagreed with Gandhi's diktat of spinning Khadi. They did exchange letters but all of the letters were written with deep mutual respect with not an iota of ridicule as suggested by Thamizhachi. Tagore's polemical 'The cult of the Chakra" (published in Modern Review Sep 1925, 'The Mahatma and the poet')Tagore would be more disapproving of the strident jingoism of the Dravidian parties than he was about spinning his own dhoti.

If one could play mischief with that what would she not do with something as contentious as the famous Poona Pact between Ambedkar and Gandhi and Bhagat Singh's execution. She rolled on.

The Poona Pact politics is beyond my scope for now. However whether it is William Shirer, 'Gandhi a memoir' (and the classic 'The rise and fall of the third Reich) who was shocked that Gandhi is trying to block representation for Dalits (or Harijans as Gandhi called them then, a term Dalits today violently disagree with) or D.G.Tendulkar or Louis Fischer or Joseph Lelveld, all conclude that at the end Ambedkar got from Gandhi more than what he got from the British. Gandhi's fears of this system being entrenched for eternity were proved right and so were his fears that that will in no way address the real needs. Dalits and Dravidian ideologues have played havoc with this very contentious treaty. Thamizhachi, channeling Ambedkar, said Gandhi played "politics using his self" (udal arasiyal).

Ambedkar always referred to then Gandhi's fast unto death as 'emotional blackmail'. In a way that is true but that blackmail was not just aimed at Ambedkar and thats the important fact that often goes unmentioned. Temples that prohibited Dalits from entering for several centuries threw open their doors to save the life of the Mahatma. Only silly nitpickers would argue if that was a lasting effect or that it was not real change of heart. The Mahatma with his fast brought about a pivotal moment in India's sordid history.

Ambedkar performed a necessary role pushing the Mahatma into such measures that in turn initiated a national debate and set in motion events that would crystallize political freedom for the oppressed classes when India became free. To be sure there is still much work to be done. In the rumble tumble history of humanity's progress the creative forces unleashed by the push-pull conflict of personalities like Ambedkar-Gandhi duo is good and both are required to create that dynamism. I would urge the readers to read the chapter 'Harijan Tour' in Volume 2 of D.G.Tendulkar's biography "Mahatma".

This politics using his own self would be the last weapon of resort for Nehru and Mountbatten to prevent a bloody  orgy in Bengal. Only Gandhi and his politics of 'emotional blackmail' stood between murderous Hindu hordes and tens of thousands of Muslims in West Bengal. With his life ebbing away the Mahatma remained resolute not to break his fast until there was true peace and all gangs had signed off on it. The Mahatma saved Pakistan from bankruptcy at birth when he repeated his fast unto death at Delhi again.

Such acts of using one's own body as a tool for loftier goals and not abusing such power for electoral gains or factional supremacy is beyond the comprehension of Thamizhachi. Ambedkar as a foe of such blackmail would state bluntly that in free India none should resort to such agitations against the state and instead approach the courts.

Bhagat Singh's eexecution in the backdrop of the Gandhi-Irwin pact remains a source of a campaign to malign Gandhi. Thamizhachi claimed that Nehru rushed to speak to Gandhi about clemency for Bhagat Singh and that Gandhi "conveniently was having his day of silence". Goebbels should take lessons from Thamizhachi on innuendo. Nehru does not say any such thing in his auto biography which covered those years and Nehru does speak of Bhagat Singh. There indeed was anger at Gandhi by those who considered that he did not parley hard enough with Irwin. Shirer, Tendulkar, Lelyveld all concede that the Gandhi-Irwin pact, drawn up after the Salt marches lost their sheen, was tilted towards Irwin. Biographers have mused as to how Irwin outfoxed a Bania. Frontline carried an article that quotes Lord Irwin, ""As I listened to Mr. Gandhi putting the case for commutation before me, I reflected first on what significance it surely was that the apostle of non-violence should so earnestly be pleading the cause of the devotees of a creed so fundamentally opposed to his own, but I should regard it as wholly wrong to allow my judgment to be influenced by purely political considerations. I could not imagine a case in which under the law, penalty had been more directly deserved." 

Gandhi_Irwin pact was signed on March 5th 1931. William Shirer writes (from direct reporting in India) "In the next few days Gandhi would beg the Viceroy to spare the lives of the three young men, but to no avail". To insinuate that Gandhi "conveniently" had his day of silence is sheer slander. 

