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« Right on the Money | Main | A Matter of Perception »

September 13, 2004

Comments

mike

Pls can you point me to any literature that's got Ghandi's views on Africans documented? I would like to "know" before I start tearing down some posters and discarding certain t-shrts.

Abiola Lapite

The best place to look for the information you require would be in the archives of Gandhi's very own Indian Opinion, a newspaper he published during his South African years. For instance, on September 4, 1904, he says the following:
"Under my suggestion, the Town Council (of Johannesburg) must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians I must confess I feel most strongly. It think it is very unfair to the Indian population, and it is an undue tax on even the proverbial patience of my countrymen."while on March 18, 1905, he has this to say:
Clause 200 makes provision for registration of persons belonging to uncivilized races, resident and employed within the Borough. One can understand the necessity of registration of Kaffirs who will not work, but why should registration be required for indentured Indians...?"Also see this Guardian story, from which the following quotation is taken:
He was quoted at a meeting in Bombay in 1896 saying that Europeans sought to degrade Indians to the level of the "raw kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness".In short, I don't see anyone knowledgeable about the man's life and deeds disputing the allegation that he looked down on Africans, and that his South African struggle was about ensuring that Indians weren't lumped in with them, not about rights for all non-white people. At best I've seen apologias like the one at the end of the Guardian piece - "Later he got more enlightened" - but that's about it, and as apologias go this is extremely lame, seeing as no actual evidence is ever offered to support it.

PS: I've just found a reference for the Ghandi quote about "the raw kaffir" - see The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Ahmedabad,1963, Volume II p. 74

mike

Thanks! For such an enlightened individual, I see no justification for his views (regardless of the prevailing attitude / thoughts at the time). As a leftist, I am a little disappointed in the so called liberal press. I understand the motive to portray the man in a certain light, but his views on Africans should not be encrypted. This is one truth that is very vital in understanding the man and what he really stood for.

Abiola Lapite

My own take on Gandhi is that nobody's perfect, and so one should always be sceptical whenever some individual is presented as if he were a saint. Nonetheless, even very imperfect men can be the instruments through which great deeds come about, and in the end it is the deeds that matter, not worshipping an individual.

João da Costa

Abiola:

"My own take on Gandhi is that nobody's perfect"

My own take on this issue is how it shows again how deep seated is/(was?) the anti-black sentiment worldwide.

So when some people try to put on the same foot anti-black and anti-asian racism in a country like the USA, I feel very skeptical about this (some people argue that blacks americans should have already shown more social progress because asian newcommers already did it!)

Adolf Hitler was angry at Jews parcially because - has he stated in some parts of his "Mein Kampf" - they brought blacks to Germany, and this was understood as a trick to mix "germanische blut" with "lower blood" and therefore weaken and subdue the nation.

Sometimes I wonder if something deep in the human psyche is responsible for all this (besides socio-historical explanations).

mooo

Gandhi didn't buy the Aryan Invasion Theory - which kinda explains why he worked for the upliftment of dalits , while being a racist b*****d the entire while. If that's how the "enlightened" Gandhi was, you'll realize how bigoted the typical Indian scumbag is.

kola alabi

Mr. lapite,
i ask you again, why does everyone hate negroes? yesterday, i forgot to add indians(native and aryan), bangladesh, nepalis, pakistani etc. please share your theories.

mooo

btw, even in india the right hates Gandhi (appeasement of muslims being the usual charge levelled against him) while the left adores him (secularist, etc). would be interesting to see how the indian left reacts to this - they're small, vocal and extremely anti-racism as most of them happen to be Southern Indian victims of North Indian racial bigotry.

mooo

hey kola,
not all indians hate negroes - only Northern Indians and Brahmin scum do. i'd recommend this site :

https://www.dalitstan.org/

kola alabi

gee thanks, now i don't feel so hopeless. But my day would really be made if the esteemed Mr. lapite would humour(sorry british born) me and share with us his take, Mr. mike please join us too.(si vous plais)

mooo

a little anecdote : i heard from a former friend that she beat up her "black, ugly, low-caste south indian servant" because the servant played with her fair skinned punjabi sister. shit like this keeps happening, though it's not well documented. racist prejudices are ingrained into the indian psyche - it's not that the upper caste vermin hates only negroes, they also hate all the dark, lower castes.

