Mahatama Gandhi was, after all, the “Father of the Nation”. What’s wrong if the sons take after their father?
A lot has been said about Rape and the Indian culture. Even Hinduism has been invoked to show linkages to the rape epidemic currently in place in India. But are we victims of the prejudices of moralistic politicians who neither knew Hinduism nor were straight with the people? Gandhi – the Father of the Nation – is one such person whom we shall look at today.
Gandhi once said of a Rape Victim:
“I have always held that it is physically impossible to violate a woman against her will. The outrage takes place only when she gives way to fear or does not realize her moral strength. If she cannot meet the assailant’s physical might, her purity will give her the strength to die before he succeeds in violating her…It is my firm conviction that a fearless woman, who knows that her purity is her best shield can never be dishonored. However beastly the man, he will bow in shame before the flame of her dazzling purity.”
Honestly, if anyone says such lunatic things today, he will be nailed by the media and women alike. But ironically, the women were protesting – symbolically – at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in New Delhi!
Let us see Gandhi’s view on different subjects at the heart of this controversy (Source):
Sex and Celibacy: In his view, Sex was a sin and Celibacy was his decision with no input of say from his wife.
Gandhi despised his own sexual desires, and despised sex in any context except for procreation. He preached that the failure to control carnal urges led to complaints including constipation. He believed that sex was bad for the health of an individual, and that sexual freedom would lead Indians to failure as a people. He sought to consign his nation to what Martin Luther called “the hell of celibacy”. He took his own celibacy vow unilaterally, without consulting his wife.
Woman and her Body: His views on menstruation and how a woman actually invites the lust of a man were misogynist and ill-informed!
…..in her book Sex and Power, “he believed menstruation was a manifestation of the distortion of a woman’s soul by her sexuality”.
During Gandhi’s time as a dissident in South Africa, he discovered a male youth had been harassing two of his female followers. Gandhi responded by personally cutting the girls’ hair off, to ensure the “sinner’s eye” was “sterilised”. Gandhi boasted of the incident in his writings, pushing the message to all Indians that women should carry responsibility for sexual attacks upon them. Such a legacy still lingers. In the summer of 2009, colleges in north India reacted to a spate of sexual harassment cases by banning women from wearing jeans, as western-style dress was too “provocative” for the males on campus.
Honor Killings: If we look at his views on how a Rape Victim should be handled, it shockingly come off as pushing for Honor Killings.
Gandhi believed Indian women who were raped lost their value as human beings. He argued that fathers could be justified in killing daughters who had been sexually assaulted for the sake of family and community honour.
Women as Objects of Use: The Rapists who are proliferating the “Culture of Rape” consider women as mere objects. Gandhi also did the same, but in his own way.
Like all men who wage a doomed war with their own sexual desires, Gandhi’s behaviour around females would eventually become very, very odd. He took to sleeping with naked young women, including his own great-niece, in order to “test” his commitment to celibacy. The habit caused shock and outrage among his supporters. God knows how his wife felt.
Gandhi cemented, for another generation, the attitude that women were simply creatures that could bring either pride or shame to the men who owned them.
These views although seem like an aberration coming from a “sanitized” Gandhi that Congress has been propagating as a Myth, are documented as are his views on how Jews should have behaved in the face of Nazi massacres.