Thamizhachi who decks herself in ostentatious jewelry will never understand the spirit of Gandhi. Criticizing Gandhi is a welcome sport. There is much in Gandhi to be criticized and Gandhi himself would be his own critic first. Gandhi, through his voluminous records and open writing has provided all that we need to assess and criticize him. The man towers above his warts and all and what he achieved remains unparalleled in human history before and after. As Einstein said, "Generations to come will scarce believe that a being such as this walked in flesh and blood upon the face of the earth". Bapu, we love you.


  1. The Mahatma and The Poet:Letters and Debates between Gandhhi and Tagore 1915-1941 --- Compiled and Edited by Sabayasachi Mukherjee.
  2. Vol 3 of  "Mahatma: Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi" -- D.G. Tendulkar 8 Volumes.
  3. Freedom at Midnight -- Larry Collin and Dominique Lapierre.
  4. Rabindranath Tagore: the Myriad-Minded Man -- Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson. 
  5. Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle with India -- Joseph Lelyveld.
  6. Frontline Article on Bhagat Singh and Gandhi's efforts
  7. Wikipedia link for Webb Miller
  8. Wikipedia link for Bhagat Singh
  9. I found No Peace -- Webb Miller (New York Times Foreign Affairs Correspondent) 
  10. Dharasana Salt Satyagraha and Webb Miller's report (YouTube link
    1. Webb Miller's Report: Gandhi's men advanced in complete silence before stopping about one-hundred meters before the cordon. A selected team broke away from the main group, waded through the ditch and neared the barbed-wire fence. (...) Receiving the signal, a large group of local police officers suddenly moved towards the advancing protestors and subjected them to a hail of blows to the head delivered from steel-covered Lathis (truncheons). None of the protesters raised so much as an arm to protect themselves against the barrage of blows. They fell to the ground like pins in a bowling alley. From where I was standing I could hear the nauseating sound of truncheons impacting against unprotected skulls. The waiting main group moaned and drew breath sharply at each blow. Those being subjected to the onslaught fell to the ground quickly writhing unconsciously or with broken shoulders (...). The main group, which had been spared until now, began to march in a quiet and determined way forwards and were met with the same fate. They advanced in a uniform manner with heads raised - without encouragement through music or battle cries and without being given the opportunity to avoid serious injury or even death. The police attacked repeatedly and the second group were also beaten to the ground. There was no fight, no violence; the marchers simply advanced until they themselves were knocked down.


prabhu said...

one "untouchability" in this great religion - Sanathan Dharma -sponsored and orchestrated by its custodians - brahminical system, wipes out all the merit it delivers otherwise...Gandhi did to eradicate untouchability in his time, what right wing pro-hindu organizations couldnot do for almost a century since their inception....

my admiration for the right wingers... dents here..

Ananth said...

Dear Aravindan,
I just read your article on Gandhi. Gandhi was slandered in the past, is being slandered now and will be slandered in future. The world, alas, will never be short of fanatics, charlatans and plain nitwits.
P A Krishnan

Anonymous said...

இதை பற்றி ஜெயமோகனுக்கு நீங்கள் எழுதி,அதை தன்னுடைய அவதூறு அரசியலுக்காக பயன்படுத்தியுள்ளார்.
தமிழச்சி தங்கப்பாண்டியன் சொல்வதெல்லாம் பொய்கள் என்பது சரி.சமீபத்தில் ஜெமோ ராஜதுரை பற்றி சொன்னதற்கு ஆதாரம் தராத போது அதுவும் பொய்தானே.வ.கீதா நடத்தும்
என்.ஜி.ஒ என்றார், அதைப் பற்றி எந்த ஆதாரமும் தரவில்லை. பிரதீப் தாமசைப் பற்றி அவர் எழுதியவற்றிற்கு என்ன ஆதாரம் தந்தார்.இப்படி தொடர்ந்து பொய்களை,அவதூறுகளை எழுதியவர் பிறரை மட்டும் எப்படி விமர்சிக்க முடியும்.இப்போது பெட்னாவை, அந்த விழாவில் கலந்து கொண்டவர்களில் அவருக்கு பிடிக்காதவர்கள் யாராவது இருந்தால் அவர்க்ளை அவதூறு செய்ய நீங்கள் எழுதியதை பயன்படுத்திக் கொள்வார்.
அவர் செய்யும் அவதூறு அரசியலுக்கு விரும்பியோ விரும்பாமலோ நீங்கள் உதவியுள்ளீர்கள்.