Abiola Lapite

"But my day would really be made if the esteemed Mr. lapite would humour(sorry british born) me and share with us his take, Mr. mike please join us too.(si vous plais)"

And why would I have a universal theory of anti-black racism to offer? I'm afraid your day won't be made by me today if that's what you're waiting for.

kola alabi

wow, and they have nukes too!.

kola alabi

Mr.lapite, i'm crushed. Maybe someday you will. I just figured you know.... you're well versed on a wide range of issues that's all.

mike

This is one of the most intriguing questions out there; what fuels this sentiment.
By any standard, I think I am well traveled. One thing I have always noticed, is the hierarchy that seems to exist in race relations. Whites (NORDIC) sit on top, and then you have the Mediteraneans, Asians then Blacks. Now, here is where it gets interesting; the Asians will claim that they are discriminated against, but would just as soon turn on the blacks as exemplified by Ghandi. Naturally, you would think that a people discriminated against, would be more tolerant of other races.
As I was checking up on Gandhi, I stumbled across this site by a Portuguese who was doing his bet to debunk Arthur Franks claim that Portuguese (Spaniards as well) lost their "European" heritage through mixing with Negroid slaves. And that is how they lost their position in the course of western civilization - according to Arthur Frank, a revisionist historian. My take on this issue is this; I can understand trying to correct a falsehood (especially where one's history is concerned). This fellow seemed to have been trying too hard and I wondered if it wasn't because his race had been linked to Blacks?
Back to Ghandi, after reading his views on black S/A and the lower caste Indians, I have come to this conclusion: he should not be celebrated as a pacifist or champion for human cause. Gandhi made no bones about it, all he cared about were the Indians, and he supported the rule of whites as the no 1 race in S/A. As a black man, I couldn't care less about his achievements as he clearly never factored or wanted for that matter, people like me to enjoy "freedom". His approach in dealing with the Brits and India's subsequent independence could be used as a model, though.


mike

CORRECTION!!

ARTHUR KEMP (not Frank)

kola alabi

but why? Mr. Mike what drives this sentiment, please!, Mr. lapite will not oblige me, and make my day, would you?

Abiola Lapite

"This fellow seemed to have been trying too hard and I wondered if it wasn't because his race had been linked to Blacks?"

Bingo! You, sir, have won the jackpot. I know the sorts of sites you're talking about, as there several of them out there, it's always some Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern fellow trying his damndest to "prove" that he's just as "white" as the "Nordics." You'll find, if you ever look at the "Stormfront" bulletin-boards, that there seem to be an endless number of these types bending over backwards to prove that they're "white" enough to be members of the Hitler fan-club.

Arthur Kemp is an interesting case as well, as he too is one of those who worry a lot about possible non-white ancestry. He's of Afrikaner descent, you see, and as recent DNA studies have verified, there's a non-trivial amount of Malay and Khoisan blood floating around in the veins of "Het Volk" (about 5-7%, I think) so he too is one of those who tend to be rather ... touchy on this issue. It's all rather pathetic, if you ask me.

kola alabi

fortunately or unfortunately for some of us we cannot deny our blackness. would anyone with choice want to be a part of the race of losers in contemporary history. some of us have accepted our fate, some evn extremely proud of it, but lesser men....., it is pathetic but then , take the hausas, the fulanis, the somalian, ethiopians, sudanese, berbers etc, wolud rather be anything else even slaves than fully achknowledge and embrace their negro heritage. some claim descendants of italians, greeks, arabs etc just to feel and sleep a little bit better at night. We need dedicated to truth historians, preferably negro that are credible to write or re-write afircan history.

razib

there are multiple points here.

1) yes, gandhi was racist by today's measure. his background was from a bania gujarati caste, that is, he was a merchant. not of the highest caste, but a 'twice born' one, and he was a professional too. india (like much of the world) has a feudal interpersonal system, so being treated like a 'kafir' was probably a shock.

