What do Pat Robertson, Priyanka Chopra, Jerry Falwell and Mahatma Gandhi have in common? If you thought that they were all religious nutcases, you are wrong. Priyanka Chopra’s nuttiness doesn’t belong to the religious variety. So think again. Give up? OK, they all blame people for natural disasters.
Let’s start with the extreme religious nuts, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. In 2001, they put the blame for the 9/11 Islamic terrorism on “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians.” Jerry Falwell, alas, died in 2007. (The very naughty Mr Christopher Hitchens casually commented that if Falwell had been given an enema, they could have buried him in a match box.) But Robertson was at hand after the recent Haiti earthquake, and put the blame for the devastation and the awful loss of lives on some pact that Haitian slaves had made with the devil around two centuries before.
Then comes the Feb 27, 2010 quake in Chile which left half a million homeless and around 800 dead. Not as bad as the Haiti quake that killed an estimated 230,000 people, 300,000 injured, and 1,000,000 homeless.
Priyanka Chopra concluded that the cause was anthropogenic. Well, not in those words as I doubt she can spell that word. She put it across as a rhetorical question and tweeted, “400,000 people left homeless by quake in Chile..R we putting too much pressure on our planet..My prayers for the victims and their families.” I suppose the Chileans had to pay for the sins of humanity in pressuring the earth (whatever that means.) Perhaps people are overeating and the resulting obesity caused the pressure.
But who the hell knows who Priyanka Chopra is. I certainly didn’t until my friend Rajan pointed her tweet (not to be confused with twat) out to me. Her opinion and analysis of natural disasters does not amount to a hill of beans. That’s not the case with Mr Gandhi, aka Mahatma.
You recall the Bihar 8.4 magnitude earthquake of January 15, 1934? You don’t! Well, neither do I. The wiki informs me that it was one of the worst in India, and 30,000 died. Mahatma Gandhi visited Bihar and after due deliberation declared that it was divine retribution for the sins of Indians. That strikes me as one of the most perverted statements made by the man — and that’s saying something considering that he sort of specialized in that category of statements.
If A were to commit a crime, and the police were to give an entirely innocent uninvolved person B a thrashing of his life saying, “I am doing this to you because A committed a crime and I think it is right and appropriate that you be thrashed,” would you say that the police were good, holy, enlightened and bow down in front of them in deep devotion? You would not do any such thing.
Gandhi did. The god that he was devoted to by his (Gandhi’s) admission was killing Biharis for crimes committed by others.
I have always been intrigued by the idea of scapegoating — “the practice of singling out one child, employee or member of a group of peers for unmerited negative treatment or blame”, as the wiki puts it. Gandhi searched for one and found a scapegoat. Why? Because it suited his personal agenda.
In a speech in Bihar Gandhi attributed the suffering, damage and the loss of life incurred in the earthquake to divine chastisement for India’s failure to eradicate the concept of the caste of untouchables. [Source.]
As I am not a huge fan of Gandhi (which is clearly an understatement), that did not come as a huge surprise to me. Normal people would be horrified at conceiving a vengeful mean irrational stupid god but for Gandhi, it was a no-brainer. The great thinker Rabindranath Tagore, however, gave it to Gandhi good and proper.
Here’s a bit from Bidyut Chakrabarty’s “Social and political thought of Mahatma Gandhi” (2006)
. . . an interesting debate took place following Gandhi’s characterization of the Bihar earthquake in February (sic), 1934 as ‘divine chastisement’ for the great sin committed against those known as harijans. Tagore took a serious view of this by saying that ‘it has cause me painful surprise to find Mahatma Gandhi accusing those who blindly follow their own social custom of untouchability of having brought down gods’ vengeance upon certain parts of Bihar’. Coming from the most revered political leader of the country, the statement, he felt, was most devastating for its obvious impact on the interpersonal relationships between harijans and others. So it should not go ‘unchallenged’. Tagore prefaced his critique of this superstitious view of Gandhi’s by saying that ‘it is all the more unfortunate, because this kind of unscientific view of things is too readily accepted by large section of our countrymen.’ Emphasizing that ‘physical catastrophes [like earthquakes etc] have their inevitable and exclusive origin in certain combinations of physical facts’, he further argued that:
if we associate ethical principles with cosmic phenomena, we shall have to admit that human nature is morally superior to Providence that preaches its lessons in good behaviour in orgies of the worst behaviour possible . . . What is truly tragic about it is the fact that the kind of argument that Mahatmaji uses by exploiting an even of cosmic disturbance for better suits the psychollogy of his opponents . . . [He thus felt] profoundly hurt when any words from [Gandhi's] mouth may emphasise the elements of unreason . . . which is a fundamental source of all the blind powers that drive us against freedom and self-respect.
Gandhi responded to Tagore saying, “to me, the earthquake was no caprice of God nor a result of blind forces . . . Visitations like droughts, flood, earthquake and the like, though they seem to have only physical origins, are, for me, somehow connected with man’s morals. Therefore, I instinctively felt that the earthquake was visitations for the sin of untouchability. . . [I believe] that our sins have more force to ruin the structure than any mere physical phenomenon.”
Now read that in the context of the burning of witches — which happens even today in many parts of the world. Ignorant superstitious people believe that someone is responsible for the crop failure or the drought and that they have to kill the person responsible and their problems will be solved.
Those people who burn witches are not driven by reason. They say, like Gandhi, “that to us, somehow, it seems . . .” and “we instinctively feel” and get on with setting things right by torturing confessions and burning witches.
The evidence is overwhelming that Gandhi was a superstitious person ignorant of basic scientific understanding of the world available even at the time when he did his schooling. Gandhi had a instinctive understanding of how to manipulate the superstitious illiterate ignorant masses, however, and they revered him with the devotion that they had for their other gods. Gandhi was cunning if he was anything at all. I have argued before that he blackmailed his followers, and that it was violence cloaked in the pious garb of non-violence.
I am repelled by Gandhi’s arrogant insistence that his instinctive feelings that somehow arise within him gives him the right to attribute causes to natural phenomena and dictate that to his followers.
Gandhi is revered by the masses in India. That is the most damning evidence I see of my conjecture that India is largely a nation of retards. That and the clearly related fact that these retards vote for the Gandhi-family led Congress party.