Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kathryn Hadley has written two a very interesting articles in History Today Magazine, on Gandhi and Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum, Mumbai. I'am posting both the articles in this blog . Also giving the link of her site for more articles on Gandhi.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Gandhi's Letter to Hitler

by Kathryn Hadley
The soaring sales of Mein Kampf in India are somewhat worrying. The claims in the article on the website of The Telegraph that India and Nazi Germany influenced one another and that Gandhi corresponded with Hitler himself are also disturbing and shatter the image of Gandhi in popular imagination as a representative and fervent defender of justice and equality.
Yesterday's article does not, however, provide any details as to what the exchange of letters between Gandhi and the Fuhrer was about, nor how often the two men were in contact with one another.
Over Christmas, I visited Mani Bhavan, Mahatma Gandhi's residence in Mumbai between 1917 and 1934, where one of his original letters to Hitler was displayed. This letter was hugely significant... Written on July 23rd 1939, as Hitler's designs for German expansion in Eastern Europe became increasingly apparent, Gandhi urged Hitler to prevent the advent of the Second World War. On March 15th 1939, the German Army had notably invaded Czechoslovakia and a week later Hitler demanded the return of the Free City of Danzig to Germany. In April, Hitler renounced the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact and on May 22nd Germany and Italy signed the Pact of Steel, which reasserted cooperation between the two countries and encouraged a joint military and economic policy.
'It is quite clear to me that you are today the one person in the world whocan prevent a war which may reduce humanity to the savage state. Must youpay that price for an object however worthy it may appear to you tobe?'
For more information on the period leading up to the Second World War see the 'Road to War' section of our focus page on the Second World War.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi lives on

by Kathryn Hadley
‘History is replete with instances of men who by dying withcourage and compassion on their lips converted the hearts of their violentopponents.’ (Gandhi)
61 years ago today, Gandhi was shot whilst taking his evening public walk around the grounds of Birla House in New Delhi. The assassin was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu radical who had links with the Hindu extremist group Hindu Mahasabha, which notably blamed Gandhi for weakening India and sacrificing Hindu interests by insisting upon payment to Pakistan. He immediately surrendered himself to the police and was put on trial. He was sentenced to death for murder and hanged at Ambala Jail, on November 15th 1949.On the night of Gandhi’s assassination, President Pandit Nehru broadcast a radio address to the nation:
‘Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere, and I do not quite know what to tell you or how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that; nevertheless, we will not see him again, as we have seen him for these many years, we will not run to him for advice or seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow, not only for me, but for millions and millions in this country.’Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi or ‘Great Soul’, an honorific allegedly first given to him by the poet, playwright, novelist and composer Rabindranath Tagore. Gandhi is also referred to in India as Bapu ‘Father’ and is honoured as the Father of the Nation.Although 61 years ago to this day India may have been plunged into darkness, the light of Gandhi still shines brightly. In India, January 30th is observed as Martyr’s Day in remembrance of those who gave their lives in service of the Indian nation. His birthday, on October 2nd, is also commemorated as a national holiday in India. In June 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted October 2nd as an International Day of Non-Violence. Mahatma Gandhi was named 1930 Man of the Year by Time magazine and, in 1996, the government of India introduced the Mahatma Gandhi series of currency notes. Statues have been erected in his memory all over the world. There is notably a statue in Tavistock Square, near University College London, where he studied law.There exists a wide variety of resources devoted to Gandhi in India and worldwide. Mani Bhavan, Gandhi’s residence in Mumbai from 1917 to 1934, has an extensive library with a large collection of books both read and written by Gandhi. It also has a very comprehensive website.Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, 19 Laburnum Road, Gamdevi, Mumbai.