Mahatma Gandhi research and media services
May 3, 2006 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Mahatma Gandhi. Everything you ever wanted to know about Mahatma Gandhi including image galleries and his complete collected works.
posted by Roger Dodger (25 comments total)
Not to be a jerk, but GANDHI. GANDHI. It's even spelled right in all your links! Might change the tag?
posted by unknowncommand at 10:20 AM on May 3, 2006

You are correct. I'm an idiot. Admin please help?
posted by Roger Dodger at 10:24 AM on May 3, 2006

The Death of Gandhi according to Tim Krieder. (I am so going to hell for posting this.)
posted by LarryC at 11:09 AM on May 3, 2006

Interesting links.

Gandhi was a great and important historical figure. He was also complicated and flawed (like all of us) and no Saint as he is often portrayed to be. In those links I have yet find the following little known trivia:

During the Boer War he formed an ambulance unit in support of the British. Even though he had often written before in support of the Boers.

As a young man he tried to join the British Army. He also actively campaigned to recruit soldiers for the British in WWI.

Though he publicly was a believer in women's equality he treated his wife like shit and basically let her die of an easily treatable (with an anti-biotic injection) illness.

He enjoyed enemas. Often given to him by young girls.
posted by tkchrist at 11:24 AM on May 3, 2006

The Official Mahatma Gandhi eArchive & Reference Library in India at least doesn't watermark their images.

tkchrist, if you regard the fellow as complicated would you agree that a simple statement for instance regarding an ambulance unit doesn't quite provide a balanced view? And the young girls comment doesn't of course undermind your 'great and historical figure' preamble at all now does it?
posted by peacay at 11:44 AM on May 3, 2006

tkchrist, if you regard the fellow as complicated would you agree that a simple statement for instance regarding an ambulance unit doesn't quite provide a balanced view?

Single statement? I don't follow you? There are volumes on that topic by other historical sources. Deemed important becuase it is of pointing out that he was, at one time, a great believer in Empire and no Pacifist by nature. So did his laer adoption reflect a 180 degree turn-around. Or was the choice more pragmatic than strictly philosphical? INMHO it gives you a more real picture of the man. Counter to the super-hero image he tends to get by those with pacifist "agendas."

And the young girls comment doesn't of course undermind your 'great and historical figure' preamble at all now does it?

I certainly don't...

Excuse me.

erg... ah-ahhhhhhh ("Thank you sweetie, see you tomorrow.")...

Think so.
posted by tkchrist at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2006

Ugh! Sorry for those misspellings. I am on the phone, too.
posted by tkchrist at 12:04 PM on May 3, 2006

tkchrist writes "INMHO it gives you a more real picture of the man."

What? Some guy's throwaway unsupported comment on a discussion board?

Note that I haven't put forward a superhero argument. I'm just jabbing you with a pointy thing because it is very easy to read your input as attack for its own sake. Just because you don't like that the world has accorded Gandhi a venerable place in history doesn't mean that you can do a driveby on your own unsubtantiated terms.
posted by peacay at 12:18 PM on May 3, 2006

I ain't attacking the guy. And if I was, so f-n what? What I'm saying is true.

Some of us find the little known stuff to be more interesting if not just for Dinner Party conversation - as all the other stuff we know and controversial trivia breaks the tedium.

that you can do a driveby on your own unsubtantiated terms.

What? You want cites? C'mon. You think I'm lying? Look it up yourself, sparky. Besides. A real history buff like yourself should know what I'm saying is true, right?
posted by tkchrist at 12:51 PM on May 3, 2006

The "Ghandi" misspelling always gets on my nerves.

But amusingly, there is (or used to be) an Indian restaurant, run by people from India, near where I work in Greenwich Village, called "Ghandi Restaurant".
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:10 PM on May 3, 2006

awesome!!! Gandhi is my hero. Thanks!
posted by Doorstop at 1:26 PM on May 3, 2006

When Deathmatch Disputation™ comes to MeFi I am so picking tkchrist as my sworn mortal enemy.

By the way Rodger Dodger, thanks for the post although I have reservations that it's a bit of a pepsi blue for Germany, you know?
posted by peacay at 1:45 PM on May 3, 2006

When Deathmatch Disputation™ comes to MeFi I am so picking tkchrist as my sworn mortal enemy.

Why wait?
posted by tkchrist at 1:51 PM on May 3, 2006

Sort of reiterating (see the post above) but you cant get much closer to what kind of man Gandhi was than through his own words.

His autobiography is a fascinating read and he doesnt hold back too many of the sordid and seemingly conflicting details.

He was a deeply principled and driven man, whose accomplishments should indeed be honored. But as mentioned before, he was no saint.
posted by elendil71 at 2:02 PM on May 3, 2006

But as mentioned before, he was no saint.

