New Delhi: Mahatma Gandhi saw a future in which India was not an armed nation, a Japanese author has said.
“Gandhi said that India should be non-armed and should be dependent on the goodwill of other nations,” Yamaguchi Hiroichi said at the launch of his book “How Relevant is Gandhi Today? A Japanese Perspective” organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) here on Friday.
This was but one of three things he meant by the Japanese view of Gandhi, Hiroichi, described as a great friend of India and a former writer in residence at the Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University in Wardha, said.
He said Gandhi was also influenced by the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05.
“Japan became very popular in Asia after it won a tough war against Russia,” Hiroichi said.
He said Gandhi, in his 1909 book “Hind Swaraj”, had a very clear idea of how India should be developed and was against popular industrialised nations’ concept of being militarily and economically strong.
“He wanted something in the middle,” the Japanese scholar said.
Thirdly, he said, Gandhi, in his journal Harijan that came out just before the 1942 Quit India Movement as World War II was going on, said that Japan should not come to India as an aggressor.
“Gandhi said Japan should not come to India as an aggressor or we will fight you through non-violence. In case of Japan attacking India, Gandhi though of resisting through villages and peasants,” Hiroichi said.
At the same time, he said that Gandhi did not go far enough in several important areas like agricultural development, widow remarriage and abolition of the caste system.
“Gandhi himself admitted that he was ignorant about agriculture and that he was a Bania. Even among his close circle there was hardly anyone who knew much about agriculture,” Hiroichi said.
His book is the seventh in a series of 10 books on Gandhi that are being edited by RP Mishra, former vice-chancellor of Allahabad University, the last three volumes scheduled to be released within this year.
In the panel discussion that followed after the launch of the book, Mishra said that Gandhi’s relevance should not be seen in terms of the present and the past.
“The relevance of Gandhi should not be seen in terms of the present and the past but in terms of the future also for the sake of entire humanity,” he said.
“It is because of Gandhi that there is no colonial power in the world today.”
Retired diplomat and former ICCR director general PA Nazareth, himself an expert on the subject, said that Gandhi’s freedom movement was a lesson in management.
“In the 33 years between Gandhi’s return to India in 1915 and his assassination in 1948, two world wars happened,” he said.
“And here came a man with two words – truth and non-violence – and brought freedom for India. It is the greatest lesson in management,” Nazareth said.
ICCR Director General C Rajasekhar, who launched Hiroichi’s book, said that he would like to anchor more studies and research on Gandhi from the environmental perspective.