Voices to prioritise

Fungai Chanetsa commented on social media(coupla days after the verdict for Philando Castille, I followed the news for the latter not the following: it seems there was apology to a family and over $1.2 million awarded for the murder of a bay retriever [dog]): “this is triggering for current and past reasons. I grew up in context where dogs owned by whites ate from the table while black employees ate food that even dogs would not eat, seeing black employees seating on an open truck cab in pouring rain while the dog was passenger. I actually cant stand dogs for that reason-reminds me too much of growing up in an apartheid state. And black people are murdered by police and not even an apology. Being black and living in this stressful context we have higher morbidity, and then they tell is we have preexisting conditions for just being alive. If they don’t shoot us, we die from all these chronic diseases.”

Whether you’re in Africa or a country like the U.S. if you’re listening, Black people keep reminding us of such things and their voices need to be prioritised.


High Time to Dump Gandhi

Appropriation and Peace – addendum

What everyone needs to know about Gandhi.

“Finally, the most damning anti-Dalit action of his life was his fast that led to the Poona Pact. Many in the West know this only as his fast to bring light to the plight of the “Untouchables”. This fast is the non-violence action that many cite in civil rights mythology as key to the image of Gandhi as an advocate for injustice and a success of the strategies for non-violence. It is even often misunderstood as a fast undertook directly in opposition to the British.
The truth of this episode is far from noble. This hunger strike was not designed to bring attention to the plight of the “Untouchables”, but rather was Gandhi’s attempt to diffuse and stop one of the strongest Dalit independence leaders Dr. Ambedkar, from ensuring Dalit autonomy within the newly formed Indian constitution.”

relates to my previous post and was news to me. It’s quite known that he was anti-black:

“This idea that Indians were better than native Africans pervades his writings on Apartheid where he writes consistently of the need to mentally and physically separate Indians from Indigenous Africans. Even more appalling, are his assertions of the indignities of being grouped with Africans by colonial entities. […]

Another telling example of his anti-blackness is where he makes the distinction that most Indians were not indigenous. This next quote reflects both his Anti-Black and anti-indigenous stance as he names specifically an Indian Adivasi/Indigenous tribe:
“The statute books describe the Indians as belonging to“the aboriginal or semi-barbarous race of Asia”, while as a matter of fact there is hardly one Indian in South Africa belonging to the aboriginal stock. The Santhals of Assam will be as useless in South Africa as the natives of that country. “
He argues against colonial attempts to equate Indians with indigenous Africans because in his view, indigenous peoples were “barbarous and useless”. […]
Finally, beyond these indefensible positions, Gandhi cheered on the British as they waged a war on the black Zulus. During the 1906 Bambatha Uprising […] They hung, shot, and severely flogged thousands of Zulus during this war leading to over four thousand Zulus being murdered during the rebellion. […] For assisting the war on Zulus in any way that he could, he was given the rank of Sgt. Major by the British Army.”

Reason #2 […]
“Harijan refers to the children who are the offspring of women who are bound to ritual sexual exploitation at Hindu Temples under the Indian system of ritual prostitution called the Devadasi system. They are called Harijan or Children of God so that the children’s paternity is not questioned. And it is this term that he attempted to foist on Dalits!

Needless to say this term is seen as an epithet and has been discarded by all except the staunch Gandhi followers and Hindu Fundamentalists.”


“His celibacy did not preclude him using the women members of his ashrams in participating in his “experiments” with sexuality. These experiments were aimed at testing his vows of celibacy by putting himself in predatory closeness with women of all ages. This included sleeping, bathing, and receiving massages from them while they were naked. The women involved included young and old women in the Ashram as well as his own grand-niece! Gandhi wrote about one such incident with his grandniece Manu when he called for her to sleep with him during a time of intense Hindu- Muslim violence in Bengal. He writes, “We both may be killed by the Muslims,” he told her, “and must put our purity to the ultimate test, so that we know that we are offering the purest of sacrifices, and we should now both start sleeping naked.” “

Appropriation and peace

This is not about Indian farmers getting shot by police or commiting suicide but I write this to also honour these lives lost in media (and locally, social media) silence.

