Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Macaulay's Child no more

One perspective in reading Mahatma Gandhi's My Experiments with Truth is to see in it his manifold attempts to be an Englishman - one of "a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals and in intellect".  This was a project that simply would not work, the psychic violence that Gandhi would have to inflict on himself was too much, and it failed.

One can mark Gandhi's Hind Swaraj  (1908), when Gandhi was 39, as a key marker in the evolution of his thinking.  (Without endorsing all that in this essay on interpreting Hind Swaraj, I nonetheless recommend it as an essential shortcut to understanding it.)   Even so (chapter 15) - and you can read this  in many ways -
By patriotism I mean the welfare of the whole people, and if I could secure it at the hands of the English, I should bow down my head to them.