Date: 3/30/2004


“Read not to contradict nor to believe but to weigh and consider.”

Francis Bacon

Sub. ; How Mahatma Gandhi became ‘The Father of the Nation - A Possible Scenario from the Past

Gandhiji is given sole credit for being responsible for India’s independence; while he squarely put the blame for the acceptance of the vivisection of the country, on his close disciples –Nehru. Patel and Co..

He claimed that they accepted the partition of the country behind his back, without even his knowledge, let alone consent. One would recall that to show his displeasure, Gandhiji was not even present in Delhi on the f5th August, 1947, Quite inexplicably, the disciples too, did not raise any loud noise of protest rejecting this grave allegation. Frankly, this is indeed bit too thick to believe (Unless, of course, one is Mr. Sharda Prasad, Mr. M.J.Akbar, Mr. Kuldip Nayar, Dr. Zakaria, Mr. Ram Jethmalani, or for that matter, Mr. Arun Shourie), considering that the Mahatma himself had repeatedly threatened that he would have his body vivisected before he would allow the country to be partitioned. I have given some thought to all these happenings and have tried to come out with some rational possible scenario, which I am putting forward for your appraisal.

The main question is why did Gandhiji who would resort to ‘an indefinite hunger strike ‘ at the drop of a hat, even for comparatively minor issues like tax on salt or a communal riot etc. not take up his usual weapon when the very country, independence of which he was supposed to be fighting for, was about to be partitioned? My guess is that he, having realized that the partition was inevitable and that his disciples were too hungry for assuming power while they were young enough to enjoy it and fearing that they would rebel against him openly and leak out his secrets, should he come in their way, Gandhiji decided to come to terms with them for mutual benefit. He not only agreed to give tacit support for their acceptance of the partition but also gave an undertaking not to resort to any action that would jeopardize their ascendancy to power. The disciples, on their part, agreed to accept full blame for the partition and to use Government propaganda machinery at their command, to give him full credit for achieving independence single-handedly and to establish him as ‘the Father of the Nation’. His much advertised absence in Delhi on 15th August, 1947, was to divert people’s attention from his earlier often repeated declaration.

One most important point one also should not lose sight of, is that while Gandhiji might have been a saint / philosopher for the illiterate Hindu masses, to his cunning disciples, he was just a equally cunning but a very influential, politician and hence their conduit to power! Gandhiji knew that his indefinite hunger strike against his own people at this juncture, would not make much impact as his disciples would snuff it out in no time and if it comes to worse, even allow him to die if necessary; and he wanted very much to live as always!

Subsequently, however, as one would recall, Gandhiji did resort to indefinite hunger strike to force the Government to pay Rs.55 crores to Pakistan, unconditionally on moral grounds. This time he was safe since by giving in to his demand after displaying some token resistance, Nehru / Patel were not going to lose anything; only the Country was going to lose. Also, Gandhiji could once again come into political limelight he loved so much and display his power over Government of India. – A.S.Ghate