I know there has been a good explanation going around using idli in an example. Although it captures something so widespread and personal (such as food), I don’t think it captures a more serious aspect of appropriation. And both the objects or forms I have in mind are for all to consume or use. Let’s take one example that included so much erasure that you and I never knew where it was really from, although we know people who exemplify this and although the person whom we attribute it to himself admitted but we people don’t understand Hindi nor read/ know of this necessarily:

“As Gandhi acknowledges, he did not “invent” satyagraha. He learnt it from the people of India. As he writes in Hind Swaraj: “The fact is that, in India, the nation at large has generally used passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to cooperate with our rulers when they displease us. This is passive resistance.” [Ironic bc he is one ruling caste when the Brits weren’t around and even when they were, internally. And in India, people mostly dislike Gandhi said a friend from one ruling/forward caste, it has nothing to do with his casteism. His truth came to the surface and Indians are more informed]

“Movements of non-cooperation started wherever the British tried to tax the lands of the peasant and the homes of the people. The 1810-11 house tax satyagraha in Varanasi is the best recorded. But similar non-cooperation movements took place in Patna, Bhagalpur and other cities. Having learnt from the people how India stayed democratic over centuries through the power of non-cooperation, Gandhi first used satyagraha in South Africa in 1906 to refuse to cooperate with the laws of the apartheid regime imposing compulsory registration on the basis of race.”

“2017 is the 100th anniversary of the indigo satyagraha in Champaran. It was based on the refusal to grow indigo. The peasants had repeatedly said: “We would rather die than grow indigo”.” Quoting Vandana Shiva.

Tribals, Dalits and Bahujan (landless farmers) came up with this form of protest out of powerlessness, the only other alternative being death. Throughout my life, because of the term ‘satyagraha’, I falsely thought the protests were to be attributed to Gandhi, it is what trickles into our textbooks and cultural texts. I see Euro-centric journalists today attributing non-violent protests to Gandhi, I literally saw a new article on a reputed site, stopped reading and wrote this. What I mentioned is its history in India but surely there is similar movements from everywhere, every indigenous culture and because Gandhi is a brand (that impressed MLK and Nelson Mandela), we ignore or remain ignorant to the various other names. Even wikipedia has some history, if not names:

470-391 BCE The Mohist philosophical school disapproved of war. However, since they lived in a time of warring polities, they cultivated the science of fortification.

Before 1835: The Moriori‘s lack of resources and small population made conventional war unsustainable, so it became customary to resolve disputes nonviolently or ritually. Due to this tradition of nonviolence, the entire population of 2000 people was enslaved, killed or cannibalized when 900 Māori invaded the island in 1835.

1834–38 Trinidad End of Slavery in Trinidad

Peaceful protests continued until the passing of a resolution to abolish apprenticeship and the achievement of de facto freedom.

1838: The Cherokee refused to recognize the fraudulent Treaty of New Echota and therefore did not sell their livestock or goods, and did not pack anything to travel to the west before the soldiers came and forcibly removed them. That ended tragically in the Cherokee trail of tears.

1879- 1881: The Māori village of Parihaka became the center of passive resistance campaigns against Europeans occupying confiscated land in the area. More than 400 followers of the prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai were arrested and jailed, most without trial. Sentences as long as 16 months were handed out for the acts of ploughing land and erecting fences on their property. More than 2000 inhabitants remained seated when 1600 armed soldiers raided and destroyed the village.

The bits on India are misleading and inaccurate. Folks pay attention to tables more than what was said in big paragraphs, so… And if it matches with what textbooks and news sources say, one may even think the first part is wrong, this is wikipedia. Students are lazy and don’t know about hackathons by movements.

And yes, currently, farmers in India and their families are starving and are once again left with no alternative to peaceful protests (no one cares about) or suicide.