Monday, 3 June 2013

Mao rules in the land of Gandhi

Gandhi as we all know is known as the father of the Indian nation. Similarly, Mao Zedong is seen to be the builder, if not the father of modern China. However, both have striking differences, as do the two nations. Gandhi believed in the power of non violence and not only practiced it but also rejected those using violence. Case in point, Bhagat Singh. Gandhi always carried a stick in his hand but never used it on anyone (as far as I know). Mao on the other believed in the power of violence. According to him, power grew out of the barrel of the gun. After all it was the gun which brought him and his party to power after several years of civil war. 

The gun taking over in India?
But then, that is China. We in India believe in the philosophy of Gandhi, more or less. Not really. I was just trying to sound patronising. If the media is to be believed, large parts of the country (India that is) are embracing Mao and his philosophy. Although I am doubtful if these embracers are able to actually pronounce Mao's full name correctly. Anyway, according to some reports about 175 districts across India are now affected by Maoists. A couple of weeks ago about 200 maoist guerrillas surrounded a Congress party (Gandhi's party?) convoy and killed several of its prominent leaders. I wonder if this is some kind of a proxy war of ideology being fought by Gandhi and Mao in the heavens (or where ever they may be) using those on the earth as pawns.

Although, at this point I must clarify that the Congress party as it is currently is not really Gandhi's party. Its more like Congress (I), Congress party of Indira. Some say she also believed in the flow of power or the growth of power from the guns. So, this should have been the reconciliation point with Mao. However, it isn't. This actually is the point of departure for the government of India and the maoists.

The very fact the India is no longer a country run on the principles of Gandhi (Mohandas not Indira) may be at the root of some of its citizens (do they qualify as citizens) bent towards Mao and his gun. Gandhi (Mohandas) believed in the power of the grassroots. He wanted the power to be with village councils, the power of choice, of decision making. Modern India (shaped possibly a lot by the other Gandhi (Indira)) believes in centralised power. Power and choice flows from the planning commission in Delhi to the tribal village in Chattisgarh. Gandhi believed in harmony with nature. Modern India believes in growth rates and nature doesn't contribute to growth rate. Forests don't power growth rates, its the coal under the forests that powers growth rate. These are just two examples of modern India's departure from Gandhi's (Mohandas) principles but there are several others that one could come up with. So, while the government or the ruling class as bit adieu to Gandhi's principles why should the guy at the bottom embrace it. He now finds Mao more appealing. Walking on Gandhi's path hasn't brought him justice so why not try Mao once.

Is this growing disenchantment the reason for the spread of Maoists in India or are there more materialistic reasons? I am still confused so I am leaving this post with only half the discussion, possibly one side of the story, one pathway. I am looking for the alternate pathways, other narratives and hopefully write another post on why now Mao rules in the land of Gandhi.

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