A thought experiment…
You run a small but growing business. As it is still quite small and you personally do the hiring and firing. You decide you need one more employee so you advertise and only two CVs make the final cut. So you interview both.
The first is well dressed black American who has the gift of the gab.
The second is an Indian who turns up barefoot and wearing something from the 2009 Pampers collection.
Who gets the job?
Lets make it more difficult. This is a critical hiring so you’ve dug around and it turns out this charming black guy has a bit of a roving eye and roving hands and you personally can’t stand marital infidelity and you wonder about the general morality of someone who would cheat on the missus. In fact you suspect someone who cheats on their wife is somone who would think little of putting their hand in your till. The Indian has taken a vow of chastity.
So, do you employ Gandhi or Martin Luther King Junior? I’d go for Dr King every time. Why? Because whilst I might not approve of his antics I can understand them. Good looking, bright, eloquent fellow frequently away from home for extended periods… His sexual adventurism at least makes sense. Gandhi on the other hand slept with naked teenage girls to “test his chastity”. That does not make sense. Look… I can understand asceticism to a certain extent but Gandhi took it to ludicrous extremes. If Gandhi was talking bollocks and in fact was covering his ass (which he mainly did with a diaper) because he was actually shagging the girls then… Well that’s not great either but it’s external deception and not self-delusion. There is something utterly theatrical about Gandhi’s asceticism. It’s just way OTT. It was either an act (bad) or self denial (worse). I don’t mean there self denial in the sense of denying oneself things for some higher spiritual goal but being in denial of oneself.
I apologise for this in advance (if you’re reading this whilst grabbing a sandwich). I really do but it’s too precious to not mention… The old be-nappied git also greeted each morning with an enema from said teenage groupies and indeed returned the favour. Indian politicians really are something else. Nehru used to drink his own piss. Well I suppose as a health beverage it was fresh, organic, locally sourced and there was an inexhaustable supply of it. Least said about Indira the better. I mean some folks think Hilary Clinton is an absolute bitch on wheels. She is but compared to Indira Gandhi she’s a fucking amateur. Indira Gandhi made Mrs Mao look nice. She was a bitch on teflon rails, powered by a scramjet. Try Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” for more details.
I always at some level had a vague intuition that Mahatma Gandhi was some sort of fraud or self deluded or just bonkers in the nut. Then I visited the civil rights museum in Atlanta in ’97 and… Well it’s an interesting experience. The ground floor was a well done exposition of the KKK and Jim Crowe laws and such. The upper floor had a shrine to MLK which was quite disturbing. It was disturbing because it had the ephemera of Dr King’s life in venerated glass cases. It had a Bible of his and his typewriter and that seemed right but it also had his empty bottles of aftershave and his Levi’s denim jacket. The later item was by the way almost exactly the same as the denim jacket I was wearing at the time. But it was strange. Empty bottles of Aramis treated like holy relics and a denim jacket treated like the Shroud of Turin. I dunno what the curators were up to but if they wanted to make MLK recent and therefore “relevant” (that terrible buzz word) it bloody well worked with me.
And then there was (The Atlanta Civil Rights Museum had a recprical deal with a similar place in India) the Gandhi collection. The contrast was epic. One was an ordinary bloke’s stuff (which is unremarkable when it’s just kicking round someone’s gaff but becomes bizarre in the museum context) and the other was theatrical asceticism. It was a glass case with a nappy, a walking stick and a pair of John Lennon specs.
So, Dr King might have been flawed but he was at least understandable in his flaws but Gandhi… I dunno if he was just a git on the make or utterly deluded but his subsequent veneration is ludicrous. I mean he aspired to lead one of the greatest nations on the planet whilst wearing a nappy. I mean that’s just taking the piss. The piss that Nehru later drank.