இனியாவது ஜெமோவிற்கு இப்படி எழுதுவதை தவிர்க்கவும்.

vajradamshtran said...

You should not have given importance to the utterances of rabble rousing windbags like Tamizhachi pandiyan about gandhi and tagore. They are mostly semi literates like other dravidian leaders making money through their communication skills and alliterative language. Their aim in such lectures is to impress people and win applause and not provoke them to think-sundaram

Anonymous said...

இனிய அரவிந்தன்,
காந்தியின் மீது தாங்கள் வைத்திருக்கும் பேரன்பிற்குத் தலைவணங்குகிறோம்.
ஆனாலும் சில ஐயங்கள்..
1.மாற்றுக்கருத்தை காந்தி எவ்வாறு அணுகக் கற்பித்திருக்கிறார்?
2.இதற்காக நீங்கள் ஜெயமோகன் அவர்களை துணைக்கு அழைக்கும் நோக்கம் என்னவாக இருக்க முடியும்?
3.காந்தியமா , தாகூரியமா, பெரியாரியமா, யென பொதுமேடையில் விவாதிப்பீர்களெனில்
நாங்களும் அறிந்துகொள்ளவும் எங்கள் சார்பை வெளிப்படுத்தவும் ஏதுவாக இருக்கும்.இயலுமா?
- சுவையரசன்.

Anonymous said...

அன்புள்ள அரவிந்தன்,

வரலாறு என்பதே ஒரு வகையில் சார்பான பார்வை தான். வரலாறு எப்பொழுதுமே வெற்றி பெற்றவர்களின் வெற்றிக் கதைகளை பேசுபவைகளாக மட்டுமே இருந்து வந்துள்ளது. வரலாற்று நாயகர்கள் எப்பொழுதுமே வெற்றி பெற்றவர்களாக இருப்பார்கள். அவர்களைச் சுற்றி ஒரு ஒளிவட்டம் கட்டப்படும். காந்தியும் விதிவிலக்கு அல்ல. காந்தி குறித்து எந்த மாற்றுக் கருத்துக்களையும் இந்தியாவில் அனுமதிப்பதில்லை. சமீபத்தில் காந்தியைக் குறித்து அலசி எழுதப்பட்ட புத்தகமான Joseph Lelyveldன் புத்தகம் பெரும் சர்ச்சையை ஏற்படுத்தி காந்தியவாதிகள் எல்லாம் கொதித்து எழுந்து அந்த புத்தகத்தை காந்தி பிறந்த மாநிலத்தில் காந்தியை கொன்றவர்களின் வழி வந்த கட்சியினர் தடையும் செய்து விட்டனர். காந்திக்கு நிகர் காந்தி என்ற அளவுக்கு காந்தி குறித்து இந்தியாவில் பிம்பம் நிலவுகிறது.

நீங்களாகட்டும், நீங்கள் காந்தி குறித்து விளக்கம் கேட்ட ஜெமோகனாகட்டும் காந்தியை மேலும் எப்படி ஒளிவட்டம் கட்டுவது என்றே துடிக்கிறீர்கள். காந்தியை விமர்சன பார்வையுடன் கூட அணுகமுடியாத எழுத்துச்சிகரம் தான் ஜெயமோகன். விசிலடிச்சான்குஞ்சுகளுக்கும் ஜெயமோகனுக்கும் பெரிய வித்தியாசம் இல்லை. என்ன விசிலடிச்சான்குஞ்சுகளுக்கு எந்த அஜண்டாவும் இல்லை. ஜெயமோகனுக்கு குண்டான் குண்டானாக அஜண்டா உள்ளது. அவரின் அஜண்டாவுக்குள் நீங்களும் சிக்கி கொண்டீர்கள்.

தமிழச்சி பேசியது குறித்து...

