Ghandi Was a Good Person?

Somebody knows this? For certain?

See this article, which begins like this:

“Joseph Lelyveld has written a ­generally admiring book about ­Mohandas Gandhi, the man credited with leading India to independence from Britain in 1947. Yet ‘Great Soul’ also obligingly gives readers more than enough information to discern that he was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him. Gandhi was therefore the archetypal 20th-century progressive ­intellectual, professing his love for ­mankind as a concept while actually ­despising people as individuals.”


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  1. Wow, if that review gives an accurate perspective on Gandhi, I need to do some major rethinking about him. I was brought up on Richard Attenborough’s movie and the occasional reference to Gandhi’s thought in the writings of Martin Luther King Jr., etc. I pretty much bought into the portrayal of him as a saint.

    This raises a disturbing prospect for me, however: suppose the Gospels are hagiography instead of the sober truth, and the only reason we can’t think of anything Jesus did wrong is because only the hagiographies survived. How can we rule out that possibility when we don’t have access to the amount of primary evidence we have for someone like Gandhi?

    1. I think a major difference is in the fact that the apostles, Paul included, suffered much for their testimony about Jesus, probably all being martyred one way or another, and not one of them backed away from the story they told about Jesus. In the face of death, every one of those guys stayed true to the end.



      1. That’s true, but is that necessarily evidence that they knew what they were talking about? Let’s say that I read Romain Rolland’s hagiography of Gandhi (bearing in mind that Rolland and Gandhi were good friends so the former had firsthand access to Gandhi) and see Attenborough’s movie and become enthralled by their portrait of the ‘mortal demi-god’ and I resolve to follow his example and live by his teachings, even if it means giving up my life in the cause of civil disobedience. If I do in fact give up my life for Gandhi’s cause, that only shows that I derived my inspiration from Rolland’s hagiographical portrait, which however is misleading at crucial junctures. It doesn’t mean I had the right picture of Gandhi.

        So if the apostles and Paul stuck to their story of Jesus to the bitter end, it surely indicates they were sincere in their beliefs about Jesus, but does it indicate that they were right about Jesus? If Rolland is anything to go by, even eyewitnesses to great historical figures can produce highly biased, misleading reminiscences of them.

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