2) yes, many south asians want to distance themselves from blacks because they have dark skins. the european white is the herrenvolk of our age, no one should deny that, so it makes sense that groups would try to place themselves closest to them in the 'great chain of being.'

3) there is a lot of intra-south asian racism. north vs. south, high vs. low, light vs. dark. this is confounded by the fact that there is not only intra-regional, intra-caste, but intra-familial phenotypic variance which has always made top-down racial typologies difficult in the indian subcontinent.

4) i recently read a book where the dalits of uttar pradesh in northern india did not want to organize nationally with the dalits of southern india, because the latter were the lowest of the low, while the dalits of northern india at least might have had some 'aryan' blood. my general point is that everyone wants to shit on everyone else, the issue is one of opportunity.

5) babasahed ambedkar, the 'dalit saint,' who converted to buddhism (along with millions of his mahar caste), was once asked if outcastes were descendents of pre-aryan people. his tepid answer was, 'i suppose that was a hypothesis.' this indicates that even the leader of the dalits did not want to totally turn his back on supposed elite ('aryan') ancestry.

6) the dalitstan website is interesting, but it really is a little to biased. i have had to deal with punjabis who forward me information from it when i assert that south asians share a (overall) common genetic heritage, high to low, and north to south, because that website overplays every piece of evidence that differentiates high and low caste by blood & history.

7) ambedkar hated gandhi because he thought the latter was soft on caste elitism. gandhi was a reformist traditionalist by the end of his life, he never rejected the primacy of place that brahmins had in the caste system (he was a vaishya).

mike

Kola

“fortunately or unfortunately for some of us we cannot deny our blackness. would anyone with choice want to be a part of the race of losers in contemporary history. some of us have accepted our fate, some even extremely proud of it”

I wouldn’t be so hasty to slap the loser label on black people (I understand the context in which you use it). The truth is, some hundred yrs back it wasn’t so good to be British. If u look back u’ll notice that every civilization / race’s got their time of “shine” and contribution. Think of the Turks also. The most important thing here is having these facts and knowing that the advance / modern world as we have it today is borne out of contribution from all sides; IT IS A FACT! Of course zealots / neo – nazi’s won’t have that, and unfortunately some people loose their self esteem and worth in contemplating their place in this world.
My question to those people who r bent on proving the superiority of their race is, how does it better your course to know that u r the superior race? How does it change your life?
My open question is what will happen if China were to become the new super power? Will Aryan superiority really matter after 100 – 200 yrs of Chinese rule?

kola alabi

Mr. mike you fully comprehend. In touched

razib


My open question is what will happen if China were to become the new super power? Will Aryan superiority really matter after 100 – 200 yrs of Chinese rule?


from my reading, i would be cautious of any people darker skinned than the typical south chinese (that means south asia, africa, much of latin america) to not get too excited by the decline of the white man and the rise of the yellow man. early 20th century chinese 'liberals' associated with republicanism were the ones who argued for racialism against confucian reactionaries. though they might agree that europeans were the equal of the east asian peoples, they generally also emphasized the inferiority of the dark peoples.

gene berman

Ghandi was just a variety of the Indian fakir, with a "non-violence" schtick. And was completely unprincipled to boot. As an example of his duplicity, I'd mention that he publicly opposed "Western" medicine, allowing his wife to die from some ailment (which I forget--it's been so many years). But, when he had an attack of appendicitis, he had himself secretly admitted to a British hospital for the modern treatment style against which he railed. Though I hadn't read of his opinion of various kinds of people before this, it doesn't surprise me even a little. Just another con man.

Mrs Tilton

He's of Afrikaner descent, you see, and as recent DNA studies have verified, there's a non-trivial amount of Malay and Khoisan blood floating around in the veins of "Het Volk" (about 5-7%, I think) so he too is one of those who tend to be rather ... touchy on this issue.

Some years back -- this was in the days, I think, when the apartheid system was still in place but its centre of gravity had wobbled past the tipping point -- I read something very funny. A study had come out showing that yer average Afrikaaner has some X% of African ancestry. The reporter was talking to some stolid old member of the Boer establishment, who said, 'I don't believe it. But if it's true, I suppose I wouldn't mind having a bit of black blood in me, as long as it's Zulu blood.'

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