தமிழச்சி காந்தி-தாகூருக்கு இடையே நடந்த கடிதங்களைச் சார்ந்தே பேசுகிறார். காந்தி-தாகூருக்கு இடையே கடிதங்கள் மூலம் நடந்த உரையாடல்கள் சுவாரசிமானவை. தென்னாப்ரிக்காவில் இருந்து காந்தி இந்தியா வந்த பிறகு நடக்கும் இந்த உரையாடல்கள், பீகார் நிலநடுக்கம் வரை தொடருகிறது. என்னுடைய ஞாபகம் சரியென்றால் பீகார் நிலநடுக்கம் குறித்து அவர் எழுதியது தான் காந்திக்கு அவர் எழுதிய இறுதி கடிதம்.

ஆக, காந்திக்கும் தாகூருக்குமான நட்பு என்று சொல்லப்படுவது கடிதம் வழி நட்பு தான். அந்தக் கடிதங்களில் எழுதப்பட்டவைகளைக் கொண்டே நீங்களும், நானும், தமிழச்சியும், ஜெயமோகனும் தாகூருக்கும், காந்திக்குமான உறவுகளை அலசுகிறோம். அவரவரின் சார்புகளுக்கு ஏற்ப இந்தக் கடிதங்களில் எழுதப்பட்ட வரிகளைக் கொண்டு நம்முடைய கருத்துக்களை நிறுவுகிறோம். காந்தியும் தாகூரும் சிறந்த நண்பர்கள், கொஞ்சினார்கள், தழுவினார்கள் என்பதெல்லாம் அவரவரின் சார்புகளுக்கு ஏற்ப புனைவது மட்டுமே.
அரவிந்தன், "அன்புள்ள மகாத்மா", "என்வென்றும் அன்புடன்" என்று எழுதவதைக் கொண்டே நீங்கள் உங்கள் கருத்தை நிறுவுகிறீர்கள் :))

"Tagore, outraged as he was, first wrote to Gandhi on 28th January 1934, addressed 'Dear Mahatmaji', asking if the press reports were indeed correct and if so to publish Tagore's rebuttal that he attached. The letter ends with 'with deep love, yours as ever'. "

ஆனால் காந்தியின் கருத்துக்கள் எந்தவகையிலும் பகுத்தறிவுக்கு ஒத்துவராத கருத்துக்கள் என தாகூர் சாடுவத என் போன்றோரின் கண்களுக்கு தெரிகிறது என்ன செய்ய...?

அரவிந்தன், உங்களுடைய தன்னுடைய கட்டுரையில் பிரச்சனைக்குரிய வரிகளை நீங்கள் திறமையாக மறைத்து விடுகிறீர்கள். கீழே உள்ளது உங்களின் கட்டுரையில் இருந்து எடுத்தது...

'we, who are immensely grateful to Mahatmaji for inducing by his wonder working inspiration, freedom from fear and feebleness in the minds of his countrymen, feel profoundly hurt when any words from his mouth may emphasize the elements of unreason..".

elements of unreason என்பதற்கு மேலே நீங்கள் புள்ளி புள்ளி... போட்டு விடுகிறீர்கள்.

காரணம் என்ன ? தாகூரின் முழுமையான வாக்கியத்தை படித்தால் தெரியும்


Anonymous said...

(முந்தைய மறுமொழியின் தொடர்ச்சி)

"We, who are immensely grateful to Mahatmaji for inducing, by his wonderworking inspiration, freedom from fear and feebleness in the

minds of his countrymen, feel profoundly hurt when any words from his mouth may emphasize the elements of unreason in those very minds -- unreason which is a source of all blind powers that drive us against freedom and self-respect”

நீங்கள் இந்த வாக்கியத்தை ஏன் மறைக்கிறீர்கள் ? நீங்கள் மட்டும் அல்ல, நீங்கள் கருத்து கேட்டு நின்ற ஜெயமோகனும் அப்படி தான். உங்களுக்கு காந்தியின் பிம்பத்தை எப்படியாவது தூக்கி பிடித்து
நிறுத்தி விட வேண்டும். அவருக்கு ஒரு ஓளிவட்டத்தை கட்டி கோயிலின் கருவறைக்குள் வைத்து விட்டால், ஆட்டு மந்தைக் கூட்டமான மக்கள் காந்தியை திருப்பதி ஏழுமலையானை தரிசிப்பது போல தான் தரிசிப்பார்கள்.

