John Sainsbury: Gandhi's Ghost Haunts Modern India
John Sainsbury is a professor of history at Brock University.
A frail man, Anna Hazare, goes on a hunger strike to protest corruption in India. Thousands rally to his cause in New Dehli. The old man is arrested and protests spread nationwide. Rahul Gandhi, scion of the family that dominates the ruling National Congress Party, orders Hazare released. Hazare refuses to leave prison until the government promises to allow his campaign to continue freely. The government buckles and Hazare continues his fast.
For those with long memories or some knowledge of history, the events playing out in India evoke a sense of déjà-vu. They recall the non-violent campaign of Mohandas Gandhi — revered by his followers as “Mahatma” (Great Soul) — to win independence for his country and the erratic response of the ruling British to his methods. (Mohandas Gandhi, it should be noted, shared the name of the powerful Gandhi dynasty, but he was not its ancestor.)
The parallels are stronger given that Hazare was himself a disciple of Gandhian philosophy.
But before we run too far with the idea that history is repeating itself, we need to recognize some differences…
comments powered by Disqus
- Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group
- Say goodbye to the weirdest border dispute in the world
- Harvard acquires Thoreau's notes on the death of Margaret Fuller
- It’s a national historic site, but hardly anybody visits the Idaho internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated in WW II
- Big-time Hollywood director makes a movie about Stonewall
- Richard Rothstein says government policy created ghettos
- The Islamic historian who can explain why some states fail and others succeed
- High school senior credited with debunking book by Professor Richard Jensen
- Historians at loggerheads over the AP standards
- Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems