Yun Yi's Stuff

Gandhi’s “Pacifist” View On Holocaust

Posted on: December 24, 2014

English: Gandhi during the Salt March, March 1...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have never liked Gandhi, not only because I didn’t like what I saw from photos, also some stories I read about his life convinced me that he was not the person people believe he was. And recently, one of George Orwell’s essays again echoes my impression of this popular figure.
In George Orwell’s essay Reflections On Gandhi, he mentioned that he never heard a (extreme) pacifist answering the question regarding to WWII:

“How about the Jews? Are you prepared to see them exterminated? If not, how do you propose to save them without resorting war?” Gandhi’s answer to this question was that German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which “would have arouse the world and people in Germany to Hitler’s violence”.

Very interesting view, indeed! And as matter of fact, based on some materials I read before about Gandhi, he was not at all a pacifist when he was young, and his later approach to this idealism seemed to have more to do with his political dream than his love of peace. He actually never really cared about people dying. The most immediate example could be how his wife died: he let his wife died without seeking medical help because of his disbelief in modern medicine. “Interestingly”, a few months after his wife died, when he had some sort of disease, he received modern medicine care without a slightest hesitation.

George Orwell wrote this essay after he read Gandhi’s autobiography, which “reminds one that inside the saint, or near saint, there was a very shrewd, able person who could, if he had chosen, have been a brilliant success as a lawyer, an administrator, or perhaps even a businessman.” I think Mr Orwell would not be surprised to see that after more than half century, this “shrewd” individual is still venerated as icon of pacifism.

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