Mandela. Yes. MLK. Yes. Gandhi. No.

Mandela. Yes. Gandhi. No.
Mandela. Yes. Gandhi. No.

[Update: Nelson Mandela died today, December 5, 2013. With his death, world lost one of the most important crusaders for rights, justice and freedom.]

Two important articles on Mandela — subjects big media won’t talk about in this frenzy to glorify him, without talking what he was truly all about.

http://thinkprogress.org/home/2013/12/06/3030781/nelson-mandela-believed-people-wont-talk/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/05/don-t-sanitize-nelson-mandela-he-s-honored-now-but-was-hated-then.html

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“Live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” — Nelson Mandela.

“Others” is the key word here. Live … for … others…and not just for yourself. Once today’s evil Roman Empire gets it, human civilization will stop sinking, and move forward again.

Until then, it’s all downhill dark and despair…and Ayn Rand.

This is my small tribute to two of the greatest men I’ve respected in my life.
______________________________________________

Nelson Mandela is in critical condition. We are all hoping and praying he pulls through. But he is 94 and his health situation has taken a turn for the worse.

This is a brief remark I have about Mandela — Amandla, Madiba— at this crucial time. This is a brief remark I’ve carried with me all my life.

There will be many eulogies about Mandela. Big media, establishment media, textbooks — particularly in the U.S., South Africa, Britain and India — would immediately compare him with Gandhi.

Likewise, over the years, there have been many eulogies about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Big media, establishment media, textbooks — particularly in the U.S. Africa, Britain and India — have compared him with Gandhi too.

Even though I understand the importance of Gandhi and his nonviolent movement, and even though I am totally against violence, for various, critically important reasons, I reject the mainstream’s sweeping comparison between Mandela, Dr. King and Gandhi.

For historical reasons, I strongly believe that Gandhi was no Mandela. Gandhi was no Dr. King. Let’s accept facts, and not hearsays.

Nelson Mandela challenged Apartheid. He challenged the Anglo-American-European white supremacist doctrine and politics of subjugation (NOTE: I’m emphasizing the politics that has divided and conquered the rest of the world). Amandla challenged the global political colonialism, brutal violence against the black people, mob lynching, arson and mass rape. He organized his people against European economic oppression, slavery, stealing of land, and fought back against centuries of explicit, grotesque violation of human rights of African people. He inspired the entire world and its rights and justice soldiers to rise up against the global tyranny, promoted and sustained mainly by U.K. and U.S. regimes.

Apartheid regimes put Mandela in prison for almost thirty years. Ronald Reagan and a number of other U.S. presidents supported Apartheid. They did not want Mandela to come out of prison. Margaret Thatcher had also supported Apartheid, even though later she withdrew her support.

MLK. Yes. Gandhi. No.
MLK. Yes. Gandhi. No.

The same presidents and similar political leaders and regimes in America and across the world also supported repression of blacks and other such disempowered, marginalized people. They never believed these poor and oppressed people should have equal rights and dignity. They never liked civil rights leaders such as Dr. King or Malcolm X. They never liked the fact that Dr. King not only championed equal rights for the black people in America, but also spoke against economic exploitation of workers around the world. They despised that he championed labor unions and supported their strikes. The people in power never liked that Dr. King spoke strongly against the Vietnam genocide.

I have always believed that Nelson Mandela and Reverend King both understood the connection between global colonization from outside forces and social feudalism and exploitation of the poor from domestic forces. Both of them challenged economic subjugation of the ordinary, working people — both by external and internal powers. Both leaders were visionary to explain how the so-called one percent is using global warfare, assassinations and other politics of violence on one hand and permanent replacement of a people-oriented economic system by a profit-oriented system on the other. Therefore, both Mandela and MLK worked simultaneously on peace, rights, justice and equality fronts.

Therefore, global powers and their media — some of whom later sang praises for them — tried to condemn them as communists and socialists, with help from establishment media. They also tried to assassinate them many times. These are all historical facts, whether we like them or not.

And that is where the critical difference is between these two leaders and Gandhi.

Believe me, I know the importance of Gandhi’s nonviolent freedom struggle. I know how his nonviolence has now become a major force for many grassroots struggles around the world. And I know at the end of the day, it was Gandhi who was killed by religious fanatics. My book on the politics of religion in India talks at length about Gandhi’s assassination by zealots.

No to Feudalism.
No to Feudalism.

But honest to God, Gandhi is no Mandela. Gandhi is no MLK. Mainly because Gandhi never believed in social and economic equality between men and women, or the rich and poor. Gandhi never believed in total equality, period. Gandhi, unlike Mandela and MLK, practiced the politics of appeasement with a tyrannical British Raj. Gandhi yielded to an historically murderous partition of India. Gandhi drove anti-British progressive leaders away from his Congress Party, and put feudal, corrupt, social patriarchs in power. The horrific patriarchy and violence on women India sees now, as well as with the abysmal corruption Indian people in power are now exposed naked, are all direct products of Gandhi’s failed political and social doctrines. They are all results of him putting the wrong people in power.

