Home Articles & Books Gandhian Non-Violence and Communal Violence

Gandhian Non-Violence and Communal Violence

by John S Moolakkattu, Social Action, Jan-Mar 2010

Gandhi was apparently against majority communalism given its potential to become aggressive in contrast to minority communalism, which was largely seen as defensive in character. Gandhi's non-violence was seen by Hindu fundamentalists as a sign of weakness; some kind of anemasculation of the Hindu. Little wonder that the ghost of Gandhi continues to haunt the forces of Hindutva in their quest for constructing a more masculine Hindu identity.

Even six decades after his death, Gandhi remains the most powerful symbol of anti-communalism in India, not only by his own example, but also for his uncompromising stand in defence of a composite culture in the country. In recent years, Gandhi has been used by the Hindutva forces opportunistically, often quoting him out of context. For example, Gandhi's concept of Rama Rajya, which is actually the equivalent of good governance shorn of its neoliberal underpinnings rather than the reign of Rama in the literal sense, has been conveniently used by the

Hindu rightists in support of the Hindutva project. Instead of the compassionate Rama, we now have a destroyer, a saviour of the Hindus from the foreign Muslims. The term was equally misunderstood by theMuslims who saw it as equivalent to Hindu Raj. In other words, Gandhi's style of politics did not endear himself to the fundamentalist elements of either of the two communities. He opposed the Hindutva ideology evenas he proudly claimed himself to be a Hindu.


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