பீகார் நிலநடுக்கத்தை காந்தி பயன்படுத்திக் கொள்வதை (exploit) கண்டு truly tragic என அதற்கு முந்தைய பத்தியில் தாகூர் எழுதுகிறார். அதையெல்லாம் நீங்கள் கண்டுகொள்ள மாட்டீர்களா ?

What is truly traggic is the fact that the argument Mahatma Gandhi used by exploiting an event of cosmic disturbance far better suits
the psychology of his opponents than his own;

இதையெல்லாம் காந்தியவாதிகள் தாகூர் அன்பொழுக பேசினார், பாசமாக தடவினார் என வாசித்தால் தமிழச்சியா பொறுப்பாக முடியும் ?

விமர்சனம் என்றளவில் பார்த்தால் இவையெல்லாம் காந்தி மீது தாகூர் வைத்த மிக கடுமையான விமர்சனங்கள் என்பது நம்முடைய கருத்து.

காந்தி தாகூர் கடிதங்கள் நிறைய ஆய்வுகளுக்கு உட்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதை சார்ந்தே சில புத்தகங்கள் வெளியாகி உள்ளன.

தாகூரின் கருத்துக்களுக்கும், திராவிட இயக்கம் முன்னிறுத்திய அறிவியல் சார்ந்த பகுத்தறிவு கொள்கைக்கும் நிறைய ஒற்றுமைகள் உள்ளன. அவ்வாறே தமிழச்சியின் பேச்சினை பார்க்க முடிகிறது.

அந்நிய உடைகளை எரிப்பதையும் தாகூர் கடுமையாக சாடினார். அவை பொருளாதாரக் கொள்கைகளுக்கு விரோதமானது என தாகூர் கூறினார். அதையே தமிழச்சி தன் உரையில் சுட்டுக் காட்டியிருந்தார்.

தமிழச்சி சொன்னதை தான் அமர்த்தியா சென்னும் கூறினார். ஜெயமோகன், அரவிந்தன் நீலகண்டன், ஜடாயூ மற்றும் இன்ன பிற அனைவருக்கும் அமர்த்தியா சென் சொன்னதில் பிரச்சனை இருக்காது. தமிழச்சி சொன்னால் தான் பிரச்சனை...


Athenaeum said...

First I will answer to a friend who posted his comment as 'Anonymous'. ---- REPLY PART1

Only a minion of Dravidian ideology can take two of India's greatest sons and make it appear like they were doing a mud fight. This love for Tagore by the lackeys of a an addle-brained philosophy is only borne out of a deep seated venomous hatred of Gandhi. If this same Tagore had not differed with Gandhi but had offered uncritical adulation as is in vogue in Dravidian ideology I can easily guess the verbal abuses that those same minions would hurl at Tagore.

Whether it is Tagore or Nehru it is a well known fact that even amongst Gandhi's closest circle there were many who differed openly with him on many issues. That said they all nevertheless had an over-arching respect for Gandhi because they, unlike Thamizhachi and her acolytes, know how to judge a man.

Nobody has disagreed that Tagore registered his disapproval of Gandhi's opinion on the quake. The supposedly full quote still does not change anything. Thamizhachi slander, as I call it, is not about whether Tagore petted Gandhi or scolded Gandhi. Thamizhachi chooses to spread a canard that Tagore 'revoked' the title of Mahatma. Now that is not a slip or a misstatement. THe tongues of Dravidian stooges curl up when they have to refer to Gandhi as Mahatma. It is that deep seated animosity that propelled Thamizhachi to accept AND propagate a lie.

Tagore, as Amartya Sen points out in his NObel lecture and the 150th anniversary of Tagore speech, retained his respect for 'Mahatmaji'.( and (

To say "தாகூரின் கருத்துக்களுக்கும், திராவிட இயக்கம் முன்னிறுத்திய அறிவியல் சார்ந்த பகுத்தறிவு கொள்கைக்கும் நிறைய ஒற்றுமைகள் உள்ளன" is the most stupid thing to say and it is a great insult to Tagore. To use the words "Dravidian movement" and "scientific" in the same sentence is insanity. I guess you read Tagore ONLY to check out how he had trashed Gandhi, please do read more of Tagore and you will realize, if you are capable of realizing, that he is light years away from the cretins of Dravidian movement. Tagore cosmopolitanism and worldview, including his religious views, are not at all consonant with Dravidian ideologies.

