(First published in 2008)
The greatest injustice against the struggle for liberation of black people was the projection of Mahatma Gandhi as committed to a cause against segregation. It is a fallacy that Gandhi in his struggles had any interests of black people at heart. His was a selfish cause to advance interests of Indians while encouraging continuing subjugation of black people. Gandhi held an absurd belief that Indians, along with whites, were a superior race to black people.
He said, “the British rulers take us to be so lowly and ignorant that they assume that, like the Kaffirs who can be pleased with toys and pins, we can also be fobbed off with trinkets … ours is one continual struggle against a degradation 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 with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness … Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilised — the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.”
He conspired with the oppressive white government in promotion of segregation of black people and elevating the importance of Indians above them. Indians believed in their false sense of superiority in that they frequently complained of being mixed in with black people in railway cars, lavatories, pass laws and in other regulations. They demanded special treatment and loathed being considered in the same regard as black people. He protested that, “we are classed with the natives of South Africa — Kaffir race.”
Gandhi ensured that Indians received their elevation above black people and helped entrench segregation laws against black people. His major achievement was the creation of a separate entrance for Indians to the Durban Post Office who previously had to share with black people.
Gandhi wrote: “In the Durban Post and telegraph offices there were separate entrances for natives and Asiatics and Europeans. We felt the indignity too much and many respectable Indians were insulted and called all sorts of names by the clerks at the counter. We petitioned the authorities to do away with the invidious distinction and they have now provided three separate entrances for natives, Asiatics and Europeans.”
There is a growing tendency to try to portray Gandhi as some messiah who also advanced the cause of black people. He cared less about the plight of black people and his sole purpose was to see Indians receive preferential treatment and laws be amended to that effect; while laws governing black people remained in force. He endorsed the ridiculous notion of white supremacy probably in the hope and belief that it would assist his cause for Indians.
In 1903, Gandhi remarked, “we believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do, only we believe that they would best serve the interest, which is as dear to us as it is to them, by advocating the purity of all the races and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.”
Gandhi like Winston Churchill believed that black people were stupid savages and barbarians who were prone to unprovoked violence. He believed that the oppressed black people were a threat to their own cause and Indians need to save them from themselves. He said “it means that you take them under your (Indian) wing when you have developed that power of non-violence It will be good, if you fire them (black people) with the spirit of non-violence. You will be their saviour. But if you allow yourselves to be overwhelmed and swept off your feet, it will be their and your ruin.”
Gandhi saw himself as repository of solutions to the problem black people were confronted with, yet he was stubbornly opposed to the notion of black people and Indians fighting side by side against the monster the repressive white government was.
Gandhi, while he may have pretended to sympathise with the cause of black people and to some measure tolerated them, his conduct and utterances indicate that he too detested them. He condemned miscegenation and warned Indian men against canoodling with black women. “Some Indians do have contacts with Kaffir women. I think such contacts are fraught with grave danger. Indians would do well to avoid them altogether,” he said.
Gandhi, the phony non-violence activist was a decorated Sergeant Major on the side of the British during the Anglo-Boer War and supported the British during the Bambatha Rebellion in 1906 where Zulu impis and chiefs were massacred. His image as a peace-loving activist, champion of civil rights and an anti-racism activist is fallacious. Mahatma Gandhi was a pathetic racist who supported wars that maimed and left thousands dead and openly expressed his admiration for the mass murderer, Adolf Hitler, to whom he wrote,“We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents.”
To continue to honour and celebrate this man is to insult humanity!