Gandhi Wants You to Support Militarism!

by Kevin Jon Heller

Oh for the love of God:


Yes, I’m sure Gandhi would have wanted kids to enlist in a youth organization sponsored by the military of the country that colonized India, murdered tens of thousands of Indians, and adopted policies that starved millions of Indians to death.

2 Responses

  1. But let’s not forget that “[f]our times Gandhi offered his services to the army: in 1899-1900 during the Boer War, in 1906 on the occasion of the so-called Zulu Rebellion, in 1914 during his stay in London at the outset of World War I; and lastly in India in 1918 near the conclusion of that war.”

    “During the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 Gandhi … formed a volunteer Ambulance Corps for the British Army. The Natal Indian Ambulance Corps, led by M. K. Gandhi, was composed of 300 free and 800 indentured labourers sent by their employers. Its task was to take the wounded brought by the Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps from the battlefield and carry them to the railhead.”

    “Although Gandhi was against the Boer attempt to reduce Indians to the status of second-class citizens, he admired their courage, religious devotion, and their Afrikaans language and culture. Yet when the Boer War broke out in 1899, Gandhi urged his fellow Indians to support the British monarchy, irrespective of whether the war might be right or wrong, and organized an Indian Ambulance Corps for service with the British army. Over a thousand men were enlisted, the overwhelming majority recruited from the indentured laborers who formed the lowest economic stratum of the Indian immigrant population. By recruiting an ambulance corps, Gandhi was also making the case for full citizenship with equal rights and duties within the British Empire. He wanted to prove that Indians were no cowards, an allegation frequently made by Europeans. Gandhi appreciated the positive qualities that war was said to bring out in men, such as fearlessness, comradeship, and a sense of duty (dharma).”

    “The British commander General Buller mentioned the Corp in dispatches and Gandhi and 34 of his men were awarded the Queen’s South Africa campaign medal.” [sources available upon request]

  2. Incidentally, you can do a google search of images with the terms “Gandhi and ambulance corps” and find a photo of Gandhi with some of its members (he’s on the bottom row, furthest to the right).

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