That same Tagore, Sen recalls in his Nobel lecture, is the product of an eclectic upbringing that Dravidian ideologues would detest today and call it names. Sen, for good measure, adds "Rabindranath knew that he could not have given India the political leadership that Gandhi provided, and he was never stingy in his praise for what Gandhi did for the nation (it was, in fact, Tagore who popularized the term "Mahatma"—great soul—as a description of Gandhi)."

Athenaeum said...

As for Gandhi's economic policies. Nehru was its most ardent critic. None of this is any secret. Nobody, then or today, claims Gandhi is some Karl Marx or Adam Smith. But again the point was whether Tagore 'ridiculed' Gandhi for his idea of weaving on the chakra. I can understand that one who pays obeisance to Dravidian Ideology finds it incomprehensible that two people can disagree and retain respect for each other.

Dravidian விசிலடிச்சான்குஞ்சுகளுக்கு (what a predictable choice of word) suddenly there is a love for Tagore and Amartya Sen, both of whom will run away from the fascist ideologies of Dravidian rabble rousers.

The one thing Thamizhachi got correct was Tagore writing an autograph "fling away your promise if it is found to be wrong". I guess it was a momentary reaction to assert his independence. I do not find ANYTHING wrong with what Gandhi wrote, "Never make a promise in haste. Having once made it fulfill it at the cost of your life". Again such incidents.

People like Gandhi, Tagore etc should be studied in all their richness and in context. Let their differences play out but it is despicable to make them out to be some ugly sumo wrestlers to further one's own partisan agenda.

Mr Anonymous, I welcome your deeply critical attitude and enthusiasm to put Gandhi under a borrowed (Tagore) microcosm. Do not fight Gandhi like how Arjuna killed Bhishma hiding behind Shikandi. Come out in the open and criticize Gandhi on your own. Also while you criticize and tear down Gandhi please turn that spirit of inquiry to your idols. Look at your holy cows with the same microscope and you will see that those cows are lice infested.

Nobody claims that Gandhi was omniscient such things are the prerogative of Dravidian politics. Gandhi was contradicted and opposed in his days by many of his close associates.

Athenaeum said...

Reply to another Anonymous (God I hate this 'anonymous' tag)
1.மாற்றுக்கருத்தை காந்தி எவ்வாறு அணுகக் கற்பித்திருக்கிறார்? As openly as possible. Gandhi published in his paper 'Harijan" Tagore's letter that scolded him harshly.
3.காந்தியமா , தாகூரியமா, பெரியாரியமா, யென பொதுமேடையில் விவாதிப்பீர்களெனில் --- They are all very complex and great leaders who have all performed great service to India. It is beyond my scope and ability to do that on a public forum. You are welcome to write to me. I'll share what I know.

Athenaeum said...

To the friend who posted as 'anonymous', check out Amartya Sen's Nobel lecture on how Tagore, mistakenly, had a dalliance with Mussolini. A mistake that Nehru, as related in his writings, was shrewd to avoid. Bose went to Hitler for assistance. India and the world at large was undergoing a great churn when all these leaders who played a larger than life role and they also lived long enough to make enough mistakes. Neither I nor Jeyamohan are naive or not unaware of those mistakes. The only difference is we understand that such people must be studied in all their complexity. Skepticism, while healthy, often serves as a cloak to to disguise ideological hatred in a respectable garb. Whether it is Abraham Lincoln or Jeffferson or Washington one can see such contradictions in them too.

I'd close by quoting Christ who, when people in his native Jerusalem shunned him, said "a prophet is never lived in his hometown". Gandhi is not Christ or a prophet but I hope you get the drift. It is not without reason that people like Orwell, Lelyveld, Shirer, Tendulkar, Louis Fischer, Rushdie etc all have admiration for him. Note Lelyveld, who wrote in detail about Gandhi's 'evolution' and his contradictions in S.Africa, still titled his book "Great Soul".

mannai said...

Gandhi - The Great Soul - was written by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Joseph Lelyveld.
India banned the book in India, most of the people never read the book but asked for the ban but it is widely available in US and in all US libraries.

No human being is above criticism, everyone has great regard for Gandhi, the great human being and the greatest man of the last century.
But that doesn't mean that, no one should talk about him from a different perspective. Not tolerating even simple comments and alternate view, indicates the arrogance and it is undemocratic.

