||Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. might have heard the word of non-violence from
Gandhi, but it is certain that Dr. King did not know the true colors of Mr.
>From the beginning to the end, M.K. Gandhi was loyal to imperialism. The
Western news media and their Indian allies by a massive propaganda exercise
created the illusion of sainthood around Gandhi and made people believe that
he fought Apartheid in South Africa, and in the process of doing so
developed a new method of non-violent struggle called satyagraha.
Nothing is farther from the truth. Gandhi, for the major part of his life,
worshipped British imperialism and too often proudly proclaimed himself a
lover of the Empire. He was Kipling's Gunga Din in flesh and blood.
To understand Gandhi's politics in South Africa, it is essential to note the
three fundamental trends which all along persisted underneath all his
(1) his loyalty to the British Empire,
(2) his apathy with regard to the Indian "lower castes", India's indigenous
(3) his virulent anti-African racism.
Gandhi was once thrown out of a train compartment which was reserved
exclusively for the Whites. It was not that Gandhi was fighting on behalf of
the local Africans that he broke the rule in getting into a Whites'
compartment. No! that was not the reason.
Gandhi was so furious that he and his merchant caste Indians (Banias) were
treated on par with the local Africans. This is the real reason for his
fighting race discrimination in South Africa, and he had absolutely no
concern about the pitiable way the Africans were treated by the Whites.
On June 2, 1906 he commented in the Indian Opinion that "Thanks to the
Court's decision, only clean Indians (meaning upper caste Hindu Indians) or
colored people other than Kaffirs, can now travel in the trains."
During the `Kaffir Wars' in South Africa he was a regular Gunga Din, who
volunteered to organize a brigade of Indians to put down the Zulu uprising
and was decorated himself for valor under fire.
Gandhi said on September 26, 1896 about the African
people: "Ours is one continued struggle sought to be inflicted upon us by
the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir,
whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain
number of cattle to buy a wife, and then pass his life in indolence and
Again in an editorial on the Natal Municipal Corporation Bill, in the Indian
Opinion of March 18, 1905, Gandhi wrote: "Clause 200 makes provision for
registration of persons belonging to uncivilized races (meaning the local
Africans), resident and employed within the Borough.
One can understand the necessity of registration of Kaffirs who will not
work, but why should registration
be required for indentured Indians...?" Again on
September 9, 1905, Gandhi wrote about the local Africans as: "in the
majority of cases it compels the native to work for at least a few days a
(meaning that the locals are lazy).
Nothing could be farther from the truth that Gandhi fought against
Apartheid, which many propagandists in later years wanted people to believe.
He was all in favor of continuation of White domination and the oppression
of Blacks in South Africa.
In the Indian Opinion of March 25, 1905, Gandhi wrote on a Bill regulating
fire-arms: "In the instance of fire-arms, the Asiatic has been most
improperly bracketed with the natives. The British Indian does not need any
such restrictions as are imposed by the Bill on the natives regarding the
carrying of fire-arms. The prominent race can remain so by preventing the
native from arming himself. Is there the slightest vestige of justification
for so preventing the British Indians?"
Gandhi always advised Indians not to align with other political groups in
either colored or African communities. He was strongly opposed to the
commingling of races.
In the Indian Opinion of September 4, 1904, Gandhi
wrote: "Under my suggestion, the Town Council (of
Johannesburg) must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing
of the Kaffirs with the Indians I must confess I feel most strongly. It
think it is very unfair to the Indian population, and it is an undue tax on
even the proverbial patience of my countrymen."
In the Indian Opinion of September 24, 1903, Gandhi
said: "We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they (the
Whites) do... by advocating the purity of all races."
Again on December 24, 1903, in the Indian Opinion Gandhi stated that: "so
far as British Indians are concerned, such a thing is particularly unknown.
If there is one thing which the Indian cherishes more than any other, it is
purity of type."
When he was fighting on behalf of Indians, he was not fighting for all the
Indians, but only for his rich merchant class upper caste Hindus!
In the Anglo-Boer War of 1899, Gandhi, in spite of his own belief that truth
was on the side of the Boers, formed an ambulance unit in support of the
British forces. He was very earnest about taking up arms and laying down his
life for his beloved Queen. He led his men on to the battlefield and
received a War Medal.
Gandhi joined in the orgy of Zulu slaughter when the Bambata Rebellion broke
out. One needs to read the entire history of Bambata Rebellion to place
Gandhi's nazi war crimes in its proper perspective.
Velu Annamalai, Ph.D., a native of Tamil Nadu, India, is the President of
the International Dalit Support Group and the author of Sergeant-Major M.K.
Gandhi published by the Dalit Sahitya Akademy in Bangalore, India in 1995.
He currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This article was published courtesy of Velu Annamalai, Ph.D
Copyright © 2001 Velu Annamalai, Ph.D. All rights reserved.