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Gandhi and Orwell


Our greatest ability as humans is not to change the world; but to change ourselves.

Mahatma Gandhi


If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile, even when it can’t have
any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.

George Orwell


October 02 was Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
The usual tributes ensued: sincere, phony, and outright disingenuous.
My point here is simply to point, en passant, to a unique side to him that is not oft noted.
In a moment.
Gandhi and Orwell.
What could they have in common?
Both were born in India, both were deeply distrustful of Euromodernism (EM), both were passed over for appropriate Nobels, and both made imperishable contributions to universal human welfare.
One showed how awful EM could get (left, or right variants) for politics and civil society.
The other showed how this could be, effectively, resisted.

Orwell had no self-consciousness about EM, but provided its most trenchant critique (pointing to its immanent Dystopian tendency, in both its Left and Right incarnations).
Gandhi consciously chose non-Modernist forms of protest( practised , incidentally, by women , within the private household, for aeons) and, to the shrill indignation of All variants of EM (Left and Right) , went on to see his Project prevail.
With the taint of subjectivity (is that a taint?) I affirm that these two are, possibly, the most outstanding Public Citizens of the 20th century.
Happily, the two also symbolize East and West, North and South, to give it global relevance.
EM agendas (left or right) have brought us today to ( the brink of) extinction.
As Einstein said we cannot hope to solve problems using the same tools that created those problems.
It is not too late, possibly, to reconsider its inherent misanthropy, as understood by Orwell , and as resisted by Gandhi.
Else their efforts would have been, utterly , and tragically for all of us , in vain.

[© R.Kanth 2022]


Professor Rajani Kanth, is Author of Coda (Novel) , A Day in the Life (Novel), and Expiations (Verse)

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