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Despite being remembered as a peaceful leader, Gandhi was also harshly criticized
A day like today, but in 1948, who would be one of the most important political leaders was killed. This is Mahatma Gandhi, that leader of the Indian Independence Movement who always advocated the use of nonviolent demonstrations.
Leer en español: Mahatma Gandhi: 71 años de su muerte
Also known as the father of the nation, he fought for the freedom of India, being a source of inspiration for many citizens of that country. His views on the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) along with nonviolence were the weapons he used against the British to free India from its mandate. Gandhi's speech was vital to giving the Indians the necessary confidence, to remind them that they were equal to the British demonstrating that their defeat was possible, as long as the peaceful demonstrations took place. Besides, he was a thinker, pacifist, and lawyer and he wanted to see India as a country where people of all castes, religions, and genders would live together and enjoy equality.
However, throughout his life, he was sharply criticized for his opposition to violence. Especially during the Second World War when he said that the Jews would have the love of God if they accepted his death voluntarily. On the other hand, he told the British to put their weapons aside so that both Hitler and Mussolini would take what they wanted from their countries but always refusing to pay them obedience.
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According to the website El País Canario, in several countries in Africa, Gandhi is not remembered with such pleasure. In Ghana, for example, they remind him "as a racist who despised blacks." It is the same story that when Indian President Pranab Mukherjee gave a statue of the leader to the University of Ghana in Accra, it was supposed to be a symbol of friendship between the two countries. However, for the students and the Ghanaians, it was not of such pleasure, since they signed petitions and turned to social networks to protest against this fact. Finally, the government had to intervene and move the statue to another place for its conservation.
But why so much hate? Well, the peaceful leader practiced as a lawyer in South Africa, and it was there where writings were found where he referred to blacks under the term "kaffir" or savages. According to his grandson Rabjnohan Gandhi, his grandfather had addressed himself in that term since he was "ignorant and prejudiced" in his youth, but throughout his life "he had corrected his vision," as Infobae states.
Gandhi and the women
Another of the controversial aspects of Gandhi was his approach to women. As is Indian tradition, he married Kasturba Makharj (who would become Kasturba Gandhi), at the age of 13 years. However, he repeatedly referred to her as "a cow" and claimed that he could not look her in the face, as the TekCrispy website states. Similarly, the same portal emphasizes that Gandhi was constantly slapped his wife, and was even responsible for not receiving proper medical treatment. Because of this, Kasturba Gandhi, died as a result of the accumulation of different diseases, which could have been cured, if Gandhi had left aside his naturist beliefs.
On the other hand, Gandhi decided to practice celibacy, probably because of having sex with his wife, at the time his father died. However, Gandhi actively participated in discussions about sex and more explicit behaviors. Under his parameters, Gandhi redefined his celibacy because he shared a bed with naked girls, performed erotic readings, sexual activities without contact, among others. This is how Gandhi shared a bed with close relatives such as his granddaughter, the wife of his nephew, and many others. Despite his behavior, he was never denounced, but several of his closest officials resigned on learning about these practices.
The murder of Gandhi
Despite being an inspiration to many people in India, several people disagreed with their way of thinking and living life. One of them was Nathuram Godse, a radical belonging to the extreme right. On January 30, 1948, and while Gandhi was on his way to his prayer meeting, Godse interrupted his path and shot him. According to Pinkvilla "there was chaos everywhere, and 25 minutes later, Mahatma Gandhi died due to an excessive loss of blood inside Birla Bhavan, which is now known as Gandhi Smriti".
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz
Translated from "Mahatma Gandhi: 71 años de su muerte"