Civilized society has always tolerated criticism, there is no perfect human being in this world.
What Ambedkar stood for before independence is still not fully achieved in India, Gandhi was instrumental in denying the social changes proposed by Ambedkar. Ambedkar stood for the betterment of the Indian population than the freedom, because it is the same for most backward people whether it is ruled by British or aristocratic Indians.

The freedom was enjoyed by less than 10% of the people, when India got independence. It is improved to some extend after 65 years, but the most backward SC/ST people still not enjoying the dream of either Gandhi or Ambedkar.
Gandhi was criticized and killed by the right wing fanatics, who did not tolerate giving a country to Muslim, the best thing happened to India.
Gandhi did not have the same passion for most backward people of Hindus, because he believed some of the non-sense in Hinduism and he did not have the courage to take on the people from the religion he belongs to.

Massy spl France. said...

நண்பர்களே, முதலில் அனைவரும் தமிழில் எழுத முயற்சிங்கப்பா. ஆங்கிலம் என் போன்றவர்களுக்கு புரியாது ஒரு பக்கம் இருக்க, தமிழுக்கு மதிப்பு கொடுத்த புன்னியம் உங்களுக்கு கிட்டும்.
இந்த பதிவில் வந்த தமிழ் பின்னூட்டங்கள் மூலம், தாகூர்-காந்தி கடித பரிமாற்றங்கள் பற்றி பல புதிய விடயங்கள் அறிந்து கொண்டேன்.
என்னை பொறுத்தவரை, காந்தி ஒரு பெரிய சந்தர்ப்பவாதி என்பதை தவிர வேறு எந்த தகுதியும் அவருக்கு இல்லை என்றே கூறுவேன்.

mannai said...

தென் ஆப்பிரிக்காவில் இருந்த போதே திருக்குறளை காந்தி படித்திருந்தார, மேலும் அவர் அடுத்த பிறவி என்று ஒன்று இருந்தால் திருக்குறளை தமிழில் படிப்பதற்காகவே தமிழனாகப் பிறக்க வேண்டும் என்று கூறியிருக்கிறார்.

தென் ஆப்பிரிக்காவில் தன் அரசியல் பயணத்தை முன்னின்று துணை புரிந்தவர்கள் தமிழர்கள்.

ஃபெட்னாவில் ஒரு பேச்சாளர் தன் கருத்தை பேசியதற்கு ஏன் உங்கள் காழ்ப்புணர்ச்சியை ஃபெட்னாவில் மேல் காட்டுகிறீர்கள்?

காந்தி இப்பொழுது இருந்திருந்தால் சகிப்புத்தன்மையற்ற சனநாயகவாதிகளை கண்டு மனம் நொந்திருப்பார். அவர் காலத்திலேயே தன்னை விமரிசித்தவரை கண்ணியத்துடன் கையாண்டவர் காந்தி.

Unknown said...

I have known(not to closely) and met and talked with him a few times over the years from the the seventies onwards. The major mistake he made was associating himself with Nalanda University and became accessory to the misdeeds of an extremely capable ad totally unscrupulous Bihar IAS officer. Sen wrongly blamed others for it. But he is a man of integrity. And certainly the other pole from your critics who are venomous examples of Tamil xenophobia. even on those who supported Gandhi they totally discount the influential and substantial Gujarati Muslims who stood by him. The other Indians were smaller in number for good reasons.Asking one to write in Tamil when the blog is in English and the reasons given by "Masila" are not serious. I would never ask a Tamil blogger to accommodate my inadequacy.It also shows the contempt many Tamils have for other languages and often extended to other people.. I disagree with Gandhiji's economic ideas and his support for the Khilafat movement(latter day ISIS) was disastrous for the people of Malabar.
His comment on the Bihar earthquake was ill advised. All this does not diminish his great stature throughout the civilized world. Tamilnadu has become a makebelieve world in which there is no place for integrity, respect for different points of view a n incredible sort of cultural nazism. True scholarship is extremely rare and any standard is by dumbing down.
Incidentally knowing Malayalam and having lived in Kerala(been to Vaikom several times)
Teh Tamil belief ignoring the true leaderof Vaikom Satyagraha T K Madhavan is astounding but understandable!