Careful, somebody might challenge you to a Deathmatch tm!
posted by tkchrist at 2:07 PM on May 3, 2006

Does it detail his love of cleaning toilets? I'm not joking
posted by A189Nut at 2:08 PM on May 3, 2006

elendil71 writes "But as mentioned before, he was no saint."

You know, this sentence sent me looking for the exact meaning of the title "mahatma", which I've always seen translated as "great soul" and which I've always imagined as being something akin to "saint". As it turns out, it's a lot more complicated than that. I would love it if someone who actually knows what their talking about could explain it better, but it looks like it was (still is?) a formal title given out by (civil? religious?) authorities. Here's a translation of the citation that made Gandhi a mahatma, officially. It seems like in Gandhi's time, there were a good number of mahatmas running around; I can't figure out if that's still the case, or if the term "mahatma" has become as synonymous with Gandhi in India as it has here.

On an interesting tangent, it looks like the theosophists used the term, too. Everything about theosophy is wacky, but I find it especially wacky that they used the term mahatma as a title for the Ascended Masters, and that the idea of the Ascended Masters lifted from a work of fiction by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, of all people. The Victorians were weird.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:46 PM on May 3, 2006

The difficult thing about reaseaching Gandhi is that he didn't necessarily form a consistant ideology (or necessarily fully intend to). His concepts of "truth" and "right living" were constantly changing and evolving. This is how you understand that the same man who led a massive movement for an Free India considered himsefl a loyal subject of the crown (and, yes, worked to help on the British side in the Boer war as a result)

He had some obsessions with his body and food which seemed a bit creepy at times, especially if you read stuff in his autobiography. His stance on women was iffy. I often question where he would stand on Gay rights. Basically, although he was very liberal in some senses, he was still pretty morally conservative.

The bottom line is, he was human. He did some astounding things and got placed on a pedastle as a result. Did her deserve it? That's up for debate, was he an amazing indvidual? withough question. I really feel acess to his writings is a wonderful way to understand that he was human: inconsitant, imperfect, but still inspiring.

I'm really glad to see this posted on Mefi. The site has been a tremendous resource to me in the past.
posted by piratebowling at 3:38 PM on May 3, 2006

Did her deserve it?

I'd say bringing down an Empire is worthy or some pedestal sitting. Inspiring, very much. In the sense that, indeed, ONE guy did this almost impossible thing. For me that's why it's good to know the other stuff so we remember that he was human. And maybe one of us regular Joes- warts and all - can also do great things.
posted by tkchrist at 3:45 PM on May 3, 2006

First off, man I suck for the typos. I miss spell check.

Second off...I feel it's really simplistic to say it was just him. Financing, publicity and carrying through of his message, involved millions of people. I know what I'm saying is obvious, but he really wasn't alone. Sometimes I have to wonder how much of his sucess was "right guy, right message, right time," you know?

I wish in my lifetime we see leaders as inspiring again.
posted by piratebowling at 3:57 PM on May 3, 2006

Mod note: fixed fpp typo
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:13 PM on May 3, 2006

Wonderful FPP Roger Dodger, thank you.

Loved your posts tkchrist. I do think Gandhi was heroic. Because his public image is all about abstinence, renunciation, chastity and simplicity, it's naturally entertaining and illuminating when there is cognitive dissonance, especially when he trumpeted what he expected of others: "Truth, purity, self-control, firmness, fearlessness, humility, unity, peace, and renunciation—These are the inherent qualities of a civil resister."

" In 1906, Gandhi decided to observe brahamacharya, or observe the vow of chastity: and thereafter Mohandas and Kasturba never had any sexual relations."

But then that's contrasted with the whole Gandhi sleeping with naked virgins thing.

Denial comes in many flavors, lol.

That said, Gandhi accomplished astounding things during his life and I feel a profound gratitude that he lived.
posted by nickyskye at 4:42 PM on May 3, 2006

[fixed fpp typo]

2 fixed; 1 to go
posted by found missing at 5:06 PM on May 3, 2006

As I mentioned earlier, I highly recommend that anyone who seeks to learn more about Gandhi, the man, please read about him. No links.. many have been posted already. I will risk a brief anecdote.

Some years back I attended a Chautauqua (every individual link I found was lame, I apologize - search for yourself, its worth it) wherein a man portrayed Gandhi and availed himself of questions from the audience, in and out of personae. Never have I been so impressed by a performance. His reflection of Gandhi left the audience as conflicted and contrary as the Mahatma's words himself. I spoke with the amateur actor after and found we had read and studied many if the same volumes.

It comes down to this, I think. If you really want to understand the words of those for whom history has ascribed some level of importance, their words or actions cannot be taken out of context from the world in which they existed, and I'm afraid that does take a bit of scholarship from the reader.

For myself, I prefer to know that my personal heroes were humans like myself; that they screwed up and learned from it, that they felt a similar pain and shame. If one is to stand upon the shoulders of giants, well, hell, Gandhi is not bad place to start.
posted by elendil71 at 10:32 PM on May 3, 2006

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