Thursday, January 14, 2010

Was Gandhi more violent than Hitler? : World : Shobhan Saxena : TOI Blogs

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    • Last week, I met Slavoj Zizek who is an unusual philosopher from Slovenia. Zizek mixes unfashionably intransigent left-wing politics with his taste for Hollywood classics.
    • Q: What’s your point?


      A: My point is what people perceive as violence is the direct subjective violence. It’s crucial to see violence which has to be done repeatedly to keep the things the way they are. I am not just talking about structural violence, symbolic violence, violence in language, etc. In that sense Gandhi was more violent than Hitler. Hitler killed millions of people. It was more reactive killing. Hitler was active all the time not to change things but to prevent change.

      Q: A lot of people will find it ridiculous to even imagine that Gandhi was more violent than Hitler? Are you serious when you say that...


      A: Yes he was, although Gandhi didn’t support killing. With his actions -- boycott and all that -- he helped the British imperialists to stay in India longer. This is something Hitler never wanted. Gandhi didn’t do anything to stop the functioning of the British empire or the way it functioned here. You have to think why was India called the jewel of the empire? That for me is a problem. Let us locate violence properly.

      Q: I guess you have no respect for Gandhi who is a tall figure in this country...  


      A: I respect him. I don’t respect him for his peaceful ways, vegetarianism etc. I don’t care about that. But Gandhi somehow succeeded in carrying on his principled attitude with pragmatic spirit. It’s very difficult to maintain this balance. But again I feel Ambedkar was much better than Gandhi. My favourite oneliner from Ambedkar is when he said that "there is no caste without outcastes". Ambedkar saw that the Gandhian solution for untouchables was wrong. This attitude doesn’t work. I am for Ambedkar’s radical approach. 

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