Most of us do not even know that how the so-called nonviolent Gandhi’ism actually destroyed nearly a hundred years of anti-British struggle in India when he was brought over from South Africa, many say, by the British. Hundreds of thousands of Indians — a large number from Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra — had sacrificed their lives fighting back against the British occupation. Gandhi’s relatively short-lived movement helped delete these martyrs from the history of India’s freedom struggle. Western powers were delighted that it did.

(And very few dare to speak about Gandhi’s explicit racism against South African blacks.)

I understand this is NOT the time to talk about Gandhi. I understand this is a SOLEMN moment to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. But, just because my voice is small and I am not going to have a better opportunity to challenge mainstream media’s comparison between these three leaders, I thought I’d write a few lines challenging the disingenuous parallel.

Quickly, global powers are destroying and distorting history. Can we take a moment, while remembering Mandela, to reflect on this obliteration of people’s history: the history of our struggle?

I wanted to meet Mandela. I met him — even though not personally. But I met him. Believe me, I did.

Thank you, Madiba, Amandla, for meeting me.

Ardently, Humbly, a Lifelong Follower of Yours,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Others. That is the key word.
Others. That is the key word.

11 thoughts on “Mandela. Yes. MLK. Yes. Gandhi. No.

  1. While we always have to feel like we need to compare people is beyond me. I believe we and they are all individuals with both strengths and weaknesses. They each are special, and they each contributed wonderful things to society. I feel that we as a society have been deeply blessed by each of them.

    Namaste.

    1. Yes, there is really no need to compare them. But there will be comparisons, and purposefully so. And we will have no power, other than educating ourselves, to challenge and contradict their disingenuous comparison. Thanks for writing.

    1. “yielded” is the key word here. maybe, “succumbed” would be a better word. in any case, he failed to keep his promise. and it was a murderous partition. millions died.

  2. I feel like Gandhi was a coward in some respects, his non-violence movement verged on extreme passivity. In other words, he did what his comfort zone allowed him to thus not making much of a difference in a universal sense. We idolize him as a world iconic leader etc. however it is too much praise without critical inquiry (blind/ignorant follower-ship based on political, patriotic, etc affiliation). What is unfortunate is leaders like him who have power and great influence unfettered set the tone and stage for future leadership (politics or otherwise) and it has happened in India. An unflattering example of politics and national governance of past (and present) sorely reflects this situation. The reason for India’s vast economic, social, educational, and gender disparity is due to the leaders’ mental models (composed of agenda-based ant-ethical, individualistic, non-secular, chaos-causing ideologies) provoked and subconsciously shaped by men of past.

    How can I express my sentiments like this? Because I do not live in India, never lived there, and when I do happen to visit, read, listen to news, or talk to people, observe them in person, social or otherwise, I sense in the atmosphere an unhealthy sense of resignation where subconscious passivity reigns proactive conscious ethical decision making ability.

    1. Absolutely, whole-heartedly agreed. Thank you so much for writing so passionately. This is what we need to reflect on: how a wrong leadership destroys a nation’s character — once and for all. I shall write more about it later.

      1. I do not know what profession you are in driven bywhat kind of education Partha..but sad to know that you are so misinformed about Indian history and particularly about Gandhi…Nelson Mandela himself on numerous occassion admitted that he followed Gandhi’s philosophy..and by the way Gandhi is not known just for the peaceful freedom struggle that he led but more than that his was a philosohy of life, polity, and social structure – which unfortunately got sidelined due to the power struggle at the time – if you have not researched about him then let me inform you that he was the proponent of self sustaining agrarian economy which never saw the light due to initial capitalistic influences on Indian politico-economic power struggle which you might not be aware of…you compare Gandhi’s freedom struggle with anti-British struggle preceding him..but you know what that was never destined to succeed as those were led by booty hungry kings, nawabs, and queens of India..by the way India was never in existence then – it was only kingdoms with its kings acting as stooges to British rulers and fighting against each other at the British insinuations… imagine Gandhi unifying India by making it a struggle in which for the first time common man irresoective of caste creed religion joind and in such numbers…oh man your ignorance and judgements out of that just shatters the thought that many individuals with India origin are so less appreciative of their own achievements!

      2. Thank you for your comments. Disagreement is an important part of democracy. Good that you disagree with my pov. About my education, etc., let’s focus on the substance instead. What we see in India today — the complete disunity, corruption, violence and inequality — all done by Gandhi’s descendents. It’s not the man Gandhi. It’s his policies of and beliefs in of feudalism and appeasement. India is now newly colonized by the 1 percent — both domestic and foreign. And we’re not even talking about poison fruits of partition.

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