Monday, February 4, 2013

Gandhi - First Blood

from What Gandhi really thought about guns:

Gandhi practiced what he preached, even when violently attacked. His autobiography contains an account of such an incident that occurred during a trip to South Africa. Gandhi was traveling on a ship from India to Natal province with 800 other passengers, including his family. Racial discrimination in the province was rampant. Once white residents learned that Gandhi was aboard the ship, they became furious. They accused him of denouncing Natal whites while he was in India and bringing Indian immigrants to settle in the province as provocation.

Gandhi was innocent of both charges, but the residents attacked him when he disembarked from the ship anyway. He was hit with punches, kicks, stones and bricks, but refused to retaliate and simply kept walking (to the best of his ability). The mob was subdued only when the wife of the town’s police superintendent opened her parasol and stood between Gandhi and the mob. Later, Gandhi remembered thinking, “I hope God will give me the courage and the sense to forgive them and to refrain from bringing them to law. I have no anger against them. I am only sorry for their ignorance and their narrowness. I know that they sincerely believe that what they are doing today is right and proper. I have no reason therefore to be angry with them.” Ultimately, the press condemned the mob and the whole affair “enhanced the prestige of the Indian community in South Africa and made [Gandhi’s] work easier.”

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